Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we mark the very last Sunday in our current liturgical year cycle, and therefore we celebrate together the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King, the King of the Universe. Today we glorify our Lord and God, Who is the King of Kings and Lord of all. He alone is the Master of all creation and hence the entire Universe as its King.

At the end of this current liturgical year we are all reminded of the Kingship of our Lord and how each and every one of us are truly subject to His authority and power, for each and every one of us have been created by the Lord as His creatures. But many of us have not understood, appreciated or acknowledged Him as our King as well as the nature of His Kingship.

Yes, the Lord is King, but He is not like any kings of the world that we know of. He was not born into the world in riches and glory like the other kings and rulers of the world’s nations, in wealth and wonders, but in poverty and in the filthy stable of Bethlehem, not fit even for human habitation, and even less so for a king. He did not live in palaces and great houses, but in the wilderness as He Himself said that the Son of Man had no place to lay His head.

And before Pontius Pilate, during the moment of His Passion, when He was arrested and condemned to die by the Sanhedrin and brought before the Roman governor for final judgment, the Lord Jesus spoke of Himself as a King, and answering to Pilate’s questions of His kingship, He again said that He is truly a King, but His kingship is not of this world, referring to the fact that He is indeed unlike any other kings.

The Lord is the one and only true King, from Whom all authority, power and kingship came from. All the rulers and kings of this world gained their authority from the Lord, as the stewards entrusted with the care of God’s people, just in the same way that in spiritual matters, the Lord also entrusted the faithful to His Church, under the leadership of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of St. Peter the Apostle, and the bishops.

Yet, many of the rulers of this world abused their entrusted power and authority, and like the parables which the Lord had used to teach the people, particularly those regarding stewards who had been unfaithful and lazy in the dealings of their works, many of these kings and rulers of the world did not do as they had been called and entrusted to do by the Lord, but instead, sought to gain for themselves for wealth, power and glory.

This was why many ended up becoming corrupt and tyrannical in their actions, causing suffering and harm on many people to satisfy their own selfish and greedy desires. Many had gone to conflict and wars in order to satisfy these desires, their pride and ego, just as our past century’s many deadly wars can show us. The two World Wars that the world had bled from, all had stemmed from those leaders who abused the power and authority entrusted to them.

Against all these, the Lord showed us all true leadership and kingship, one not founded upon pride, ego, greed, desire, and ambition, but rather love, compassion, care, selflessness and righteousness. The Lord shows us all that He is a King Who is always loving and caring towards all of His people, likened to that of a shepherd who loves and cares for each and every one of his sheep.

Shepherds at that time, as it is still today, are those who spent a lot of time taking care of their herd of sheep and other animals, and they knew their sheep well. This is why the Scripture readings today touch on the Lord as the Good Shepherd, as the Shepherd of the faithful, as we are the flock led by our Lord, the one and true Shepherd of all. And as the Good Shepherd, He knows us all well in and out, by each of our names and He knows all about us.

The Lord is showing all of us what true Christian leadership is all about, that as Christians, especially those in the positions of leadership, they all have to look upon the Lord’s own examples, in how He wielded His power and authority with justice, with care and love, concern and compassion on all those who have been put under His power, while dealing justly with others who have misbehaved and did wrong.

And this brings us to our Gospel passage today in which we heard of the account of the Last Judgment as the Lord foretold it Himself. At the Last Judgment, when all of creation shall be judged by none other than the Lord Jesus Himself, as He returns into this world as a triumphant King, to finally claim all for Himself and to gather everything to Him, He shall be the Great Judge judging all of us mankind by our actions, deeds and by our faith.

The Lord said how the righteous will be separated from the wicked, and their deeds revealed before all. The righteous are those who have extended their love, care and affection for the needy, the poor and those who need for the attention and help from others, and the Lord shall bless and thank them for whatever they had done, saying that what they had done for those, they had done unto Himself.

In parallel, those who have been deemed as wicked and unjust had been judged because of their refusal to reach out and help, to show their love for those who need that love most, when they were perfectly in the position and were capable to do so. They were judged by their refusal to follow the example of the Lord in love, in care and in compassion towards one another. Instead, they have chosen to keep everything to themselves and in being selfish and greedy.

This is a warning and reminder that we should not forget that our Christian calling is to follow the Lord and His examples, and first and foremost, to obey the Lord’s commandments of love, that we are first and foremost to love the Lord, our God and King with all of our strength, and then to show the same love to one another, to our brethren, especially those who need that love, even more than we love ourselves. We should not allow our ego, desire and ambition to make us forget of our Christian calling and faith.

Today, as we all rejoice in our Lord, the King of Kings and King of the whole Universe and of all things, we are all called and indeed challenged, called to reflect on whether He is our King in all things, or whether our Christian faith is merely just a formality and the Lord is not truly the King of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. If the Lord is truly our King, then all of us as His people, His beloved sheep and flock should all follow Him and His examples just as the sheep follow their shepherd faithfully.

Many of us have wandered off into the wrong paths like the lost sheep, and yet the Lord had patiently waited for us to return, and even went out all the way to look for us, wanting each and every one of us to be reconciled to Him. And therefore, let us all as Christians in our every deeds and actions, in everything we say and do, always be exemplary and good, always be just and righteous following the examples of our Lord and King.

Let us all be inspiration of faith for one another, and help each other to remain firm in our faith, and to keep steady in our path in our journey of faith. Let us all not be distracted or be dissuaded by false promises of desire, power, glory and all other things that can lead us astray. Let us put the Lord Jesus Christ, Our God and King at the centre of our hearts and whole existence, that in everything we do, we will always glorify Him and praise Him at all times.

Let us also pray for all of our leaders, all those in the Church and in the secular leadership positions, that they may imitate the examples of the Lord in His humility and genuine care for all those under His care, that they too may be responsible, just and ultimately good rulers and stewards, protecting and caring for all those who have been put under their care and that they may resist against whatever temptations that try to lead them down the path of selfishness, greed and tyranny.

May the Lord, our loving and most wonderful King continue to bless each and every one of us, and help us in our respective journey, that we may grow ever stronger in our love and devotion to Him, just as He Himself has loved us all first with such great intensity and sincerity despite our sins and rebelliousness. May God bless us all and be with us, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 15 : 20-26, 28

But no, Christ has been raised from the dead, and He comes before all those who have fallen asleep. A human being brought death; a Human Being also brings resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all die, so, in Christ, all will be made alive. However, each one in his own time : first Christ, then Christ’s people, when He comes.

Then, the end will come, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, after having destroyed every rule, authority and power. For He must reign and put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. When the Father has subjected everything to Him, the Son will place Himself under the One Who subjected everything to Him. From then on, God will be all in all.

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul. He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 34 : 11-12, 15-17

Indeed YHVH says this : I, Myself, will care for My sheep and watch over them. As the shepherd looks after his flock when he finds them scattered, so will I watch over My sheep; and gather them from all the places where they were scattered in a time of cloud and fog.

I, Myself, will tend My sheep and let them rest, word of YHVH. I will search for the lost and lead back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak; but the fat and strong will be eliminated. I will shepherd My flock with justice.

As for you, My flock – says YHVH – I will distinguish between one sheep and another, and set apart rams and goats.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the last day of our current liturgical year, as is the norms for the Scripture readings taken for these period of time, we always heard about the coming of the end of days, when the devil would amount one last attempt to destroy God’s people and to persecute all the faithful through the means of force, gathering all the forces of the wicked one last time against God and His majesty.

The four great beasts that arose symbolised the powers of this world, the princes and lieutenants of the evil one, and the last of which is the great enemy himself, the devil, Lucifer, once the greatest and mightiest of the angels and creations of the Lord, but who had fallen far in his pride, vanity and greed to be a great demon and destroyer of the world, known by us now as Satan.

And daily, every single day of our lives, Satan and his forces, his fellow fallen angels are battling our guardian angels, the angels sent to protect us, for the sake of our souls, that they may corrupt them and bring us down into damnation together with them in the eternal fire. As he was not able to ascend above the angels of God and seize the throne of God, thus, Satan is filled with hatred and jealousy against all of us, who are God’s most beloved and favoured ones.

And he had attempted many times to bring all of us down with him, beginning from when he seduced our first forefathers into sin, by disobeying the Lord and thus sundered from the love and grace He had given them, and by that, he subjected mankind to himself and to his dominion through sin and evil. And through sin he manipulated mankind that many souls fell into his prey.

He introduced to us many forms of wickedness and sins of this world, engaging us in leisurely and pleasurable pursuits of the flesh, in acts that are against God’s will and in things that distract us and keep us away from being able to understand the truth about how wicked we have become, and how far we have gone astray from the salvation and eternal life in God.

We have to remember the examples of those who lived during the time of Noah, when the Great Flood came to destroy all forms of life and civilisations of those who had been deemed wicked by the Lord. Those people enjoyed life and acted as if God did not exist, and they did not obey the Lord’s commandments and laws but instead following their own hearts’ desires.

And there was indeed no warning to them save for the works of Noah who built the great Ark to save the living animals and beings as instructed by the Lord, and those who ignored the signs shown by the Lord, seeking their repentance surely would have regretted it in hell, when the great flood and rain came to eradicate all of them from existence, and cleanse the earth from their wickedness.

This is a reminder to all of us, to always be ready and be vigilant of all things around us, that we will always guard our thoughts, our words and actions, so that in all things, we will not go against the Lord and we will always walk in His ways faithfully. We must not have the thoughts that we have all the time we need, and as long as we atone in the end, the Lord will forgive us our sins and absolve us into eternal life.

Remember, that Jesus had repeatedly made it clear that His coming again will not come announced and predictable. He will not make His coming known and He can just appear again at any time in accordance with His will. And if His coming, like that of a thief, catch us all unprepared, certainly we will not want ourselves to end up on the wrong side of the Lord’s judgment.

On the day of judgment, God will separate the people and everything into two sides, namely those who have been faithful to Him and walked in His ways, and those who have not been obedient to Him. Those whom He had rejected will have no hope for salvation and no hope for escape from the eternal damnation and the eternal fire that awaits them, to punish them for eternity. We certainly do not want to be caught amongst these condemned ones.

Instead, we all should from now on, from this very moment onwards, strive to do our best in following God in all of His ways. Let us no longer be selfish or greedy in our actions, but learn to do our best in loving each other, caring for the poor, the sick and the dying, and let all of our words and deeds be filled with love, so that when our Lord comes again, He will see the righteousness in us and bless us. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Luke 21 : 34-36

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “Be on your guard, do not immerse yourselves in a life of pleasure, drunkenness and worldly cares, lest that day catch you unaware, like a trap! For, like a snare, will that day come upon all the inhabitants of the earth.”

“But watch at all times and pray, that you may be able to escape all that is going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Daniel 3 : 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87

All people on earth, praise and exalt Him forever.

Israel, praise and exalt Him forever.

Priests of the Lord, praise and exalt Him forever.

Servants of the Lord, praise and exalt Him forever.

Spirits and souls of the just, praise and exalt Him forever.

Those who are holy and humble of heart, praise and exalt Him forever.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Daniel 7 : 15-27

I, Daniel, was deeply troubled, since these visions terrified me. I approached one of those who were standing there, and asked him to tell me what all this meant. He answered me and gave me the interpretation of these things :

“These four beasts are four kings who will rise from the earth. But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom to possess it eternally, forever and ever.” Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, different from the others, extraordinarily terrifying, with iron teeth and bronze claws, that ate, and tore into pieces and crushed underfoot whatever remained.

I also wanted to know about the ten horns it had on its head, and about the other horn which had sprung up, and the three first horns that fell, and about this horn with eyes and a mouth that spoke with arrogance, and that looked greater than the other horns.

As I looked, this horn waged war against the holy ones and was subduing them until the One of Great Age came to do justice for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came for the holy ones to take possession of the kingdom.

Then I was told : “The fourth animal shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the kingdoms. It will devour the earth, crush it and destroy it. The ten horns are ten kings who shall rise from this kingdom. Another one will rise up after them and destroy three kings.”

“This king shall insult the Most High and persecute the holy ones of the Most High. He shall try to change the feasts and the laws. The holy ones shall be handed over to his power for a time, two times, and half a time.”

“But judgment will come and dominion will be taken from him; he shall be destroyed and utterly wiped out. The kingship, dominion and leadership of all the kingdoms of the world shall be given to the people of the holy ones of God Most High : His kingdom will be without end. All the kingdoms shall serve Him and be subject to Him.”

Friday, 27 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s reading at the ending of the current liturgical year gave us all an insight of the time that is to come, even as it had been foreseen by the prophet Daniel in his vision of the Lord. He saw the vision of the four great and terrible beasts, all of which were filled with hatred and blasphemy against the Lord our God. In this we see a message of hope amidst the darkness that is to come.

The same vision would be repeated once again to the Apostle St. John in Patmos, when he was exiled to that island. St. John also saw the vision of the end times, of the things and events that will come upon the world, and against the faithful, as he saw those great beasts of the Apocalypse, filled with the blaspheming words and curses against the Lord God of all creations.

These are the forces that the devil, the great enemy had marshalled against God and His faithful people, using all the might, power and dominion he had, and through his lieutenants, the Antichrist and all the chief princes of demons and the fallen angels. And he has tried for all time in order to bring mankind to their downfall, and although he had been thwarted by Christ Himself through His sacrifice on the cross, the devil will mount one last effort to destroy all of God’s faithful ones.

That will be a time of difficulties and challenges once again for us faithful, as our forefathers in faith have tasted during the persecutions and great persecutions against them by first the Jews and then the Romans. And throughout time, continuing persecutions remind us again and again, as the signs of the time to come, just as Jesus warned His disciples in our Gospel reading today.

But we should not be afraid or fearful, and we should not be hesitant to follow the Lord just because of the opposition that is ahead of us, as this is a common obstacle for us men, that whenever we face such an obstacle, we stop and no longer do what is asked or expected of us, because we are thinking of preserving and saving ourselves first.

As what the prophet Daniel had seen, the Lord deals with the beasts and destroys them as they deserved. The dominion of the beasts are ended, and God gives succour to His faithful ones. This is a reminder of the time to come, that the Lord Who has promised that He will come again, will come to destroy the wicked, the devil and all of his accomplices, and throw all these into the eternal fire.

As great as the power and the might that those demons possess, they are nothing compared to the might and the greatness of the Lord. Their powers and their hold on us are illusory and temporary, and God Who loves us all will not certainly let us to be continuously under the dominion of these demons and dark beings. And thus He will definitely also not allow us to continue to suffer under the persecutions by the world, and He will deliver us from our troubles.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what we have to realise is that the ways of this world is often diametrically opposite of what the Lord had taught us to do, and even though the whole world may be against us but if we keep up the faith, the Lord Who sees our faith and commitment to Him will not fail to reward us. Jesus Himself had reminded His disciples, and therefore all of us, that to follow Him means to carry our own crosses, the crosses of suffering, and of discipline in our deeds and behaviours, that in all things we always give glory to God.

Let us all commit ourselves ever more to the Lord, and in all of our actions and deeds, let us always proclaim the glory of God, by loving one another sincerely and tenderly, and let us all in everything always bear the love of God with us, so that all who see us will know that God dwells in us, and that we belong to Him, and that nothing can separate us from the love which God has for us. God be with us always, now and forever. Amen.