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.'”

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

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 17-18

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o YHVH, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom, and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign, and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endured, from generation to generation.

Righteous is YHVH in all His ways, His mercy shows in all His deeds. He is near those who call on Him, who call trustfully upon His Name.

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

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Timothy 4 : 10-17b

You must know, that Demas has deserted me, for the love of this world : he returned to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke remains with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is a useful helper in my work. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.

Bring with you the cloak I left at Troas, in Carpos’ house, and also the scrolls, especially the parchments. Alexander, the metalworker, has caused me great harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. Distrust him, for he has been very much opposed to our preaching.

At my first hearing in court, no one supported me; all deserted me. May the Lord not hold it against them. But the Lord was at my side, giving me strength, to proclaim the word fully, and to let all the pagans hear it.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all reminded of the salvation which God had brought upon His people, as He sent to them deliverers to bring His beloved ones out of their troubles and gather them back into His loving presence and grace. And yet, many did not believe in Him and His servants, and still did not acknowledge Him.

In our first reading today, we heard the story from the Book of Exodus on the coming of the Lord’s promised deliverance to His people through Moses, the one ‘born and raised from the water’ as per his name, as he was rescued from the fated destruction of all the male children of the Israelites. At that time, the Pharaoh or king of Egypt declared that all the male newborn infants of the Israelites were to be killed to prevent the continued growth and spread of the Israelites in the land of Egypt.

The Israelites had been living in Egypt for a few centuries since the days of Jacob and Joseph, and under the reign of the new Pharaoh, they were enslaved and treated horribly, used as forced labour intended to eradicate and subjugate them to the will and desire of the Egyptians and their Pharaoh. But the Lord never forgot about His people and did not abandon them. He remained with them and journeyed with them, and promised them deliverance which He fulfilled through Moses, whose birth and early life was mentioned today.

The Lord sent Moses to His people, and saved him from the waters of the River Nile so that he might be the one to shepherd all of Israel out of the land of their misery and enslavement, into the land of prosperity and true joy as promised by the Lord. God has done this so that He can bring the people all into the fulfilment of the long awaited promise He had made, to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And yet, they would not welcome him at first, and refused to listen to him. Moses himself also fled to the land of Midian after he killed an Egyptian while protecting one of the Israelites.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard about the Lord speaking up against the cities of the region of Galilee, the cities of Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida. These were the places where the Lord performed many of His works, miracles and wonders, and where He taught in their synagogues and places of gathering. Why did the Lord speak out with such anger against those cities as we heard in our Gospel passage today? That is because they have all seen so many of God’s miracles and wonders, heard His truth and been shown His love and compassion, and yet, still refused to believe and obey Him.

Instead, many among those people living in those cities still doubted and questioned Him, together with members of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who followed Him everywhere and raised doubts against Him among the people. All these amounted to mankind’s stubborn refusal to listen to the truth of the Lord despite the very obvious truth and the love which He has shown before them through Christ. God’s love has been manifested so clearly in the flesh before all of us, and yet, many of us still refused to believe in Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded therefore to listen to the Lord and put our trust in Him. We should be faithful to Him and wholeheartedly commit ourselves to His cause. We can also follow the inspiring examples set by our holy predecessors, the saints and martyrs of the Church. Today in particular we celebrate the memory of St. Henry, a faithful servant of the Lord, also known as Henry II, the Holy Roman Emperor. He was a righteous and just ruler, concerned most with the well-being of his subjects and people, and was committed to the expansion and development of the Church throughout Christendom.

St. Henry spent a lot of time managing his realm with great wisdom and care, and cultivating good relationship between the Church and the state, and he spent a lot of effort improving both the physical and spiritual well-being of his people. For all of these wise and faithful rule as the most powerful ruler of Christendom, and for his faithful dedication and great personal piety, he was the only Holy Roman Emperor to be declared a saint of the Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should also be inspired by the good examples set by St. Henry, his faithfulness and commitment to the Lord, that in all things, we shall always endeavour to be good and faithful to the Lord. Let us all not be easily swayed by worldly temptations and pressures, and instead, strive to walk ever more faithfully in the Lord’s path and serve Him with all of our might and strength, at all times. May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen us with the courage and faith to be His good disciples, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Matthew 11 : 20-24

At that time, Jesus began to denounce the cities in which He had performed most of His miracles, because the people there did not change their ways.

“Alas for you Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I assure you, for Tyre and Sidon; it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.”

“And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead! For if the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would still be there today! But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Tuesday, 13 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Psalm 68 : 3, 14, 30-31, 33-34

I am sunk in the miry depths, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, swept and engulfed by the flood.

But I pray to You, o YHVH. At a time most favourable to You, in Your great love, o God, answer me, with Your unfailing help.

But I myself, am humbled and wounded; Your salvation, o God, will lift me up. I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving.

Let the lowly witness this, and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For YHVH hears the needy; and does not despise those in captivity.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Exodus 2 : 1-15a

Now a man belonging to the clan of Levi married a woman of his own tribe. She gave birth to a boy and, seeing that he was a beautiful child, she kept him hidden for three months. As she could not conceal him any longer, she made a basket out of papyrus leaves and coated it with tar and pitch. She then laid the child in the basket and placed it among the reeds near the bank of the Nile; but the sister of the child kept at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the Nile; her attendants meanwhile walked along the bank. When she saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maidservant to fetch it. She opened the basket and saw the child – a boy, and he was crying! She felt sorry for him, for she thought : “This is one of the Hebrew children.”

Then the sister of the child said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, and the girl went to call the mother of the child. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take the child and nurse him for me and I will pay you.”

So the woman took the child and nursed him and, when the child had grown, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son. And she named him Moses to recall that she had drawn him out of the water. After a fairly long time, Moses, by now a grown man, wanted to meet his fellow Hebrews. He noticed how heavily they were burdened and he saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his own people.

He looked around and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day he saw two Hebrews quarrelling. Moses said to the man in the wrong, “Why are you striking a fellow countryman?” But he answered, “Who has set you prince and judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”

Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must be known.” When Pharaoh heard about it he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor of the Church, Pope St. Gregory VII, Pope, and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests, Popes and Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are called to remember the commandments and the Law of the Lord, which we should follow and obey wholeheartedly, with all of our hearts and with all of our might. God has given us all His Law to help and guide us in our journey, that we may find our way amidst the numerous temptations and obstacles in our path. We are reminded to keep the commandments of the Lord and to commit ourselves sincerely through real and genuine actions.

In our first reading today we heard from the Book of the prophet Sirach, the exhortation from the Lord with regards to His commandments, as He told the people through the prophet Sirach to give generously to the Lord, offering themselves, whatever they can offer and dedicate to Him. This is because all those who trust in the Lord and all who walk in His path will never be disappointed for He is always ever faithful, and He will always be by the side of those who kept themselves faithful and committed to Him.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples, reassuring them that all those who have given themselves, committed their time and effort, and made sacrifices for the sake of the Lord, they would not be disappointed and left without providence and help. Their reward in the end will be truly great, as God remembers those who love Him and who give themselves for His cause. The Lord will guide them and remain with them throughout their journey no matter how tough it may be.

That is why through what we have heard in our Scripture readings today, as Christians we are all called to put our trust in the Lord and commit ourselves to Him, just as the disciples had done, and how the early Church Christians, so many saints and martyrs had done. And today in particular, we do not just have one, but three great saints, our holy predecessors whom we celebrate their feast day, whose life and devotion to the Lord are indeed great inspiration for us to live as true Christians following the will of God.

First of all, St. Bede the Venerable is a renowned English saint and a famous Benedictine monk remembered well for his many literary works in various areas and fields, and in particular, his writings for the Christian faith and theology were spectacular and influenced many people and remained well read and referenced on for long after his time. St. Bede the Venerable also lived a life of humble simplicity and prayer, dedicating his whole time and efforts completely to the Lord. Through his writings, he inspired many more people to come to know the Lord, revealing His truth to them.

And then, Pope St. Gregory VII was the leader of the Universal Church and Supreme Pontiff at a time of great change and transformation in the Church and the secular community, remembered especially for his confrontation against the powerful Holy Roman Emperor during the Investiture Controversy. The Pope has always been the Vicar of Christ on earth, as the one appointed in the shoes of St. Peter to be the sole representative of the Lord, and therefore has supreme authority over all matters pertaining to the Church and faith, over all the spiritual matters of all Christians.

But the Holy Roman Emperor as the successor of the Roman Emperors claimed authority and control over the appointment and management of bishops and other spiritual matters of his own subjects. Emperor Henry IV at that time refused to budge to the Pope’s authority to appoint bishops and over other spiritual matters of the Church. This resulted in drawn out struggle, and although the Emperor used all of his means to claim over the Pope’s authority, Pope St. Gregory VII did not give in to those demands and efforts. He remained firm in devoting his efforts for the good of the Church despite all the obstacles.

Lastly, St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi was a renowned religious Carmelite nun and mystic who was devoted to the Lord, filled with prayer and commitment to God, devoting her whole time and effort in prayer and in contemplation, and she received visions of the Lord that became inspiration for others, including due to her piety and commitment through prayer. Many people venerate her for her deep devotion and piety, and great humility, as she was known to wear a crown of thorns regularly as self-mortification and as a sign of her faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard the story of the faith of these saints, and reminded of the Lord’s promises and reassurance in our Scripture readings today, are we all willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord in the same manner? We are all called to spend our time and efforts to serve the Lord, and to follow Him wholeheartedly. Let us all therefore serve the Lord and follow Him from now on with all of our heart and with all of our might. Let us all walk in the path of the Lord courageously and confidently from now on.

May the Lord be with us all and may He give us the strength and courage to walk in His path, at all times. May God bless us and our every good efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor of the Church, Pope St. Gregory VII, Pope, and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests, Popes and Holy Virgins)

Mark 10 : 28-31

At that time, Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow You.” Jesus answered, “Truly, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands, for My sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward.”

“I say to you : even in the midst of persecution, he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time, and in the world to come eternal life. Do pay attention : many who are now first will be last, and the last, first.”