Thursday, 25 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the message from the Sacred Scriptures, speaking to us about the Lord Who reminded His disciples with the parable on a wise and hardworking servant as opposed to a lazy and wicked servant, and related to them what happened to them at the end, when the master discovered what each of them had done.

The good and wise servant did all that the master had asked him to do, obeyed fully the commands given to him, and when the master came back to see his works, he was pleased and rewarded the good servant richly and entrusted him with even more, with all that he had, because that good servant had proven himself to be worthy of trust.

Meanwhile, the lazy and wicked servant has not done what the master had asked him to do, but instead neglecting his duties, he did things for his own personal gain, or simply left everything undone out of laziness. As a result, the master took from him everything he had entrusted him with and more, since he had shown that he did not deserve what he had received.

This parable is a representation of our own lives in this world, brothers and sisters in Christ, showing to us the parallel between the work we have done in this life and the actions of those servants. The master represents the Lord our God Himself, while the servants are the representations of all of us, with all our imperfections, some faithful while some others are wayward.

Now let us all ask ourselves, that whether we want to be counted and considered among the good servants or among the wicked servants instead. Have we done what the Lord had asked of us all, His beloved people, His servants? Have we obeyed His laws and commandments, asking us to show love, care and concern for one another, for the least of our brethren?

Let us ask ourselves that question and look deep within ourselves, and see if we can discover within us that spirit and that desire to do what God had asked us to do. It may seem to be simple to show care and love for others, but in reality, it is not an easy one, considering how much pain, sorrow, anguish and darkness that existed in this world. Yet, if it does not begin from us, then it will never begin at all.

Today, let us all look at the examples of the two saints whose feast we celebrate today. St. Louis, the King of France was a holy and devout man born to be a king, and yet, in his high position and power, he remained a humble and loving person, who sincerely loved his people, all those whom God had entrusted under his care. He ruled with care and with wisdom, trying his best to help all those who are weak and downtrodden, and took his responsibilities and duties seriously.

St. Louis always led by example in his various actions, becoming source of great inspiration of many who came to love their ruler, their king, and from there, came to appreciate the love of God made evident through His faithful servant. This is exactly what the good servant in the parable mentioned by Jesus had done, by being obedient to the wishes of the king, he had brought much good things on himself and others.

Similarly, St. Joseph Calasanz was also a committed worker and servant of the Lord, who dedicated his life to God and His people by helping the poor and the uneducated in the society, providing them with education, teaching, help and support that they need in order to live a better life. He was known well for his works in Rome during a time when there was a great flood that affected many thousands.

He did not hesitate to give his time and efforts to help those who were less fortunate around him, and was particularly committed to help the uneducated and the poor to gain access to education, that they might be able to escape the marginalisation and the perpetual cycle of poverty that had characterised the poor at the time.

The works of St. Joseph Calasanz in establishing schools for the poor and for the less fortunate still have great impact today, when many others followed in his footsteps to help the same poor people, giving them the love they need, and the education that will help them to overcome the challenge of the societal marginalisation and poverty. Truly, these were the works of a faithful and good servant of God.

In the examples that these two holy saints, we can see indeed that they have been good servants, and God will reward them with what they deserve, that is the glory of everlasting life and the heavenly inheritance that He had promised all those who kept their faith in Him. Shall we also follow their examples? This is what we need to do in order to attain the fullness of the promise of God.

The path forward will not be easy if we decide to follow the Lord. Indeed, there will be many obstacles and challenges, temptations and difficulties, but if we persevere on, the reward for us in the end will be great, and we shall reign forever in glory with God and all of His saints. Let us all ask St. Louis and St. Joseph Calasanz to pray and intercede for our sake, that God will help to bring us ever closer to Him. May God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, 25 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

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 capable 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 that one 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 dismiss that servant, and deal with him as the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Thursday, 25 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 144 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

I will praise You day after day and exalt Your Name forever. Great is the Lord, most worthy of praise; and His deeds are beyond measure.

Parents commend Your works to their children and tell them Your feats. They proclaim the splendour of Your majesty and recall Your wondrous works.

People will proclaim Your mighty deeds, and I will declare Your greatness. They will celebrate Your abundant kindness, and rejoice in singing of Your justice.

Thursday, 25 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

1 Corinthians 1 : 1-9

From Paul, called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and from Sosthenes, our brother, to God’s Church which is in Corinth; to you whom God has sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with those who everywhere call upon the Name of our Lord Christ Jesus, their Lord and ours.

Receive grace and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I give thanks constantly to my God for you and for the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus. For you have been fully enriched in Him with words as well as with knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you.

You do not lack any spiritual gift and only await the glorious coming of Christ Jesus, our Lord. He will keep you steadfast to the end, and you will be without reproach on the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus. The faithful God will not fail you after calling you to this fellowship with His Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis, and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the Lord rebuking the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of their lack of true faith and devotion to the Lord as well as their hypocrisy, acting as if they were just and faithful, whereas in fact, they were rotten on the inside, maintaining only good appearances and reputation to be praised and honoured by men, for their supposed good faith.

The clear message which all of us should take note of is that, true faith comes from the inside, and it comes with genuine and sincere dedication of oneself to the Lord, and not just maintaining good appearances and good facade for the sake of viewing, so that others may see us and praise us. That indeed is not something bad, and indeed, it is necessary that we too show the faith in us through how we behave and how we live our lives, but if we have no goodness and faith inside of us, then we truly have nothing.

The first reading today showed us how St. Paul in his interactions with the faithful in the city of Thessalonica explained how he and his fellow disciples of the Lord ministered to the people of God in various means, ministering to them in body and spirit, providing especially consolation and care for the soul, tendering care and provided for them that thy have enough in everything.

We cannot be truly faithful if we do not truly love God in our hearts, and if have no love for one another, which is the essence of the Law which God had given to us all mankind, for us to emulate and to follow. The Law of God should not be misinterpreted, misunderstood and worse, misused, to be a tool of oppression or something of mere monotony by those who fail to understand the true importance of the Law.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law during Jesus’ time professed to be faithful because they deemed themselves as the only ones who were able to commit themselves to obey the entirety of the so-called laws of Moses, which is the entirety of the laws and commandments that God had given, but then on top of those, there were many other laws decided and added through the ages to complement what had been given.

But they were so obsessed and focused on those laws that eventually many if not most of them enforced such laws and observed them because they thought that they had to do so. In the end, many of them did not understand what they were doing, and they were blindly following the law as they deemed fit. And worse still, they condemned others when they saw that these others did not follow what they had done.

That is not true faith, and we indeed should take note not to fall into the same situation. Let us all learn from the examples of the two saints whose life and memory we are celebrating today on their feast day. They are St. Louis, King of France, also known as St. Louis IX, one of the few canonised kings, and St. Joseph Calasanz, a holy priest hailing from Spain, known for his dedication to Catholic education.

St. Louis IX was known to be a very good and dedicated king, who put his people above everything else, and who led an exemplary life in faith, supporting the Church and the institutions of the faith, building churches and schools to help the people and especially the poor to be closer to the Lord their God. St. Louis IX helped to strengthen the Church and the faith, opposing many forms of vices and oppositions to the ways of the Lord.

St. Louis IX prohibited sinful and worldly activities such as prostitution, gambling, simony and many other vices that had penetrated deep into the society and even within the Church. He also ensured that justice was upheld in the society, ensuring those who were innocent did not receive unjust punishment and those who were to be blamed, received their just punishment.

St. Louis IX was also deeply devoted in the advancement of the cause of the Faith, and he devoted himself to a faithful Crusade against the godless and the faithless, to help liberate the Holy Land and the Holy City of Jerusalem after he was healed from an illness and made a vow to launch a Crusade should he be healed. Nevertheless, God had other plans, and He called St. Louis IX to His side while he was out there fighting in the Name of God, a faithful servant to the end.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph Calasanz was a Spanish priest who went on to spend most of his time in Rome, the heart of Christendom, where he ministered to the faithful and many of the poor and the less fortunate of the society there. He opened schools and many other institutions designed to help the destitute and all those who had no opportunity at education and those who were ostracised by the society.

St. Joseph Calasanz showed by his numerous works and devotions to the people of God, that there are so many things that we all can do to help our brethren who are suffering around us, and there are even more things we can do to help them in their lives so that they can have a better life. Together with St. Louis IX, they have shown us the way to live as a faithful disciple of the Lord.

Let us all therefore from now on dedicate ourselves anew, to be true followers of our Lord, by showing it in our action and showing deep and genuine faith to the Lord, because we love Him and all that He created, and not just because we seek good appearances or human praise, or because we obey as we were told to do so. Let us all be truly faithful and devoted to the Lord our God in all things. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis, and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Matthew 23 : 23-26

At that time, Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You do not forget the mint, anise and cumin seeds when you demand the tenth of everything, but then you forget what is most fundamental in the Law : justice, mercy and faith. These you must practice, instead of neglecting them. Blind guides! You strain out a mosquito, but swallow a camel.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You fill the plate and the cup with theft and violence, and then pronounce a blessing over them. Blind Pharisee! Purify the inside first, then the outside too will be purified.”

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis, and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 138 : 1-3, 4-6

O Lord, You know me : You have scrutinised me. You know when I sit and when I rise; beforehand You discern my thoughts. You observe my activities and times of rest; You are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is formed in my mouth, You know what it is all about, o Lord. From front to back You hedge me round, shielding me with Your protecting hand. Your knowledge leaves me astounded, it is too high for me to reach.