Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the last day of our current liturgical year, as is the norms for the Scripture readings taken for these period of time, we always heard about the coming of the end of days, when the devil would amount one last attempt to destroy God’s people and to persecute all the faithful through the means of force, gathering all the forces of the wicked one last time against God and His majesty.

The four great beasts that arose symbolised the powers of this world, the princes and lieutenants of the evil one, and the last of which is the great enemy himself, the devil, Lucifer, once the greatest and mightiest of the angels and creations of the Lord, but who had fallen far in his pride, vanity and greed to be a great demon and destroyer of the world, known by us now as Satan.

And daily, every single day of our lives, Satan and his forces, his fellow fallen angels are battling our guardian angels, the angels sent to protect us, for the sake of our souls, that they may corrupt them and bring us down into damnation together with them in the eternal fire. As he was not able to ascend above the angels of God and seize the throne of God, thus, Satan is filled with hatred and jealousy against all of us, who are God’s most beloved and favoured ones.

And he had attempted many times to bring all of us down with him, beginning from when he seduced our first forefathers into sin, by disobeying the Lord and thus sundered from the love and grace He had given them, and by that, he subjected mankind to himself and to his dominion through sin and evil. And through sin he manipulated mankind that many souls fell into his prey.

He introduced to us many forms of wickedness and sins of this world, engaging us in leisurely and pleasurable pursuits of the flesh, in acts that are against God’s will and in things that distract us and keep us away from being able to understand the truth about how wicked we have become, and how far we have gone astray from the salvation and eternal life in God.

We have to remember the examples of those who lived during the time of Noah, when the Great Flood came to destroy all forms of life and civilisations of those who had been deemed wicked by the Lord. Those people enjoyed life and acted as if God did not exist, and they did not obey the Lord’s commandments and laws but instead following their own hearts’ desires.

And there was indeed no warning to them save for the works of Noah who built the great Ark to save the living animals and beings as instructed by the Lord, and those who ignored the signs shown by the Lord, seeking their repentance surely would have regretted it in hell, when the great flood and rain came to eradicate all of them from existence, and cleanse the earth from their wickedness.

This is a reminder to all of us, to always be ready and be vigilant of all things around us, that we will always guard our thoughts, our words and actions, so that in all things, we will not go against the Lord and we will always walk in His ways faithfully. We must not have the thoughts that we have all the time we need, and as long as we atone in the end, the Lord will forgive us our sins and absolve us into eternal life.

Remember, that Jesus had repeatedly made it clear that His coming again will not come announced and predictable. He will not make His coming known and He can just appear again at any time in accordance with His will. And if His coming, like that of a thief, catch us all unprepared, certainly we will not want ourselves to end up on the wrong side of the Lord’s judgment.

On the day of judgment, God will separate the people and everything into two sides, namely those who have been faithful to Him and walked in His ways, and those who have not been obedient to Him. Those whom He had rejected will have no hope for salvation and no hope for escape from the eternal damnation and the eternal fire that awaits them, to punish them for eternity. We certainly do not want to be caught amongst these condemned ones.

Instead, we all should from now on, from this very moment onwards, strive to do our best in following God in all of His ways. Let us no longer be selfish or greedy in our actions, but learn to do our best in loving each other, caring for the poor, the sick and the dying, and let all of our words and deeds be filled with love, so that when our Lord comes again, He will see the righteousness in us and bless us. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Luke 21 : 34-36

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “Be on your guard, do not immerse yourselves in a life of pleasure, drunkenness and worldly cares, lest that day catch you unaware, like a trap! For, like a snare, will that day come upon all the inhabitants of the earth.”

“But watch at all times and pray, that you may be able to escape all that is going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Daniel 3 : 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87

All people on earth, praise and exalt Him forever.

Israel, praise and exalt Him forever.

Priests of the Lord, praise and exalt Him forever.

Servants of the Lord, praise and exalt Him forever.

Spirits and souls of the just, praise and exalt Him forever.

Those who are holy and humble of heart, praise and exalt Him forever.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Daniel 7 : 15-27

I, Daniel, was deeply troubled, since these visions terrified me. I approached one of those who were standing there, and asked him to tell me what all this meant. He answered me and gave me the interpretation of these things :

“These four beasts are four kings who will rise from the earth. But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom to possess it eternally, forever and ever.” Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, different from the others, extraordinarily terrifying, with iron teeth and bronze claws, that ate, and tore into pieces and crushed underfoot whatever remained.

I also wanted to know about the ten horns it had on its head, and about the other horn which had sprung up, and the three first horns that fell, and about this horn with eyes and a mouth that spoke with arrogance, and that looked greater than the other horns.

As I looked, this horn waged war against the holy ones and was subduing them until the One of Great Age came to do justice for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came for the holy ones to take possession of the kingdom.

Then I was told : “The fourth animal shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the kingdoms. It will devour the earth, crush it and destroy it. The ten horns are ten kings who shall rise from this kingdom. Another one will rise up after them and destroy three kings.”

“This king shall insult the Most High and persecute the holy ones of the Most High. He shall try to change the feasts and the laws. The holy ones shall be handed over to his power for a time, two times, and half a time.”

“But judgment will come and dominion will be taken from him; he shall be destroyed and utterly wiped out. The kingship, dominion and leadership of all the kingdoms of the world shall be given to the people of the holy ones of God Most High : His kingdom will be without end. All the kingdoms shall serve Him and be subject to Him.”

Friday, 27 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s reading at the ending of the current liturgical year gave us all an insight of the time that is to come, even as it had been foreseen by the prophet Daniel in his vision of the Lord. He saw the vision of the four great and terrible beasts, all of which were filled with hatred and blasphemy against the Lord our God. In this we see a message of hope amidst the darkness that is to come.

The same vision would be repeated once again to the Apostle St. John in Patmos, when he was exiled to that island. St. John also saw the vision of the end times, of the things and events that will come upon the world, and against the faithful, as he saw those great beasts of the Apocalypse, filled with the blaspheming words and curses against the Lord God of all creations.

These are the forces that the devil, the great enemy had marshalled against God and His faithful people, using all the might, power and dominion he had, and through his lieutenants, the Antichrist and all the chief princes of demons and the fallen angels. And he has tried for all time in order to bring mankind to their downfall, and although he had been thwarted by Christ Himself through His sacrifice on the cross, the devil will mount one last effort to destroy all of God’s faithful ones.

That will be a time of difficulties and challenges once again for us faithful, as our forefathers in faith have tasted during the persecutions and great persecutions against them by first the Jews and then the Romans. And throughout time, continuing persecutions remind us again and again, as the signs of the time to come, just as Jesus warned His disciples in our Gospel reading today.

But we should not be afraid or fearful, and we should not be hesitant to follow the Lord just because of the opposition that is ahead of us, as this is a common obstacle for us men, that whenever we face such an obstacle, we stop and no longer do what is asked or expected of us, because we are thinking of preserving and saving ourselves first.

As what the prophet Daniel had seen, the Lord deals with the beasts and destroys them as they deserved. The dominion of the beasts are ended, and God gives succour to His faithful ones. This is a reminder of the time to come, that the Lord Who has promised that He will come again, will come to destroy the wicked, the devil and all of his accomplices, and throw all these into the eternal fire.

As great as the power and the might that those demons possess, they are nothing compared to the might and the greatness of the Lord. Their powers and their hold on us are illusory and temporary, and God Who loves us all will not certainly let us to be continuously under the dominion of these demons and dark beings. And thus He will definitely also not allow us to continue to suffer under the persecutions by the world, and He will deliver us from our troubles.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what we have to realise is that the ways of this world is often diametrically opposite of what the Lord had taught us to do, and even though the whole world may be against us but if we keep up the faith, the Lord Who sees our faith and commitment to Him will not fail to reward us. Jesus Himself had reminded His disciples, and therefore all of us, that to follow Him means to carry our own crosses, the crosses of suffering, and of discipline in our deeds and behaviours, that in all things we always give glory to God.

Let us all commit ourselves ever more to the Lord, and in all of our actions and deeds, let us always proclaim the glory of God, by loving one another sincerely and tenderly, and let us all in everything always bear the love of God with us, so that all who see us will know that God dwells in us, and that we belong to Him, and that nothing can separate us from the love which God has for us. God be with us always, now and forever. Amen.

Friday, 27 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 21 : 29-33

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, adding this comparison, “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as their buds sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.”

“Truly, I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all this has happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

Friday, 27 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Daniel 3 : 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81

Mountains and hills, praise and exalt Him forever.

Everything that sprouts on the earth, praise and exalt Him forever.

Springs of water, praise and exalt Him forever.

Seas and rivers, praise and exalt Him forever.

Whales and fishes, praise and exalt Him forever.

All the birds of heaven, praise and exalt Him forever.

Animals wild and tame, praise and exalt Him forever.

Friday, 27 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Daniel 7 : 2-14

Daniel said, “I saw the following in my vision : the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea, and four great beasts, each one different from the other, came out from the sea.”

“The first was like a lion with eagle’s wings. As I looked at it, its wings were torn off. It was lifted up from the ground, stood up on its feet like a man, and was given a human heart. The second was a beast like a bear; it was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told : Go and devour much flesh.”

“I went on looking and saw another beast like a leopard with four wings on its back; it had four heads and dominion was given to it. I continued seeing my visions of the night and saw a terrible fourth beast. It was fearful and extraordinarily strong; it had great iron teeth; it ate, tore into pieces, and crushed underfoot whatever remained. It was different from the previous beasts and had ten horns.”

“I was looking at the horns, when another small horn sprang among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots to make way for the new. It had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that uttered insolent words.”

“I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white as snow, His hair white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.”

“Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. But as I remembered the haughty words of the horn with human eyes and mouth which I had seen before, this animal was killed before my eyes, and its body destroyed and cast into the fire. Dominion was taken from the other animals, though they were allowed to stay alive for a time, until the fixed time.”

“I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of Heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.”

Thursday, 26 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard yet again the opposition that came against the faithful servants of God, as exemplified by the prophet Daniel, the servant of God in Babylonia and Persia, who had gained the favour of the Persian king Darius and his predecessors, but who had also gained the enmity and opposition by those who disliked and resented his piety and faith to the one and only True God.

Daniel did not fear these enemies and the persecutions they threatened against him. And even though they in their machinations and schemings managed to get Daniel to be punished and thrown into the lion’s den, he continued to believe and to have complete faith in the Lord Who had guided him and protected him and his friends for all those while.

And in the end, God protected him and prevented the lion from even touching him at all, even the hungry lions would not open their mouths against the faithful servant of the Lord. And the machinations and works of the enemies of the Lord were undone, as they were instead then thrown into the lion’s den in the place of Daniel, and they were immediately swallowed whole by the lions.

In the Gospel today, our Lord Jesus spoke about the coming days of trouble, difficulties, persecutions and challenges against all those who profess the faith in the Lord, and all those who faithfully keep His laws and commandments. And great calamities indeed would come to engulf the faithful, their lands and their societies, with those pagans and godless ones persecuting those who have their faith in the one and only True God.

If we look at all these, surely many of us would be afraid and daunted, in what we are to expect if we remain true and faithful to our Lord. No one naturally prefer to have suffering and pain over enjoyment, pleasure and good things, but this is the fate we are to suffer if we remain faithful in the Lord, and all for a good reason, that is because this world and its ways are most often directly in opposition to the ways and laws of the Lord our God.

Therefore, this is why the Lord reminded us of the fact of this suffering that would come when we walk in His path and continued to go on to reach out to His salvation. The devil that has been given the dominion over this world does not want us to be saved, and he wishes for us to suffer together with him in eternal damnation in hell, and the way to do so, is by tempting us to sin and to fall into the eternal darkness.

And there are many ways that the devil and his fallen angels can do in order to tempt us, by making the path towards damnation and eternal suffering more acceptable and preferable for us, by showing the false lies and false promises of pleasures and good life, which in fact was the vileness of gluttony, pride, greed and many other wicked things abominable in the sight and in the presence of God.

Remember that our Lord Jesus Himself on another occasion had said that all those who labour and are heavily burdened should come and seek Him? He said it so because in Him, those who have laboured hard will find rest, that is real, genuine and true rest that cannot be found elsewhere. His yoke is light and His loving hands and heart are always with us.

He has promised us that He will come again one day, in order to judge the world and all of creation, and He will gather all of His faithful ones to Him, while casting out and rejecting all those who are wicked and those who had not walked according to His ways into the eternal damnation in hell. God will not abandon all of His faithful ones, but instead, He will bring us all into the eternal life and into life ever blessed in the glory of Heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 26 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 21 : 20-28

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that the time has come when it will be reduced to a wasteland. If you are in Judea, flee to the mountains! If you are in Jerusalem, leave! If you are outside the city, do not enter it!”

“For these will be the days of its punishment, and all that was announced in the Scriptures will be fulfilled. How hard will it be for pregnant women, and for mothers with babies at the breast! For a great calamity will come upon the land, and wrath upon this people. They will be put to death by the sword, or taken as slaves to other nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the pagans, until the time of the pagans is fulfilled.”

“Then there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations, perplexed when they hear the roaring of the sea and its waves. People will faint with fear at the mere thought of what is to come upon the world, for the forces of the universe will be shaken. Then, at that time, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

“So, when you see things begin to happen, stand erect and lift up your heads, for your deliverance is drawing near.”