Saturday, 22 October 2022 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, each and every one of us are meant to do what we can as Christians, having been given various talents and gifts, blessings and graces by the Lord. Each and every one of us are therefore expected to make good use of those gifts of the Lord and be fruitful in the grace of God, bearing the rich fruits of our actions and commitments in life, in accordance to what each one of us have been called to do as Christians. All of us are reminded today of this calling, and we should embrace the Lord’s calling wholeheartedly.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, we heard about the matter of the gifts that God had given to His disciples, to the Apostles and the others who have given themselves to the service of God. The Lord has granted them all the gifts and the blessings, the opportunities and the abilities to do His will, and gave them each a mission to fulfil in their lives. St. Paul therefore wanted to remind the faithful in Ephesus of their calling and mission in life, on the significance of them being Christians, as followers of the Lord. The Lord has called on all of them to be the members and parts of His Church, His one united Body, made up of all the different various parts, all the different peoples of different origins and background.

The Church of God is made up of all these people and parts, each one of them with their own talents and capabilities, with their own missions and responsibilities. For example, as mentioned, the Lord called and gave the gifts and entrusted some with their responsibility as Apostles, some others as missionaries and teachers, while some others were entrusted to be evangelists and preachers, while others were called to be involved in building good and faithful Christian families, to be good fathers, mothers, children and other members of the Christian community, as parts of the same united Body of Christ, the Church.

At that time the Church and the Christian communities in the various parts of the Mediterranean and elsewhere were still in their early stages, as the Apostles and the other missionaries spread the Good News and the Christian faith to various parts of the world, proclaiming the truth of God courageously despite the many challenges that they had to face. The Lord has sent His disciples to those places, revealing His truth and salvation to all the people of all the nations. That is why, the Lord wants us all to remember how all of us have the same mission that He has entrusted to His Apostles and disciples, and thus, we have to make good use of the gifts and talents given to us. We can neither be idle or ignore our calling and mission.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord telling His disciples that all those people who had suffered due to the riot in Galilee and the collapse of the tower in Siloah had met their end, and while it was not due to any fault of theirs, but the Lord highlighted to them all, that unless they changed their ways and actions, then they would face the end in the same manner as those who had perished experienced. He used this example to highlight how all of our actions and works, our beliefs and faith truly matter as they all determine whether we are going to be worthy of the Lord, or whether our actions and lives will condemn us at the Day of Judgment. The choice and opportunities have been given to us, and now therefore it is up to us whether we will act on it or not.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all realise that as Christians, as members of the Church of God, all of us like that of the Apostles and the early Christians, are all the same disciples of the Lord, and we all share the same calling and mission which the Lord had given and entrusted to us through His same Church. Each one of us have been given the gifts and talents, and the various capabilities and opportunities, for us to reach out to more and more of our fellow men, and proclaim the truth of God through our own exemplary lives and actions. We do not have to perform amazing and wonderful things, as in truth, what really matters is for us to do whatever we can, in our own small little ways, to do the will of God, and to follow His path, at all times.

Today, the Church celebrates the feast of one of the great recent saint, whose name and memories must be familiar to so many among us both young and old, as he was the leader of the Universal Church as the Successor of St. Peter, the Pope and Bishop of Rome. Pope St. John Paul II, also known by his birth name as Karol Jozef Wojtyla, the first Polish Pope and non-Italian Pope after close to five hundred years. Karol Jozef Wojtyla was born in Poland after the First World War to a loving family, but unfortunately, he lost his family members one by one, beginning with his mother, then his elder brother and finally his father, during the harsh early years of the Second World War.

The young Karol Wojtyla suffered hardships during the war years, and during that time, he went through discreet seminary preparation as he committed himself to priesthood. He was ordained a priest, and then went through another hard period of oppression of Christians by the Communists, who were in power at that time. Christians were persecuted and oppressed, but Fr. Wojtyla cared for the needs of his flock, and this quiet obedience and commitment to the Lord eventually led to him being chosen as first the Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow, and then succeeding as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow, and from there on, his participation as a leader of the Church continued to rise on.

After being made a Cardinal by the Pope, the then Cardinal Wojtyla continued to fight for the rights of the Christians in his homeland, in Krakow and elsewhere, and he was particularly remembered for his period of struggle against the Communist government, as he led the faithful in the effort to establish a church in the new town of Nowa Huta, which the Communist government had touted back then as a churchless town, in a seeming symbol of triumph of Communism over the Christian faith. Cardinal Wojtyla helped to lead the campaign which eventually led to the completion of the church and shrine at Nowa Huta of the now famous Black Madonna of Nowa Huta.

He was then elected as the successor of St. Peter as the Pope and leader of the Universal Church. As Pope St. John Paul II, he led the Church on a great campaign of renewal, in leading the Church through efforts to evangelise to many more people, to lead to the greater unity within the Church, the repair of relations between the separated brethren among the Christian Church splinters, as well as in his great and memorable role in leading to the downfall of Communism, which happened just over a decade after he took over as the Pope and leader of the Church. He travelled to many countries, more than any Popes ever before and ever since until today, and as the Apostles long before his time and ours, Pope St. John Paul II continued to carry on the mission entrusted to the Church of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the intercession of Pope St. John Paul II and the many other saints who are our good role models, including that of the Apostles and the other disciples themselves, and let us ask all of them to pray for us, that God may strengthen us in our missionary journey, in whatever we do as members of the same Church of God, for our current Pope, Francis, the Cardinals and the Archbishops and Bishops all throughout the Church, all the priest and deacons, and everyone in the religious orders, brothers and sisters, and of course all those among the laity, in their various capacities and workplaces, as fathers, mothers and children, as members of the living Church of God.

Let us all do our best to obey the will of God and commit ourselves anew to the Lord from now on, resolving to follow the path that God has shown before us. May the Lord continue to guide us all and be with us always, and may He empower each and every one of us with the strength and the grace to remain faithful to Him despite the challenges and trials that we may have to face in our journey of faith through our respective lives. May God bless us all in our every good efforts and endeavours, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 22 October 2022 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

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, 22 October 2022 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Psalm 121 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

Jerusalem, just like a city, where everything falls into place! There the tribes go up.

The tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stand the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Saturday, 22 October 2022 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Ephesians 4 : 7-16

But to each of us, divine grace is given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it is said : When He ascended to the heights, He brought captives and gave His gifts to people. He ascended, what does it mean, but, that He had also descended to the lower parts of the world? He, Himself, Who went down, then ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things.

As for His gifts, to some, He gave to be Apostles; to others, prophets, or even evangelists; or pastors and teachers. So, He prepared those who belong to Him, for the ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, until we are all united, in the same faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Thus, we shall become the perfect Man, upon reaching maturity, and sharing the fullness of Christ.

Then, no longer shall we be like children, tossed about by any wave, or wind or doctrine; and deceived by the cunning of people, who drag them along into error. Rather, speaking the truth, in love, we shall grow in every way, toward Him, Who is the Head, Christ. From Him, comes the growth of the whole body, to which a network of joints give order and cohesion, taking into account, and making use of, the function of each one. So, the body builds itself, in love.

Friday, 22 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, all of us are reminded of the need for all of us to go forth and to proclaim the truth of God in all of our communities and to be inspiration for one another in faith, just as we look upon the inspirations of our many holy predecessors, those who have gone before us and whose lives have been exemplary, righteous and good, as beacons of God’s light and truth.

Today, we focus our attention on one of these faithful and courageous servants of God, namely that of Pope St. John Paul II, whom many of us surely knew very well. Many of us have known him when he was still in this world and being our Pope. His Pontificate of almost twenty-seven years was the longest in recent memory, and one of the longest overall, and therefore many of us have spent a significant period of time under his leadership as our Pope, Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ.

No doubt that many of us may know quite a lot about Pope St. John Paul II, but I want us all to spend the time today to reflect on his life and actions, his life of service to God, of commitment and the courage which he had shown in opposing injustice and persecution of the Christian faith, his upholding of fundamental Christian values and teachings amidst the pressure of conflicting worldly agenda and corruption of worldly desires and sins, and in his great leadership of the entire Universal Church.

Pope St. John Paul II was born in Wadowice in Poland in the year of Our Lord 1920, just over a century ago. He was born into a loving and devout family in Poland, a country that had just then regained independence after over a century of oppression and conquest by its neighbouring countries. He was born as Karol Jozef Wojtyla, to a father who was an army officer and a mother who was a schoolteacher. He had an elder brother whom he adored and looked up to, who was a physician.

However, he had family tragedy early on in life, as he lost his family members one by one, his mother and then elder brother, before eventually his own father just right at the start of the Second World War. Nonetheless, the young Karol Wojtyla with the guidance of his friends and relatives, and his faith in the Lord, remained strong and courageous, even during those difficult years when Poland was engulfed in the midst of the great Second World War. He joined the seminary and went through formation during those difficult period, and having even suffered a close call to death.

And as the great war came to its end, the tyranny and persecution of the NAZI German reign was replaced by an equally oppressive regime installed by the Communists from the Soviet Union, a regime that would last for more than four decades and saw great sufferings for many of the Polish people. The future Pope was ordained a priest shortly after the end of the war and began his ministry in a country that has become officially atheist and hostile against the Christian Church and faith. As a young priest, Karol Wojtyla learnt to manoeuvre around the restrictions and oppressions while staying true to his faith.

Eventually, he was chosen and ordained as bishop, first as the Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow and eventually as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow, during which he was also instrumental in his role and participation during the Second Vatican Council. Then, in a public show of defiance against the Communist regime in Poland, the then Archbishop Wojtyla led the faithful in establishing the parish church in the town of Nowa Huta, which had been the proud project of the Communists as a new city in which no church would be present. He led the faithful in prayer and in putting the foundation for the church there, which after many years, was eventually completed about a decade later.

And then, by the grace of God, he was elected as the successor of St. Peter, succeeding Pope John Paul I, who had a short reign of just thirty-three days after another Pope, Pope St. Paul VI. Adopting the regnal name of his predecessor, Pope St. John Paul II then led the Church in an amazing period of twenty-seven years, in which not only that he led to the beginning of the downfall of Communism in many parts of the world, including in his own native Poland, where he led to a great rejuvenation of the faith and the Church, and inspired popular uprisings that eventually led to the downfall of the Communist regime.

In the matter of faith and Church teachings, Pope St. John Paul II was instrumental in the stabilisation of the situation following the Second Vatican Council and was remarkable in his efforts and stance against the tide of relativism and attempts to change Church teachings. He led the Church into the third millennium and through his years of suffering and perseverance, he inspired many of the people of God to remain faithful and true to God, even amidst great sufferings they experienced in life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we recall the great life and the amazing faith which Pope St. John Paul II has shown us, all of us are encouraged to follow his good examples and we are all called to walk in his footsteps, in following what he has done in being faithful, as a successor of St. Peter, to whom the Lord Jesus had entrusted His flock and people in our Gospel passage today. Pope St. John Paul II had committed himself to the mission entrusted to him, and we ourselves should live our lives fulfilling the missions that each and every one of us have as Christians.

Let us all be great and exemplary role models for one another, and let us be filled with faith and love for God. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our respective journey in life, and may He bless our every good works, efforts and endeavours, all for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 22 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Luke 12 : 54-59

At that time, Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it happens. And when the wind blows from the south, you say, ‘It will be hot’; and so it is. You superficial people! You understand the signs of the earth and the sky, but you do not understand the present times.”

“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is fit? When you go with your accuser before the court, try to settle the case on the way, lest he drag you before the judge, and the judge deliver you to the jailer, and the jail throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

Alternative reading (Mass of Pope St. John Paul II)

John 21 : 15-17

At that time, after Jesus and His disciples had finished breakfast, He said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” And Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”

A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” And Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Look after My sheep.” And a third time He said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Jesus then said, “Feed My sheep!”

Friday, 22 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Psalm 118 : 66, 68, 76, 77, 93, 94

Give me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust in Your commands.

You are good, and Your works are good; teach me Your decrees.

Comfort me then with Your unfailing love, as You promised Your servant.

Let Your mercy come, to give me life; for Your Law is my delight.

Never will I forget Your precepts; for with them, You give me life.

Save me, for I am Yours, since I seek Your statutes.

Alternative reading (Mass of Pope St. John Paul II)

Psalm 95 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10

Sing to YHVH a new song, sing to YHVH, all the earth! Sing to YHVH, praise His Name.

Proclaim His salvation, day after day. Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

Give to YHVH, you families of nations, give to YHVH glory and strength. Give to YHVH the glory due His Name.

Say among the nations, “YHVH reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Friday, 22 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Romans 7 : 18-25a

I know, that what is right, does not abide in me, I mean, in my flesh. I can want to do what is right, but I am unable to do it. In fact, I do not do the good I want, but the evil I hate. Therefore, if I do what I do not want to do, I am not the one striving toward evil, but sin, which is in me.

I discover, then, this reality : though I wish to do what is right, the evil within me asserts itself first. My inmost self, agrees and rejoices with the Law of God, but I notice in my body, another law, challenging the Law of the Spirit, and delivering me, as a slave to the law of sin, written in my members.

Alas, for me! Who will free me from this being, which is only death? Let us give thanks to God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Alternative reading (Mass of Pope St. John Paul II)

Isaiah 52 : 7-10

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News, who herald peace and happiness, who proclaim salvation and announce to Zion : “Your God is King!”

Together your watchmen raise their voices in praise and song; they see YHVH face to face returning to Zion. Break into shouts of joy, o ruins of Jerusalem, for YHVH consoles His people and redeems Jerusalem.

YHVH has bared His holy arm in the eyes of the nations; all the ends of the earth, in alarm, will witness God’s salvation.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together for the very first time, the feast of a great saint, and one whose memory is certainly still very clear in the minds of most of us, except for the very youngest ones among us. If we are at an age of adulthood or above, that is eighteen or beyond, we would have remembered how we once know of Pope John Paul II as our Pope, and thus as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of St. Peter the Apostle.

And just earlier this year in April, that together with another great Pope of the last century, Pope John XXIII, the Pope who initiated the Second Vatican Council that they were together raised to the glory of the Altar of God as the holy saints of the Church, worthy of heaven, of praise and also worthy of being asked for intercessions from, to pray for us sinners still in this world.

To many of us, Pope St. John Paul II was our Pope, the Pope who had filled so much of our faith life. His very long reign, the second longest among the verified reigns of Popes, third if St. Peter himself is included, the reign of twenty-seven years certainly is of a very significant to the whole Universal Church. Many of us did not even know any other Pope than this saint, until he passed away just less than a decade ago.

However, even though many of us knew him, and even though many of us think that he was a great man and a great Pope, how many of us actually knew who he was and what he had done for the Church and for the faithful people of God? It is likely that many of us do not have the full image and idea of who he really was and what he has done. And many of us might have wrong impressions about him through misinformations and miscommunications of the world and the media.

That is why, let me share a bit first on who Pope St. John Paul II was. He was a Pole, the first ever Pope to originate from Poland, an Eastern European country, which at that time had the unfortunate fate of being overrun by the two great powers that were its neighbours. Pope St. John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Krakow, Poland, just two years after Poland regained its independence from the Russian Empire after a period of more than a century.

But as the life of Pope St. John Paul II would testify, Poland was to be subjected to a series of unfortunate and very grim events, subjugation first by the forces of the NAZI Germany and then later under the dominance and hegemony of the Communist Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the one fact most if not all of us knew well was that the central role which Pope St. John Paul II would play in bringing down the dreaded Communism, not just in Poland, but also in almost the whole world.

Pope St. John Paul II himself did not have an easy life, as his mother died young when the then Karol Wojtyla was still very young, and he quickly lost his siblings to various reasons, including his elder brother whom he respected a lot, to a disease. His father passed away just at the start of the great miseries to befell Poland, and Pope St. John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla was left all alone in the world, without a family, but yet with God and His Blessed Mother at his side.

If we are wondering why Pope St. John Paul II chose the motto which would be famously accredited and associated to him, then we do not need to look further from the fact how he had persevered through many sufferings and difficulties, left all alone in the world, but he made it through the help and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

His motto was Totus Tuus, the abbreviation of the full motto of Totus Tuus suum Maria, or ‘Blessed Virgin Mary, I am all yours’. This motto showed the great devotion which Karol Wojtyla, later Pope St. John Paul II had for Mary, and he was indeed known as one of the great Marian Popes who highly promoted the veneration and devotions to the Blessed Virgin.

This is the same kind of attitude which we should also have in our faith life and in our lives in general. We have to devote ourselves to the Lord and also to His Blessed Mother Mary, fully and completely if we are to allow God to come and work His wonders in us, and through us He can indeed do many things for the benefit of the world and for His people, as He had shown through how He worked through the person of Pope St. John Paul II, who should indeed be the role model for all of us in living our faith.

He endured difficulties after difficulties, persecutions after persecutions, and he frequently brushed closely with death. Yet, God had indeed had a plan for him, and every time, the Lord and His Blessed Mother guided him and delivered him from harm’s path. He suffered indeed, but he knew that he suffered for the sake of the Lord, who would indeed be bound to listen to the pleas of His people and take action.

He stood up for the faithful, when he, as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow, one of the most influential and outspoken Archbishops and prelates in Poland and in Communist-dominated Eastern Europe, defended the right of his sheep, the flock of God for a place to worship God, a church to be built in the vicinity of the city of Krakow, at a locale known as Nowa Huta, the new city, supposedly the hallmark in the Communist government’s project to establish a utopian Communist city without a church building.

The then Archbishop Karol Wojtyla led the faithful people of Nowa Huta in a defiant rally and celebration of the Holy Mass, commemorating the establishment of a church building in that city championed by the Communists as the model of a utopian society without the faith. He gave the people the foundation stone of the church building, originating from the catacombs of St. Peter the Apostle, the rock upon whom the Lord had established His Church, and blessed by Pope Paul VI, now known as Blessed Pope Paul VI, beatified just last Sunday by our current Pope, Pope Francis.

Even after he was elected to the Papacy, to succeed as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of St. Peter the Apostle, Karol Wojtyla, then on known as Pope John Paul II, continued his works for the good of the Church as he had always done, defending the orthodox and true teachings of the faith, and also to help the people of God suffering persecution in the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe.

We knew how Pope St. John Paul II had survived an assassination attempt, although he was grievously injured by it, on the day of our Lady of Fatima’s apparition in 1981. He attributed his survival to the ever caring and loving Mother of God, to whom he had devoted himself fully to, and to His Son, that he was again brought from the brink of death to continue to serve the people of God. We also knew how he forgave the one who tried to assassinate him.

And even to the end of his life, suffering from Parkinson’s disease which increasingly debilitated him and made it very difficult for him to continue to work as the leader of the Universal Church, he persevered on, and in his suffering, through which he share the suffering of Christ, he became a source of priceless inspiration for countless numbers of the faithful.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, after that summary of the life and the actions and contributions of Pope St. John Paul II, how are they relevant to the readings we had heard today, and how ultimately does do they relate to our own lives? It is in fact quite obvious that while every one, every single children of God will encounter different things on their respective journeys to God, but the actions of Pope St. John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla can indeed be a model and inspiration for all of us.

In the First Reading, St. Paul in his letter to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus revealed what had been entrusted to him in the graces and wisdom of God, that he might enlighten and show that wisdom to the people of God, so that all those who heard his words may be moved within their hearts and souls, and decide to seek the Lord their God with all of their hearts’ devotion.

In the same way therefore, Pope St. John Paul II, his predecessors and successors, the bishops and priests who had given themselves completely to the service of God, also received the same graces and wisdom to teach the Lord’s words and laws to His people, so that through them, many would be saved. But this does not mean that they alone are the ones who can do this.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, each one of us at our own baptism, when we were welcomed into the Church of God, and now as a member of that one and only Church, we all have our own parts to play in the salvation of souls and in the good works of evangelisation done by the Church. We have been given the same graces, wisdom and blessing, and indeed it is part of our responsibility to bring the people of God, especially those who still live in darkness, into the light of Christ.

This is also what Christ had done, by bringing together the separated people of God, and grant them His peace. Ever since mankind had disobeyed God and followed their own desires, they had walked their own paths and in contrary to each other, each following their own hearts’ desires and inevitably leading to conflicts, violence and many other evils. Ever since the day of the Tower of Babel, mankind had been divided against one another and peace as well as harmony were lost.

It was therefore the peace of Christ, which He made by His works and His sacrifice on the cross, which offered mankind a new hope, that they may abandon their old lives of sin and darkness, of disobedience and injustice, of hatred, fear and violence, so that they may receive the love and peace of the Lord, by following Jesus and walking in the path He had prepared for them.

And in the Gospel, this responsibility which we have as members of the Church is reiterated yet once again by the parable of Jesus our Lord, on the master and the steward. This parable tells us clearly that we are indeed stewards appointed by God, and with a certain purpose, that is to love one another, and to spread the Good News which had been given to us by God, to those who still have yet to hear it.

That is what the faithful servants will do, unlike the unfaithful servants, which examples are the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, when they failed not only to lead the people in faith by example, but they have cast obstacles in the path of the people of God, and in their selfishness, they abused their power and authority, like the unfaithful and bad servants. And when the Master comes back, that is the Lord, He will rebuke them without mercy and cast them out of His presence, precisely what He did with those Pharisees and hypocrites.

Therefore, this is a stern and clear reminder for us to avoid following the path of those Pharisees and avoid succumbing to our human desires, greed, pride, arrogance, hatred, lack of love, unfaithfulness, sloth and many others. Instead, we should open wide the doors of our heart to Christ our Lord, inspired by the words of Pope St. John Paul II, ‘Aprite le porte a Christo!’ which means, ‘Open wide the doors to Christ!’.

When we open wide the doors of our hearts to Christ, in essence we allow Him to enter into our hearts and transform us from within, allowing His love to fill us up, and therefore, it will affect our actions and deeds, which will then be based no longer on our own selfish desires, but instead upon the love of God. We must not be afraid to seek the Lord for help, and indeed we should entrust everything we have to God and to His Blessed Mother Mary just as Pope St. John Paul II had done.

Do not tarry and do not delay, for as much as God is merciful and loving, and as much as He desires to embrace us with His love and forgive us our sins, nothing good will come until we take the initiative and embrace His mercy first. Therefore, it is imperative that we realise that God hates sin and all wickedness, and if we delay and wait, and wait and wait, eventually time will catch up to us, and at the time that we do not know, the Lord will decide that our time is up, then no amount of regret or even repentance will help.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us help one another, working with one another to take care of ourselves, that we do not open ourselves to sin and evil, and so that we may allow the Lord to come into us, and to transform us with His love and grace. May Almighty God bless us, empower us and strengthen us, and through the intercession of Pope St. John Paul II, may all souls come eventually to salvation in God, with the help of His Blessed Mother Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces. Amen.