Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of God contained in the day’s Scripture passages, again we are further reminded of the future that is to come as the Lord reminded His people, of the day of reckoning and judgment of all creation. He was reminding them all that when the time comes, some will be deemed as righteous while others will be sent to their fated damnation, and while some enter into the glory of God in heaven, others will go to the eternal suffering in hell.

This is a reality for all of us to ponder upon, and it should be a means of check of our own path in life. Have we lived our lives thus far in ways that will see us ending up by the side of God? Or have we instead walked down the path towards darkness and annihilation? The Lord made it clear that by the time of the coming of the judgment, it will be too late for some of us to regret that we have not done better to allow us to enter the glorious kingdom of God.

But unfortunately many of us fall into the temptations of worldly things, of worldly glory and of the false idols of money, possessions, of fame and glory, of renown and affluence, of pleasures of the body and the mind among many others. As a result, we became attached to those that led us down the path of sin, and we become indifferent and ignorant of God’s truth and love for us. We are distracted by our sinful ways.

And we are easily tempted, brothers and sisters in Christ, as the desires, the greed and the pride within our hearts and minds are always ready to overcome us and to lead us into the path of sin. The devil knows this very well, and that is why, seeking our destruction and annihilation, he is always ever ready with all of his wicked forces to try and bring us down through this path, by tempting us with all the distractions of life.

In the Book of Wisdom all of us are reminded that all those worldly things that I have mentioned earlier are nothing more than just mere creations of God, and yet we tend to glorify them and treasure them even more and much more than how we treasure God and His love in our own lives. And these are painfully visible and real through our own daily actions and through the way we have lived our lives.

Let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ. How many of us have spent a lot of time trying to accrue for ourselves more of the worldly goods, money, possessions of all sorts, influence and power in the community, and then because we have been so preoccupied and busy with all that, we end up forgetting about God and distancing ourselves from Him in our busy attachments to the world.

That is how we fall into the trap of the devil, and how we end up being dragged ever deeper into the darkness. Let us therefore today look up to the examples of faith set by our saint today, St. Albert the Great, a holy and devout servant of God and bishop, who was truly exemplary and whose life should be a great inspiration to each and every one of us in how we should be living our lives with faith.

St. Albert the Great was a member of the Dominican Order and was renowned for his great intellect and wisdom, and he was a renowned intellectual and teacher in the Church, throughout his many years of teaching and scholarship, research and writing about the many aspects of the faith. One among his students was none other than another great saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, both of them equally well-known for their faith and dedication to God.

Yet, for all his intellect and wonderful knowledge, St. Albert the Great used all of his strength and being to serve God with all of his heart, to minister to the people entrusted to him and leading them down the path of God’s salvation. He was also a humble person who did not seek any glory for himself, and he preferred to remain in the low rather to let himself be known or be glorified for his works and actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having seen the great faith and humility shown by St. Albert the Great in his life, of his allowance of God’s grace and wisdom to flow and work through him, let us all follow in his footsteps and walk on God’s path from now on. Let us all seek to trust God with ever more zeal and devotion, and let us all be ever closer to Him and love Him with ever greater faith and fidelity. Let us die to our pride and human desires, and let us grow in humility and faith. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Luke 17 : 26-37

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be on the day the Son of Man comes. In those days people ate and drank and got married; but on the day Noah entered the Ark, the flood came and destroyed them all. So it was in the days of Lot : people ate and drank, and bought and sold, and planted and built; but on the day Lot left Sodom, God made fire and sulfur rain down from heaven, which destroyed them all. So will it be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

“On that day, if you are on the rooftop, do not go down into the house to get your belongings; and if you happen to be in the fields, do not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever gives his life will be born again. I tell you, though two men are sharing the same bed, it might happen that one will be taken, and the other left; though two women are grinding meal together, one might be taken and the other left.”

Then they asked Jesus, “Where will this take place, Lord?” And He answered, “Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.”

Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Wisdom 13 : 1-9

The natural helplessness of humans is seen in their ignorance of God. The experience of good things did not lead them to the knowledge of Him Who is. They were interested in His works, but they did not recognise the Author of them.

Fire, wind, air, the sphere of the stars, rushing water and the lights in the sky were held as the rulers of the world. If, charmed by such beauty, they took them for gods, let them know how far superior is their sovereign. And if they were impressed by their power and activity, let them understand from this how much mightier is He Who formed them. For the grandeur and beauty of creatures lead us to ponder on their Author, greater and more magnificent.

No doubt these people are not to be blamed severely, for possibly they strayed though they searched for God and desired to find Him. They pondered over the created things that surrounded them and were captivated by the sight of such beauty. Even so they are not to be excused, for if they were able to explore the world, why did they not discover first the world’s Sovereign?

Thursday, 14 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us all of the coming of the kingdom of God as the readings take a more apocalyptic nature through these last few weeks of our current liturgical year. It is a timely reminder for us all to reflect on our respective lives all these while, how we have lived them in faith or in lack of faith. We should make use of the opportunities that God has given us all these while.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the signs and warnings that the Lord presented to the Pharisees and to the people whom He taught, of the coming of the time of reckoning and the arrival of the kingdom of God. He presented to them the revelation of God’s truth and reminded the people to open their hearts and minds to welcome the Lord openly and to prepare themselves for His coming.

In this occasion, the Lord reminds His people to trust in Him, to welcome His Wisdom into their hearts, into our hearts and minds. We should not allow pride and our own prejudices, our own judgments and our own power to be barriers and obstacles in preventing us from trusting and believing in God. That was exactly what happened to the Pharisees and the elders of the Israelites who hardened themselves and refused to believe in the Lord and in His revelation of truth.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, the elders and the chief priests in the Sanhedrin often argued that the Lord Jesus could not have been the Messiah of God, because He appeared to do things that were contrary to their own interpretation of the Law. However, in truth, that was because they have also been mistaken in their understanding and interpretation of the Law, and based their judgment on their flawed understanding and wisdom.

They looked highly on themselves as the guardians of knowledge and the precepts of the Law, as those who were highly educated and knowledgeable about many things, and as a result therefore, looked down frequently on all those whom they deemed to be inferior to them in status, ability, education, knowledge, influence and many other things. They saw themselves as being the indispensable ones who were needed for the survival of the state.

That was why they hardened their hearts and often opposed the Lord and His works as they saw Him as a great threat and rival to their own influence, authority and power. They were also prejudiced by the fact that the Lord and His disciples came from Galilee, an impoverished and backward region on the outskirts of the Jewish community at that time. They saw that most of His disciples were relatively uneducated unlike themselves, and thus correspondingly looked down on them.

They therefore trusted in their own understanding and flawed knowledge and comprehension of God and His plans and truth. Rather than putting their trust in God’s Wisdom, they rather proudly believe in their own supposedly superior intellectual abilities as compared to the rest of the people. That is why they were so stubborn and why they were not able to have faith despite having the knowledge of the faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let this be a reminder to all of us not to be tempted by the pride and desires in our hearts, and let us all seek to be humble instead before the Lord, opening our hearts and minds to Him and asking Him to be present in us, and guiding us so that we may find the path to His saving grace and righteousness. May God continue to be with us and be with us throughout our journey in life. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 14 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”

Thursday, 14 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175

O YHVH, Your word stands forever, firmly fixed in the heavens.

Your faithfulness lasts throughout the ages – as long as the earth You created.

Your ordinances last to this day, for all things are made to serve You.

As Your words unfold, light is shed, and the simple-hearted understand.

Favour me with Your smile and teach me Your statutes.

Long may I live, to sing Your praise, may Your ordinances always be my help!