Friday, 24 July 2020 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Sharbel Makhluf, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 13 : 18-23

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath.”

“The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up.”

“The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word, but then, the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word; and it does not bear fruit. As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.”

Sunday, 12 July 2020 : Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 13 : 1-23

At that time, Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around Him. So He got into a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and He spoke to them in parables about many things.

Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow; and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path; and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched; and they withered, because they had no roots.”

“Again, other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop : some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!”

Then His disciples came to Him and said, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but not to these people. For the one who has will be given more; and he will have in abundance. But the one who does not have will be deprived of even what he has. That is why I speak to them in parables; because they look and do not see; they hear; but they do not listen or understand.”

“In them, the words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled : However much you hear, you do not understand; however much you see, you do not perceive. For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears hardly hear and their eyes dare not see. If they were to see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart, they would turn back, and I would heal them.”

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For I tell you, many prophets and righteous people have longed to see the things you see, but they did not see them; and to hear the things you hear, but they did not hear them.”

“Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath. The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the Word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the Word, than he gives up.”

“The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the Word; but then, the worries of this life and the love of money choke the Word; and it does not bear fruit. As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the Word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 13 : 1-9

At that time, Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around Him. So He got into a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and He spoke to them in parables about many things.

Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow; and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path; and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched; and they withered, because they had no roots.”

“Again, other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop : some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!”

Friday, 24 July 2015 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Sharbel Makhluf, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 13 : 18-23

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is seed that fell along the footpath.”

“The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner he is harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up.”

“The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word, but then the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word, and it does not bear fruit. As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.”

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 4 : 1-20

At that time, again Jesus began to teach by the lake; but such a large crowd gathered about Him, that He got into a boat and sat in it on the lake, while the crowd stood on the shore. He taught them many things through parables. In His teaching He said, “Listen! The sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some of the seed fell along a path, and the birds came and ate it up.”

“Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil; it sprang up immediately because it had no depth; but when the sun rose and burned it, it withered because it had no roots. Other seed fell among thornbushes, and the thorns grew and choked it, so it did not produce any grain.”

“But some seed fell on good soil, grew and increased and yielded grain; some seed produced thirty times as much, some sixty, and some one hundred times as much.” And Jesus added, “Listen then, if you have ears.”

When the crowd went away, some who were around Him with the Twelve asked about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But for those outside, everything comes in parables, so that the more they see, they do not perceive; the more they hear, they do not understand; otherwise they would be converted and pardoned.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand any of the parables? What the sower is sowing is the word. Those along the path, where the seed fell, are people who hear the word, but as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”

“Other people receive the word like rocky ground. As soon as they hear the word, they accept it with joy, but they have no roots, so it lasts only a little while. No sooner does trouble or persecution come because of the word, than they fall. Others receive the seed, as seed among thorns. After they hear the word, they are caught up in the worries of this life, false hopes of riches and other desires. All these come in and choke the word, so that finally it produces nothing.”

“And there are others who receive the word as good soil. They hear the word, take it to heart and produce : some thirty, some sixty and some one hundred times as much.”

Sunday, 16 November 2014 : 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together to celebrate this occasion of the holy day of our Lord, and we listened to the good words of the Sacred Scriptures. In today’s readings, the theme is all about who we are, and what we are supposed to do in this life of ours. For we are all the children of God, and therefore we are expected to life according to who the children of God are.

The first reading taken from the Book of Proverbs detailed how a good woman should behave, in the ways and actions she should do in life, and in how she should carry herself in the society of the people of God. However, this does not mean that this applies only to the females, but also to all of us. It is the kind of life that we all should lead, to be upright and just, to be careful in how we use our words, and in loving one another. Do you all remember that these were precisely what Jesus told us to do?

Then the psalm refers to blessings which God will bestow on those who fear the Lord and obey Him, and most importantly, those who do not just fear the Lord but also do His will and walk in His ways. This is a promise which He gave us, and if we are faithful, certainly we will not be disappointed. If we are faithful, then certainly we will need to do something to justify that faith, and not just merely staying idle or being so fearful of the Lord that we do not dare to do anything.

In the second reading, taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the faithful in Thessalonica, a frequent reminder to us is once again uttered. It is to remind us that the coming of the Lord will be totally unpredictable and will catch us all unprepared unless we have taken the necessary steps to make sure that when He comes again into this world as He had promised, He will not find us asleep, and instead find us all worthy, awake and filled with the fruits of our goodness to the brim.

And finally in the Gospel Reading, Jesus our Lord when He first came into this world told His disciples of the parable of the talents. A master of the house gave his ten servants five talents of silver, two talents, one talents and so on and so forth, before he embarked on a journey to become king in another country, and he would return one day to his house to settle matters, especially what he had given and invested in his servants.

The Gospel essentially summarised everything that the entirety of our myriads of readings today. In it, the parable of the silver talents represented exactly what had happened, what is happening now, and what will happen in the near, unpredictable future. The parable’s characters themselves represent the many characters that are present in this world, and who are those servants, to whom the master of the house had entrusted his silver? They are all of us, brothers and sisters.

The house itself is the world, and just as the servants lived in the house, entrusted with the care of the house while the master is gone, we have all been entrusted with this world as its stewards. Remember what the Lord had charged mankind with, at the beginning of time in the Book of Genesis. He made mankind the custodians of creation, giving all things and all creation to be under our stewardship, blessing us to multiply and fill all the earth.

He gave us many things, and for each of us, we are all different and unique. Each of us have different set of skills and abilities, and that is the wonders of our Lord and such is the grace of His creation of all of us, the most precious and beloved of all others He had crafted with His hands. He gave us life and even more, and all these are the food and drink with which the master of the house gave to his servants to sustain them.

The master of the house, is the Lord our God, for He is the Owner of the house that is this world, and He is also our Owner and Lord. And He came to us to grant us His gifts, like the master gave the silver talents to his servants. What are these gifts, brothers and sisters? It is the seeds of faith, the seeds of hope, and the seeds of love which He had planted in each one of us who believe.

Through baptism, we have been born anew and received new life in Christ. However, to all of us also have been given a task, a very important one indeed, that is to sow those seeds on fertile soil and allow them to grow healthy and strong, producing rich and plentiful fruits that will serve as our justification when the Lord comes back to this world at the end of time, at the time of His own choosing.

And the master left the house, to go into the kingdom where he was made the king of. The same happened to our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was in fact speaking of what would happen in the immediate future at that time. Remember that Jesus went on to suffer in Jerusalem, enduring through His Passion and eventually was crucified at Golgotha and died for our sins?

Remember that after that He was risen from the dead on the third day, appearing to His disciples, and while reaffirming His promises and telling of His coming again at the end of time, He then ascended to heaven in glory? He went there to prepare the places for His servants and His faithful ones, but also to reclaim the Kingship which He had left behind when He chose to come down as a lowly human, to save us.

Thus, like the master of the house who left to be a king in a distant country, Jesus also went to be the King of all kings. Next week, on next Sunday to be precise, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Jesus Christ our Lord, King of the Universe. Therefore, the readings this Sunday, we can see as a prelude leading towards that great feast, the last one of this liturgical year. After that we will begin a new year cycle with the season of Advent.

And the readings for the ending of the liturgical year all have the same theme, that is about the future arrival of our Saviour and Lord, who will come again for the second time, at the end of time, which is a time that we do not know of, to judge all the people living and the dead. And this also ties in perfectly with the parable of the talents in our Gospel reading today.

Remember, that the master came back to the house after a long time for a reckoning. And was there anywhere mentioned that he trumpeted his return or announced it to the servants beforehand? Was there anywhere mentioned that the master sent a message announcing his coming to them? No, and that is indeed what will happen at the end of time for us.

Yes, we do not know when the Lord will come again. And St. Paul warned us in his letter, our second reading, that the Lord’s coming will be like a thief, unannounced, sudden and unexpected. He will come at a time when we least expect it, and whatever we have done in this life, and whatever we have not done in this life, and whatever just things or wicked things we have committed, all have been finalised and set in the book when He comes again.

Thus it is a good time for us to look back into our life, to all what we have done and what we have said. And it is a good time for us to begin to inspect our relationships with others around us, and most importantly, our relationship with our Lord and Master. Why is this so? So that when the time comes suddenly, and the Lord asks us of what we have done, we can proudly show Him and present Him with all the things we have done.

The master asked for all of his ten servants to give an account of what they have done with the silver talents they have been entrusted with. The first two servants gladly showed that they have doubled the silver talents they had been given, and they gave their master the amount they have gained. The master was happy and pleased, and showed his grace and favour upon them.

But the third servant feared his master and hid the silver talent rather than investing it and letting it to grow with profits. It clearly betrayed his contempt for his master and the gift of talent which had been given to him, allowing it to slumber and be hidden in a hiding place. And the master was angry, and casting him out into the darkness, he rebuked that unfaithful and lazy servant, and took what he had, and gave it to those who deserved it more.

It is therefore precisely what will happen when we come to face the Lord in the final judgment. Everything we have said or done in our life on earth will be placed spread out in front of God with nothing that we can hide. After all He knows everything we do, everything we ever thought of, and He can see deep into our hearts. Remember that He has placed the seeds of faith, hope and love within us? He will then ask us to account for those.

If we can show Him that we have allowed those seeds to germinate within us, and to allow them to grow on a rich and fertile soil, then our Lord will certainly praise us, and say to us, ‘Blessed of My Father, welcome into the kingdom which I have prepared for you.’ And we will enjoy the gifts which He had prepared for us. For we have been entrusted with life, and with love and all things, and we have been found worthy, and thus our reward is an immortality in perfect love and harmony with our God, an eternal bliss and happiness.

And some may ask, how do we do this? It is by knowing our faith, learning and understanding what it is about, by listening to the teachings of the Church faithfully and internalise them, so that from there, our understanding may be turned into action, and those actions will then, if we truly understand our faith and commit ourselves to it, represent faith, hope and love.

If we fail to do this, and instead, allow those gifts of God to remain dormant, or worse, to even wither and die, because of our wickedness and our persistence to remain in sin and darkness, then our Lord Jesus will say to us, ‘Begone, cursed and wicked ones! Be forever with Satan and his angels in the lake of eternal fire prepared for them!’ And we shall be forever sundered from the love of God, to suffer for eternity a life without faith, hope and love, an eternal suffering and agony in despair. And that is true hell.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is imperative that all of us do not leave this day behind without realising that if we have not done what we ought to do, then we should better start now. Never delay and never postpone anything! For all we know that, the Lord may come anytime, and if He comes when we are not ready, regret will not save us. Do not think that there is still a lot of time, but act as if He may come at this very moment.

How do we then, live our lives? We have to practice our faith as taught by Jesus concretely. First, we should look beyond ourselves and shatter the prison of our ego and selfishness. Look around us! There are many who needs our help, and most importantly our love and attention. Not all those who need help needs money or possessions. Many people remain unloved, ostracised, and hated in the society, and what we can do, is to offer our love for them.

Today’s two saints, St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude were both very pious and dedicated servants of God whose life examples we can emulate in our own. St. Margaret of Scotland was the Queen of Scotland, and yet she was renowned for her extensive charitable works and activities, and she was also very devoted in prayer, communicating frequently with God.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude was devoted in her works and writings, through which her faith in the Lord became an inspiration for many who witnessed her life and read those works. Their examples should inspire us to do more for the sake of those around us, leading them ever closer to God through our own actions.

And lastly, of course, after we have loved one another, having hope in one another’s salvation, by knowing that we have done what is right, then we have to love our Lord and God beyond everything else. Yes, we have to love Him even more than we love ourselves. Then, our Lord and Master, at the day of reckoning, the Day of Judgment, will congratulate us, and lead us into His eternal kingdom, for us all to enjoy and be happy forever.

Let us all realise that each of us have been given different gifts, each according to our own abilities. And let us not let these gifts go dormant but rather that may all these benefit one another, through our actions of love. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-first-reading/

 

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-psalm/

 

Second Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 11 August 2013 : 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we are urged through the readings we listened to, that we must be ever ready, ever ready for the coming of Christ our Lord, who will come at the end of time, to judge all things living and dead, in the final judgment, when those who are upright and do the will of God, will be rewarded, and those who are wicked, will meet their due punishment.

Our Lord Jesus who has ascended into heaven at the end of His ministry on earth, will come again at the end of time, as a victorious and conquering King of all Kings, and He will judge all creation, all mankind, for our virtues, our goodness, our faults, and our sins. He had promised us through His disciples, that He will come again and bring us back into His kingdom, to be with Him for eternity, in eternal happiness and true joy.

Yes, as He had promised Abraham and his descendants, He had also promised all of us, who shared Abraham as our father in faith, that He will give His grace and blessings upon all of us. To us had been granted much, and therefore much is also expected from us. That is because, the Lord had made His covenant with all of us, to renew the covenant He had made with Abraham, through the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus on the cross, with which He made a new covenant sealed with His Most Precious Blood.

Our Lord remains ever faithful, ever loving, and ever forgiving in His dealings with all of us, who are His most beloved children. He had sent His Son Jesus to be our Saviour, to break us free from the chains of sin and its slavery. He had redeemed us from Satan with the price of His own Blood. But a covenant requires all of us to also play our part, that is to contribute to the covenant we had made with God through Christ His Son.

How do we then take part in this holy covenant of God? It is not easy, brothers and sisters, because He requires our ultimate obedience and dedication to Him and His laws, His precepts, and all of His love. To put it in simple words, we need to obey the Lord and follow Christ, through whom God had made clear to us His intentions, the plan He had for us and this world. In following Christ, we have to carry our crosses and walk with Him, enduring much opposition, suffering, and persecution, especially from the forces of evil, who do not wish to see us redeemed and steered away from destruction.

To follow Christ means to love one another, to love everyone around us, our brothers and sisters, without exception, and to pour onto them our care and compassion, giving to them our unconditional love, as Christ had once done to us, through His death on the cross. And of course, we must also love the Lord our God, with all our hearts and with all of our strength, that we offer Him our full devotion, our full attention, and our wholesome love, without exception, to put Him first before every other things.

As I had mentioned, much had been given to us, and therefore much is also expected from us in return. God our Lord had entrusted this world and all in it to us when He created our ancestors. He gave us this world that we may be its steward, care for it, and be responsible for it. He had given us gifts and blessings in ourselves, and through the Holy Spirit, we have been strengthened with the fruits of His love. These gifts are within each one of us, our talents, our skills, and our uniqueness, which may be used for myriad purposes and different intentions.

We have to cultivate these gifts and nurture them, that the talents and the skills God had given us will grow, and be made manifest in this world, by our service and dedication to our fellow men, our fellow brothers and sisters, children of the same God, giving to them, to one another, the love, the hope, and the faith we have inside of us. If we share our love, faith, and hope, they will only grow and blossom. We have to practice our faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, and our good works for the sake of our brethren, that our faith may be alive.

Yes, the faith we have in God must be a living and vibrant faith, one nurtured with love, one filled with action based on the teachings of our Lord. If we have this living faith within us, like the faith had by our father Abraham, who followed the Lord with zeal and full trust in His providence, we will be rewarded just as our father Abraham was rewarded for his strong and undimmed faith, for his real, living, and vibrant faith.

Do not be caught unawares, brothers and sisters, when Christ comes again in all His glory, in His Second Coming at the end of time. We do not know when this will happen, and indeed, He will come at the time when we are at our most unprepared state, when we did not expect Him to come at all. He will come silently like a thief and He will then judge us, all of us, whether we have been faithful to Him and His commandments or whether we have turned away from Him and His path.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us heed the call that Christ had made to all of us, to follow Him and remain in His love, by showing Him a constant and vibrant faith, and our wholehearted dedication and devotion, our undivided love and attention for Him, and for all His children, our fellow brethren in God. Be prepared at all times for Him, that we will always be ready when He comes again, and not be found wanting for our faith.

Let us from today, dedicate ourselves and renew our commitment to Him, and to our fellow brothers and sisters, helping one another in our journey towards the Lord our God. We hope that everyone will be able to reach the end of our journeys successfully and that the Lord our God will welcome us and congratulate us for our dedication and our faith in Him, granting us the reward He had promised us through Jesus Christ, His Son. Let us not be the ones rejected by the Lord, because they did not bother to lift a finger, to help those in need, and to give themselves in love to their brethren in need. God bless us all. Amen.