Wednesday, 10 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of God, we are all reminded of the great power of God and His most loving compassion and mercy, through the works which He has shown to us, by which He has manifested Himself before all of us, His people, that we all may know the existence of our most Almighty God and Saviour, the One Whom we ought to love and show our dedication and commitment to.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Wisdom the words of the Lord spoken and directed towards the kings and rulers of the world. The Lord spoke through the author of the Book of Wisdom, which traditionally was attributed to King Solomon, or one of the prophets or some others who compiled the sayings of the Lord, in which He chastised the attitudes of the kings and the rulers who were often corrupt and wicked, who abused their power and authority for their own benefits and causing sufferings to others.

The Lord reminded all of them that all of their power and authority ultimately came from Him, and that they would themselves be held accountable for all of their actions and choices. For all of their good and evil deeds they shall be judged and measured, and those who committed bad and wicked deeds shall be punished for their actions while those who are good and righteous, dutiful and just in being a ruler and governor over the people will be judged in a favourable way in the end.

At that time, many of those rulers and other powerful lords did things without much regard or concern for the poor and the needy in their domain, or anyone else, save for their own desires and wishes for power, for glory and more of the wealth and possessions that many of them already had plenty of. It was these excesses that the Lord condemned and criticised, and through what we have heard today from the Book of Wisdom, all of us are therefore also reminded not to do the same in our own lives. The greater the position we have in the community, the more responsibilities are expected of us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard about the Lord Who healed the ten lepers who came to Him as outcasts from the community in the wilderness. Ar that time, according to the Law, those who contracted leprosy had to be excluded from the community and had to wander off in the wilderness and away from others until they were cleansed and healed from their leprosy. As long as they were still suffering from the leprosy, they would not be allowed to return back to the community.

The Lord then told them that they would be healed while telling them to go and show themselves to the priests. On the way, as mentioned, they were all healed, but only one of them, a Samaritan actually went back to the Lord Jesus and thanked Him, while the other nine all were too happy and joyful that they just went on their way and not even showing any gratitude to the Lord for having healed them. The fact that it was a Samaritan who had the faith made it even more ironic, as Samaritans then were considered by the Jews as being pagans and worthy of condemnation.

What the Lord wants us to know from that episode is that all of us have to remember that everything and every blessings have come to us from God, and we must not be prideful in thinking that everything happened for us because of our own success and power. It is not that the Lord expects us to show Him gratitude and thanksgiving. On the contrary, it is by right and justice that all of us must show Him proper reverence and gratitude for all that He had done for us, even for us wicked sinners.

The Lord Himself showed a good example for us to follow, in how He did not even show off His power and glory, as He healed those ten lepers. He could have performed magnificent miracles before them and then told them all to proclaim His works before all the people. No, that was not what He did. What He did was to simply tell them to show themselves to the priests to prove that they had been cured, while the miracles happened quietly and without fanfare. The Lord, the One true authority and font of all power in the Universe, humbly hid Himself and His glory.

That is how all of us as Christians ought to act, with humility and prudence, with true faith and love for God, and not greed and love for ourselves. And today, we all should follow the faithful examples set by one of our holy predecessors, namely that of Pope St. Leo the Great, whose feast we celebrate this very day. Pope St. Leo the Great can show us what it means for us to be faithful Christians and to obey God and His will in our lives, in remaining humble before Him and in staying true to our faith.

Pope St. Leo the Great was the first Pope to be called the Great, and he was the Pope and Leader of the entire Universal Church during crucial moments in the history of the world and Christendom. At that time, the Western Roman Empire and the city of Rome itself had been beset by barbarian invasions, and there were much devastation caused in those difficult years of conflicts and wars. At the same time, the Church had also faced a lot of problems with heretical and unorthodox teachings, most prominently the heresies of Nestorianism and Monophysitism, which both were at the extremes of the Christian theology, threatening to break the Church apart.

Pope St. Leo the Great was a powerful figure, a humble yet very respected leader throughout Christendom, who devoted his time and efforts to care for the needs of his flock, to prevent the Church from falling into heretical ways and to support the Church and the community of the faithful by his great leadership. He also wrote extensively to the bishops and other leaders of Christendom, adhering and affirming to the tradition of the faith of the Apostles, keeping the Church united in the midst of divisions and disagreements. He stopped the barbarian hordes of Attila the Hun, which until then was mostly unstoppable, and prevented Rome itself from being sacked and destroyed by those Huns.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope St. Leo the Great through his actions, leadership and great personal qualities and humility showed us how each and every one of us can become faithful Christians in our own way of life. Are we all willing to follow his good examples and practice our faith courageously and devotedly the way that he had done? Let us all discern these carefully, and pray to the Lord, asking Him to guide us in our journey, that we may make the right decisions and choices, to walk in the path that God has set before us.

May the Lord continue to guide us and remain with us, and may He empower us all to live faithfully as true and genuine Christians, in all things and not just in formality and name only. May all of us who are entrusted with power and authority also use them with prudence and with genuine care and concern for those who are placed under their care and for others. May God bless us and all of our efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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, 10 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Wisdom 6 : 1-11

Listen, o kings, and understand; rulers of the most distant lands, take warning. Pay attention, you who rule multitudes and boast of the numerous subjects in your pagan nations!

For authority was given you by the Lord, your kingship is from the Most High Who will examine your works and scrutinise your intentions. If, as officials of His kingdom, you have not judged justly or observed His law or walked the way God pointed our, He will oppose you swiftly and terribly; His sentence strikes the mighty suddenly.

For the lowly there may be excuses and pardon, but the great will be severely punished. For the Lord of all makes no distinction, nor does He take account of greatness. Both great and lowly are His work and He watches over all, but the powerful are to be judged more strictly.

It is to you then, sovereigns, that I speak, that you may learn Wisdom and not stumble. For those who keep the holy laws in a holy way will be acknowledged holy, and those who accept the teaching will find in it their defence. Welcome my words, desire them and they will instruct you.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, we are reminded of our duties as Christians, to listen to the Lord and to obey His will at each and every moments of our lives, through our actions and our dealings, our interactions and efforts within our respective communities. All of us have been called to serve God to the best of our abilities.

In our first reading today from the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Titus, the Apostle wrote to his brother bishop and also protege, St. Titus with regards to the faithful people of God, and how each and every one of them ought to act and behave in their respective positions and parts of the community at large. Each and every one of them had important roles to play as members of the Church of God, to be righteous and just according to the teachings and ways He had shown us.

As the members of the clergy, the bishops, priests and the deacons, each of them had important roles to play, in serving the greater community of God’s people, to minister to them and lead everyone towards the Lord, guiding the faithful down the right path and caring for them spiritually. And the laity also had their own respective roles to play as Christians, as family members, as fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, as children, as grandparents and grandchildren, to form faithful Christian families.

Not only that, but in whatever each and every one of them are doing, in their respective commitments and works, all of them are called to be exemplary in carrying out their Christian virtues and actions. This is what each and every one of us have been called to do, to be virtuous examples of our Christian faith in our every day workplaces, in our schools and in everywhere we are, reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters through our good examples.

But we must then also must heed the Lord’s words in our Gospel passage today to guide us down the right path. In that Gospel passage, we heard the Lord using a parable to teach His disciples and the people, the parable of the dutiful servant in which the Lord compared our relationship with God in a way with the relationship between a master and his servant. The servant had a duty to serve his master well and to do what he had been told to do. But the master is under no obligation to congratulate or please the servant as mentioned.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that each and every one of us must not treat our faith as merely an achievement or as a means to satisfy our own desires and wants. Surely there are those of us who want to be praised for our actions and dedications to God, but our faith truly is not about ourselves. It is not about how much we have done, or that if we have done more then we deserve more praise and rewards. Whatever we have done and are going to do, we have to do it for the greater glory of God.

Today therefore all of us are called to follow the Lord more faithfully as Christians, to be committed to loving Him and our fellow brethren with sincerity and generosity, in each and every actions we take and at every moments of our lives. And we should be inspired further by the examples of the saints such as Pope St. Leo the Great whose feast day we celebrate today. There is a lot that we can learn from his examples and inspirations.

Pope St. Leo the Great led the Church as the Pope and Successor of St. Peter the Apostle at a very important time and juncture for the Church and the world, as the Roman Empire began to fall apart in its western regions, falling apart to the invasions from the barbarians that came and conquered many of its territories, wrecking a lot of havoc and confusion. Despite all these, Pope St. Leo the Great led the Church and the faithful through this most difficult moment, and was instrumental in strengthening the Church in standing up against the various heresies that also came up at that time.

Pope St. Leo the Great was firmly against the Arian heresy and its followers, as well as to other heresies like monophysitism and others, sending delegates to Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon to affirm the teachings of the faith as preserved through the Church, also writing extensively in defence of the true faith. Pope St. Leo the Great also dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the well-being of his flock, and in one well-remembered occasion, stood before the much dreaded king of the Huns, Attila at the gates of Rome, and managed to persuade him to turn away and not destroy the city.

Pope St. Leo the Great had showed us what it means to be a true and dedicated disciple of the Lord, as did many other great saints, holy men and women of God. Are we willing and able to follow their good examples, brothers and sisters in Christ? Each and every one of us are called and have been challenged to follow the Lord in each and every one of our own ways, to serve Him and glorify Him with all of our efforts and strength. May God be with us always, and may He guide us in our journey of faith, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 17 : 7-10

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner?’ No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterwards.'”

“Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I do not think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.'”

Tuesday, 10 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29

For they will fade as any green herb and soon be gone like withered grass.

The Lord watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. The Lord is the One Who makes people stand, He gives firmness to those He likes.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. The righteous will possess the land; they will make it their home forever.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Titus 2 : 1-8, 11-14

Let your words strengthen sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be sober, serious, wise, sound in faith, love and perseverance. The older women in like manner must behave as befits holy women, not given to gossiping or drinking wine, but as good counsellors, able to teach younger women to love their husbands and children, to be judicious and chaste, to take care of their households, to be kind and submissive to their husbands, lest our faith be attacked.

Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. Set them an example by your own way of doing. Let your teaching be earnest and sincere, and your preaching beyond reproach. Then your opponents will feel ashamed and will have nothing to criticise.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, teaching us to reject an irreligious way of life and worldly greed, and to live in this world as responsible persons, upright and serving God, while we await our blessed hope – the glorious manifestation of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus. He gave Himself for us, to redeem us from every evil and to purify a people He wanted to be His own and dedicated to what is good.

Friday, 10 November 2017 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God through the Scripture, in which we heard first of all, in the Gospel today when the Lord Jesus used the parable of the dishonest servant to teach His people about the need for them to be truly dedicated to God, and not be divided in their commitment and attention.

In that parable, we heard about a dishonest steward who was found out in his deeds by his master, who then went on to fire him from his employment, and gave him some time to settle his accounts before he is dismissed from service. The steward was accused of fraudulent service, meaning that he had been accused of cheating his master of his money and properties, which was a serious charge.

Therefore, the dishonest steward made his move, trying to provide for himself after he has lost his job as steward. He reached out to his master’s debtors, and as we heard in the passage, he edited those debts, giving the people who were indebted to his master lighter debts and obligation in the end. Why did the dishonest steward do these things? It is so that they in turn would be indebted to him and therefore would be willing to help shelter the dishonest steward when he was out of job.

In this, as we see how the dishonest steward used dishonesty and blatant lie to save himself, we see how those who walk in the ways of the world would double down on that path, when they were presented with the choice of following what the world prescribes and what the Lord had taught His people. That is why the Lord mentioned after this passage, that we cannot serve both God and money. We will end up loving one and despising the other.

Why is that so? That is because we mankind by our nature are easily tempted. Money by itself is not bad or evil in nature, yet, it is in how we use the money and desire to gain it that we end up falling into evil. We always desire to want more and more possessions, and more and more wealth for ourselves, as these are what is valuable in this world, which therefore bring us pleasure and good things, temptations that keep us away from God.

As Christians, all of us should not put the world and all of its allures ahead of our obligations to serve God. We should strive to obey God in all things, and learn to give our whole heart and minds to Him. In this, we should follow the examples of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Bishop of Rome who lived and reigned as the Pope and Leader of the Universal Church during the fourth century after the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope St. Leo the Great lived during tough times for the Church, battered from the inside by the divisions caused by many heresies and false teachings that had brought many people into open disagreement and rebellion against the Church. And from the outside, there were great troubles, due to the chaos of the years during the downfall of the Roman Empire and its authority in the western provinces of the Empire, now parts of Western and Southern Europe.

Pope St. Leo the Great contributed a lot to help bridge the divisions and reunite the splinter factions of the Church. And through the works and writings he had done, Pope St. Leo the Great gained many souls for the Lord, when all these people came to the Lord, turning away from all the falsehoods and heresies they have been lured into. He also was influential in keeping the unity of the Church.

He led the faithful through those difficult times, and it was widely known in one occasion, how he courageously faced the king of the Huns, the infamous Attila the Hun who had wreaked havoc throughout many parts of Europe at that time. Pope St. Leo the Great went out of the city of Rome by himself to plead with the king of the Huns to spare the city of Rome and its inhabitants from destruction. The king of the Huns retreated from the city thereafter.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what Pope St. Leo the Great had done in his life should become inspirations for all of us, that we should live well in accordance with our faith, and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. There will indeed be obstacles and challenges, but we must realise that all of these are part and parcel of us being Christians, living in accordance with God’s ways, and may not be according to what the world expects from us.

Let us all renew our faith and recommit ourselves to God, by practicing our faith from now on through genuine actions and deeds in this life. Let us not be distracted by the temptations of power, worldly glory, fame, wealth, possessions, pleasure and many other things that can become great obstacles in our path towards God. Let us ask Pope St. Leo the Great for his intercession, that each and every one of us as Christians may live genuinely in faith, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 10 November 2017 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 16 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “There was a rich man, whose steward was reported to him because of fraudulent service. He summoned the steward and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? I want you to render an account of your service, for it is about to be terminated.'”

“The steward thought to himself, ‘What am I to do now? My master will surely dismiss me. I am not strong enough to do hard work, and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do : I must make sure that when I am dismissed, there will be people will welcome me into their homes.'”

“So he called his master’s debtors, one by one. He asked the first debtor, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write fifty.’ To the second debtor he put the same question, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ Then the steward said, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.'”

“The master commended the dishonest steward for his astuteness : for the people of this world are more astute, in dealing with their own kind, than are the people of light.”