Saturday, 12 October 2019 : 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 listened to the words of the Scripture that remind us all about what it means for us to be Christians, and that is to believe in the Lord, our loving God with all of our hearts and with all of our strengths, to the very best of our abilities, listening to Him and knowing His will for each and every one of us that we may always walk faithfully in His presence.

In that occasion, the Lord wanted His people to know that even though difficult moments would come in their way and that they would have to endure many sufferings and challenges for the sake of remaining true to Him and faithful in our ways, but He shall always be with us, and He will guide us through those challenging moments through to the very end. He will not abandon us or leave us in the darkness.

That is the theme of what the Lord revealed to His people through His prophet Joel, as we heard in continuation from yesterday’s first reading passage taken from an earlier part of the Book of Joel. While in that portion the Lord forewarned His people of the coming trials and times when they would suffer, now God revealed that after suffering will come the time of rejoicing and relief, as suffering and sorrow give way to true joy and happiness in God.

And this is what each and every one of us Christians must realise as it will be easy for us to go astray when we encounter suffering in life, and when we face obstacles in our journey of faith. Unless we have that trust and faith in God, it will be easy for us to sway away from God and His path, and we end up putting our trust and faith in other things that we often depend on such as money, wealth and material goods as well as other forms of pleasures and satisfaction.

What the Lord Jesus asked His disciples and the people to do in our Gospel passage today, “Hear the Word of God and keep it as well” is something that is easier said than done. Indeed, many of us can hear the word of God and find the word in our many actions throughout life, in our obedience to the laws and rules of the Church and so on. However, how many of us can confidently say that we truly have kept His word well as we should have done?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our lives we will definitely end up having to make choices in our respective lives. And we have been given the free will as well as the wisdom to make a conscious choice to choose between the path leading towards the salvation in God and the path that eventually leads down to the damnation in hell for eternity. But while many of us may focus on the end journey in sight, it is a reality that when the path and the journey is tough, we will be tempted many times to give up and turn away from God.

We must discern on this matter carefully in our hearts and minds. And we must not let the many temptations present all around us to affect us and prevent us from reaching out towards God’s salvation and grace. Let us have greater faith in God and put our trust in Him wholeheartedly. We must neither be without faith and neither should we go forward blindly without good and proper recollection and direction of our path in life.

Once again, I want us to remember that the Lord has always been by our side all these while, and just as He reassured His people in our reading passage from the Book of Joel, that good times in Him will come and if we endure those sufferings and challenges we faced with grace and faith, in the end God will bless us all with His promised inheritance. He will keep His promise in the end because He is ever faithful to the Covenant which He has made with all of us.

The path leading towards God may seem to be challenging and difficult, and the journey may seem to be arduous and painful, but we must not lose hope as in the end the rewards for our faith and dedication to God will be truly worthwhile. On the other hand, the alternative path, that is the path of worldliness and sin, championed by Satan and all those wishing for our destruction may seem to be good and easier, but we must not let ourselves to be deceived.

Let us all discern carefully our path in life and make the conscious effort to serve the Lord wholeheartedly from now on. Let us all seek Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strength from now on, and let us do our very best to love Him and to follow Him in our daily living. May God bless each and every one of us in our every good actions and endeavours for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

Saturday, 12 October 2019 : 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, 12 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 5-6, 11-12

YHVH reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right, are His throne.

The mountains melt like wax before YHVH, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

He sheds light upon the upright, and gladness upon the just. Rejoice in YHVH, you, who are blameless; and give praise to His holy Name.

Saturday, 12 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

Joel 4 : 12-21

Rise up, o people, and come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, nations. Bring a sickle for the harvest is ripe; come and tread, for the wine press is full, and the vats overflow; so great is their wickedness! Multitudes and more multitudes in the Valley of Verdict! The day of YHVH is near in the Valley of Verdict! The sun and the moon become dark, the stars lose their radiance.

YHVH roars from Zion and raises His voice from Jerusalem; heaven and earth are shaken. Indeed, YHVH is a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the Israelites. You will know that I am YHVH, your God, dwelling on Zion, My holy mountain. Jerusalem will be a holy place; and foreigners will never pass through there again.

On that day, the mountains shall drip wine and the hills flow with milk; all the streams of Judah will run with water; and a fountain will spring from the house of YHVH, and water the valley of Shittim. On the other hand, Egypt will be devastated; and Edom will become a deserted wasteland, because they committed violence against Judah and shed innocent blood in their country.

But Judah will be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem through all generations. And I shall avenge their blood and not leave it unpunished, for YHVH dwells in Zion.

Saturday, 5 October 2019 : 26th 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 listened to the words of God speaking to us about the love which He has for us all His people, and the assurance which He has given to His people that He will bless them and protect them, even if they had fallen into sin and disobeyed Him and suffered because of all of that. God is ever loving, merciful and compassionate, but then at the same time, we should not take this generosity and love for granted.

He has always taken care of us, but we are often too busy and distracted from being able to understand and appreciate this generous love God has given us. Instead, we tried to find our happiness, joy and satisfaction in the many other things in this world, following the temptations and falsehoods spread by the evil one instead of looking for the truth. But we must realise that following the path of the devil will not bring us any good things in the end, only destruction and eternal regret.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Himself confidently proclaimed before all of His disciples, that He has seen the downfall of Satan, struck down in defeat, falling from Heaven into his downfall. And this is spoken because first of all, the Lord Himself had struck down Satan at the beginning for his prideful rebellion against Him, as mentioned in the Book of Revelations, how he even convinced a third of the Heavenly Hosts in his rebellion, those who would become the fallen angels and demons.

At that time, Satan was unable to achieve his goals and was defeated together with his forces, and were thrown out of Heaven. Knowing that he had no way to defeat God Who is Almighty and All-Powerful, he instead targeted us, the ones whom God loves, by tempting us and trying to pull us away from God and into the damnation and annihilation that Satan and the fallen angels themselves had been sentenced to.

We see just how much his temptations and efforts had led to many souls, throughout the ages, to fall into those temptations and therefore sinned against God. He tempted them with many pleasures of this world, the joy of having many worldly possessions and things, wealth and money, fame and glory, status and standing within the community, among many others. And all these distracted us from being able to find the path towards God.

And we also have certainly heard how the devil even tried to tempt the Lord Jesus, when He came into the world to be our Saviour. The devil likely did not know the full purpose and intention of the Lord’s coming, but he still tried nonetheless, tempting the Lord Jesus with satisfaction of food for the stomach, when he asked Jesus to turn the stone into bread, pandering to the greed in us, and then also with pride and our desire for attention when he brought Jesus up to the Temple’s parapets and asked Him to jump from there, and also when he showed the whole glory and power of the earth’s kingdoms that he would give if only the Lord Jesus worshipped him as god.

We need to see how the Lord Jesus rebuked Satan for his efforts in tempting Him, resisting and rejecting his efforts and advances, staying completely faithful to the mission which His Father has entrusted to Him. The Lord said that God alone should be worshipped as the one and only true God, and we must have trust in His words and obey His will. Ultimately, we have to realise that for all the good things that the devil presents to us, just as he did to the Lord Jesus, all of those things are temporary and illusory.

It means that all those good things of this world, which the world has often tempt us with, in our society obsessed with excessive consumerism and hedonistic lifestyles, they are all distractions that we need to learn to control and resist, to refuse the distractions of the devil, who made his path to look more appealing and good for us, even though the end is nothing less than eternal darkness and despair of damnation.

Instead, let us all spend this day reflecting on our own way of life, and how we can be more committed and faithful to the Lord despite the challenges we may face in this journey of faith, so that we may choose the right course of action in each and every moments of our lives, by choosing the side of the truth and by accepting the cross of Christ as we walk down this journey of faith. Let us all grow ever more faithful and be closer to the Lord and be good inspirations for one another, in strengthening our faith in God and in resisting the temptations and the efforts of the devil to destroy us.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey, and may He grant us the strength and commitment to be able to walk courageously and faithfully from now on, to devote our time, effort and attention to serve God with all of our hearts, with all of our minds and all of our strength. Amen.

Saturday, 5 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (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, 5 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 68 : 33-35, 36-37

Let the lowly witness this, and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For YHVH hears the needy; and does not despise those in captivity. Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and whatever moves in them.

For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. His people shall dwell in the land and possess it; the children of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love His Name will dwell in it.