Tuesday, 20 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 19 : 1-10

At that time, when Jesus entered Jericho and passed through the city, a man named Zaccheus lived there. He was a tax collector and a wealthy man. He wanted to see what Jesus was like, but he was a short man and could not see Him because of the crowd.

So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree. From there he would be able to see Jesus, Who was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, Zaccheus, come down quickly, for I must stay at your house today.” So Zaccheus climbed down and received Him joyfully.

All the people who saw it began to grumble, and said, “He has gone as a guest to the house of a sinner.” But Zaccheus spoke to Jesus, “Half of what I own, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much.”

Looking at him Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today, for he is also a true son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 14 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4ab, 5

Those who walk blamelessly and do what is right, who speak truth from their heart and control their words.

Those who do no harm to their neighbours and cast no discredit on their companions, who look down on evildoers but highly esteem God’s servants.

Those who do not lend money at interest and refuse a bribe against the innocent. Do this, and you will soon be shaken.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Revelations 3 : 1-6, 14-22

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Sardis, “Thus says He Who holds the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars : ‘I know your worth : you think you live but you are dead. Wake up and strengthen that which is not already dead. For I have found your works to be imperfect in the sight of My God.”

“‘Remember what you were taught; keep it and change your ways. If you do not repent I will come upon you like a thief at an hour you least expect. Yet, there are some left in Sardis who have not soiled their robes; these will come with Me, dressed in white, since they deserve it. The victor will be dressed in white and I will never erase his name from the book of life; instead, I will acknowledge it before My Father and His Angels.'”

“‘Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Laodicea, “Thus says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation : ‘I know your works : you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! You are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold so I will spit you out of My mouth.'”

“‘You think you are rich and have piled up so much that you need nothing, but you do not realise that you are wretched and to be pitied, poor, blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold that has been tested by fire, so that you may be rich, and white clothes to wear so that your nakedness may not shame you, and ointment for your eyes that you may see. I reprimand and correct all those I love. Be earnest and change your ways.'”

“‘Look, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My call and open the door, I will come in to you and have supper with you, and you with Me. I will let the victor sit with Me on My throne just as I was victorious and took My place with My Father on His throne. Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of the Lord’s mercy and infinite love, which He has shown us, and which He is willing to give us, again and again. And this is despite of the disobedience and the stubborn attitude which we have shown repeatedly, in various occasions. He despises our sins and wickedness, but in the end, at the centre of it all, God’s love is even greater for us, His beloved children, than His anger for our sins.

After all, He did not create us all without a good reason, and that good reason is exactly because He loves every single one, every single part of His many and unfathomably vast arrays of creation. And He created us mankind as the last, greatest and as the pinnacle of His creation and universe. Do not forget, brothers and sisters in Christ, that out of all creation, we alone have been created in God’s own image.

That is why, we were actually destined for great things, that is to enjoy forever the perfect bliss and happiness in all the good things that God had created for us. Unfortunately, we mankind chose to satisfy our inner desires, the pride and greed that entered us through the temptations and lies that Satan had given us. We fell into those temptations and failed to resist. In the end, the outcome is that we become more and more distant from God and become estranged from Him.

Sin is a very dangerous disease that is constantly attacking us, corrupting us and eating us from the inside out. Unlike any forms of earthly diseases, even those seemingly incurable ones, sin alone is capable of affecting our deepest and innermost being, and can end up causing us fate far worse than death. Even the worst diseases can only cause the death of our physical body, but sin can cause us to suffer eternal and true death, eternal suffering in hell.

And many of us did not realise that we are in this state of sin, which makes us unworthy of God. As mentioned earlier, God truly loves each and every one of us, even the greatest sinners and those who have been estranged for a long time from Him. And He is willing to reconcile ourselves to Him, by forgiving us our sins. He offers us this forgiveness and mercy freely, and yet, ultimately, whether we are forgiven or not, also requires us to accept His mercy with sincere desire for change.

Perhaps, what we heard in the Gospel passage today, can inspire us to do what is necessary to be more attuned to God and His will, and to accept His mercy and love present in our midst. In that passage, we heard of the moment when a blind man in Jericho cried out incessantly calling out to the Lord Jesus, wanting Him to heal him from his blindness so that he might be able to see again.

And despite the scolding and ridicule from all the other people who were around him, the blind man did not give up. In fact, he cried out all the louder, asking the Lord Jesus to come to him and heal him from his afflictions. The Lord heard his call, and showed pity and mercy on the blind man. In the end, the blind man could see again and his wishes were fulfilled.

How does this compare to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? We are like the blind man, afflicted with sin, that become like a veil, a distraction and temptation that kept us away from being able to be fully reconciled with God. And the call that the blind man made, is like our efforts and attempts to seek the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. But there are also, at the same time, the voices of those who ridiculed and scolded the blind man, and these are the temptations that often prevent us from being able to accept God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Now, the question is, are we faithful enough and willing enough to put in the effort to love the Lord, even despite the challenges and difficulties that we may encounter in life? Are we able and willing to commit ourselves wholeheartedly and call out to the Lord, just as the blind man had done? Doing so will also require us to humble ourselves and to desire that healing which can only come from God. God alone is capable of forgiving us our sins, and He is willing to do so. But are we willing to accept His offer?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to make a change and a difference in each and every one of our lives. We are called to a conversion of hearts, minds and indeed, our whole being. Let us commit ourselves to God anew, and let us turn to Him with all of our abilities and strengths, from now on, that we may be eventually be worthy of God’s love and grace, and have a part in the eternal inheritance and glory He has promised us who are faithful to Him. May God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 18 : 35-43

At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road, begging. As he heard the crowd passing by, he inquired what was happening, and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was going by.

Then he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The people in front of him scolded him. “Be quiet!” they said, but he cried out all the more, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped, and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the man said, “Lord, that I may see!” Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has saved you.”

At once the blind man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving praise to God. And all the people who were there also praised God.

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 1 : 1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Blessed is the one who does not go where the wicked gather, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit where the scoffers sit! Instead, he finds delight in the law of the Lord and meditates day and night on His commandments.

He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering. Everything he does is a success.

But it is different with the wicked. They are like chaff driven away by the wind. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but cuts off the way of the wicked.

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Revelations 1 : 1-4 and Revelations 2 : 1-5a

The Revelation of Jesus Christ. God gave it to Him to let His servants know what is soon to take place. He sent His Angel to make it known to His servant, John, who reports everything he saw, for this is the word of God and the declaration of Jesus Christ.

Happy is the one who reads aloud these prophetic words, and happy those who hear them and treasure everything written here, for the time is near. From John to the seven Churches of Asia : receive grace and peace from Him Who is, Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits of God which are before His throne.

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Ephesus, “Thus says the One Who holds the seven stars in His right hand and Who walks among the seven golden lampstands : ‘I know your works, your difficulties and your patient suffering. I know you cannot tolerate evildoers but have tested those who call themselves Apostles and have proved them to be liars. You have persevered and have suffered for My Name without losing heart.”

“Nevertheless, I have this complaint against you : you have lost your first love. Remember from where you have fallen and repent.”