Tuesday, 26 April 2016 : Fifth Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against Paul and Barnabas. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him for dead. But when his disciples gathered around him, he stood up and returned to the town. And the next day he left for Derbe with Barnabas.

After proclaiming the Gospel in that town and making many disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and on to Antioch. They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.” In each church they appointed elders and, after praying and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in Whom they had placed their faith.

Then they travelled through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. They preached the Word in Perga and went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commended to God’s grace for the task they had now completed.

On their arrival they gathered the Church together and told them all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the non-Jews. They spent a fairly long time there with the disciples.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-9

Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken our Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around His head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place.

Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that He must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.

 

Alternative reading

Luke 24 : 1-12

On the Sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the living among the dead? You won’t find Him here. He is risen. Remember what He told you in Galilee, that the Son of Man had to be given into the hands of sinners, to be crucified, and to rise on the third day.” And they remembered Jesus’ words.

Returning from the tomb, they told the Eleven and all the others about these things. Among the women, who brought the news, were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. But however much they insisted, those who heard did not believe the seemingly nonsensical story.

Then Peter got up and ran to the tomb. All he saw, when he bent down and looked into the tomb, were the linen cloths, laid by themselves. He went home wondering.

Request of Prayer for the People of the Philippines asking for the Lord’s protection from Typhoon Hagupit

Dear brothers and sisters, just as November last year brought the Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) to the Philippines, which devastated many regions in Central Philippines and causing numerous death, displacement and sufferings, this month of December, we witness yet another Super Typhoon, Hagupit, on the same path as Haiyan and it has the potential to wreck even more damage and suffering to those who are still suffering from the effects of the last year Super Typhoon.

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The above prayer is a prayer for deliverance from the calamities, especially from the typhoon as given by His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila. Let us all pray together as one people and one Church of God, that the Lord may show His mercy and love on His beloved people, those suffering, in the Philippines and also in the other parts of the world.

Pray, brethren, pray and devote our wishes to the Lord!

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 16 November 2014 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 9 : 18-26

In illo tempore : Loquente Jesu ad turbas, ecce, princeps unus accessit et adorabat eum, dicens : Domine, filia mea modo defuncta est : sed veni, impone manum tuam super eam, et vivet.

Et surgens Jesus sequebatur eum et discipuli ejus. Et ecce mulier, quae sanguinis fluxum patiebatur duodecim annis, accessit retro et tetigit fimbriam vestimenti ejus. Dicebat enim intra se : Si tetigero tantum vestimentum ejus, salva ero.

At Jesus conversus et videns eam, dixit : Confide, filia fides tua te salvam fecit. Et salva facta est mulier et illa hora. Et cum venisset Jesus in domum principis, et vidisset tibicines et turbam tumultuantem, dicebat : Recedite : non est enim mortua puella, sed dormit.

Et deridebant eum. Et cum ejecta esset turba, intravit et tenuit manum ejus. Et surrexit puella. Et exiit fama haec in universam terram illam.

English translation

At that time, as Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored Him, saying, “Lord, my daughter is even now dead, but if You come to lay Your hands upon her, she shall live.”

And Jesus, rising up, followed him with His disciples. And behold a woman, who was troubled with an issue of blood for twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself, “If I shall only touch His garment, I shall be healed.”

But Jesus turning and seeing her, said, “Be of good heart, daughter, your faith had made you whole.” And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels making a tumult, He said, “Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleeps.”

And they laughed Him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, He went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame thereafter went abroad into all that country.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/usus-antiquior-twenty-third-sunday-after-pentecost-ii-classis-sunday-16-november-2014-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 19 October 2014 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mission Sunday and Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs; and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the love of God for us in the Eucharist through which He gave us all His own Body and Blood, so that we who share in them, we may receive salvation in our God, and be freed from the bondage of sin and death. And we are reminded of this fact in the readings from the Holy Scriptures which we read today.

In the first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, the Lord revealed to Isaiah His servant, of the coming of salvation for the people of Israel, in the person of Cyrus, the King and Emperor of the Persian Empire, who would deliver the people of God the salvation which they would come to await for. For a background understanding, I will share with you the significance of this passage from the Book of Isaiah by telling you the historical background behind it.

At the time the revelation was made to the prophet Isaiah, it was at the time just as the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the conquering power of the Assyrian Empire. The people of the northern kingdom was unfaithful and were engrossed in wickedness and in the worship of the pagan gods. As such, they were handed over to the hands of their enemies and brought away as slaves and exiles from the lands promised and given to their ancestors.

Meanwhile, in the kingdom of Judah, the southern kingdom, the people of God there were also not always faithful. They also from time to time rebelled against the will of God, preferring to follow their own ways and disobeyed the Lord’s instructions. At the time of the prophet Isaiah, during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judea, the consequences for these were not so apparent yet, but then soon they too would suffer the same fate as their northern brethren, the kingdom of Israel.

They too would be defeated, conquered and exiled, as well as into slavery by the rising power of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, under the famous king Nebuchadnezzar, who brought siege to Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, and brought it to ruin. The Temple of Solomon was destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant was lost in the chaos. This represented the end of the southern kingdom of Judah and the rule of the kings as a whole, and also marked the beginning of what would be called the Babylonian exile.

During this period of exile, the people of Judah were also uprooted and cast away from the land promised and given to their ancestors, and brought in chains to the foreign lands. There they suffered indignation and much humiliation, and they were made to work hard and experienced the bitter pills of difficulties of the world for a period of time, when, according to the word of God through the prophets, that they were humbled among the nations.

Yet, God did not leave them alone with that fate for long. He promised them deliverance, precisely through the prophet Isaiah, that the King of Persia, Cyrus the Great, who conquered many kingdoms in the known world at that time, would conquer Babylon and then liberated all the people of God from their bondage and slavery, allowing them to return home to their ancestral lands of Israel, freed at last from their bonds and exile.

God called Cyrus from among the nations, and gave him His blessings and grace, even though he did not know Him. Such was the Lord’s will and plan, and how He put all of His desires and will into effect. He never retracted His promises, nor is He ever being unfaithful. He fulfilled His promises through Cyrus, who just like Moses, brought the people of God out of suffering, bondage and slavery into freedom and God’s renewed promise and covenant.

But at the time of Jesus, the nation of the Jews have endured many cycles of persecutions, oppressions and enslavement by other, more powerful nations, and the latest to be added to the list at the time was the Roman Empire, which ruled over most of the known world, and was known for the first regular and organised ruling imperium in the world, with a meticulous system of taxation, both to maintain control and to obtain revenue for the Roman state.

However, the imposition of taxes also represented the symbol of Roman dominance and mastery over the world, and over the peoples of the Mediterranean at the time, including the Jews, who lived in the Roman province of Judea, which constituted roughly the old Promised Land which they had been given, together with the provinces of Galilee and Decapolis.

The imposition of the taxes were hated and disliked by the people, who viewed them as first the symbol of their submission to the Romans and their Emperor, the Caesar in Rome, as well as the symbol of their renewed enslavement and the end of their freedom which they had often fought hard for and gained for. It also burdened them economically, and thus they were resented by the people as a whole. This was also why the tax collectors were so hated by the people, and they were considered outcasts and traitors, as they were seen as serving the hated Romans in imposing their hated taxes.

The Roman taxes were paid with the Roman currency, that is the Roman coins, most commonly the silver variant, the denarius. On the denarius, just as all the other Roman coins, the face portrait of the Emperor were printed, such that to the extent of the Romans and the peoples of the Empire recognised their Emperor by the coins they released.

This represented a problem, and a rather serious one, in the view of the Jews, as the Roman Emperors at the time, beginning with the Emperor Augustus, and even his pre-Imperial predecessor, Julius Caesar, were deified and worshipped in the Empire as gods or descendants of the gods. Thus, for the Jews, particularly to the Pharisees, the act of paying the taxes with the Roman coins represent a potentially dangerous and serious sin.

Yes, that is the offering to the idols, as equated by the ‘offering’ of the Roman coins with the Emperor’s portrait to the Empire, and thus to the Emperor himself, the deified entity, the pagan god patron of the Empire. Thus, the Pharisees and the elders of Israel wanted to trap Jesus with the question, and had He answered that they should pay the taxes, then they could whip up the masses’ opinion against Jesus and accuse Him of collaboration with the Romans, essentially a traitor to the nation.

On the other hand, if He had answered that they should not pay the taxes, then the Pharisees and the elders, with their links to the Roman establishment could claim that Jesus wanted to lead the people in rebellion against the Roman rule, by refusing to pay the taxes due for them. But Jesus knew all that they had plotted against Him with, and He gave them the answer which none of them had predicted.

Give to God what belongs to God, and give to the Caesar, the Emperor of Rome, what belongs to him, namely the coins and the wealth of the world. Jesus wanted to remind us, just as He wanted to rebuke His opponents, that the wealth and the materials of this world belong to the world and ought to be returned back to them. Thus, money and possessions that we have and gained in this life, is no more than the means for us to live a good and sufficient life, enough for us to sustain ourselves, but they should not be the focus of our life.

Yes, for God is the Creator of all of us, the most beloved ones of all His creations. We were made by God with love, given life by His Spirit and intended for greatness and goodness, and despite our waywardness and disobedience, in the end, we still belong to God, and nothing and noone can deny this very fact. Hence, whatever we are and whoever we are, we ought to give it to the Lord, as we truly belong to God and not to this world.

And hence, we should avoid all the evils of this world and keep ourselves pure, and the Lord had already warned against these sinful ways, namely the sins of the Pharisees, who preached what they believed in, but they did not practice what they had preached. That is why they were called hypocrites, and rightly so, for their faith in the Lord was superficial, and all that they cared about was their own vanity and pride.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what God wants from us is our love, that is what we ought to give to Him, after He Himself had loved us all first. We should also keep ourselves away from the vices and evils of the Pharisees. Think not about bringing harm and plotting against others, but think rather of love, and how we can better love one another, as well as forgiving those who had sinned against us, as Jesus Himself had taught us.

And today in our world, as it had been in the past, there are still many people who live in the darkness of the world, following the ways of the Pharisees and have yet to see the love of the Lord and have yet to understand His ways. And thus, today, in which we also celebrate the occasion of the Mission Sunday, we have to remind ourselves of the responsibilities and the obligations which we have been given by the Lord when we became the member of His Church.

God desires not the destruction of mankind, just as He did not desire the condemnation of His people, Israel. This was why He sent them deliverers, beginning from Moses and then Cyrus, and finally Jesus Himself, His own Son, the One who would deliver not just the Jews but all mankind from the greatest of their bondage and slavery.

Yes, all of us who have sinned and under the whim of sin are enslaved and bonded to sin. And the chains of sin that bind us will eventually and inevitably lead to death, the punishment and ultimate consequence for sin. And not just any death, but eternal death, which will separate us from the love of God, the suffering of hell for eternity, where we are completely and entirely devoid of that love which God lavishes on us.

We can just begin to imagine the kind of suffering when we lack and are denied the wonderful love which God has for us. The pain and suffering far dwarfs the kind of physical and mental suffering which the people in exile and slavery had suffered. And this is exactly what God does not want to happen to us, and thus He also sent His people more deliverers, and who are they? They are none other than each one of us, who have been received into His Church, and have been endowed with the faith.

Let me share with you the inspiring lives of the saints who we also commemorate today, that is St. Jacques Chastan and St. Isaac Jogues, as well as St. Paul of the Cross. For the case of St. Jacques Chastan and St. Isaac Jogues, they were French martyrs, who were part of the French missionaries, the Mission Estrangeres de Paris, the M.E.P. priests who were specialised in the missions to the far ends of the world, spreading the word of God to those who have yet to hear the Good News of the Lord.

St. Jacques Chastan was sent to the missions in Asia, to Thailand, then called Siam, and to Macao, and finally to Korea, where he met his death with faith, in a holy martyrdom. Through his works there and with the collaboration of many other missionaries, many souls were called to the Lord, and heeding the call of conversion, they gave themselves to be baptised and to be part of the Church of God.

The Korean authorities were strongly opposed to the efforts of the missionaries, and they did everything they could to prevent the spread of the faith. Many people, including St. Jacques Chastan were martyred in the defense of their true faith, refusing to renounce the faith and salvation which they had received. After all, when one had been liberated and delivered from slavery, who would want to be enslaved again? To do so would condemn oneself to an eternity of suffering.

Meanwhile, St. Isaac Jogues was a French missionary who was sent to the wild and undiscovered regions of North America, then known as the New World. He worked for the Lord among the many tribes of the North American indigenous populations. Life was indeed difficult for him, and the wars and conflicts between the tribes made it even more difficult. Nevertheless, St. Isaac Jogues persevered and continued to minister to them, spreading the Good News and converting many of them, urging them to abandon their old ways and learn the ways of the Lord.

St. Isaac Jogues was also martyred for his faith, while he was on his mission. He never gave up until the end, and as a result, together with him, many people who were enslaved by sin and darkness, were made free and gain salvation together in God. Such was the role model which actions we can and that we indeed should follow in life.

Lastly, St. Paul of the Cross, the Italian priest of the early modern era who was particularly devoted to the memory of the Holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the remembrance of that singular act of ultimate love of God, through which mankind were delivered from the chains and the tyranny of sin into true freedom. Through his works and devotion to the Holy Passion of our Lord, St. Paul of the Cross bring many of the faithful into greater and deeper understanding of their faith, and how all of us too have our own roles to play in helping one another to reach out to God’s salvation.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, heeding the call of the Lord which He had made through the Scriptures and the Gospels which we had heard today, let us all be renewed in our faith and zeal for the Lord. Let us all realise the great love which God has for all of us, that He does not want to see us remain chained to sin and darkness, and for that He had sent us Jesus, to be the One true Saviour of all, in the mould of Moses and Cyrus, but He did even greater things than these two had done.

Why so, brethren? That is because sin is a greater slavery than anything else that may affect our body. Sin enslaves both our body and soul, our heart and mind, and all that comprise us. And thus, through Christ, by believing in Him and in His love, and in His death on the cross, through which He showed us the act of ultimate love, offering Himself in exchange for us as a ransom for death, the consequence of our sins, we have been made free.

Hence, on this occasion of Mission Sunday, inspired by the examples of the saints whom we remember today, let us all also imitate the love which Christ had shown us, and let us imitate this love and show the same love in our own actions and deeds in life, that we may come to realise the great potential within us, and also in the many others who still live in darkness and sin.

May Almighty God bless us and our efforts, the missionary works which we ought to take on, in order to spread the Word of God and the Good News of the Gospels to all the nations, especially those still under the thrall of sin, so that we may truly be what Jesus had asked of us, to give to the Lord what belongs to Him, that is all of us, our hearts and our minds, our entire being. May God bring more and more souls to Him and rescue them, and free them from the shackles of sin and into the everlasting life in true joy which He had promised us all. God be with us, forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/17/sunday-19-october-2014-29th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-mission-sunday-and-memorial-of-st-john-de-brebeuf-and-st-isaac-jogues-priests-and-martyrs-and-st-paul-of-the-cross-priest-gospel-reading/

Second Reading : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/17/sunday-19-october-2014-29th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-mission-sunday-and-memorial-of-st-john-de-brebeuf-and-st-isaac-jogues-priests-and-martyrs-and-st-paul-of-the-cross-priest-second-reading/

First Reading : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/17/sunday-19-october-2014-29th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-mission-sunday-and-memorial-of-st-john-de-brebeuf-and-st-isaac-jogues-priests-and-martyrs-and-st-paul-of-the-cross-priest-first-reading/

Saturday, 4 October 2014 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of the famous and renowned saint of our Church, that is St. Francis of Assisi, the epitome and model of our faith, and the faithful servant of God, through whose works and legacies, he had brought countless souls into salvation in God, and through whose dedications and works he had become an example for countless more who followed and walked in his path.

He was the founder of the Franciscan order, or the Order of the Friars Minor, renowned for their brown coloured habit and dedication to simple life and poverty, entrusting everything to the Lord, giving it all to the Lord and abandoning all worldly possessions. He was also contributed to the founding of several other religious orders, and his works and dedications had truly profound effect on the Church and the faith as a whole, even until today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Francis of Assisi was himself once like us all, an ordinary man, the son of a wealthy and influential merchant, named Pietro di Bernardone at his birth, as the heir of his father’s fortune and business. He was educated and prepared for a life of glory and happiness, being well versed in the ways of the world and in all matters of finances.

However, St. Francis of Assisi, then known as Pietro, always had that emptiness in his heart, which he could not satisfy with what he had gained in the happy life he had, and in the privileged life he had been given by his father. And therefore, there began the new life journey of who would eventually become the holy man of Assisi, one of the greatest saints of the Universal Church.

He was praying in a rather dilapidated church building, when he heard a voice, from the Lord, saying to him to repair and rebuild His Church. The young Pietro Bernardone mistook this for the order to rebuild the dilapidated church building where he was praying in, and where he had heard the voice of God. As his father was a wealthy merchant dealing in precious goods such as silk trading, he took some of his father’s stock of silk, sold it and used the proceeds to pay for the repair work of the church.

The word of this action came to the knowledge of Pietro’s father, the rich merchant, who then confronted him on his actions. At this time, Pietro, having heard the call of the Lord had decided that the path of his life was not through what he had always been prepared to be, and he sought refuge at the local bishop’s residence at his cathedral.

The father of Pietro, the future St. Francis of Assisi, confronted the bishop and his son, contending and made noises over the amount of money and preparation he had given to his son and heir, and the supposedly humiliating action of his son, stealing and selling his goods and donating them to the Church. In response, St. Francis of Assisi took off all his clothes and possessions, and stood naked in front of the bishop, who then immediately covered him and protected him with his voluminous cope.

In that way therefore, Pietro Bernardone rejected the temptations of wealth and the world, giving up everything to follow the Lord, and began his journey of faith and suffering, to be who we know now as the holy St. Francis of Assisi, the great servant of God, and went to truly rebuild and strengthen the Church of God as God had once called him. He went from place to place, preaching about the Lord and growing ever stronger in faith, and in various occasions, he experienced various experiences of faith that further strengthened his devotion to the Lord.

St. Francis of Assisi also championed the faithful living of abandoning all forms of worldly attachments, and living in joyful poverty, in a life where everything he has belongs to the Lord, and where there is no need for worry, as everything will be taken care of by the Lord. St. Francis of Assisi thus established a new religious orders, now known famously as the Franciscans, after their founder, as a body to accommodate those who also desired to follow the Lord after the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

Like St. Pius of Pietrelcina, another famous Franciscan monk and priest, who had received the five wounds of Jesus, called the stigmata, St. Francis also received the holy wounds of Christ through the moment of euphoria and holy vision, where he received the honour to bear the five wounds that were also once on the feet and hands of the crucified Lord Jesus Christ. These wounds would bring him great suffering but also great joy until the end of his life just a few years later.

St. Francis of Assisi was known to be a holy and pious servant of God, and he was also exemplary in his life, loving all the people of God and he held great sincerity seeking to find a way to help bring the salvation of souls to as many souls as possible. St. Francis of Assisi was renowned for his prayer for peace, also known as the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, where he extolled the values blessed by the Lord in the Beatitudes, on those who championed peace and who are devoted to the Lord with all of their hearts.

And therefore, St. Francis of Assisi is truly a great role model which we can follow in this life, that in all of his actions and deeds, we hope that we may also follow in his footsteps and therefore, we may also share in the justification which he had attained. And we should also follow in the loving ways of St. Francis, whose love for all the creations of God, mankind and animals alike, that we truly can become epitome of love as he had indeed become.

And referring to the readings of the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels today, it is quite clear that God will reward all those who had believed in Him and remained true to Him in faith. To Job who remained faithful in his humility and obedience, He granted him great graces and blessings which He had bestowed once before, and then gave him even greater things, to the point that what Job had after his suffering was far greater than what he once had.

And Jesus also gave thanks to the Lord His Father for the faith and the good works which His disciples had on Him and which they had done in His Name. And He revealed the truth about Himself, and how blessed they were indeed, for the righteous and the faithful had indeed seen the Lord Himself in action. And thus, all of us here who are also faithful and true to our faith will be blessed with greatness and riches beyond all things.

Thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, following the example of St. Francis of Assisi and the other holy saints of God, let us all from now on excise from ourselves, from our hearts, our minds and our souls, the darkness and evils of this world, committing ourselves in the same manner as St. Francis of Assisi had done. It is not necessary that we ought to all abandon everything of possession and goodness as he had done, but what is important is that we try to imitate him in his actions and deeds, which reflected his standing as a pious servant of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith in the Lord, not just through empty words or superficial application of faith, but through a dedicated and real devotion reflected in our actions and deeds, so that we may indeed be generous with our love, be caring for one another, especially those who are poor, sick and weak. Let us be peacemakers in this world, abandoning the ways of violence and hatred, and instead follow the path of love and justice.

May Almighty God help and guide us in this endeavour, that in all the things we do we may become ever more and more faithful and devoted to the ways of the Lord in the same way as St. Francis of Assisi had done. May He guide us all, that we may become justified through our loving actions, filled with faith, hope and love. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 1 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded yet again on the importance of understanding the will and the nature of God, and how He worked His wonders and good works in our lives, learning to trust more of His love and kindness and casting away from our hearts all forms of prejudice, bias, judgmental attitude and self-righteousness.

We mankind are all prone to all of these, as we have been created with much abilities and gifts given to us. Among all of creations, we are special in that we have such an intellect and ability to discern the right and the wrong, partly because our ancestors committed sin by eating the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In that, we all are aware of the things around us and we are able to discern, but because our intellect, the human intellect, and our human wisdom are not divine in nature, what we have in us, in our minds are limited and flawed by its nature. That is how we fall into the trap of prejudice, bias and judgmental attitude towards others, thinking that we are righteous over other peoples, and in our selfishness, which is part of our nature, we condemn and judge others based on our own standards.

It is common for us to look at someone and judge them based on their character, on what we observed from them, in terms of what clothes they are wearing, what accessories they are wearing, and what company of friends and background someone has. We judge others based on what we observe from them, and we tend to look at the exterior, on appearances to make our judgments, and once we have judged, it is hard for us to remove that bias and prejudice from our minds.

The same happened to Jesus, who went to His own hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. He went there to continue doing the good works He had done during His ministry in this world to fulfill and accomplish the long promised salvation for the people of God, the Messiah and Saviour who had eventually come to bring all of His people into a new life in harmony with God and His will.

Yet, as we all know, Jesus among men were seen as a mere carpenter’s son, the son of a simple and humble yet hardworking carpenter named Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus, and through this, became His foster-father. Yet, the people even when presented with the truth, that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and the Son of God, and Joseph was His foster-parent refused to change their bias and prejudice, choosing to reject Him rather than listening to His truth.

Why is this so? Because every men are by nature selfish and they are always concerned about themselves and their own self-preservation. This is our nature, and it is not easy to change unless through a determined effort and understanding of the teachings which Jesus had passed down to us. Those people in Nazareth must be thinking, that how is this Son of a humble and simple carpenter, a noteworthy job and yet one that did not bring about much respect due to its low position in the hierarchy of the society, can be the Messiah.

They thought not in divine terms but in the terms of men and the world. They judged Jesus for His supposed simple and low-rank birth to a carpenter and from there they developed the prejudice that prevented them from truly listening to the words which Jesus had to say. And this did not happen to just Jesus, as many of the prophets as mentioned also suffered the same fate, rejected especially by those who knew them and those who shared their homes with these prophets.

We always like to presume that we know it all, and we know all about those around us by just looking at them and we judge them based on how they look and how they act in the society. And Jesus wanted to tell us that this attitude is wrong. We must never be judgmental to others as we too can be judged if we judge others. And that we should look deeper and not just be focused on the appearances, but also on what are inside a person’s hearts and minds.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our own lives, on whether we have done what the people of Nazareth had done, in prejudicing and in being judgmental against others. Let us all change our ways if we had done so, and become better children and servants of our Lord. Let us stop our selfishness and judgmental attitudes, and from there let us all instead work together with one another, so that we may live in harmony and love together, and love sincerely and love tenderly.

May Almighty God be with us, guide us on our way, and strengthen the love and faith which He had planted in our hearts, awakening in us the desire to love one another and to love our God, our Lord and Creator, He who also loves us so much that He gave us Jesus, His Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer. God bless us all. Amen.