Saturday, 23 August 2014 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins)

Matthew 23 : 1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowd and to His disciples, “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees have sat down on the chair of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them.”

“They do everything in order to be seen by people : they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first places at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and they like being greeted in the marketplace, and being called ‘Master’ by the people.”

“But you, do not let yourselves be called Master, because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father, because you have only one Father, He who is in heaven. Nor should you be called Leader, because Christ is the only Leader for you.”

“Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great.”

(Usus Antiquior) Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 August 2014 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 18 : 9-14

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus ad quosdam, qui in se confidebant tamquam justi et aspernabantur ceteros, parabolam istam : Duo homines ascenderunt in templum, ut orarent : unus pharisaeus, et alter publicanus.

Pharisaerus stans, haec apud se orabat : Deus, gratias ago Tibi, quia non sum sicut ceteri hominum : raptores, injusti, adulteri : velut etiam hic publicanus. Jejuno bis in sabbato : decimas do omnium, quae possideo.

Et publicanus a longe stans nolebat nec oculas ad caelum levare : sed percutiebat pectus suum, dicens : Deus, propitius esto mihi peccatori.

Dico vobis : descendit hic justificatus in domum suam ab illo : quia omnis qui se exaltat, humiliabitur : et qui se humiliat, exaltabitur.

English translation

At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others : Two men went up into the Temple to pray, one was a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee standing prayed thus with himself : “O God, I give You thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also this publican. I fast twice in the week, and I give tithes of all that I possess.”

And the publican standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast saying, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

I say to You, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, because every one that exalted himself shall be humbled, and he who humbled himself shall be exalted.

Friday, 6 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are truly reminded as ever always, that Christ our Lord lies at the very centre of our lives, and that He is what truly matters for us, while other things are often unnecessary and illusory in nature. Nonetheless, we often forget this fact and relegate Christ into a corner rather than embracing and appreciating the central role Christ plays in each of our own lives.

Everything that we have, our lives, our faith, and our very existence owed greatly to the Lord, through whom indeed we were created, given life, and then a new life through salvation of the cross. For Christ is the Word of God, through whom the Lord our Creator had created all of creation including all of us, whom He had given life through the breath of His Mouth.

And even when we had gone astray from Him and be estranged from Him like that of a child estranged from the father, He willed for us to be reconciled to Himself, by the outpouring of His love, through the numerous help He sent us along our journey in this world, through countless messengers and prophets who carried His desire and love for us, the desire to be reunited with us, His lost children.

That even when we had rejected Him by turning a deaf ear to the heedings of His prophets, and even tortured and slaughtered them in cold blood, He did not give up, but in His great and infinite love, He allowed Himself to give the ultimate manifestation of His love, that is to be incarnate through a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary His mother, to be our Saviour, through which He gathered all people to Himself.

Such great is His love for us, that He even readied Himself to suffer for us, to die for us, all that we who deserved death, will not die an agonising and eternal death, separated from God who loves us. That we may live through His death on the cross which saves, and through His glorious resurrection, through which He brought unto Himself those who had died in Him.

He dedicated Himself so much for us, that He became flesh like us, and through that mystical incarnation of the divine into man, God is united to us in an everlasting bond of love. Yes, brethren, just as Jesus in the Gospel today imagined Himself as the bridegroom in the midst of His beloved, so indeed He is our bridegroom, the divine bridegroom by God made man.

He rebuked the Pharisees not because it is wrong to fast or observe the laws, but precisely because they did not truly love God, and did not have God in their hearts, that God is not at the centre of their lives as He wanted from them. Instead, they allowed their pride, arrogance, selfishness, and human nature to take over them and corrupt them.

They fast for the sake of fasting, and to show the people their great piety, which is indeed evident, but truly empty. Many of them had missed entirely the point of doing things in accordance to the rules of the Lord, and did them not out of love for God, but out of love for themselves and their ‘greatness’ and ‘superior piety and faith’.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, the lessons we had heard and taken into ourselves are truly beneficial for us. Let us make the best use out of them, in order to be able to dedicate ourselves and devote ourselves more to the Lord our God, that no matter whatever we are doing, we always do it for the Lord, and keep Him always at the very centre of our lives, each and every one of us. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 : Ash Wednesday (Gospel Reading)

Mark 6 : 1-6, 16-18

Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be seen in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.

If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.

When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you.

When you fast, do not put on a miserable face as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see that they are fasting. I tell you this : they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.