Thursday, 16 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are warned by the Lord through His words in the Scriptures, against believing in the false ways and wrong guidance of the false messengers and prophets of God. There will be plenty of those who mislead others with signs of nature and whatever it is that our feeble human intellect and understanding try to perceive, not realising that the will of God and His plans cannot be perceived by our senses alone.

That is why, even at this time, there are plenty of people out there who seek to mislead the people for their own selfish interests, for personal ambitions and self-glorifications, as there were those who even claimed that they were the messengers of God, or even the Lord Himself, coming down from heaven, as the Second Coming long promised. But all these are frauds, and we must not believe in them.

We tend to be awed by worldly greatness, grandeur, glory and all the things that stimulate our physical senses. However, all these can be distractions in our path, as there will then be those who lead others down the wrong path, by depending on the false glory of the world, trusting in their human power and talents instead of placing their trust in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, instead of depending on our own human wisdom, intellect, understanding and power, we should put our trust and faith in God, and in His divine Wisdom, which He has imparted to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in our hearts. Thus, the Wisdom of God Himself exists within us. However, many of us ignore God’s Wisdom and instead trust more in our own human instincts, intellects and judgments.

The Wisdom of God is often ignored because we are too preoccupied with the world, all its noise and distractions. The Wisdom of God lies deep in our hearts, buried underneath all the distractions of life. And therefore, how do we then find this Wisdom? It is by learning to focus ourselves amidst the busy schedules and distractions of this life, discerning deep in our hearts, that the Wisdom of God will be able to show us the way.

What do we need to do in order to achieve this? We need to deepen our relationship with God through prayer, by quieting our hearts and minds, focusing them towards God. By doing this, we will be able to discern carefully what we need to do in this life, that we will be able to draw closer to God and walk in accordance with His will.

Let us all follow the examples of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, the two saints whose feast we celebrate today. St. Margaret of Scotland was the Queen of Scotland, and was mother to several kings of Scotland. She was well known for her great piety and exemplary lifestyle. She was very charitable in her life, giving generously to the poor and the sick throughout her kingdom.

And by that examples, St. Margaret of Scotland had inspired many others, including her husband the king, her sons and children. She has a great prayer life and personal devotion to the Lord, and therefore, surely she has allowed God’s Wisdom to be her guide, and this is reflected in her lifestyle and efforts as well.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude, also known as St. Gertrude the Great, was a renowned mystic and Benedictine nun, who was remembered and known for her many works of the faith, her many writings about her visions and mystical experiences, through total surrender to God, and deep spiritual relationship with Him. She devoted herself thoroughly to God, and also was known for her deep devotion to the Most Sacred Heart.

The examples of these two saints should be inspirations for all of us, to put our trust in the Lord’s Wisdom and path, rather than to trust our own limited and error-prone wisdom, intellect and instincts. Let us renew therefore, our commitment to the Lord, and our desire to love Him and serve Him through our every actions in life.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to bless all of our endeavours in life. May God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Holy Virgins)

Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”

Thursday, 16 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Holy Virgins)

Psalm 118 : 89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175

O YHVH, Your word stands forever, firmly fixed in the heavens.

Your faithfulness lasts throughout the ages – as long as the earth You created.

Your ordinances last to this day, for all things are made to serve You.

As Your words unfold, light is shed, and the simple-hearted understand.

Favour me with Your smile and teach me Your statutes.

Long may I live, to sing Your praise, may Your ordinances always be my help!

Thursday, 16 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Holy Virgins)

Wisdom 7 : 22 – Wisdom 8 : 1

Because Wisdom, who designed them all, taught me. In her is a spirit that is intelligent, saintly, unique, manifold, subtle, active, concise, pure and lucid. It cannot corrupt, loves what is good and nothing can restrain it; it is beneficent, loving humankind, steadfast, dependable, calm though Almighty. It sees everything and penetrates all spirits, however intelligent, subtle and pure they may be.

Wisdom, in fact, surpasses in mobility all that moves, and being so pure pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath of the power of God, a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; nothing impure can enter her. She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of God’s action and an image of His goodness.

She is but one, yet Wisdom can do all things and, herself unchanging, she renews all things. She enters holy souls, making them prophets and friends of God, for God loves only those who live with Wisdom. She is indeed more beautiful than the sun and surpasses all the constellations; she outrivals light, for light gives way to night, but evil cannot prevail against Wisdom.

Wisdom displays her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things rightly.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect through the Scripture passages that first of all, God is just and impartial, and He does not discriminate based on any criteria, be it race, language, culture or background and status. All of us are equal before God, without any distinction or prejudice, and He loves each one of us with the same degree of love.

In the first reading today, God reminds us that He loves each and every nations, every races and every peoples, instead of favouring just one nation, as what the Israelites at the time of Jesus tended to believe about themselves. They are just the first ones that God called, through their forefather Abraham. Eventually, God is calling all peoples of all the nations towards Himself. All will be judged by the virtue of their good deeds as well as by the wickedness of their sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have not been faithful for much of the time, as we tend to stray away due to the many temptations in this life. This is what have brought down many of us into sin. And sin will lead us eventually to eternal damnation should we remain unrepentant for our sins and mistakes, our disobedience against God. We have to keep this in mind, because sin is the greatest obstacle on our path as we journey towards the Lord.

And all mankind are predisposed and vulnerable to sin, ever since our first ancestors fell into sin by their disobedience. They disobeyed God and chose to follow the lies of Satan instead. As a result, sin corrupted many people, and indeed, sin is a disease of the soul, afflicting many and bringing many people into danger for their souls. By right, our just end will be death, which is the consequence of sin.

However, God does not want us to fall into this status. He wants each one of us to be reconciled to Him and to be healed from the disease of sin afflicting them. That is why in the Gospel today, we heard how Jesus took pity on all those who were afflicted with disease, and healed them all from their sickness. Similarly therefore, God wants us to be freed from the chains that are our sins, which we are suffering from.

Nonetheless, as we heard from the Gospel passage, out of the ten lepers, only one of them returned to the Lord Jesus to thank Him and worship Him, for having cured him from his predicament. The others did not notice, or did not realise, or simply did not care that they had to give thanks to God for all that He had done for them. This is one flaw which many of us Christians are also often to blame for, our lack of gratitude for God’s love and grace.

How many of us live our lives, without realising the grace by which we are inhaling our every breaths? Our very lives are gifts to us from God, and we live by the grace of His will. Indeed, in life we will encounter some bad times just as we should also have some good times. Yet, many of us are quick to judge that we fall into bad times because God has abandoned us, and we became angry at Him.

Thus, all of us Christians must be thankful for whatever God has blessed us with. Some of us may have been given more, while others have been given less. But this should not end up becoming source of conflict or contention between us. Rather, we should share the blessings we have with one another, especially with those who have little or none with them. Let us not ignore the plight and the cries of the poor, the hungry, the lonely and all those who are in need of our help.

St. Albert the Great, a member of the Dominican Order and bishop, whose feast we celebrate today, was also well remembered for his love, care and attention to the people, especially those entrusted to him as their shepherd. He travelled through his diocese on foot, traversing great distances to meet his people, listening to them and caring for them, especially those who are in need.

St. Albert the Great showed us all an example of how each and every one of us as Christians must behave and act in our lives. We should follow their examples and walk along their path, as these people have been faithful in their lives. Now the question is, are we able to do as we are expected as Christians?

God Who sees our charity and genuine love for our brethren, as well as our devotion to His cause will reward us in the end of it all, each according to our every deeds. Let us all strive to be truly faithful in all things and in all occasions towards the Lord our God. May the Lord help us and guide us in our life journey, that we will ever draw closer to Him. Amen.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Luke 17 : 11-19

At that time, on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through Samaria and Galilee, and as He entered a village, ten lepers came to meet Him. Keeping their distance, they called to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus said to them, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests.” Then, as they went on their way, they found they were cured. One of them, as soon as he saw that he was cleansed, turned back, praising God in a loud voice; and throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave Him thanks. This man was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked him, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Did none of them decide to return and give praise to God, but this foreigner?” And Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 81 : 3-4, 6-7

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; defend the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the helpless and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

“You are gods,” I said, “You are all sons of the Most High.” But now, you will die like the others; you will all fall, like any mortal.