Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all reminded to be true followers of Christ, in all of the life which we have lived thus far, and to obey and listen to the will of God, as much as we are able to do it. This is an important reminder, as sometimes, we may end up living our lives and living our faith devoid of true understanding of what it is that God wants us to do in our lives.

In the first reading today, St. Paul wrote to the Church and the faithful in the city of Galatia, explaining to them, both to the Jewish and the Gentiles among the faithful, about what they should be doing in following God’s will and in obeying Him. The Jews, even among the Christians, at the time still thought that they had to obey the Law of Moses, all the accumulated and compiled traditions and customs of the Jewish people in its entirety.

And the inability to agree on whether the Christian faithful ought to follow the Jewish laws and customs or not, have divided the communities of the faithful in many places, including that of in Galatia. Some of the Jews wanted that all the faithful must obey the entirety of the laws and the customs of the Jews, while there those among the Jews and the disciples themselves who thought that it should not be the case.

But the Lord Himself made it clear to His people, through what He has revealed throughout His earthly ministry, and through what He has taught His disciples and the Apostles, and by the wisdom and understanding, truth and revelation bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit. The truth is that, to be followers of the Lord, then we must truly believe in Him, listen to Him, and keep all the commandments and do them in our own lives.

And the Lord said that His commandment is about love, first of all, the love of God with all of our hearts, minds and with our whole being fully immersed in the love of our loving Father and Creator, and then the same love which we ought to have for our fellow brothers and sisters, our fellow men, all brethren in the same God, our Father. It is not about a burden or an imposition of practices and traditions that were done, many of them, without understanding their real purpose and meaning.

Many of the people then just followed and obeyed the practices of the Law without knowing what they were for. For many of them, it ended up becoming a formality and something that is an obligation, and for some others, it was even worse, as they ended up making use of those practices and impositions of the Law, to advance their own selfish desires and positions, such as what was done by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

Many of us unfortunately also share the same blame in this manner, as many of us have not been truly and wholeheartedly faithful, in how we approach our obligations to the Lord as Christians. To us, we have received the fullness of truth, as according to St. Paul, in the same Epistle he had written to the Galatians, which should have set us free from our bonds and from our old ways of sin. But many of us have not allowed God’s truth to set us free.

And that is because of our own inability to resist the temptations to sin and to keep on falling again and again into our sinful ways, and despite the reminders and calls which the Lord made to us, many of us are often still too stubborn to accept His calls deep in our hearts. Now, are we willing to overcome these challenges and resolve to overcome this unwillingness to allow God to transform our lives for the better?

Let us all turn towards God, from now on, with all of our hearts, with our every efforts, and commit ourselves towards Him with a new resolution and courage in our hearts. Let us all strive to seek our focus and our source of unity and our salvation in God, our loving Lord and Father. May the Lord be with us throughout this journey, and guide us to His everlasting glory. Amen.

Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 11 : 27-28

At that time, as Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to Him, “Blessed is the one who gave You birth and nursed You!”

Jesus replied, “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it as well.”

Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 104 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

Sing to the Lord, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always. Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Galatians 3 : 22-29

But the Scriptures have declared, that we are all prisoners of sin. So, the only way to receive God’s promise is to believe in Jesus Christ. Before the time of faith had come, the Law confined us, and kept us in custody, until the time in which faith would show up. The Law, then, was serving as a slave, to look after us until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.

With the coming of faith, we are no longer submitted to this guidance. Now, in Christ Jesus, all of you are sons and daughters of God, through faith. All of you, who were given to Christ through Baptism, have put on Christ. Here, there is no longer any difference between Jew or Greek, or between slave or freed, or between man and woman : but all of you are one, in Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Christ, you are of Abraham’s race and you are to inherit God’s promise.

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of the end and conclusion of the story of Job, the suffering servant of God. Modern Biblical scholars contended that Job did not necessarily represent a historical figure, but rather, a figurative representation of us as God’s people and followers, who live in this world, and are therefore, exposed to all sorts of temptations and from the attacks by the evil one, Satan.

Satan tried to tempt Job and to strike at him, making bets with the Lord, that if he struck at Job, surely Job would fall into temptation and in his anger, he would abandon his faith in God and curse Him. But Job remained faithful and true to his faith, and he did not allow all the sufferings he encountered to be obstacles and hindrances in the way of his faith. He remained firmly faithful and believed that all of what he had to endure, was part of God’s will and plan.

And in the end, God executed His plan and saved His people from the darkness of their sufferings and despair, as He showed clearly in the example of Job, as mentioned in our first reading passage today. We heard how Job was healed from all of his afflictions, and even had his possessions and blessings returned to him, not just what he once had, but in fact double of what he had before.

Through this, God wanted His people to know, that in Him alone there is hope and true salvation, liberation and freedom from all of our troubles, from all the challenges, difficulties and all sorts of obstacles that we may encounter in one way or another in our respective lives. Indeed, the path will be a challenging and difficult one, just as Job’s multitudes of sufferings and pains showed us, but in the end, if we remain faithful to God, our rewards will be great and everlasting.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord also spoke to us the same message of hope, with the bold proclamation of the defeat of Satan as foretold by the Lord Jesus Himself before His disciples. It was a premonition of what would happen, at the time of Jesus, when the Lord finally put His plan to save His people into its fulfilment and perfect completion, by the crucifixion in which, He gathered all of His people and took up all of their sins and faults, and died for their sake, in an act of perfect love and self-sacrifice that became the source of our salvation.

By the loving sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we have been made free and saved from our fated destruction at the hand of death and sin. And that marks the ultimate defeat of Satan and all of his diabolical plans to bring about our downfall through sin. Through His loving sacrifice, He destroyed forever the dominion of sin over us mankind, and opened for us the path to eternal life and salvation in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to have faith in God just as Job and all the faithful servants of God, those who went before us have done. Indeed, there will be plenty of obstacles and challenges facing us, just as faced by those who have shown their courage and commitment, piety and dedication, but as long as we anchor ourselves strongly in our faith, and in our willingness and desire to love God, God will protect us and guide us on our journey.

Today, we celebrate together the feast day of St. Bruno of Cologne, a holy and devout priest, servant of God, who founded the religious order of the Carthusians. St. Bruno was a great teacher of the faith, inspiring many with his deep love for God and great piety, in all of his actions, words and dealings. His great and deep humility also touched many people who had the opportunity to know him.

St. Bruno dedicated himself to a life of service to God, in poverty and simplicity, in how he declined appointment to the office of bishop and in his commitment to serve the greater cause of the Lord. St. Bruno entrusted himself completely to the love of God, and gave himself fully to Him in love, inspiring many others who followed in his footsteps and thus marking the foundation and growth of the early Carthusians.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to trust the Lord and to give ourselves so completely as Job, St. Bruno and the many other holy men and women of God had done? We are all challenged in this manner, reminding us that as Christians, we ought to give our best to the Lord, in all of our whole being. May the Lord help us, and with the intercession of St. Bruno, guide us in our journey of faith towards Him. Amen.

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 10 : 17-24

At that time, the seventy-two disciples returned full of joy. They said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we called on Your Name.” Then Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. You see, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the Enemy, so that nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the evil spirits submit to you; rejoice, rather, than your names are written in heaven.”

At that time, Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will. I have been given all things by My Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 118 : 66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130

Give me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust in Your commands.

It is good for me to have been afflicted, for I have deeply learnt Your statutes.

I know, o YHVH, that Your laws are just; and there is justice in my affliction.

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

Give me knowledge; I am Your servant, who desires to understand Your statutes.

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