Thursday, 24 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Mary, Help of Christians, Our Lady of Sheshan, World Day of Prayer for the Church in China (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mary, Help of Christians)

Mark 9 : 41-50

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ and bear His Name, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward. If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck.”

“If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand, than with two hands to go to hell, to the fire that never goes out. And if your foot makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot, than with both feet to be thrown into hell.”

“And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out! It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, keeping both eyes, to be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them never die, and the fire never goes out. The fire itself will preserve them.”

“Salt is a good thing; but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.”

Thursday, 24 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Mary, Help of Christians, Our Lady of Sheshan, World Day of Prayer for the Church in China (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mary, Help of Christians)

Psalm 48 : 14-15ab, 15cde-16, 17-18, 19-20

This is the fate of people trusting themselves, the future of those who rely on their strength. Like sheep led to the grave, they have death, as their shepherd and ruler.

Quickly, their form will be consumed in the world of the dead, which is their home. But God will rescue my soul from the grave by receiving me unto Himself.

Fear not, when someone grows rich, when his power becomes oppressively great; for nothing will he take when he dies; his wealth and pomp he will leave behind.

Though he praised himself in his lifetime, “All will say that I have enjoyed life,” he will join the generation of his forebears, who will never again see the light.

Thursday, 24 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Mary, Help of Christians, Our Lady of Sheshan, World Day of Prayer for the Church in China (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mary, Help of Christians)

James 5 : 1-6

So, now, for what concerns the rich, cry and weep, for the misfortunes that are coming upon you. Your riches are rotting, and your clothes, eaten up by the moths. Your silver and gold have rusted, and their rust grows into a witness against you. It will consume your flesh, like fire, for having piled up riches, in these, the last days.

You deceived the workers who harvested your fields, but, now, their wages cry out to the heavens. The reapers’ complaints have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You lived in luxury and pleasure in this world, thus, fattening yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have easily condemned, and killed the innocent since they offered no resistance.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God, reminding us through the Scriptures, that all of us as Christians must live with God at the centre and the focus of our lives. All of us must live in such way as if God is truly indispensable and He must be the very reason for all of our actions, words and deeds. Otherwise, it is easy for us to fall into the temptations of the devil.

That was what we heard from the Epistle of St. James, our first reading today. St. James in his Epistle mentioned how we tend to seek things that satisfy our greed and desire for worldly matters, for riches of the world, for wealth and influence, and for all those that distract us from from keeping our attention solely on God alone. That was why the disciples were in fact jealous that there was another person who were teaching in the Name of the Lord.

They were afraid that the man would become a rival in to them in the effort to bring the Good News and teaching the people of the faith and truth of God. That was the reason why they reported and complained about the man’s action to the Lord Jesus. But I am sure all of them were surprised the moment they heard how the Lord reacted and replied to them.

Instead of supporting their thoughts and complaints, they were rebuked by the Lord Who told them off for their attitude and their refusal to allow God’s works to be done even by others who were outside of their group. The Lord said that as long as they did their works for the purpose of the greater glory of God, they were serving God faithfully and were good in God’s sight.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where we really need to reevaluate our own lives and think about our own actions, words and deeds in the light of what we have just heard mentioned in the lives and the works of the Apostles of the Lord. In truth, how many of us have done something similar in our own lives?

How many of us are jealous at others just because we see others who are as good as or even better than us? How many of us want to be praised and honoured for our actions and deeds? And how many of us like to claim credit for ourselves? This is exactly why we have sinned, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we succumb to the temptations of the devil. We have to realise just how vulnerable we are to his attacks.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that the devil is always ever ready to strike at us when we are least prepared to face or resist his advances. He knows very well how he can snatch us from God and from His saving grace. He indulges in our pride, our ego, our greed and desires, by making us so full of ourselves and our ego. As a result, we become self-centred and selfish in our actions.

As Christians, we cannot let this happen to us. Instead, we have to actively resist the temptations that the devil present to us, all the time. We must also put God at the centre of our lives, and learn to be rid of our pride and ego. These are obstacles through which the devil is trying very hard to prevent us from ever reaching the salvation of God. Therefore, all of us should be ever humbler, the wiser and greater we are.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray therefore, that each and everyone of us will grow ever stronger in faith in God, that we may come to be more dedicated and closer to Him. Let us all beginning from our respective lives, do what the Lord had commanded us to do, that as Christians, we love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and to the very best of our abilities, and do the same towards all those who are around us.

May the Lord bless each and every one of us, and may He strengthen us all in faith, and draw us ever closer to Himself, day after another in our renewed striving for holiness. Amen.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 38-40

At that time, John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone who drove out demons by calling upon Your Name, and we tried to forbid him, because he does not belong to our group.”

Jesus answered, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My Name can soon after speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 48 : 2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11

Hear this, all you peoples! Listen, all you inhabitants of the world, high and low together, rich and poor alike!

Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers ring me round – those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?

For no ransom avails for one’s life; there is no price one can give to God for it. For redeeming one’s life demands too high a price, and all is lost forever. Who can remain forever alive and never see the grave?

For we see that the wise die, and pass away like the fool and the stupid, leaving to others their fortune and wealth.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 4 : 13-17

Listen now, you who speak like this, “Today or tomorrow we will go off to this city and spend a year there; we will do business and make money.”

You have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? No more than a mist, which appears for a moment and then disappears. Instead of this, you should say, “God willing, we will live and do this or that.”

But no! You boast of your plans : this brazen pride is wicked. Anyone who knows what is good, and does not do it, sins.