Wednesday, 11 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded to give thanks to God for all of His love, mercy and kindness towards us through the words of the Scripture we have just heard earlier on. We heard these in our first reading today, in the Epistle written by St. Paul the Apostle to his protege and brother bishop St. Titus, as well as in the Gospel passage today in the story of the healing of the ten lepers by the Lord Jesus.

In our first reading today, St. Paul wrote to St. Titus on some reminders for the Christian communities and the faithful, as part of his many Epistles or letters addressed to the different communities, urging all of them to keep their faith in Christ firmly and hold onto whatever the Lord had taught them through His Apostles and not fall into the wrong paths. The Lord through St. Paul is reminding all of us here to be good and righteous, to follow His laws and commandments faithfully.

This was what St. Paul spoke of in today’s segment of his Epistle, saying that while once we had been selfish and corrupt in the ways of the world, foolish and disobedient against God, but through Christ, God’s beloved Son sent into this world to be our Saviour, we have been called into a new life and existence that is holy and good, through the path that He has shown us and which He now calls us all to follow.

Through that passage, we can see how God has showed us all His love and grace, in His desire to save all of us from eternal damnation and lead us into a new, eternal life. He does not want us all to perish and end up in eternal darkness, and therefore, He showed us His most genuine love and compassion, one example of which we have heard in our Gospel passage today in the healing of the ten lepers by the Lord Himself.

In that occasion, we have ten lepers who because of their condition had to stay outside the community as in accordance to the laws of God revealed through Moses. This Law came from the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites were living together in tents in close proximity to one another. At that time, as the people came into frequent contact with each other, both in their persons and possessions, a disease like leprosy were deeply feared, and therefore, to prevent an outbreak, those who contracted the disease were forced to live outside the community until they were healed.

Those ten lepers who came by the Lord Jesus were those who suffered the same fate, being excluded and forced to live away from their community, from their families and loved ones, to wander in the wilderness until they were proven to be healed and made whole. They sought the Lord to heal them from their sickness, and the Lord told them to go and see the priests as prescribed by the Law. By right, they could only go to see the priests once they had been completely healed, which at that time they were obviously not healed yet.

Nonetheless, all of them did as the Lord asked them to, and went on their way to see the priests. By their faith they were saved and healed, and along the way, they were healed from their leprosy and became whole again. They noticed what had happened to them, and they went off very happy and joyful for what had happened to them. However, out of all ten lepers, only one of them remembered the Lord and came back to see Him and thank Him for all that He had done for him.

And that man was a Samaritan, an important fact to notice at that time because the Jews often considered the Samaritans as pagan and godless people who worshipped idols and were wicked in their lives. Yet, as we have seen here among other instances throughout the Gospels, it is clear that Samaritans were no different from the Jews, and God made it clear through this occasion that His love and mercy is for everyone who seeks Him.

The question now is, have we loved God as we should? Have we thanked Him for all of His kindness to us? Or have we been like the other nine lepers who were so happy for the healing that happened to them and forgot to give thanks to God? We really need to spend some time reflecting about this and our lives, and how we should proceed onward in life as good and dedicated Christians through our actions and deeds, and not just by mere words or formality.

Today, we all should look up to the good examples set by our holy predecessors, especially that of St. Martin of Tours, a holy saint and man of God, who dedicated much of his life serving the Lord and the needs of his flock, as the Bishop of Tours in what is today southern part of France. St. Martin of Tours was once a career soldier, a high ranking army soldier or a captain of the guard, who became a Christian early in his life against the wishes of his own parents.

He became a military man following the family tradition as his own father was a veteran army officer. But his career in the military did not last long as his Christian faith and calling eventually led him to pursue his vocation and becoming a full-time follower of Christ through his discipleship of St. Hilary of Poitiers, another great saint of the time. St. Martin had difficulties earlier on in his calling and ministry due to the opposition and challenges from the Arians who had divided many of the Christian communities of the time.

Nonetheless, St. Martin continued to dedicate himself, his effort and time to care for the people in the community, until he was acclaimed by the people and the clergy in Tours who had been impressed by his faith and life, as the Bishop of the Diocese. He was nonetheless reluctant to be a bishop that according to some tradition, he was hiding from his own consecration as bishop. Despite this, as a bishop, St. Martin committed his life fully to serve the people and worked hard to proclaim the Christian faith and oppose the heresies and false teachings that misled the people unto the wrong paths in life.

St. Martin dedicated his whole life to God, and his holiness is seen even early in life when he was still a soldier as told by many traditions that he met a beggar on a cold night, and he immediately cut his own military cloak in half to give the other half to the beggar that he might cover himself and not be cold. That very night, the Lord HImself appeared to St. Martin wearing the half-cloak and telling him how he had such a great faith, that at time, despite merely being just a catechumen, not even baptised as Christian yet, but he had already lived so virtuously.


Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all follow the good examples of St. Martin of Tours in our own respective lives. Let us all dedicate our lives for the greater glory of God and for the genuine love of our fellow brothers and sisters. Let us all be good and virtuous Christians, and be thankful of all the love that God has extended to us, appreciating His mercy and kindness, and love Him back with greater zeal and commitment from now on. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (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, 11 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (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. Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are beside me : Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

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.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Titus 3 : 1-7

Remind the believers, to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, and to be ready for every good work. Tell them to insult no one; they must not be quarrelsome, but gentle and understanding with everyone. We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient and misled. We were slaves of our desires, seeking pleasures of every kind. We lived in malice and envy, hateful, and hating each other.

But God, Our Saviour, revealed His eminent goodness and love for humankind, and saved us, not because of good deeds we may have done, but for the sake of His own mercy, to the water of rebirth and renewal, by the Holy Spirit poured over us through Christ Jesus, Our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs, in hope of eternal life.

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.

Thursday, 27 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Monica (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us heard of the exhortation for us to be holy, to be good and ever righteous in the presence of God, to be ready to welcome the Lord when He comes again as He has promised. And that is why we must dedicate our whole lives in His service and to be ever committed in our faith, not to be lax or complacent in living that faith, or else, we may regret it when the time of reckoning comes.

In our Gospel passage today, this is very well illustrated with the parable of the faithful servant and the bad servant, using the example of those servants to highlight what will happen to us should we take the Lord’s words seriously, or if we choose instead to ignore Him and continue to reject what He has called us to do in our lives. Unless we listen wholeheartedly to God’s words calling us and speaking to us in the depth of our hearts, we will be easily swayed and tempted to abandon His path.

The parable highlighted first of all, the two types of servants, one that is diligent and conscientious of all that he had been entrusted with, while the other servant was lazy and thought that the master would not come back so soon, and did not do as he had been tasked to, and instead abused his authority and treated his fellow workers and those under his authority badly for his own selfish desires.

The servants represent us, brothers and sisters in Christ, all the sons and daughters of man. All of us have been entrusted by God for our various tasks and callings in life. And this passage is a reminder that whatever we do in life, whatever we say and act, and how we interact with one another, all of these are significant and they will count on the moment of our reckoning, be it at the end of our lives or when the Lord finally comes again into this world.

The faithful and diligent servant represent those who have listened to the Lord, obeyed His commandments, and did everything as he or she had been told and taught through the teachings and laws of the Church. Meanwhile, the lazy and bad servant are those who ignored the teachings and laws of the Lord as held by His Church, and those who preferred to live their lives their own way, without regards for the path that the Lord had set before us.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard in our readings today, as St. Paul highlighted in our first reading today that, for all of us the faithful people of God, we have been assured of the glory of God and the eternal joy that will be ours. However, we need to trust in God and put our faith in Him, or else, because of our lack of faith, we are the ones who make ourselves stumble in rejecting the surety of the glory of God and instead, exchange it for the temporary pleasures and glory of the world.

Do we want to be like that lazy and bad servant who slacked and took it for granted that his master had granted him so much and so good a life, that he disobeyed and did things to satisfy his own selfish desires? We see how it all ends, when the master came back suddenly and the bad servant was caught unaware by it. Do we want to be caught unaware also in our vices and sins, and then be cast out into the eternal darkness, from where no regret can do anything for us anymore?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should follow the examples set by St. Monica, whose feast day we celebrate today. St. Monica was a pious and devout woman, who was remembered especially as the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo, the great bishop and Doctor of the Church, one of the finest saints of the early Church. And the role of St. Monica in making St. Augustine to be who he was cannot be underestimated, as it was her persistent faith and commitment, her love for her son and her refusal to give up on him that eventually led St. Augustine to return to the faith.

St. Augustine was born to St. Monica, a Christian woman, and Patricius, a Roman pagan, his father, who led a dissolute and wicked lifestyle, which would eventually also be followed by St. Augustine in his younger days. But despite being surrounded by all sorts of wickedness and vices of the world, St. Monica patiently and faithfully lived her life as a wife and mother, and she also acted with virtue, often giving alms and charities for the poor and the needy.

St. Monica definitely wanted her husband and son to be turned to the light, but the path would indeed be long, arduous and can be heartbreaking at times. Not just that she had to endure her husband, who although respected her, but lived wickedly, St. Monica also had to endure seeing her own son falling into sinful path, as he grew up and began to seek the truth, in a long journey, during which time, he would dwell into false ways like Manichaeism and also various hedonistic ways.

It was so bad that St. Augustine even caused a woman to be pregnant out of wedlock, meaning that he made the woman pregnant while not being married to her. This amongst others, such as his pursuit of pagan philosophical pursuits, must have hurt St. Monica badly, seeing her family like that. Yet, St. Monica patiently put her faith in God and dedicated herself to pray for her family’s conversion.

Eventually, by her patient faith and endurance, her care and concern for her loved ones, St. Monica managed to turn the heart first of her husband, who was said to have converted to the Christian faith and repented from all his sinful ways when he was dying. And when St. Augustine and St. Monica were divided by the former’s adoption of Manichaean heresy and his wicked way of life, St. Monica patiently endured and followed her son, eventually leading her to find St. Ambrose of Milan, the influential and charismatic man who eventually together, managed to turn St. Augustine back into the truth of Christ after many years of resistance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we see in St. Monica the example of a true and virtuous Christian, who remained committed to God despite the challenges and pains that she had to endure. St. Monica showed true Christian virtues and patiently persevered, continuing to pray and to do what she could, just as the faithful and diligent servant had done, in dedicating her efforts to the greater glory of God.

And you see just how much impact that had caused, as through St. Augustine and the many people whom he inspired and touched, countless peoples and souls had been saved thanks to the perseverance and faith of St. Monica, his loving mother. Are we able and willing to follow in her footsteps, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to make the sacrifices required at times to be faithful to God, in all things?

May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen us and encourage us to be always faithful despite the challenges, trials and tribulations we may encounter in life. May God bless us all, and may St. Monica pray and intercede for each and every one of us, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 27 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Monica (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 24 : 42-51

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Stay awake then, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Obviously, if the owner of the house knew at what time the thief was coming, he would certainly stay up and not allow his house to be broken into. So be alert, for the Son of Man will come at the hour you least expect.”

“Imagine a faithful and prudent servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time. Fortunate, indeed, is that servant, whom his master will find at work when he comes. Truly I say to you, his lord will entrust him with everything he has.”

“Not so with the bad servant, who thinks, ‘My master is delayed.’ And he begins to ill-treat his fellow servants, while eating and drinking with drunkards. But his master will come on the day he does not know, and at the hour he least expects. He will punish that servant severely; and place him with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”