Tuesday, 18 September 2018 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the Scripture passages chosen bring us to reflect upon the nature of the Church, its significance and our role as members and partakers of God’s Church and its numerous works and ministries among the people of God in this world.

In the first reading today, St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Corinth spoke of all of us, God’s people, who believe in Him and who have received baptism, the Sacrament through which we have been liberated from our taints of sin, have been made into One Body, the One Body of Christ, the Church.

By baptism, we have been made members of this Church, and have been united to one another, by our Communion with Christ. That is because by our common Baptism, and by our worthy reception of the Lord’s own Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we have become One Body and One Spirit in Christ.

But then, it does not end there, brothers and sisters in Christ. The story of our Christian life and our salvation by God does not end just by our baptism, or by our membership in the Church, or by our faith in God. Rather, it is by our continuing faith and fulfilment of that faith through our concrete and good works that we live a good and exemplary life in God.

Many of us have this misconception, both within and outside the Church, that we are saved by faith alone. No, this is not completely true, as yes, faith is what saved us, but our faith cannot be an empty faith that is meaningless and useless for us. Instead, our faith must be substantiated and proven by our actions, our words and our deeds, through the good works we do, in accordance and guided by our faith.

That is why, as members of the one Body of Christ, the Church, we are called to follow the commandments which God has given us, and the mission which He has entrusted to His Church through His Apostles. As Christians we are called to show true Christian love and compassion to one another, especially to those who are suffering, in pain or those who are experiencing great sorrows.

We are called to be beacons of hope and light for one another, that we may guide each other in our respective journey of life. And we have to do this through our actions, which we do in accordance with God’s will and with how God has taught us to do. But we must also remember that we cannot do everything on our own. We must be able to work together with the other members of the Church, our fellow brethren in faith.

That is because to each one of us, God has given different gifts and talents, each according to our abilities and to how God has intended us to live, and how He created us. St. Paul mentioned this in the same passage taken from the Epistle to the Corinthians, when he told the people, that not everyone can be Apostles, or speak with tongues, or perform miracles and wonders. To each and every one of the disciples were given various and diverse gifts.

This means that in the Church, we cannot exist by ourselves or do everything on our own. Instead, we must learn to work together, making good use of each others’ strengths and learn to help one another in overcoming our respective weaknesses and shortcomings. It is only by good and concerted effort from each of us, members of God’s Church, that many wonderful good works will come to fruition, for the benefit of all those who seek God’s salvation.

Are we able then to strive to work together with our fellow brothers and sisters in faith? Especially for all of us in the Church ministries, we must be able to work together, overcoming whatever grievances, prejudices, misunderstandings, conflicts, gossips, lies, and other obstacles that often appear within our Church groups and establishments. Otherwise, if we allow all of these things to be in the way of our efforts to build a vibrant and evangelising Christian communities, then it will cause much setback for the good works of the Church, many souls can be lost, and the blame will squarely be on us.

This is why, from now on, let us all come to realise the contributions that each one of us can give, for the common good of the Church and all the faithful, in all the talents and gifts that God has given us. Let us all work together, and coming together as a community that prays for each other, that is concerned for the well-being of one another, and that wants to see each and every one of its members to be spiritually filled by God’s love. Let us all turn towards God with a renewed zeal and courage.

May God bless us all, and may He continue to be our Guide, that each and every one of us may be filled with the strong desire to love Him and to love our fellow brethren, through our actions and deeds, and be truly committed and living our lives in accordance with our living and vibrant faith. Amen.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 7 : 11-17

At that time, a little later after Jesus healed the servant of a captain in Capernaum, He went to a town called Naim. He was accompanied by His disciples and a great number of people. As He reached the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; there followed a large crowd of townspeople.

On seeing her, the Lord had pity on her and said, “Do not cry.” Then He came up and touched the stretcher, and the men who carried it stopped. Jesus then said, “Young man, I say to you, wake up!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

A holy fear came over them all, and they praised God saying, “A great Prophet has appeared among us; God, has visited His people.” The news spread throughout Judea and the surrounding places.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 99 : 2, 3, 4, 5

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God; He created us and we are His people, the sheep of His fold.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His Name.

For the Lord is good; His love lasts forever and His faithfulness through all generations.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 12 : 12-14, 27-31a

As the body is one, having many members, and all the members, while being many, form one body, so it is with Christ. All of us, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, have been baptised in one Spirit, to form one Body, and all of us have been given, to drink from the one Spirit. The Body has not just one member, but many.

Now, you are the Body of Christ, and each of you, individually, is a member of it. So God has appointed us in the Church. First Apostles, second prophets, third teachers. Then come miracles, then the gift of healing, material help, administration in the Church and the gift of tongues. Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Can all perform miracles, or cure the sick, or speak in tongues, or explain what was said in tongues? Be that as it may, set your hearts on the most precious gifts.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Lord reminds each and every one of us as Christians, that we ought to be living a true and charitable Christian lifestyle in our respective lives as members of His Church. We cannot profess to have faith in Him and yet act in ways that are scandalous as how we mankind have often done in our lives.

In the first reading today, taken from the Epistle that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we heard of the division among the members of the Church and the faithful, where they bickered among themselves, and were judgemental towards each other. They complained against each other and even went behind each others’ back to the civil and pagan courts instead of settling the matter amicably in the Church.

St. Paul took issue with the fact that the people of God bickering with one another and instead of trusting in the Church, they went instead to the civil court, with the intention to punish the party in the wrong, or to blackmail, or to pressurise the other party to give in to their demands. They could have settled the matter amicably by consulting with one another in the spirit of Christian charity and understanding.

He was saying this with the intention to let the people know that, if they have embraced the Christian faith, then they should not behave in the manner of the pagans and those who have not yet believed in God. While it might be normal for those in the secular society at the time to do what they have done towards each other, but as Christians, they were called to a much higher calling and standards than that of the world’s.

All of us are called to be true followers of Christ, in our actions and deeds, and in all of our dealings with one another. We should not practice double standard in any case, that we appear outwardly pious and faithful, and yet, behind the scene, we plot against each other and cause suffering and pain to those whom we are not pleased with. This rivalries and unbecoming attitudes unfortunately are quite common even within the Church.

It is indeed a sad reality for us Christians, in how many of us treat one another, even as part of our Church ministries. There had been many instances when Church politicking and power-jockeying led to us, fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord turning against one another and causing much pain, sorrow and suffering through our irresponsible and unbecoming actions as Christians.

How many of us often like to gossip about our fellow parishioners, or even against the priests and the religious themselves? While indeed, for us to be tempted to gossip and to badmouth or be jealous of one another is part of our human nature, but as Christians, we are expected to be better than all of these. We must resist these temptations that will definitely always come to tempt us and to pull us away from God’s saving grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, in the Gospel passage we heard the Lord Jesus calling and choosing His Apostles from among those who followed Him. These were ordinary people, from ordinary origins, called and chosen by God. And even though initially they also struggled in faith, and one of them even betrayed the Lord but eventually, except for the betrayer, Judas Iscariot, all the Apostles grew stronger in their faith, and dedicated the rest of their lives to the service of God.

Now, all of us as Christians are called to follow the examples of the Apostles and all the other dedicated holy servants of God, who have shown us by their own life examples, on how we should live our lives in accordance with God’s will. Are we then willing enough and committed enough to take up our crosses just as the Apostles had done, and follow the Lord with all of our hearts?

There will indeed be many challenges in our path, should we decide to commit ourselves, but this is the cause which St. Paul had advocated for us all, the noble path of true Christian discipleship, where we stand above the temptations and ways of this world, and strive to do our best to be faithful in all of our actions, words, deeds and interaction with each other, that in all things, we will always show true Christian love.

May the Lord continue to watch over us and guide us, that we may grow ever more like Him in love, both towards Him and towards our fellow brothers and sisters, our fellow men. Let us all love each other and learn to forgive one another our mistakes and faults. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 6 : 12-19

At that time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose Twelve of them, whom He called ‘Apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there, and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured.

The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went out from Him and healed them all.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints! Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance to praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips; this is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!