Saturday, 23 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Capestrano, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us having heard from the readings of the Sacred Scriptures, we are all called to be truly faithful to God in all things, dedicating our whole lives to He Who has shown us the path forward in life, that is the path towards righteousness and goodness. Through Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, God had made His salvation and love for each and every one of us clear and visible, making Himself real and tangible, bringing forth His truth into this world.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome, we heard him speaking to them regarding this matter, reminding all of them that they have been saved through Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour. St. Paul the Apostle reminded the people that as they had been saved by the Lord, called to follow Him and received the gift of His grace and the Holy Spirit that has been given to them, therefore, all of them ought to follow Him wholeheartedly and obey Him, and no longer walk in the path of the flesh, that is the path of sin and darkness.

St. Paul made it clear that those who have chosen to follow the Lord have chosen to walk in the new path shown by the Spirit, and this new path is a revolutionary path that seeks to glorify the Lord through obedience and through our virtuous life rooted in the faith. We cannot be Christians that are professing to be faithful and devoted to God, and yet, in our behaviour, actions and interactions, we act in the same way as unbelievers are doing. We must not be hypocrites in our faith, and we have to be genuine in our way of living our faith.

Then linking what St. Paul then said with what the Lord had said to His disciples in our Gospel passage today, essentially, all of us are reminded that the path of sin and darkness leads to nothing else but ultimate destruction and annihilation. Those who died through sin shall be judged by those same sins and shall be held accountable for their actions. Their disobedience against God, their refusal to listen to Him and obey His Law and commandments will be held against them on the last day, at the moment of the Final Judgment. Meanwhile, those who hold fast to their faith and remain firm in their love for Him shall be rewarded in the end.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, what we have heard from the Sacred Scriptures today are kind reminders from the Lord through His Church, how sin can lead us to destruction and how we have been freed from the tyranny of those sins, by the loving sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour on the Cross. As such, we should strive to resist the temptations to sin and to disobey the Lord. There would be many such temptations all around us, persuading us, coercing us and forcing us to change our ways to suit the way of the world and to follow the corrupting path of sin.

As Christians, all of us are called to resist those temptations and to stand by our faith in God. Such is our calling and expectation as fellow servants and disciples of Our Lord. And God has given us many examples for us to follow, those saints, holy men and women, all those who have given themselves to serve the Lord faithfully. Today, we remember one of them, namely St. John Capestrano, also known as St. John of Capistrano, was a Franciscan friar and priest, who have been remembered for his great holiness and dedication to the Lord, for his zeal in defending the faith and for courageously preaching the truth of God.

St. John Capestrano was a very passionate preacher and missionary, who went from places to places as a friar and priest, to oppose the heresies that back then were being widespread in parts of Christendom. He worked hard, writing theses and other works against the teachings of heretics, while personally reaching out to many communities, in defending the true faith and the true traditions and magisterium of the Church. He was sent by the Pope as emissary and spokesperson to various Christian courts and rulers, while continuing his efforts against those who sought to corrupt the truth of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the many efforts and the great courage with which St. John Capestrano has shown us in how he lived his life with faith should be source of inspiration for us as well. All of us should commit ourselves to the Lord and devote our time, effort and attention, in the manner that St. John Capestrano and many other saints, our holy predecessors had done, all these while. Let us all turn towards the Lord from now on with renewed zeal, faith and love for Him, and do our best to be exemplary in faith and to be inspiration for one another, that we may be beacons of God’s light and truth in this world.

May God bless us all, in our every good efforts and endeavours, and may He empower all of us to walk faithfully in His presence from now on. May God be with us all and may He strengthen us each and every moment, through His light, His truth and love for us. Amen.

Saturday, 23 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Capestrano, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Luke 13 : 1-9

At that time, one day, some people told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple : Pilate had had Galileans killed, and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus asked them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this? No, I tell you. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish, as they did.”

“And those eighteen persons in Siloah, who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you : no. But unless you change your ways, you will perish as they did.” And Jesus continued, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener, ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree, and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it continue to deplete the soil?’”

“The gardener replied, ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertiliser; perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it does not, you can cut it down.’”

Saturday, 23 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Capestrano, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 23 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it. He has founded it upon the ocean and set it firmly upon the waters.

Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who desire not what is vain.

They will receive blessings from the Lord, a reward from God, their Saviour. Such are the people who seek Him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God.

Saturday, 23 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Capestrano, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Romans 8 : 1-11

This contradiction is no longer exists for those who are in Jesus Christ. For, in Jesus Christ, the Law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. The Law was without effect, because the flesh was not responding. Then God, planning to destroy sin, sent His own Son, in the likeness of those subject to the sinful human condition; by doing this, He condemned the sin, in this human condition.

Since then, the perfection intended by the Law would be fulfilled, in those not walking in the way of the flesh, but in the way of the Spirit. Those walking according to the flesh tend toward what is flesh; those led by the Spirit, to what is Spirit. Flesh tends toward death, while Spirit aims at life and peace. What the flesh seeks is against God : it does not agree, it cannot even submit to the Law of God.

So, those walking according to the flesh cannot please God. Yet your existence is not in the flesh, but in the spirit, because the Spirit of God is within you. If you did not have the Spirit of Christ, you would not belong to Him.

But Christ is within you; though the body is branded by death as a consequence of sin, the spirit is life and holiness. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is within you, He Who raised Jesus Christ from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. Yes, He will do it through His Spirit Who dwells within you.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Sacred Scriptures, we are all called to reflect on our actions and readiness in life to follow Christ, Our Lord and Saviour as His faithful disciples and servants, to be exemplary in all of our actions and deeds so that through all of us, imitating the faith that Christ Himself has shown us and living the truth that He has revealed to us, all of us may come to be beacons of His light to many others who have not yet known Him.

Today in our first reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, we heard the Apostle reminding all the faithful of the role that Christ has played in redeeming all of us from our sins, and how God had fulfilled His promise to release and liberate us from all bondage and enslavement to sin and evil through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all, Who chose to take upon Himself all of our sins and wickedness, and bore the burden of those sins upon Himself.

He obeyed His Father perfectly, as St. Paul said, so that by His obedience as the Son of Man and the New Adam, the old disobedience and sins of mankind from the old Adam may be overcome. Through His incarnation in the flesh, He has united all of our humanity to Himself, and by His obedience, He opened to us the floodgates of God’s mercy and grace, and by offering Himself, His Most Precious Body and Blood, of the Lamb of God, as the perfect and worthy sacrifice for our sins, He reconciled us all with God, our loving Father and Creator.

And then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples with regards to the readiness that all of His disciples ought to have, as He Himself repeated it several times, how they must be ready to welcome their Lord and Master at the moment of His coming, so that they would not be caught unprepared and unaware, when the Lord comes as He promised, at the day of Judgment. Essentially, He reminds all of them to be vigilant and to do their best in how they live their lives so that they may always be faithful in all things and do not allow wickedness and evil to gain roots in their hearts.

We are all therefore called, as those whom God had chosen and revealed His truth to, to be the ones who live with this knowledge and understanding of the truth, and to be the bearers of God’s light to the nations. We must not allow sin to rule over us again and influence us, just as the Lord has freed us from its bondage and power. Yet, the allure and attraction of sin can be very powerful and corrupting, and we have to be careful lest we fall again into its clutches. Many have failed to resist its temptations, and like our forefathers, they have fallen back into the path of sin.

What should we do then, brothers and sisters in Christ? We should follow the example and obedience of Christ, in His love for us and in His steadfastness in devoting Himself to the plan of salvation that He has brought upon us. And we should also follow the good examples set by our holy predecessors, all those who have given themselves in commitment to God, those who have shown us that it is possible to be faithful to the Lord in this world and to lead a good Christian life that is just and worthy of God.

Today, we celebrate from the Feast of the Holy Canadian Martyrs, also known as the Jesuit North American Martyrs, as well as that of St. Paul of the Cross, a great Italian mystic and priest who founded the Passionists religious order. All of them are great role models for us in how we can lead a better Christian life and in following our respective calling in life as Christians so that we may learn on how we can contribute even in the smallest things for the sake of the glory of God and for the success of His works in this world.

The Holy Canadian Martyrs were St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brebeuf and their companions in martyrdom, who were members of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits during the years of early exploration of the New World, particularly in the exploration of North America, in regions that are now part of Canada. These courageous missionaries responded to the Lord’s calling and embraced their missionary works, in revealing God’s truth to those who have not yet known Him, the native peoples of North America.

Many of these missionaries had to brave through harsh conditions and bitter winters, as well as opposition and rejection from those to whom they had gone to. While some of the natives were open to the Lord’s truth and were willing to listen to the missionaries, but there were also equally many and even more of those who refused to listen to them, and even persecuted those missionaries. As such, those missionaries endured a lot of bitter moments and struggles, in the service of God and His people.

Yet, St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brebeuf and his courageous fellow martyrs faced all those challenges with faith, committing themselves to God without fear, continuing to minister to those who have willingly embraced the faith and given themselves to be baptised as the first native Christian societies in those remote areas. They persevered and even when many of them faced great suffering and martyred by the attacks of those who were hostile to the faith, their efforts became the foundation of the Church that lasts till this very day in those regions and communities.

Meanwhile, St. Paul of the Cross dedicated his life as a priest and servant of God in ministering to his fellow brothers and sisters, being called by God to establish a new religious community dedicated to a life of prayer and evangelical zeal, which would become the Passionists he founded. St. Paul of the Cross gathered like-minded men who wanted to serve the Lord more wholeheartedly and formed his community, and worked hard to gain the Church approval for his efforts.

St. Paul of the Cross and his community of priests went around from places to places and preached about the Lord to many people in those communities, spreading the Word of God and the truth of His Gospel to more and more people, and together with his many works and writings, of which numbering over two thousands at least, he and his fellow workers of the Lord managed to bring many people closer to God, and helped many who were on the brink of the path of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be inspired by these holy predecessors of ours, who had shown us what it truly means for us to be Christians. Let us all follow in their footsteps and do whatever we can in order to glorify the Lord by our lives and actions, by our exemplary actions and by doing our best to follow the path that the Lord has revealed before us. Let us also strive to resist the many temptations to sin, and commit ourselves from now on to walk in the path of the Lord. May all of us be inspiration as God’s children and as the beacons of His light and truth, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Luke 12 : 35-38

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes.”

“Truly, I tell you, he will put an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Psalm 39 : 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17

Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire; this, You had me understand. Burnt offering and sin offering You do not require. Then I said, “Here I come!”

As the scroll says of me. To do Your will is my delight, o God, for Your law is within my heart.

In the great assembly I have proclaimed Your saving help. My lips, o YHVH, I did not seal – You know that very well.

But may all those who seek You, rejoice, and be glad in You; and may all who love Your saving grace continually say, “YHVH is great.”

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Romans 5 : 12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21

Therefore, sin entered the world through one man; and through sin, death; and later on, death spread to all humankind, because all sinned. All died, because of the fault of one man, but how much more does the grace of God spread, when the gift He granted, reaches all, from this unique Man, Jesus Christ.

If death reigned through the disobedience of one and only one person, how much more, will there be a reign of life, for those who receive the grace, and the gift of true righteousness, through the one Person, Jesus Christ. Just as one transgression brought sentence of death to all, so, too, one Man’s good act has brought justification and light to all; and, as the disobedience of only one, made all sinners, so the obedience of one Person, allowed all to be made just and holy.

But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, and, as sin caused death to reign, so grace will reign, in its own time, and, after making us just, and friends of God, will bring us to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, 18 October 2021 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, one of the four great Evangelists who wrote the Holy Gospels together with St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. John. According to Apostolic tradition, St. Luke was a physician and a follower and disciple of St. Paul the Apostle, who accompanied him for quite a few of his missionary journeys, and who wrote the accounts of those travels and also other actions of the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles that he also authored. It was even told in some traditions that he was also the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

St. Luke according to different traditions was either a Hellenised Jew or a Greek who embraced the Christian faith as one of the earliest converts and as among the earliest of Christ’s disciples and missionaries. He was a physician and therefore likely highly educated and intelligent, which was also probably why God gave him the gift of wisdom and talent for writing, through which St. Luke recorded the very important events that he heard about the Lord’s life and ministry, and also as inspired by the Holy Spirit, to evangelise to those who have not yet known Him.

St. Luke through his efforts converted many to the Christian faith, turning many people towards the Lord and called them to embrace His truth and love. In his travels with St. Paul, he had assisted the great Apostle in preaching the truth of God, and through his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, he had reached out even far beyond mere words and interactions, as by his courageous efforts in writing the words of God, he has, just like St. Paul and his many Epistles, kept the faith alive and the truth to remain firmly found in the Sacred Scriptures.

St. Luke continued his ministry among the people of God, ministering to the many people whom he encountered throughout his life and work, and he spread the word of God faithfully according to the tradition of the Church, until he died at an old age in the region of Boeotia in Roman Greece, after a very long life of service to God, and after having bestowed on us the wonders of his work in the Scriptures, which enriched our knowledge of God and His truth. Through his works, all of us ought to have known more about God and His works.

Today, as we celebrate this great feast in honour of St. Luke the Evangelist, all of us are called to be inspired by the faith and the commitment which he has shown in his life and work, and in all that he has done for the greater glory of God. We are called to follow in his examples and to do whatever we can in order to emulate his examples in our own daily lives. We may think that it is impossible for us to be like St. Luke or like any other great saints, but this is not true.

God has called His Apostles and many other disciples from various backgrounds and origins, some rich, some poor, some educated, some illiterate, some privileged and powerful, while others were weak and not noteworthy, and there had been countless of these whom God had called, all sinners, who came to the Lord’s side and listened to His call. They answered Him and His call, and He led them down the path of mission and commitment, as St. Luke and so many other innumerable saints had shown us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to heed the Lord’s call, to be His faithful and committed disciples, in doing His will and in walking down His glorious path. We do not have to do great and wonderful things. Rather, in our own daily living and in every single thing we do, even in the smallest, we should strive to do our best, to show our faith in God and to be inspiration to one another. We are all called to walk down this path of discipleship, with our respective gifts and talents, with all that God has given to us.

Let us all discern carefully our path in life, and let us consider what each and every one of us can do to contribute to the works of the Lord, to the mission which He has entrusted to His Church and to all of us as Christians. We can no longer be idle in our lives as Christians and we should dedicate ourselves from now on to be ever truly faithful to God. Let us be inspired and walk in the path which St. Luke has shown us, that we too may bear rich fruits in faith from now on.

May God bless us all and may He strengthen each and every one of us to live our Christian lives genuinely and be the beacons of God’s light and truth to all who have seen us, witnessed our actions and interacted with us. May our lives bring hope and light of God’s truth, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 18 October 2021 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest. Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know.”

“Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”