Tuesday, 13 November 2018 : 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 Scriptures speaking to us about our responsibilities as those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as Christians, in how we live up to our faith and in obedience to God and in following His laws and His ways. In the Epistle which St. Paul wrote to St. Titus, his protege and fellow leaders of the Church, St. Paul mentioned how we can be faithful and good Christians in our daily living.

First of all, it was mentioned how the teachings of the elders and those who preached the Gospel must be faithful, orthodox and of sound doctrine, so as to preserve the truth and keep the faithful in the path of righteousness and towards God’s salvation. And for the rest of the Christian community, each and every members must behave and act in ways that are in accordance with the path which God has shown all of us.

This is linked to what the Lord Jesus said in the Gospel passage today, as He told them using a parable of a servant with the master of the servant, in the matter of how the servant ought to act and behave as a servant. That is what is expected of us as those who follow and serve the Lord, in not expecting returns and satisfactions for ourselves, but rather, we do it instead for the greater glory of God.

This is not something that can be easily done, as we Christians are often affected by the many temptations in life, which caused us into the temptation of power, of glory, of fame and influence, that we end up beginning to desire for these worldly achievements that will likely end up causing us to lose our focus and attention on God, and this has happened many times among even us Christians and within our Church.

There were many occasions throughout the history of our Church when the members of the faithful, both laity and priests alike, jostled and fought one another for power and influence. There were times when the Church hierarchy and leadership were corrupt, and as a result, the Church was divided and broken, and became splintered into many pieces, as people became disillusioned and dissatisfied with the leadership of the Church.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is now up to us and our present generation to stand up to our true faith in God, to purify our faith and intention, our obedience to God and our way of life. We are God’s servants, and therefore, it is only right that we should upheld His precepts and ways, and practice them wholeheartedly in our own lives. We must turn our hearts to Him and devote our time, effort and attention to serve Him.

Let us all be mindful of what St. Paul said in the Epistle today, that all of us ought to reject the irreligious and ungodly way of life, and embrace fully God, His truth and His ways with real faith and courage. This will require effort from us, the willingness and desire to seek the Lord through our commitment to His way, even in the midst of possible opposition and disapproval from the world and from all those who subscribe to the ways of this world, of greed, desire, pride and all those.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore grow ever stronger in our faith and in our commitment to Him. Let us all seek to love Him ever more, day after day, following the examples of our holy predecessors, the saints and martyrs, all those who have resisted the temptations to sin, or sinned and then repented, and devoted themselves wholly to God from then on.

And let us also pray for our Church leaders and those who have been entrusted as shepherds of the people of God. May the Lord be with all of them and guide them in their ministry, just as He guide us in our faith and life. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 7-10

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner?’ No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterwards.'”

“Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I do not think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.'”

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29

For they will fade as any green herb and soon be gone like withered grass.

The Lord watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. The Lord is the One Who makes people stand, He gives firmness to those He likes.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. The righteous will possess the land; they will make it their home forever.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Titus 2 : 1-8, 11-14

Let your words strengthen sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be sober, serious, wise, sound in faith, love and perseverance. The older women in like manner must behave as befits holy women, not given to gossiping or drinking wine, but as good counsellors, able to teach younger women to love their husbands and children, to be judicious and chaste, to take care of their households, to be kind and submissive to their husbands, lest our faith be attacked.

Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. Set them an example by your own way of doing. Let your teaching be earnest and sincere, and your preaching beyond reproach. Then your opponents will feel ashamed and will have nothing to criticise.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, teaching us to reject an irreligious way of life and worldly greed, and to live in this world as responsible persons, upright and serving God, while we await our blessed hope – the glorious manifestation of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus. He gave Himself for us, to redeem us from every evil and to purify a people He wanted to be His own and dedicated to what is good.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018 : 31st 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 to always be humble and to obey the will of God in our lives. In the first reading today, we listened to the words of St. Paul in the letter he wrote to the Church and the faithful in the city of Philippi. St. Paul spoke of how Christ was obedient to the will of His Father, even to the acceptance of the cross, its burden and suffering, that we may be saved through Him and His obedience.

St. Paul said that the attitude of Christians should be the same as that of Christ, in His love, His obedience to the will of the Father and in the selflessness and humility which He exhibited throughout His life and ministry on earth. Christ became obedient unto death for us, because He loved us so much, that He did not mind even to lay down His life, by offering Himself as the perfect offering and sacrifice in atonement for our sins.

Many of us Christians have not done these in our own respective lives. Many of us have instead been affected by the greed and desires of this world, as mentioned in the Gospel passage today by the Lord Jesus Himself, Who taught the people using a parable to show them how the Lord has called His people to follow Him and to come to the banquet of love which He has prepared for them. And yet, those who were invited to the banquet refused to come, because of the many excuses they had.

What are these excuses, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the temptation of worldly pleasures and corrupt behaviours, such as money, sexual favours and pleasures of the body, power and prestige, influence and fame, all of which often distract us from the true focus and attention on the Lord. To us, all the worldly distractions and temptations seem to be better and more fulfilling than what the Lord offers us.

And that was why, in the parable which the Lord Jesus used, those who were invited to the banquet refused to come, giving all sorts of excuses to the king. The king who became angry upon hearing all of these rejections and excuses, cast those guests out and cancelled their invitations. Instead, he went and asked his servants to invite and to get any people they could find on the roadsides and in other places.

This is a way for the Lord to rebuke the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who at that time were the influential and powerful ones among the society and the community of the people of God. And yet, they were so busy with their own pride, ego and desire, that they refused to believe in the truth which God has laid bare before their own eyes, and which they have witnessed.

Instead, the Lord Himself mentioned how the prostitutes and the tax collectors, all those deemed as sinners and wicked by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, were going on ahead of the latter in the journey towards salvation in the kingdom of God. These were the ones who listened to the Lord’s call and responded to Him, and accepted His invitation to come to His eternal kingdom of love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, reflecting on this, we should also be receptive to God’s call in our lives. And often, He is calling us in the depth and the silence of our hearts and minds. Unless we make the effort to attune ourselves to God, we are likely to miss out on the words of the Lord, through which He is calling us to righteousness and justice. And we can do this through the improvement of our spiritual relationship with God.

Let us all turn towards God therefore with a renewed faith and commitment, desiring to love Him all the more, day after day. Let us all find our way to reach out to God’s salvation, and to enter into God’s everlasting kingdom. May the Lord be with us all, and may He guide us into His kingdom of glory. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 14 : 15-24

At that time, upon hearing the words of Jesus, one of those at the table said to Him, “Happy are those who eat at the banquet in the kingdom of God!”

Jesus replied, “A man once gave a feast and invited many guests. When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell those he had invited to come, for everything was ready. But all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘Please excuse me. I must go and see the piece of land I have just bought.'”

“Another said, ‘I am sorry, but I am on my way to try out the five yoke of oxen I have just bought.’ Still another said, ‘How can I come, when I have just got married?'”

“The servant returned alone, and reported this to his master. Upon hearing his account, the master of the house flew into a rage, and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly, into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'”

“The servant reported after a while, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out, but there is still room.’ The master said, ‘Go out to the highways and country lanes, and force people to come in, to ensure that my house is full. I tell you, none of those invited will have a morsel of my feast.'”

Tuesday, 6 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 21 : 26b-27, 28, 29-30a, 30c-32

I will fulfil my vows before all who revere You. The lowly will eat and be satisfied. Those who seek the Lord will praise Him. May your hearts live forever!

The whole earth will acknowledge and turn to the Lord; the families of nations will worship Him.

For dominion belongs to YHVH and He reigns over the nations. Before Him all those who rest in the earth will bow down, all who go down to the dust.

My soul will live for Him. My descendants will serve Him and proclaim the Lord to coming generations; they will announce His salvation to a people yet unborn, “These are the things that He has done.”