Thursday, 21 November 2019 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. On this occasion we recall the moment when Mary as she was presented to God at the Temple of God in Jerusalem at the time of her birth. On this day we commemorate that moment when Joachim and Anna, Mary’s parents brought her before God and dedicated her to the Lord.

And on this day therefore, we remember how at that time, the Lord has chosen Mary to be the instrument of His salvation and work in delivering all of His people from their fated destruction. The Lord has made her to be special, the Immaculate Conception, free by the grace and will of God from all the taints and bonds of original sin, so that she would be worthy of becoming the Vessel of God’s Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

On that day, Mary was presented to the Lord, offered to Him and dedicated to Him, to the holy and yet challenging life that she would have to endure and go through. That was the beginning of the mission which Mary was to take up, as eventually the Archangel Gabriel came to her and revealed to her the Good News of God’s salvation. And it was then that Mary accepted her role fully and obeyed God’s will perfectly.

By what Mary had done, through her dedication and commitment to the Lord, her thorough obedience to the will of God even if that meant suffering and pain for her, especially when she had to see her own Son, Our Lord and Saviour being rejected, humiliated and condemned to die by the leaders and elders of her own people, we can see what being a true Christian is all about, in giving her all for the sake of the Lord.

That was what the Lord Jesus Himself had said in our Gospel passage today, when He spoke of how those who obey the will of God and followed His commandments faithfully are those whom He considered to be His mother, His brothers and His sisters, essentially to be part of His own beloved family. And He made this remark not out of disrespect of His mother, unlike what some would have misunderstood, but rather, in fact, He highlighted His mother’s own virtues and good examples.

It is what each and every one of us are therefore called to do today as we recall the memory of the Presentation of Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Lord and God. The Lord is calling on us to follow His mother’s own good examples, her purity and her faith, her commitment to the Lord’s wishes and her total obedience and surrender in allowing herself to be the instrument through which God made evident and real His salvation.

Mary is indeed our perfect role model, the one whom we should look up to in how we should live up to our lives. She is the bright star of faith that we should be following as the saying goes indeed, ‘to the Lord Jesus through Mary, His mother’. By following Mary, all of us can find our path towards the Lord better, even amidst the many challenges, obstacles and trials that we may have to face in this journey of faith.

Let us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, dedicate and present ourselves before the Lord, and let us all grow ever stronger in our faith in Him, in the love which we all should have for Him and in the hope that we should always put in Him. Let us all be ever more courageous in living our lives with genuine faith and may God continue to bless us all, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 21 November 2019 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Thursday, 21 November 2019 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Thursday, 21 November 2019 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.”

The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again. Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Thursday, 14 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us all of the coming of the kingdom of God as the readings take a more apocalyptic nature through these last few weeks of our current liturgical year. It is a timely reminder for us all to reflect on our respective lives all these while, how we have lived them in faith or in lack of faith. We should make use of the opportunities that God has given us all these while.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the signs and warnings that the Lord presented to the Pharisees and to the people whom He taught, of the coming of the time of reckoning and the arrival of the kingdom of God. He presented to them the revelation of God’s truth and reminded the people to open their hearts and minds to welcome the Lord openly and to prepare themselves for His coming.

In this occasion, the Lord reminds His people to trust in Him, to welcome His Wisdom into their hearts, into our hearts and minds. We should not allow pride and our own prejudices, our own judgments and our own power to be barriers and obstacles in preventing us from trusting and believing in God. That was exactly what happened to the Pharisees and the elders of the Israelites who hardened themselves and refused to believe in the Lord and in His revelation of truth.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, the elders and the chief priests in the Sanhedrin often argued that the Lord Jesus could not have been the Messiah of God, because He appeared to do things that were contrary to their own interpretation of the Law. However, in truth, that was because they have also been mistaken in their understanding and interpretation of the Law, and based their judgment on their flawed understanding and wisdom.

They looked highly on themselves as the guardians of knowledge and the precepts of the Law, as those who were highly educated and knowledgeable about many things, and as a result therefore, looked down frequently on all those whom they deemed to be inferior to them in status, ability, education, knowledge, influence and many other things. They saw themselves as being the indispensable ones who were needed for the survival of the state.

That was why they hardened their hearts and often opposed the Lord and His works as they saw Him as a great threat and rival to their own influence, authority and power. They were also prejudiced by the fact that the Lord and His disciples came from Galilee, an impoverished and backward region on the outskirts of the Jewish community at that time. They saw that most of His disciples were relatively uneducated unlike themselves, and thus correspondingly looked down on them.

They therefore trusted in their own understanding and flawed knowledge and comprehension of God and His plans and truth. Rather than putting their trust in God’s Wisdom, they rather proudly believe in their own supposedly superior intellectual abilities as compared to the rest of the people. That is why they were so stubborn and why they were not able to have faith despite having the knowledge of the faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let this be a reminder to all of us not to be tempted by the pride and desires in our hearts, and let us all seek to be humble instead before the Lord, opening our hearts and minds to Him and asking Him to be present in us, and guiding us so that we may find the path to His saving grace and righteousness. May God continue to be with us and be with us throughout our journey in life. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 14 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”

Thursday, 14 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175

O YHVH, Your word stands forever, firmly fixed in the heavens.

Your faithfulness lasts throughout the ages – as long as the earth You created.

Your ordinances last to this day, for all things are made to serve You.

As Your words unfold, light is shed, and the simple-hearted understand.

Favour me with Your smile and teach me Your statutes.

Long may I live, to sing Your praise, may Your ordinances always be my help!