Friday, 8 November 2019 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 16 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “There was a rich man, whose steward was reported to him because of fraudulent service. He summoned the steward and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? I want you to render an account of your service, for it is about to be terminated.'”

“The steward thought to himself, ‘What am I to do now? My master will surely dismiss me. I am not strong enough to do hard work, and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do : I must make sure that when I am dismissed, there will be people will welcome me into their homes.'”

“So he called his master’s debtors, one by one. He asked the first debtor, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write fifty.’ To the second debtor he put the same question, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ Then the steward said, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.'”

“The master commended the dishonest steward for his astuteness : for the people of this world are more astute, in dealing with their own kind, than are the people of light.”

Sunday, 22 September 2019 : Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 16 : 1-13

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “There was a rich man, whose steward was reported to him because of fraudulent service. He summoned the steward and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? I want you to render an account of your service, for it is about to be terminated.'”

“The steward thought to himself, ‘What am I to do now? My master will surely dismiss me. I am not strong enough to do hard work, and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do : I must make sure that when I am dismissed, there will be people will welcome me into their homes.'”

“So he called his master’s debtors, one by one. He asked the first debtor, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write fifty.’ To the second debtor he put the same question, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ Then the steward said, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.'”

“The master commended the dishonest steward for his astuteness : for the people of this world are more astute, in dealing with their own kind, than are the people of light. And so I tell you : use filthy money to make friends for yourselves, so that, when it fails, these people may welcome you into the eternal homes. Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted in great ones; whoever is dishonest in slight matters will also be dishonest in greater ones.”

“So if you have been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth? And if you have been dishonest with things that are not really yours, who will give you that wealth which is truly your own? No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to Money.”

Monday, 4 June 2018 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 12 : 1-12

At that time, using parables, Jesus went on to say, “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press and built a watch tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenants and went abroad. In due time he sent a servant to receive from the tenants his share of the fruit. But they seized the servant, struck him and sent him back empty-handed.”

“Again the man sent another servant. They also struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent another and they killed him. In the same way they treated many others : some they beat up and others they killed. One was still left, his beloved son. And so, last of all, he sent him to the tenants, for he said, “They will respect my son.”

“But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him and the property will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

And Jesus added, “Have you not read this text of the Scriptures : The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone; this is the Lord’s doing, and we marvel at it?”

They wanted to arrest Him, for they realised that Jesus meant this parable for them, but they were afraid of the crowd; so they left Him and went away.

Thursday, 13 August 2015 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Pontian, Pope, and St. Hippolytus, Priest, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 18 : 21 – Matthew 19 : 1

At that time, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offences of my brother or sister? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

“This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven : A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants. Among the first was one who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment.”

“The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free, but even cancelled his debt. When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of his companions, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver.”

“He grabbed him by the neck and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ His companion threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ The other did not agree, but sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.”

“Now his fellow servants saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed when you begged me to do so. Were you not bound to have pity on your companion, as I had pity on you?'”

“The Lord was now angry, so he handed his servant over to be punished, until he had paid his whole debt.” Jesus added, “So will My heavenly Father do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.”

When Jesus had finished this teaching, He left Galilee and arrived at the border of Judea, on the other side of the Jordan River.

Friday, 8 November 2013 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Today, we listened to the words of the Gospel, in which the Lord told His disciples on the parable of the dishonest steward, in which the steward was accused of making dishonest acts with his master’s accounts, and in his fear of his own future, he committed even more dishonesty, all to save himself and provide for himself.

It may seem to some who reads this passage at a face value, that the Lord endorses the actions of the steward, by saying that the master of the steward praises him for his astuteness and crafty nature. In truth, the Lord says that while the methods used by the steward is a good method and a smart move, but that is for this world, and not for the world of the next, that is eternal. It is either eternity in suffering or glory and joy.

We like to trust in our own strength, power, and ability, and we like to follow in the ways of this world, that is deceit, dishonesty, pride, arrogance, that we become over time, more and more like that of the dishonest steward. To be worthy servant of God, then we must break free from the entanglement of the evils of this world. The lures of this world’s pleasures are great indeed. It is up to us to cast out those habits.

We all have been made the stewards of creation, given to all of us as our charge, at the time when God created all of us. We have been entrusted this world as our dominion, that we would divide, multiply, and ultimately be responsible for all those who had been granted to us as our rightful possessions. It is in our power and dominion, to choose whether to do what is good or what is bad and deceitful, on our duty as stewards of God and His creation.

Be honest, be faithful, and be true to God and to our fellow men. We should not let our ego or our desire to affect our actions and our deeds. We ought to rise from the depth of our sinfulness and egoistic nature, thinking and caring only for ourselves, and rise up to love and commit ourselves towards caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is the way that we should follow, indeed as the Lord asked of us, to die to ourselves, and to die to our ego. That we cast away this veil of ego and embrace humility.

The root of corruption and evil is truly when one succumbs to his or her own ego, and allow that ego to take over themselves and their actions. When we begin to put ourselves and our own interests ahead of that of the others, then we begin our path to downfall and destruction. But this does not mean that we cannot escape from that path. It requires great effort and dedication to the cause, for us to reorientate ourselves to the path of righteousness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, much is expected from us, as we have been given much. We have been given our skills, abilities, and talents, that we are indeed expected to utilise them, for good and for the benefit of all those around us. We cannot be negligent and ignorant of what has been entrusted to us. Let us therefore, from now on, resolve to become, truly better stewards and caretakers of God’s creations.

May the Lord who is love and mercy, and may He who grant us His gifts and goodness, empower us with His Spirit, that we will always be strong, against temptations and assaults by the evil one. Be with us Lord and strengthen us, that we, Your children, will be always loving as You are. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John of Capestrano, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Once again, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded, just as in yesterday’s reading, the importance of being ever-ready, and preparedness in our lives, that when the Lord comes again unexpected, we will not be caught unprepared and unworthy. Sin is in particular something that we must always beware of, in our daily lives, that we be ever vigilant, against any commitment of sin that corrupts us and brings us away from the salvation in God.

All of us, brethren, had in fact been entrusted with much responsibilities by our Lord and God, and we had been made as stewards over God’s creations. Remember that when the Lord created mankind, He had commanded all creations to be within our sphere of responsibility. We are effectively made the stewards of this world, the caretaker of God’s creatures.

Yet as we all know, many of us are not always faithful to the Lord and His ways. Although we had been made stewards, the Lord is still our Master, and we have to follow Him and His ways, and not go our own way. That is essentially what many of us have done. We have cast away the words of the Lord and prefer to trust in our own human judgments and wisdom, rather than trusting in God.

Then, some of us also did not become good stewards of God’s creation, and we neglect our duties that we ought to do. We prefer to care and worry about ourselves, instead of giving ourselves to love and care for those entrusted to us. And remember that the more we had been given with, the more too will be expected from us. That is why, our possessions, our love, and our material goods can become both a great source of blessing and grace, as well as to be a vicious trap that blocks our path to the Lord our God.

We are often too happy with ourselves, with our comfortable life, that we end up forgetting about what we ought to do in our lives. It is completely not wrong for us to enjoy our lives and to gather or gain worldly things and possessions. It is, as I need to reiterate once again, the way that we use those gifts and graces the Lord had granted us, and our attitude towards others, which determine whether we are righteous or not.

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. John of Capestrano, a priest who lived in the early Renaissance Italy, who was once a secular noble and governor of the land. He relinquished his position and wealth after he received a calling, and together with the future St. Bernardine of Siena, he studied to become a priest, a monk, and a preacher, eventually joining the Franciscans.

St. John of Capestrano went on to preach in many different parts of Europe and Christendom as a whole, and his charisma is such that he always drew massive crowds, into tens of thousands and even over a hundred thousand people in some occasions, turning many back into the path of the Lord, and affirming many in the way of the Lord. In doing that, he had brought countless souls back on the path towards salvation in God.

St. John of Capestrano worked hard for the sake of the Lord even until his old age, preaching and urging the people to rise up and defend the true faith in God against any form of heresies and diabolical onslaught of the devil forces, especially in the pagan Ottoman Empire forces, which rose to prominence and power. He worked hard until he caught illness of the bubonic plague and died, ever still faithful and devoted towards the mission he had as the servant of God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of St. John of Capestrano, and also the examples of many other saints, who had worked hard for the glory of God, let us all then also follow in his footsteps, to be truly dutiful and faithful in our mission in this world, that is to be faithful, obedient, and loving servants and stewards of the Lord our God, as the steward over all creation.

May we all therefore be strengthened in our faith, and become ever more dedicated to the Lord our God, and through the intercession of St. John of Capestrano, we are made closer to our Lord and God. God bless us all. Amen.