Monday, 27 October 2014 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 13 : 10-17

At that time, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years, so that she could not straighten up at all.

On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” Then He laid His hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight and praised God.

But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant, because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day, and he said to the people, “There are six days in which to work. Come on those days to be healed, and not on the Sabbath!”

But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath, and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?”

When Jesus said this, all His opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonderful things that happened because of Him.

 

Homily and Reflections : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/26/monday-27-october-2014-30th-week-of-ordinary-time-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 7 September 2014 : 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 13 : 8-10

Do not be in debt to anyone. Let this be the only debt of one to another : Love. The one who loves his or her neighbour fulfilled the Law.

For the commandments : Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not covet and whatever else are summarised in this one : You will love your neighbour as yourself.

Love cannot do the neighbour any harm; so love fulfills the whole Law.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue what we had heard from the previous day’s theme on the sins and corruptions of the Pharisees and the elders of the people of Israel. The seven woes of the Pharisees as they are known, are highlighted in today’s Gospel, with Jesus continuing to rebuke these vile and corrupt leaders who brought their people into destruction.

It was greatly stressed, the importance of walking and doing the faith, and not just merely concerned about the externalities and the formalities of the Law, but also the teachings and the ways of the Lord must be lived within the soul, heart and mind, so that in all things, we may truly be representing the Lord to all those who see us, who hear us and who witness our actions and deeds in all things.

Indeed, the fundamentals of the Law of God are justice, mercy and faith as Jesus had said. The Pharisees, the scribes and the teachers of the Law are too preoccupied on the external applications and details of the Law so as to forget the true meaning and purpose of those laws in the first place. Rather than trusting in God and His truth revealed in Jesus, they persecuted the faithful and rejected He who came to save His people, preferring to trust in men, in their own power and wisdom than in the wisdom and truth of the Lord.

Why justice? Because the Law of God is indeed just, and it was not crafted to torture or make the lives of men difficult. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law continued on the expansions and the increasingly difficult application of the Law of God as revealed through Moses. In the Torah, the first Book of our Bible, also known as the Pentateuch, scattered through the Book of the Exodus, Leviticus, Number and Deuteronomy, are the laws of God given to Moses.

However, over the centuries and over time, the interpretation of these laws had become very rigid and extremely punitive in nature. The Lord Himself did not intend for these to be punitive and harmful in nature, but instead these were meant to lead the people of God to have a good discipline in life, particularly in the matter of their faith, so that they would always stick to the right paths in life. We know from our reading of those same Books, how unfaithful and difficult the people of Israel could be, both during their forty years journey and when they were already dwelling in the Promised Land.

But this should not become the kind of interpretation which the Pharisees had done to the laws, which ended up as a kind of leash and prison to the faithful who were forced to endure the numerous observations which apparently numbered as many as six hundred and thirteen laws, rules and regulations. Many of these observations ended up in the Pharisees abusing their authority and oppressing the people, losing the true meaning and intention of the Law.

And then, the Law is also about mercy. The Pharisees were so utterly convinced in their actions and deeds, that they believed that they were alone the most righteous and greatest among the people of God, as the only ones on whom the Lord cast His favour on. They believed that because they did as they had done, they were allowed to do what they thought was right on others, to the point of abusing others and casting judgments on others.

Remember what they did when the faced the man who was born blind and then was cured by Jesus? The Pharisees and elders of Israel tried to discredit the good works and miracles of Jesus, and when they failed to do so, they cursed and blamed the man who was born blind and healed, and they called him cursed and sinner, since the day he was born, a truly preposterous and horrible action indeed, one that is unworthy of these supposedly pious servants of God.

The Pharisees also condemned the woman who committed adultery, arguing that because she committed sin she deserved to die according to the Law. However, Jesus thought otherwise, and He highlighted the important of forgiveness and mercy, as the way for salvation. The Law was truly intended to guide mankind back to the Lord, so that the Lord might exercise His mercy, rather than punishing them.

And lastly, the Law is also about faith. This is not superficial and superfluous faith of the Pharisees who were concerned mostly with their own faith and their own piety, for the praise of the people rather than to help one another into salvation through faith. The Law must be obeyed with understanding and true sincerity and desire, or otherwise, it will do no good to us at all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect together on this, let us all together help one another to grow in our faith and devotion to the Lord, and also in our love towards our fellow men, which also means love among ourselves. Let us not be discouraged or be distracted by the devil and his tricks and lies. Rather, let us all continue to believe in God and seek to understand further the power of His love. God bless us all and may we continue to obey His love with full understanding. Amen.

Monday, 16 June 2014 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 38-42

You have heard that it was said : An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this : do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give him your coat as well.

If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give when asked, and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 20-26

I tell you then, if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to our people in the past : “Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial.”

But now I tell you : whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or a sister deserves to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or a sister “Fool!” deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell. So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God.

Do not forget this : be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.

Sunday, 16 February 2014 : 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 17-37

Do not think that I have come to annul the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to annul them but to fulfill them. I tell you this : as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or dot in the Law will change until all is fulfilled.

So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven.

I tell you then, if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to our people in the past : Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial.

But now I tell you : whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister deserves to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or a sister “Fool!” deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell.

So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God.

Do not forget this : be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.

You have heard that it was said : Do not commit adultery. But I tell you this : anyone who looks at a woman too lustfully has in fact already committed adultery with her in his heart. So, if your right eye causes you to sin, pull it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell.

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell.

It was also said : Anyone who divorces his wife, must give her a written notice of divorce. But what I tell you is this : If a man divorces his wife, except in the case of unlawful union, he causes her to commit adultery. And the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

You have also heard that people were told in the past : Do not break your oath; and oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this : do not take oaths. Do not swear by the heavens, for they are God’s throne, nor by the earth, because it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.

Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. Say yes when you mean yes, and say no when you mean no. Anything else you say comes from the devil.

 

Alternative Reading (shorter version)

 

Matthew 5 : 20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37

I tell you then, if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to our people in the past : Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial. But now I tell you : whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial.

You have heard that it was said : Do not commit adultery. But I tell you this : anyone who looks at a woman too lustfully has in fact already committed adultery with her in his heart.

You have also heard that people were told in the past : Do not break your oath; and oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this : do not take oaths. Say yes when you mean yes, and say no when you mean no. Anything else you say comes from the devil.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom comes from God, and God alone. We mankind may try our best many times to try to understand the Lord, but most likely we will not even get half of it right. Our feeble human understanding and knowledge cannot hope to comprehend the mind of the Lord, who knows everything and has His plans for everything.

It is human pride that often stands in the way of receiving true wisdom and knowledge from the Lord, and it is human arrogance that often prevent us from understanding God’s true meaning and purpose for all of us. The result being that we misinterpreted the true desire of the Lord, and in our state of misinterpretation and confusion, we fail to do the things that the Lord truly wants from each one of us.

In our pride and arrogance in our human knowledge and intellect too, we have missed the point in serving the Lord, instead of serving Him with love and making Him more available to all, we tend to limit Him and prevent Him from being known by all, through our own lacking interpretation of His will and His laws. We assumed wisdom when we actually have none, because we trust in ourselves rather than in God.

Jesus criticised one of those assumed wisdom, as He brought the people to a clearer understanding of God’s will and desire for us. That was precisely just like king Solomon sharing his wisdom with the Queen of Sheba who praised him for his great wisdom, and in Jesus, there is something greater than Solomon, for while the wisdom of Solomon came from God, Jesus is Himself God.

Jesus revealed that while the Jews followed a rather strict dietary law, today called the kosher law, and something similar was mimicked by the Muslims who followed a different yet similar set of dietary law, with its set of allowed and prohibited food items, that these laws are truly obsolete and unnecessary. And following these laws do not make anybody righteous or condemned in any way.

By common sense it is indeed true, even in terms of our own simple intelligence. Sometimes, there is more truth in simple thoughts rather than complex ones. Food that goes into our mouth indeed goes through our body and then is passed out as waster through the other end, and the same happens to whatever we drink and consume into our bodies.

In no way indeed, for us all who knows about the science of how our body works, that these food affect anything other than our body functions and our digestive system in particular. Whether the food is allowed or forbidden has no bearing on our faith or our worthiness before God, and it is indeed foolish to think that eating good and allowed food makes us righteous and eating prohibited food makes us sinful and damned.

Jesus rightly pointed out that it is what comes out of us that bear our sins rather than what we take into ourselves. Food are non-living objects, and they do not have intelligence or wisdom to think or do something. Yet, compared to things that come out of us, namely actions, words, deeds, and others, what came out of us all these while are the products of our intelligent, sentient, and living wisdom.

Yes, we have wisdom in us, but an incomplete one. How did we get it? Remember the Book of Genesis? Our ancestors, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and ever since, the knowledge of things good and evil is within us. We know what is good and what is evil, and we share that knowledge to our children, and pass it on throughout the generations.

It is the actions, words, and deeds that come out of us that either justify us or condemn us. When we do things in accordance with God’s will, that is doing things considered good, then we are justified, but if we do things not in accordance with the will of God, then we are condemned. It is as simple as that, and yet many refused to believe in the true wisdom of Christ, who as God is the source of all wisdom and revelations.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, how about us? Will we believe in Jesus, and trust in His wisdom? Or do we rather prefer to trust in our own strength and wisdom? In our own intelligence and knowledge of the things around us? Do we prefer to trust in a source that is always and completely right? Or do we prefer to trust in a source that is unreliable and changing as much as it suits us?

These are the questions that we should ask ourselves, and indeed we should no longer ask question or doubt the wisdom of our Lord. Let us entrust ourselves to the Lord and let Him decide what He wants to do with each one of us, trusting ourselves to His most divine and wonderful wisdom. Amen.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Memorial of St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Mark 3 : 1-6

Again Jesus entered the synagogue. A man, who had a paralysed hand, was there and some people watched Jesus : would He heal the man on the sabbath? If He did, they could accuse Him.

Jesus said to the man with the paralysed hand, “Stand there in the centre.” Then He asked them, “What does the Law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To do good or to do harm? To save life or to kill?” But they were silent.

Then Jesus looked around at them with anger and deep sadness, because they had closed their minds. And He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was healed.

As soon as the Pharisees left, they met with Herod’s supporters, looking for a way to destroy Jesus.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Martyrs)

Mark 2 : 23-28

One Sabbath Jesus was walking through grainfields. As His disciples walked along with Him, they began to pick on the heads of grain and crush them in their hands. Then the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look! They are doing what is forbidden on the Sabbath!”

And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did in his time of need, when he and his men were very hungry? He went into the house of God, when Abiathar was High Priest, and ate the bread of offering, which only the priests were allowed to eat, and he also gave some to the men who were with him.”

Then Jesus said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Master even of the Sabbath.”

Thursday, 9 January 2014 : Thursday after the Epiphany (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in Jesus lies the salvation of this world, just as it had been foretold by the prophets of ages past. Jesus fulfilled perfectly the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah, who foretold the coming of the Messiah, at which time, the world which had been long in darkness would see a new light, accompanied by signs of great joy and healing, which Christ fulfilled perfectly as mentioned by Isaiah.

And yet, even though the signs had been very clear that Christ was truly the Messiah, many of the people adamantly and continuously resisted the Christ and refused to acknowledge the divinity and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Some, like the Pharisees and the Sadducees opposed Him and even hounded Him throughout His ministry because they saw Him as a rival to their own worldly authority in teaching the faith.

Some others, like His own countrymen and neighbours, the villagers of Nazareth refused to believe in Him, just because it was incomprehensible and impossible for them to believe that a mere carpenter’s son, the son of Joseph, could be the Messiah, less so to be the Lord of all creations Himself. They were formed by this prejudice, and therefore, they were not receptive to His teachings or His message.

Jesus spoke with clear authority and with the full grasp of the truth behind the Lord’s plan of salvation. Jesus made clear the true meaning behind the Lord’s ordained laws for mankind, that is the Ten Commandments He had revealed to His people through Moses. The Ten Commandments had been followed by many, but had also been forgotten at times, and their true purpose was truly not understood by the people, at the time of Jesus, when the Pharisees and the teachers of the law taught them the twisted version of the commandments of God.

The Lord had revealed to Moses many regulations and rites in addition to the commandments He gave, but these were meant to make sure that the people obey the Law of the Lord and do not instead walk astray to worship pagan gods, as these stubborn people had shown in the desert, how easily they were swayed to worship the gods and idols of the people around them.

By the time of Jesus, these rules and regulations had been codified by the Pharisees and the teachers, experts of the law, ending up becoming a great burden for the people, for there were many additions to the original rule, following the customs handed down the generations by the Jewish people. These rules numbered about six hundred and thirteen in total, and the Pharisees as well as the teachers of the law enforced them very strictly on the people.

That was why, the Lord Jesus came to us also to make clear the true meaning of the laws He had given to mankind, that they would not perversely use them for their own purposes, or corrupt them with human greed or desire. Jesus taught the people that God’s law is love, just as He is Love. The Law of God was never meant to be the burden for mankind or to punish them, but instead, it was there because the Lord loves us and He wants us to be saved.

Yes, just like the love of a father for his children. And remember how St. John the Evangelist in today’s first reading also mentioned that the law is not a burden? And because if we love God with the sincerity of our hearts, we will surely do anything in our power to devote ourselves to Him and obey Him? That is why, brethren, we must not misunderstood the Lord or misused His commandments just as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us praise and honour our Lord and God for His great love to us. Let us not reject or cast Him away as His own countrymen and the Pharisees, the leaders of God’s people had done. Instead, let us welcome Him and His love for us, by pledging back to Him our own love dedicated to Him.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, strengthen us, and empower us to live with love, every single day of our lives. Amen.