Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scriptures reminding us about the matter of welcoming God into our midst, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, of the Lord speaking to His disciples on how they should welcome Him like that of a little child. And He made this comparison because a young child’s faith, unlike that of adults, is truly pure and genuine and not masked by other worldly desires.

That is why He reminded His disciples that they should welcome Him in the manner that those little children have welcomed Him. In that occasion, when the people brought little children to the Lord, His disciples wanted to prevent them and push the children away from Him, but the Lord rebuked them for doing something like that. For He wanted them to know that the Lord truly loves everyone without exceptions and His love for them is such that no one should ever be prevented from coming to Him.

And in the same way, we should not let ourselves to be prevented from coming towards God and loving Him, although the reality is such that we often keep God away from us and this is caused by our own preoccupations and attachments to the many temptations and desires present in this world. We are often too busy thinking about other things to be able to think about God or to love Him, because we love ourselves and the world so much more than we love Him.

That is why many of us are struggling in our faith, and we are unable to love God as we should have loved Him. We are unable to reach out to God with the fullness of sincerity and genuine love, as long as we allow ourselves to be tempted and pulled away from God’s loving and tender care. But God has always continued to love us all regardless, and He has always been faithful to the Covenant which He had made with us all.

In what He revealed to us all through His prophet Zechariah in our first reading today, we have heard just how much He loves each and every one of us, His beloved people, and how He wants to restore us and to bless us tremendously once again. God has always thought about us and committed Himself to us all by giving us again and again the wonders of His love, and there is no greater gift than the gift of His own beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

For through Christ, God has given us all the surety of salvation and new life in Him. Through Christ, God has showed us all what it truly means to love, and to love generously and tenderly, giving us His all in love, even if it means for Him to take up the unimaginably heavy burden of the Cross and enduring all those sufferings just so that He can save us from certain destruction because of our sins.

Are we able to love God in the same way that He has loved us all? Perhaps we should look at the examples set by His saints, those who have lived and gone before us, leading the path for us in holiness. And today we celebrate the feast of St. Jerome, a great saint and a very important Church father, one of the very influential leaders of the early Church, as one of the original Doctors of the Church.

St. Jerome was renowned for his great dedication to God, spending many years and decades in solitary isolation, loving God and devoting himself in prayer to God through an ascetic lifestyle. And it was also then that St. Jerome completed the Latin translation of the Scriptures, from the Greek Septuagint Scriptures into what would eventually be known as the Latin Vulgate Bible.

Through his many years of dedication to the Lord, St. Jerome showed us all what it truly means to love God with all of his heart and strength, and it was indeed certainly not easy, as he had to endure so many challenges, temptations and difficulties throughout his life. Yet, he made the effort to resist those temptations and strive to love God as best as he could. Are we able to do the same in our own lives, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Let us all draw closer to God and let us love Him sincerely from our hearts, doing our very best to serve Him and to be His beloved children once again. May the Lord continue to bless us in all of our endeavours and may He continue to guide us in our journey of faith. Amen.

Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 46-50

At that time, one day, the disciples were arguing about which of them was the most important. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so He took a little child and stood him by His side. Then He said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in My Name, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One Who sent Me. And listen : the one who is found to be the least among you all, is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John spoke up, “Master, we saw someone who drives out demons by calling upon Your Name, and we tried to forbid him, because he does not follow You with us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him. He who is not against you is for you.”

Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 101 : 16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23

O Lord, the nations will revere Your Name, and the kings of the earth Your glory, when the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in all His splendour. For He will answer the prayer of the needy and will not despise their plea.

Let this be written for future ages, “The Lord will be praised by a people He will form.” From His holy height in heaven, the Lord has looked on the earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and free those condemned to death.”

Your servants’ children will dwell secure; their posterity will endure without fail. Then the Name of the Lord will be declared in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship Him.

Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zechariah 8 : 1-8

The word of YHVH, the God of hosts was directed to me in this way, “I am intensely jealous for Zion, stirred by a burning anger for her sake. YHVH says : I will return to Zion and live in her midst. Jerusalem shall be called the city of faithfulness and the mountain of holiness.”

YHVH, God of hosts speaks, “Old men and women will again sit in the squares, each with a stick in hand on account of their great age. The squares of the city will be filled with girls and boys playing.”

YHVH, God of hosts declared, “If that seems impossible in the eyes of those who have returned from exile, will it be impossible for Me as well?” – word of YHVH. YHVH, God of hosts says, “See, I am going to save My people, bringing them from the east and from the west; and they will live in Jerusalem. They will be My people and I shall be their God, in truth and in justice.”

Friday, 30 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today from the Holy Scriptures we have received the message that each and every one of us ought to be serious and sincere in our faith and devotion to the Lord, and not to be lukewarm and ignorant as what the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had done. These were the cities in the region of Galilee where Jesus did most of His works and ministries in, healing people from their diseases and performing many other miracles among them.

And yet, these people found it difficult in themselves to believe in what Jesus had come to say to them. They were adamant in their lack of faith in Jesus, and in true commitment to His ways, as many of them came to follow Him because of what they saw in Him, as a miracle worker and wonder bearer, Who was able to made them to be awed and satisfied, but yet, when difficult times came, they abandoned Him readily and walked away from Him.

God had done so much for our sake, and yet, we often are ignorant of His love. He has blessed us with so many blessings and graces, even to the point of giving to us the greatest of His gifts, that is the gift of His perfect love, in His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus came into this world in order to save it, and to bring forth into the world the truth which He was telling them, that God has come into the world to dwell among His people, and be saved together with His glorious resurrection.

For He had given His all to heal us mankind from our injuries and wounds, He had voluntarily given up Himself to be the One to bear the burden of our sins, disobedience, wickedness, all of which should have led us to be punished and to fall into eternal damnation. Instead, He had decided to willingly bear those burdens upon themselves, that we may survive and not perish, and that all those who have accepted their salvation in God may find the way to be reunited with Him in eternal life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on our own lives, and see what we have done thus far in order to be a true and good Christian, for each and every one of us. Have we been truly devoted and be committed to Him in our own way of life? Have our actions show love, care and concern for our brethren just as Jesus Himself had cared for us and loved us?

It is important that we should heed the examples of the holy saints and all those who have committed themselves to the Lord, that we know the path that we ought to undertake in order to proceed forward towards the Lord. These people have tried their best to make use of whatever God had given them and blessed them with, and use these for the benefit of their brethren.

St. Jerome was a great saint of the Western Christendom, who lived at the time of the Roman Empire after the Christian faith had been legalised in its existence, and the faith itself was spreading very rapidly among the people. St. Jerome was a convert to the faith, who then came to embrace the calling which God had made for him, following the Lord with all of his heart and effort as a priest and as a monk, who worked hard to evangelise to the people of God, particularly through his many writings.

He wrote extensively on many matters regarding the faith, and was most renowned through his work on the translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible into the Latin Vulgate Bible. As many of the people in the western part of Christendom did not speak or read Greek, the translation was crucial in providing the basis from which the word of God in the Sacred Scriptures were then on accessible to the people of God through the Church.

From his contributions, many souls have received the word of God, understood what God’s intentions were for them, and many of these have repented their sins and left behind their old ways of worldliness, greed, hatred and wickedness. They have therefore been saved through the good works of St. Jerome and his many successors, all those who have devoted themselves and their lives as true and genuine Christians.

We too, brothers and sisters in Christ, are able to do the same. Indeed, we have been given the same gifts as those that God had given His holy saints. But now the choice and the decision lie in our hands alone, whether we want to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others, by doing what God had commanded us to do, by giving ourselves to the cause of the Lord through our dedication to help His Church and by generously giving to our brethren in need.

May God help us in our endeavours, as well as in our journey to become ever closer to Him, that we all may draw ever more righteousness and justice from our deep and personal relationship with our God. May St. Jerome and the many other holy saints of our God pray for us all, that each and every one of us may be saved and may find righteousness and justice in the presence of God. Amen.

Friday, 30 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 10 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! So many miracles have been worked in you! If the same miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would already be sitting in ashes and wearing the sackcloth of repentance.”

“Surely for Tyre and Sidon it will be better on the Day of Judgment than for you. And what of you, city of Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead. Whoever listens to you listens to Me, and whoever rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me, rejects the One Who sent Me.”

Friday, 30 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 138 : 1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13, 14ab

O Lord, You know me : You have scrutinised me. You know when I sit and when I rise; beforehand You discern my thoughts. You observe my activities and times of rest; You are familiar with all my ways.

Where else could I go from Your Spirit? Where could I flee from Your presence? You are there if I ascend the heavens; You are there if I descend to the depths.

If I ride on the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand shall guide me and Your right hand shall hold me safely.

It was You Who formed my inmost part and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I thank You for these wonders You have done, and my heart praises You for Your marvellous deeds.

Friday, 30 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Job 38 : 1, 12-21 and Job 40 : 3-5

Then YHVH answered Job out of the storm : “Have you ever commanded the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might grasp the earth by its edges and shake the wicked out of it, when it takes a clay colour and changes its tint like a garment; when the wicked are denied their own light, and their proud arm is shattered?”

“Have you journeyed to where the sea begins or walked in its deepest recesses? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of Shadow? Have you an idea of the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. Where is the way to the home of light, and where does darkness dwell?”

“Can you take them to their own regions, and set them on their homeward paths? You know, for you were born before them, and great is the number of your years!”

Job said, “How can I reply, unworthy as I am! All I can do is put my hand over my mouth. I have spoken once, now I will not answer; oh, yes, twice, but I will do no further.”

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings urge us to put aside all sorts of uncertainties, doubts, and undue attachments to worldly goods and pleasurable things in life, all of which are holding us back against being saved and receiving the eternal life and glory as promised by the Lord our God.

The first reading today is an account of the servant of God and prophet Nehemiah, who was a steward and servant in the house of the Emperor of Persia, living in the great and unimaginable luxury of the Imperial Palace of the vast and mighty Persian Empire. At the heart of the Empire, therefore, Nehemiah must have enjoyed such a wonderful and enjoyable life, even as a steward and servant to the Emperor.

However, God called on him to help the reconstruction and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple, and for him to travel there to oversee the works involved in the restoration of the people of God and the land they dwelled in. If we look at it, certainly what God asked of him was something very difficult and demanding, and it required Nehemiah to leave behind all the good things that he had enjoyed in life, and venture to the uncertainty of the land of Judah.

Ever after the kingdom of Israel and Judah had been destroyed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, the land which was once very prosperous and renowned under the kings David and Solomon was no longer an important place to be, and it was rather a backwater by the time of Nehemiah, and going to such a land for an extended period of time must surely be a difficult thing to do for Nehemiah, and yet, he begged the Emperor to be allowed to go, for the Lord had made him the tool to help the rebuilding of the land and to bring the people of God back to the glorious days they had missed.

In the Gospel today, we heard how Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, and to leave behind all the things they had, all the joys of the world, all their possessions, and even their relatives and their own families. He told them not to worry about many things and attachments to this world if they are willing to follow Him. This is meant to let us mankind know, that we who are often too busy worrying abut ourselves, that we can really put our trust in the Lord our God.

Many of us are too concerned about ourselves so that we are not able to truly focus on the Lord. Remember that in another parable Jesus had said about how the wicked servant used trickery to gain advantage of the situation and to safeguard himself after he was fired by his master because of his corrupt ways? That is because we cannot be master to both God and money, and thus we cannot follow both the Lord and our own desires.

If we want to be true disciples of the Lord, then we have to learn to let go of our wants, our desires, and stop our ego and pride from growing in our hearts. Let our minds not be filled with the corrupt notions of desire and greed, and let us be filled instead with the selfless love which our Lord had shown us through Jesus Christ. And Jesus had told us all, that if we want to follow Him, then we ought to take up our cross and follow Him.

What Jesus said to His disciples also did not mean that we have to literally leave our families, our possessions and everything behind as we go forth to follow Him. What He meant for us is that we all have to learn to detach ourselves from our too-easily attached attachments to things such as business, possessions, relationships that may not bring about and may not lead us to the righteousness required for God’s salvation to be ours.

It is essential that all of us take heed of what Jesus had told His disciples, which we heard today, so that we may grow less and less worried and attached to our desires and then we will be better able to follow the Lord our God with all of our heart’s strength and with all of our might. If we follow the Lord, then we all ought to be true to His words, and walk faithfully along His path.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Jerome, a great saint and Doctor of the Church, whose examples that I hope all of us can follow. St. Jerome was once a wayward man in his youth, who gave himself to debauchery and wicked was of the world, much as his contemporary, another great saint, St. Augustine of Hippo who was once also a great sinner.

St. Jerome eventually repented and left behind his life of sin, and he was truly very repentant and sorry for all the wicked things he had done, and which he atoned by many good deeds, helping to build up the foundation of the Church and spreading the Good News of the Gospel, most notably by his most renowned achievement, that is of the writing of the Latin version of the Bible, a translation from the original Greek version called the Septuagint. The Latin Bible written by St. Jerome is also known today as the Vulgate Bible.

Thus, we see how St. Jerome also left his past sinfulness and wickedness behind when he decided to dedicate himself and commit himself to the Lord. And we saw what a transformation that was, and how that transformation benefitted countless people through many generations. And we too can do the same with our own lives. If we can leave behind sin and wickedness in our lives, and resolve to never again commit sin and vile things in our words and actions, then the path forward for us is clear.

May Almighty God be with us all, guide us on our path, and help us in our transformation from a people living in darkness, into the children of the Light, whose lights are reflection of the Light of the Lord our Father, and through our light, may more and more people come closer to God’s salvation. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 57-62

At that time, as Jesus and His disciples went on their way, a man said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

To another Jesus said, “Follow Me!” But he answered, “Let me go back now, for first I want to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them, and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another said to Him, “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus said to him, “Whoever has put his hand to the plow, and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of God.”