Sunday, 23 November 2014 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast day and solemnity of the Church, that is the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King, King of all creation and of all the universe. This celebration also marks the ending of our liturgical year, as next Sunday we will begin the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas, and this Sunday is the last great celebration of a liturgical year in the calendar of the Church celebrations.

And the theme of the Kingship of Christ ties closely to the future promised coming of our Lord Jesus into this world. The readings for this period, including the readings for today’s solemn occasion therefore is a reflection of this truth and this fact, that God will come again at a time He has appointed, and He will come again to judge all the living and the dead, as we believe in our Faith. In this we hope, as He will come again to gather us from the nations and bring us to His eternal love and glory.

As the Lord mentioned in the first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, even though mankind and the people of God had sinned and therefore suffered its consequences, being torn apart as a people and scattered through the nations, He did not abandon them, but still loved them all the same. At the time of the prophet Ezekiel, the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians and its people brought into slavery and exile. The same had also happened to the southern kingdom of Judah, which population was brought to Babylon in a period known as the Babylonian captivity.

While those things had happened because of the sins of the people, who were not faithful to the covenant of the Lord, but it does not mean that God did not give them a second chance. If only that they would repent and change their sinful and evil ways, and adopt the ways of the righteous, then the Lord who is their Lord and Shepherd will gladly welcome them back into His embrace.

The psalm today is the renowned Psalm on ‘the Lord is my Shepherd’, which shows the nature of God as our loving Shepherd, as our Guide and as the provider of everything that we will ever need. And while we follow our Shepherd, who is the Lord, we will have no need to fear anything, as neither the power of the evil one nor the powers of this world and the evils in it have any power over us if we are ever faithful and solidly attach ourselves to our Lord and our Shepherd.

This is the nature of our Lord and Master’s Kingship, that is a Shepherd Kingship, not one where the king enslaves everyone to do his bidding and will, but instead a servant leadership. Remember what Lord Jesus did on the day of the Last Supper, when He acted as a servant, washing the feet of all His disciples. He taught the Apostles that a leader should lead by giving examples and serving others entrusted under his care, and not to lord over the other or even to oppress them.

And like a shepherd, who cares gently and tenderly for his sheep, our Lord’s kingship is one of service and love. He guides His sheep, that is all of us into the right paths and provide us all that we need. We need not fear the powers of evil and death if we stick closely to our Lord, as He is the only One who can bring harm to our soul. Though the powers of this world may be able to harm our body, they cannot do anything to harm our soul.

That is because, the faithful, though persecuted and oppressed by the world, they will be greatly rewarded at the Last Judgment, and their souls will be saved. We have no need to fear, brothers and sisters, if we follow the Lord. Persevere and remain faithful. Remember that in another part of the Gospel, Jesus said that those who seek to preserve themselves in this world will lose it, but those who do not mind to lose themselves will gain eternal life?

Through Christ, we have been made justified and righteous, as He is the new Adam by virtue of His incarnation as Man, as the prime example of the faithful and the just. The first Adam, our ancestor, had been unfaithful, and he followed his own personal greed and desire, and being thus taken in by Satan’s lies, and disobeying God, he had sinned, and sin entered into the hearts of men.

Jesus therefore is the role model for all of us, as the new Adam, who led a life opposite of the first Adam. While the first Adam was unfaithful and sinful, Christ the new Adam was completely faithful and devoted to God, free of any taints of sin in life. And meanwhile the first Adam thought first about himself and succumbed to his desires, Christ the new Adam thought first not of Himself, but of the One who had sent Him into the world, and obeyed the will of His Father perfectly and fully, that He brought about our salvation from sin and death.

And thus, in the second reading today, taken from letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, it was mentioned that for the obedience and the actions Christ had taken, as our King, and yet as a humble and servant King, God was pleased to subjugate all things and all peoples under His authority, that is precisely what He will do in the end of time, the Last Judgment, as the Judge to judge all the living and the dead.

At the end of time, our Lord Jesus will come to judge us all, and nothing that we have done or we have not done will not be uncovered. He knows everything about us, and there is nothing that we can hide from Him. Not even the deepest of our hearts’ secrets will remain hidden before God. The Book of Life and the other books mentioned in the Book of revelation and the Gospels contain all of our actions, our deeds and our words, every single things that we have committed.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that our Lord as our King, has two aspects, just as all the other kings also have. First, our King shows us mercy and love, His desire for all of us to be reunited with Him. However, as King, He also has to mete out justice and judgment, which must be impartial. Thus, while He is merciful and loving towards us, but He hates our sins, the taints and blemishes which separate us from the perfection of His love.

In the Gospel we heard how Jesus detailed on what will happen at the Last Judgment. All will come before the Lord their King, and He will judge them equally based on their actions. There were two groups of people at that judgment, and the judgment results are clear cut. It is either that they have done what is right in the eyes of God, or if they have done what is wicked, or failed to do what is right in the sight of God.

This should then bring our attention to the nature of sin. The most common sin known to us, is the sin of action, that is sins committed by doing things abhorrent and wicked before God and men, such as stealing, murder, jealousy, coveting others’ belongings, disobedience against God, fornication of the flesh and many others. However, many of us often do not realise or forget that there is another type of sin that is equally bad, and this is the sin of omission.

What is the sin of omission? As the name said, it is sin committed when we are perfectly in place and capable of doing something good, and yet we consciously choose not to do so, and instead, we often care for ourselves first, succumbing to our ego, pride and greed. Just as the first Adam, we have the tendency to be selfish, to think of ourselves first, and to satisfy our own needs first. And while he got the knowledge he wanted, he sinned.

What did Jesus say to those whom He judged to be on His left? He cursed them and condemned them because they have had many opportunities to do good things and to help the many people around them who are in need, and yet they ignored them and went on doing their own businesses, caring only about themselves. Their ignorance and refusal to lift up and raise their hands to help, had been accounted for, and these weighed in against them at the final judgment.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, what we can we do to improve ourselves and to ensure our salvation? It is by following the example of our Lord Himself, who is King, Lord and Master of all the Universe, and yet, He was humble, obedient and loving in all of His actions. He served those entrusted to Him, and also loved the poor, the meek and lowly, the ostracised and the castaways of the society. He showed His mercy and love to sinners, the prostitutes and tax collectors.

In following the actions and ways of Jesus our Lord and King, we will be able to do what is right, and give to our brethren in need, the love and support which we should give to them, especially whenever we are in position to give our help and our love. Do not forget also, that we must therefore avoid the sin of omission, which means that we should not be complacent or lazy whenever we are able to commit good deeds for the sake of our brethren.

Today, we also celebrate the feast day of both Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and also St. Columban, an abbot. The actions of these saints were in accordance to the actions of Christ, and they showed care and love for their friends and neighbours around them. Pope St. Clement I was the Pope in the early Church, one of the first direct successors of St. Peter the Apostle as the Bishop of Rome. Meanwhile, St. Columban was an abbot who lived during the early Dark Ages.

Pope St. Clement I was one of the earliest Popes, and records suggested that he was directly chosen by St. Peter to be one of his successors together with Pope St. Clement’s immediate predecessors. He was pious and devoted to God, and he tirelessly worked for the sake of the faithful. He was a man of prayer and love, often caring for those less fortunate under his care. He provided for them spiritually as well as in material, as far as he could.

It was told that he was exiled under the orders of the Roman Emperor Trajan, who sent him to the far corners of the Empire at Chersonessos, to work in a mine there. He carried out his work dutifully without fear, and when there was a draught in the mine, he prayed to God, and immediately a clear spring appeared, to the delight of his fellow exiles and workers.

It was clear from these examples, that Pope St. Clement I is another role model we can follow, as he truly practiced his faith, and when he was able to, he helped those around him by using the grace God given him, the grace of prayer and faith, which he used to bring goodness to the others poor, oppressed and exiled from their houses.

Meanwhile, St. Columban was an Irish missionary, who travel widely across Europe and Christendom at the time, spreading the faith in various locations, serving and helping others around the places during his journeys. St. Columban established many monasteries around Europe and Christendom, becoming eventually an abbot himself.

The works and dedications of St. Columban might have been different from that of Pope St. Clement I, but nevertheless, what he had done, was also done to help the least of the society, those who have been lost to the darkness, and by giving places to the faithful who sought to devote themselves more to God in prayer, he had done much great goodness for the Lord and His people.

Hence, as we end our liturgical year with this celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, and with the understanding that upon baptism, we too have shared in the Kingship of Christ, let us all be ever more resolute in truly living our faith, so that in all that we do, and in all that we say and in our actions, we may be loving towards our brethren, especially those who are in need of our help.

Let us be like our Lord and King, who did not boast and be proud of His authority and kingship, but rather remain humble and serve those who had been entrusted to Him. Through our baptism, we share in the kingship of Christ, and we have to realise that all of us have the responsibility to take care of one another, to keep each other in the path of the Lord. May our Lord and King watch over us always, and help us, so that we may remain ever faithful, and in the end, when He comes again, He may find us righteous and just, and thus are worthy of His eternal kingdom. God be with us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-first-readi/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-second-read/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-gospel-read/

Saturday, 25 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture and Gospel readings are very clear in that they gave us great and precious advice on how to live our lives and how to be faithful to our Lord and God. The readings showed how God is not an unjust and cruel God who is only concerned about punishing us for our sins, nor would He unjustly punish us without good reason.

God is loving and merciful, and He is willing to welcome us back into His love. Indeed, it is not just that He is willing to do so, but He indeed wants to bring us back into His embrace, and thus He sent us Apostles, disciples, messengers, prophets and other helpers endlessly to be our guides and to help us to orientate ourselves, to avoid being recaptured by the hands of Satan and by the power of sin and to help us to live righteously and justly according to the will of God.

But, this is not the only thing we need to know about the Lord. Our Lord and God is indeed loving and merciful, but at the same time, He is also just and a hater of all forms of sins. I have often mentioned this before, and I would like to repeat it again, for the benefit of all the faithful who hear this message. This is because many of us seem to fall under the lie and delusion that God is loving and merciful only, overlooking the other aspects of Him that we need to understand if we are to achieve salvation in God.

We live in a time when our sensitivities towards sin had been diluted and weakened, and the culture of death and wickedness that is in the world, and which is continuing to change the world in accordance to what Satan wishes, is harming us all, brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of our fellow men were ensnared in the web of deception and temptation set up by the devil, who is and will always be active and about to bring about the downfall of as many souls as possible.

While in the past, sin is sin and being sinful brought about great regrets and repentance, now people often no longer regard their sinful acts as something wrong or something to be regretted. Their casual attitude towards sin is harmful, and that was also why they have committed even more and more sin in their lives. Many have the misconception that God understands them and will forgive them no matter what their sins are, but they were really completely wrong, and if they continue in this attitude, they are in great danger, both soul and body.

The lack of apprehension and disgust towards sin by men, especially in the world of our time is truly unbelievable and dangerous. Instead of seeking God’s mercy and repent for even the smallest sins that we have, we continue to commit sin and disregarding God’s laws and commandments, doing as we like in this life, thinking that God will forgive us in the end because of His love.

But we have to remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that the Lord hates sin in all of its forms and sin is the greatest barrier that separate us from the love of God. As long as the taints of sin remain on our selves, on our body and soul, and we do not repent from those sins, we cannot approach and be one with our Lord and God. That is because, despite of His love and mercy, grace for all of us can only be achieved if we take concrete steps and actions to truly commit ourselves to the Lord.

Thus, that is why the Church, as the guardian of the Faith as it was given to us by Christ through His Apostles, kept the stance on having mercy only when the sinner is truly repentant and desire true forgiveness of sins, not by an easy path, but through gracious devotion to the way of the Lord and by acts of reparation to repay the debts of sin which the sinner had incurred against the Lord.

There are indeed pressures from this world and all who are aligned with Satan and the forces of darkness, as we recently witnessed in the recent Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which had just been concluded at the end of last week. The social media and media in general, in all of their various forms aired their opinions pushing for the agenda to destroy the Faith and the Church, which was advocated by even some within the Church.

Yes, it is the advocation of false and deceiving mercy to sinners, and the notion that the Church tolerates sin, that is most dangerous, not just for those who have committed those grievous sins, but even for the righteous within the Church of God. If we allow this corruption and debauchery of the world to make its way into the Faith and the Church, we are bringing ruin and disaster upon ourselves.

God reminds us through Jesus that He always wants to give us chances and opportunities, as what Jesus told in His parable of the fig tree that did not bear any fruit and was barren. The fig tree was given another chance by the Lord, who gave it another chance to redeem itself, before it is given up for cutting and burning. Thus, in the same way God had given us chance, and even many chances for us to repent and become better, and abandon our sinful ways.

Therefore, it is imperative for all of us to put our complete trust in Jesus Christ our Lord, the root of Faith, the One who is our anchor in our faith and life. Just as St. Paul had written in his letter to the Church and the faithful in the city of Ephesus, he pointed out that the Lord Jesus came to this world to rescue us and to give us new hope, through sincere repentance and humility to seek God’s mercy.

If we do these, then Christ, whose death has washed away our sins and whose resurrection from the dead offer us new hope in life, will bring us from the shadow of death and into the liberated life in God. Mercy cannot be separated from repentance, or otherwise the mercy will be false mercy and bring harm instead of goodness.

Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all detach ourselves from the impurities of this world and purify ourselves in faith. May Almighty God bless us with faith and His love, and may He help us to guard us from the depredations of sin. May all of us get closer to the Lord and put all of our trust to Him, and with Him as our anchor in life, let us all humbly seek His mercy and sincerely offer our repentance to Him, that He may justify us in our repentance and faith. God bless us all. Amen.