Tuesday, 26 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Luke 8 : 19-21

At that time, the mother of Jesus and His relatives came to Him; but they could not get to Him because of the crowd. Someone told Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside and wish to meet You.”

Then Jesus answered, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

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

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the House of YHVH!” 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 YHVH, the assembly of Israel.

To give thanks to YHVH’s Name. There stand the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Ezra 6 : 7-8, 12b, 14-20

Let the governor of the Jews together with their leaders build the House of God on its former site. This is the command I give as to what you should do to help those Jewish leaders rebuild the House of God : pay the expenses in full and without delay, with the income from taxes of the province at the other side of the River which is allotted to the king. I, Darius, give this command. Let it be carried out at once.

And the leaders of the Jews continued to make progress in building, encouraged by what Haggai, the prophet, and Zechariah, the son of Iddo, had said; and they finished the work according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius. The House was finished on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year of the reign of Darius.

The children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of those who had returned from exile celebrated the consecration of this House of God with rejoicing, offering on this solemnity one hundred young bulls, two hundred rams and four hundred lambs; and twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

Then they installed the priests according to their ranks, and the Levites according to their classes, for the service of the House of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses. Those who had returned from exile celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, for the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together, and all of them were clean. So, they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all who had returned from exile, for their fellow-priests and for themselves.

Monday, 25 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the words of the Scripture speaking to us about being truly faithful to the Lord, not just through appearances alone, but also through real actions and dedications. In the words of our Lord, the light must not be hidden, but must be showed upon the whole world, that all may see the light in us and rejoice, and through us they too may believe in God.

In the first reading, we heard of the actions of the first Great King of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great, whose deeds were recorded both in secular history and in the Biblical historiography. Cyrus the Great conquered many nations, including the Neo-Babylonian Empire which had subjugated the kingdom of Judah and destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple, carrying its people into exile in Babylon.

And one of the first acts of Cyrus the Great after that conquest was his release of the edict of the emancipation of the Jews, through which he freed the Jewish people from their bonds and their exile, allowing them to return to their homeland and their cities, and allowing them to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

Thus, the people of God were vindicated by the action of one man, who feared God and did what he had been told by God, and he was considered a righteous man among the nations by the Israelites, a rare feat, for normally the people of Israel would look down upon the pagans and foreigners because of their lack of faith in God. This is just one example of how we ought to be faithful to God, by our actions and deeds in life.

There were also many other good men and women throughout the history of the Church who have been exemplary in their actions, and show their devotion to the Lord through their preaching, their works of evangelisation, their ministry to their fellow brethren, explaining the truth of the Gospels and the Scriptures to those who have not yet heard of God’s truth, and also those who have even suffered and died defending their Christian faith.

They are our role models, all those who have not hesitated or been shy to stand by for their faith. These holy saints have laid the foundation for the Church, that all of us may now be saved through it. They did not build the Church through rhetoric alone, but they had to show it through their every actions, by doing all that they could to live in accordance to the ways of the Gospel of Christ.

And as we now remember their memory, we are inspired by their actions and works, and that is why we have our saints and martyrs, and remembering all they have done, so that we may also do the same in our own lives. To each and every one of us have been given the same gifts as what had been given to the saints and martyrs, and what matters now is whether we are taking the necessary steps to make use of them in our respective lives.

Thus, the light that we have in us, must not remain hidden, but must be shown to all. For the light we have will light the path for others, who may see the way because of the light we share. We ourselves are guided by the light shown unto us by the saints and martyrs who had gone before us. The saints are like the beautiful stained glasses that shows their beauty when light passes through them.

God had shown us all His light, and our lives and actions, filled with faith and commitment to God will become an inspiration for others who see us, just as the saints and martyrs inspired us, and just as how many of us are awed at the beauty of the stained glasses illuminated by light in our Churches, telling us the stories of the work of God’s salvation, in the life of our Lord Jesus and in His saints.

Therefore, let us all today commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, that from now on we may seek the greater glory of God in our lives, that through us, our faith and zeal, we may inspire ever more people to turn to God and seek His salvation and grace. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 25 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 8 : 16-18

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather, he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people coming in may see the light.”

“In the same way, there is nothing hidden that shall not be uncovered; nothing kept secret, that shall not be known clearly. Now, pay attention and listen well, for whoever produces, will be given more; but from those who do not produce, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.”

Monday, 25 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 125 : 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

When YHVH brought the exiles back to Zion, we were like those moving in a dream. Then, our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with songs of joy.

Among the nations it was said, “YHVH has done great things for them.” YHVH has done great things for us, and we were glad indeed.

Bring back our exiles, o YHVH, like fresh streams in the desert. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs and shouts of joy.

They went forth weeping, bearing the seeds for sowing, they will come home with joyful shouts, bringing their harvested sheaves.

Monday, 25 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ezra 1 : 1-6

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, YHVH willed to fulfil the word He had said through the prophet Jeremiah. So He moved the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his kingdom : “Thus speaks Cyrus, king of Persia : YHVH, the God of heavens, Who has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, has ordered me to build Him a Temple in Jerusalem, in the land of Judah.”

“To everyone belonging to His people, may his God be with him! Let them go up to Jerusalem with the help of their God and, there, build the House of YHVH, the God of Israel; the God Who is in Jerusalem. In every place where the rest of the people of YHVH live, let the people of those places help them for their journey with silver, gold and all kinds of goods and livestock. Let them also give them voluntary offerings for the House of YHVH which is in Jerusalem.”

Then they rose up – the heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, and all those whose spirit God had stirred up – and they decided to go and build the House of YHVH. And all their neighbours gave them all kinds of help : gold, silver, livestock and precious objects in great quantity, besides every kind of voluntary offering.