Tuesday, 26 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scriptures speaking to us about the coming of the Lord’s salvation and His kingdom, the kingdom that He has promised us, the kingdom of God to which we are all called to enter, to receive one day the fullness of glory, true happiness and pure joy that we can only find in the Lord alone. Today we are all called to turn towards the Lord and put our hope in Him.

In our first reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome, the Apostle reminded them all of the hope in God’s salvation, which all of them had been promised and which they would receive, if they could be patient and remain true to their faith, acknowledging how everyone had been looking forward to and desiring the love and salvation from God, after having suffered the many trials and challenges we have to face because of our sins.

St. Paul was in fact referring to the salvation of man from their original fall into sin. Mankind had chosen to listen to Satan and his lies, and to follow the temptations of their flesh and desires rather than to trust in God. And St. Paul reminded the faithful that all of us have to be patient and to persevere through the challenges that we may face in life. We cannot allow ourselves to be swayed easily by the lies of the devil, and all of his false promises, through which he and the other forces of evil ever always tried to distract us, mislead us and bring us into our downfall.

They would always try to tempt us with an easy life, that if we want to enjoy things we have and in our lives, and find pleasures in this life, then we should walk in the path that has been shown to us. In that way, they tried to make us regret following the Lord and instead turn towards the easier and more convenient path instead, one that has been presented to us as the better path in life. The Lord’s path certainly often seems to be the more challenging and difficult one to follow.

Yet, we must not lose faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we have to trust in the Lord and His providence. We must believe that if we remain faithful to Him, and true to His path, then in the end, there is nothing less than true glory and happiness in following Him. The Lord has always been faithful to the Covenant that He has established with our forefathers and which He had renewed and made evident to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our Gospel passage today, we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us, as He spoke of the parable about the kingdom of God to the people listening to Him. He compared the kingdom of God to that of the mustard seed, which is planted and then later on would grow to be a large tree, from a mere small seed, and how mighty that tree would be as compared to the very small seed that was the mustard seed, from among the smallest of the seeds to be one of the largest among the trees.

Then He also compared it to the measures of flour with yeast, which is put together into dough and let to raise. When under the right and optimum conditions, the yeast would then make the dough to rise up and enlarge greatly when the leavened bread was to be made. However, just like the germinating mustard seed and the growing young mustard plant, everything would not have happened unless the right and appropriate conditions were provided.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, effort and commitment is need for us to walk faithfully in the path that the Lord has set before us. There will be opposition, challenges, trials and even persecutions facing us as we commit ourselves to this path set before us by the Lord, but we must realise that it is also part of the efforts of those who sought our downfall to lead us down the wrong path, by persuading us to give up the fight. We have to persevere in faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, and seek the true joy that we can find in the Lord alone.

Let us not seek the temporary joy and fulfilment that the false path of Satan and sin have offered us, but instead let us turn towards the Lord with renewed faith and love for Him, turning away from the path of evil and sinfulness, embracing His mercy and compassionate love from now on. May God be with us always and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our journey of faith through life towards the glorious kingdom of God. Amen.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 13 : 18-21

At that time, Jesus continued to say to the people, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? Imagine a person who has taken a mustard seed, and planted it in his garden. The seed has grown, and become like a small tree, so that the birds of the air shelter in its branches.”

And Jesus said again, “What is the kingdom of God like? Imagine a woman who has taken yeast, and hidden it in three measures of flour, until it is all leavened.”

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 125 : 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

When YHVH brought the exiles back to Zion, we were like those moving in a dream. Then, our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with songs of joy.

Among the nations it was said, “YHVH has done great things for them.” YHVH had done great things for us, and we were glad indeed.

Bring back our exiles, o YHVH, like fresh streams in the desert. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs and shouts of joy.

They went forth weeping, bearing the seeds for sowing, they will come home with joyful shouts, bringing their harvested sheaves.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 18-25

I consider, that the suffering of our present life cannot be compared with the glory that will be revealed, and given to us. All creation is eagerly expecting the birth, in glory, of the children of God. For, if now, the created world was unable to attain its purpose, this did not come from itself, but from the one who subjected it. But it is not without hope; for even the created world, will be freed from this fate of death, and share the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know, that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth. Not creation alone, but even ourselves; although the Spirit was given to us, as a foretaste of what we are to receive, we groan in our innermost being, eagerly awaiting the day, when God will give us full rights, and rescue our bodies as well.

In hope, we already have salvation. But, if we saw what we hoped for, there would no longer be hope : how can you hope for what is already seen? So, we hope for what we do not see, and we will receive it, through patient hope.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Sacred Scriptures, we are all called to reflect on our actions and readiness in life to follow Christ, Our Lord and Saviour as His faithful disciples and servants, to be exemplary in all of our actions and deeds so that through all of us, imitating the faith that Christ Himself has shown us and living the truth that He has revealed to us, all of us may come to be beacons of His light to many others who have not yet known Him.

Today in our first reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, we heard the Apostle reminding all the faithful of the role that Christ has played in redeeming all of us from our sins, and how God had fulfilled His promise to release and liberate us from all bondage and enslavement to sin and evil through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all, Who chose to take upon Himself all of our sins and wickedness, and bore the burden of those sins upon Himself.

He obeyed His Father perfectly, as St. Paul said, so that by His obedience as the Son of Man and the New Adam, the old disobedience and sins of mankind from the old Adam may be overcome. Through His incarnation in the flesh, He has united all of our humanity to Himself, and by His obedience, He opened to us the floodgates of God’s mercy and grace, and by offering Himself, His Most Precious Body and Blood, of the Lamb of God, as the perfect and worthy sacrifice for our sins, He reconciled us all with God, our loving Father and Creator.

And then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples with regards to the readiness that all of His disciples ought to have, as He Himself repeated it several times, how they must be ready to welcome their Lord and Master at the moment of His coming, so that they would not be caught unprepared and unaware, when the Lord comes as He promised, at the day of Judgment. Essentially, He reminds all of them to be vigilant and to do their best in how they live their lives so that they may always be faithful in all things and do not allow wickedness and evil to gain roots in their hearts.

We are all therefore called, as those whom God had chosen and revealed His truth to, to be the ones who live with this knowledge and understanding of the truth, and to be the bearers of God’s light to the nations. We must not allow sin to rule over us again and influence us, just as the Lord has freed us from its bondage and power. Yet, the allure and attraction of sin can be very powerful and corrupting, and we have to be careful lest we fall again into its clutches. Many have failed to resist its temptations, and like our forefathers, they have fallen back into the path of sin.

What should we do then, brothers and sisters in Christ? We should follow the example and obedience of Christ, in His love for us and in His steadfastness in devoting Himself to the plan of salvation that He has brought upon us. And we should also follow the good examples set by our holy predecessors, all those who have given themselves in commitment to God, those who have shown us that it is possible to be faithful to the Lord in this world and to lead a good Christian life that is just and worthy of God.

Today, we celebrate from the Feast of the Holy Canadian Martyrs, also known as the Jesuit North American Martyrs, as well as that of St. Paul of the Cross, a great Italian mystic and priest who founded the Passionists religious order. All of them are great role models for us in how we can lead a better Christian life and in following our respective calling in life as Christians so that we may learn on how we can contribute even in the smallest things for the sake of the glory of God and for the success of His works in this world.

The Holy Canadian Martyrs were St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brebeuf and their companions in martyrdom, who were members of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits during the years of early exploration of the New World, particularly in the exploration of North America, in regions that are now part of Canada. These courageous missionaries responded to the Lord’s calling and embraced their missionary works, in revealing God’s truth to those who have not yet known Him, the native peoples of North America.

Many of these missionaries had to brave through harsh conditions and bitter winters, as well as opposition and rejection from those to whom they had gone to. While some of the natives were open to the Lord’s truth and were willing to listen to the missionaries, but there were also equally many and even more of those who refused to listen to them, and even persecuted those missionaries. As such, those missionaries endured a lot of bitter moments and struggles, in the service of God and His people.

Yet, St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brebeuf and his courageous fellow martyrs faced all those challenges with faith, committing themselves to God without fear, continuing to minister to those who have willingly embraced the faith and given themselves to be baptised as the first native Christian societies in those remote areas. They persevered and even when many of them faced great suffering and martyred by the attacks of those who were hostile to the faith, their efforts became the foundation of the Church that lasts till this very day in those regions and communities.

Meanwhile, St. Paul of the Cross dedicated his life as a priest and servant of God in ministering to his fellow brothers and sisters, being called by God to establish a new religious community dedicated to a life of prayer and evangelical zeal, which would become the Passionists he founded. St. Paul of the Cross gathered like-minded men who wanted to serve the Lord more wholeheartedly and formed his community, and worked hard to gain the Church approval for his efforts.

St. Paul of the Cross and his community of priests went around from places to places and preached about the Lord to many people in those communities, spreading the Word of God and the truth of His Gospel to more and more people, and together with his many works and writings, of which numbering over two thousands at least, he and his fellow workers of the Lord managed to bring many people closer to God, and helped many who were on the brink of the path of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be inspired by these holy predecessors of ours, who had shown us what it truly means for us to be Christians. Let us all follow in their footsteps and do whatever we can in order to glorify the Lord by our lives and actions, by our exemplary actions and by doing our best to follow the path that the Lord has revealed before us. Let us also strive to resist the many temptations to sin, and commit ourselves from now on to walk in the path of the Lord. May all of us be inspiration as God’s children and as the beacons of His light and truth, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Luke 12 : 35-38

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes.”

“Truly, I tell you, he will put an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Psalm 39 : 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17

Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire; this, You had me understand. Burnt offering and sin offering You do not require. Then I said, “Here I come!”

As the scroll says of me. To do Your will is my delight, o God, for Your law is within my heart.

In the great assembly I have proclaimed Your saving help. My lips, o YHVH, I did not seal – You know that very well.

But may all those who seek You, rejoice, and be glad in You; and may all who love Your saving grace continually say, “YHVH is great.”

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Romans 5 : 12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21

Therefore, sin entered the world through one man; and through sin, death; and later on, death spread to all humankind, because all sinned. All died, because of the fault of one man, but how much more does the grace of God spread, when the gift He granted, reaches all, from this unique Man, Jesus Christ.

If death reigned through the disobedience of one and only one person, how much more, will there be a reign of life, for those who receive the grace, and the gift of true righteousness, through the one Person, Jesus Christ. Just as one transgression brought sentence of death to all, so, too, one Man’s good act has brought justification and light to all; and, as the disobedience of only one, made all sinners, so the obedience of one Person, allowed all to be made just and holy.

But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, and, as sin caused death to reign, so grace will reign, in its own time, and, after making us just, and friends of God, will bring us to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all called to reflect on the words of the Lord that serves as reminder and warning to all of us to remain truly faithful to Him and not to be merely paying lip service and treating our faith as merely a formality and something that we do not truly believe in our hearts completely. We must truly devote ourselves to the Lord through commitment and effort, and follow Him at all times.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome in which he spoke of God’s truth, His Good News and salvation which He has brought into this world, and which He offered us freely and most generously, calling us all to embrace Him and His mercy, to be forgiven through repentance and the changing of our ways. We are called to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and turn towards Him without any doubts lingering in our hearts.

St. Paul spoke up strongly against all those who have heard about the Lord, known about Him and yet, they still refused to believe and even turned against Him, choosing worldly attractions and temptations, all the false idols of human desire and cravings, for power, glory, influence, fame and material wealth, for the pleasures of the body and other things that we are often surrounded and pampered with in this world, in their respective lives all these while.

As St. Paul made it clear, that even though those people had known the Lord and heard His laws and truth, but they still chose to stubbornly cling to their erroneous ways, and chose to seek consolation and satisfaction in the lesser idols and things that were nothing compared to God. They glorified those things over the Lord and gave themselves and their lives to be enslaved by their desires for worldliness. St. Paul therefore reminded all the faithful, and thus including all of us to live worthily of the Lord from now on.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard something similar regarding the conversation and interaction that the Lord had with a Pharisee who had invited Him to a meal. When that Pharisee wondered and asked why the Lord did not wash His hands before a meal, contextually what happened was that he was referring to the specific ritualistic washing that the Pharisees subscribed to in their very strict interpretation and enforcement of the Law of God.

Over the previous centuries, the accumulation of traditions and customs, strict interpretations and modifications had resulted in the Law being misunderstood, misused and abused for the personal gains and misled the people in the way they ought to follow the Lord. Instead, many among the Pharisees ended up becoming overly fixated on the minute details of the Law while failing to realise and appreciate its true importance, meaning and purpose. They even looked down and despised those who did not follow the Law in the way that they did.

It is this attitude which the Lord criticised and rebuked the Pharisees for. He wants each and every one of us to take note of these things and beware of all the things that can prevent us from truly finding our way to Him, as we glorify ourselves and our desires more than we glorify God. And we should heed this as a lesson to remind ourselves that we have to develop a genuine and strong faith in the Lord, and not to fall into the temptations that is based on our vanity, pride and greed. We have to grow in faith and do our best to resist the pressure to conform to the ways of worldliness.

Let us all therefore be ever more faithful to God in all things, and let us dedicate ourselves each day with ever greater love for God and strive to be exemplary in our every actions throughout life so that we may be good examples as faithful Christians in showing one another how we ought to live our lives with faith from now on. May God bless each and every one of us in our every good efforts and endeavours, for His greater glory. Amen.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 37-41

At that time, as Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to have a meal with him. So He went and sat at table. The Pharisee then wondered why Jesus did not wash His hands before the dinner.

But the Lord said to him, “So then, you Pharisees, you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside yourselves you are full of greed and evil. Fools! He Who made the outside, also made the inside. But according to you, by the mere giving of alms everything is made clean.”