Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God, reminding us through the Scriptures, that all of us as Christians must live with God at the centre and the focus of our lives. All of us must live in such way as if God is truly indispensable and He must be the very reason for all of our actions, words and deeds. Otherwise, it is easy for us to fall into the temptations of the devil.

That was what we heard from the Epistle of St. James, our first reading today. St. James in his Epistle mentioned how we tend to seek things that satisfy our greed and desire for worldly matters, for riches of the world, for wealth and influence, and for all those that distract us from from keeping our attention solely on God alone. That was why the disciples were in fact jealous that there was another person who were teaching in the Name of the Lord.

They were afraid that the man would become a rival in to them in the effort to bring the Good News and teaching the people of the faith and truth of God. That was the reason why they reported and complained about the man’s action to the Lord Jesus. But I am sure all of them were surprised the moment they heard how the Lord reacted and replied to them.

Instead of supporting their thoughts and complaints, they were rebuked by the Lord Who told them off for their attitude and their refusal to allow God’s works to be done even by others who were outside of their group. The Lord said that as long as they did their works for the purpose of the greater glory of God, they were serving God faithfully and were good in God’s sight.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where we really need to reevaluate our own lives and think about our own actions, words and deeds in the light of what we have just heard mentioned in the lives and the works of the Apostles of the Lord. In truth, how many of us have done something similar in our own lives?

How many of us are jealous at others just because we see others who are as good as or even better than us? How many of us want to be praised and honoured for our actions and deeds? And how many of us like to claim credit for ourselves? This is exactly why we have sinned, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we succumb to the temptations of the devil. We have to realise just how vulnerable we are to his attacks.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that the devil is always ever ready to strike at us when we are least prepared to face or resist his advances. He knows very well how he can snatch us from God and from His saving grace. He indulges in our pride, our ego, our greed and desires, by making us so full of ourselves and our ego. As a result, we become self-centred and selfish in our actions.

As Christians, we cannot let this happen to us. Instead, we have to actively resist the temptations that the devil present to us, all the time. We must also put God at the centre of our lives, and learn to be rid of our pride and ego. These are obstacles through which the devil is trying very hard to prevent us from ever reaching the salvation of God. Therefore, all of us should be ever humbler, the wiser and greater we are.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray therefore, that each and everyone of us will grow ever stronger in faith in God, that we may come to be more dedicated and closer to Him. Let us all beginning from our respective lives, do what the Lord had commanded us to do, that as Christians, we love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and to the very best of our abilities, and do the same towards all those who are around us.

May the Lord bless each and every one of us, and may He strengthen us all in faith, and draw us ever closer to Himself, day after another in our renewed striving for holiness. Amen.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 38-40

At that time, John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone who drove out demons by calling upon Your Name, and we tried to forbid him, because he does not belong to our group.”

Jesus answered, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My Name can soon after speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 48 : 2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11

Hear this, all you peoples! Listen, all you inhabitants of the world, high and low together, rich and poor alike!

Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers ring me round – those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?

For no ransom avails for one’s life; there is no price one can give to God for it. For redeeming one’s life demands too high a price, and all is lost forever. Who can remain forever alive and never see the grave?

For we see that the wise die, and pass away like the fool and the stupid, leaving to others their fortune and wealth.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 4 : 13-17

Listen now, you who speak like this, “Today or tomorrow we will go off to this city and spend a year there; we will do business and make money.”

You have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? No more than a mist, which appears for a moment and then disappears. Instead of this, you should say, “God willing, we will live and do this or that.”

But no! You boast of your plans : this brazen pride is wicked. Anyone who knows what is good, and does not do it, sins.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 : 7th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture telling us again of the moment when St. Paul said his farewell to the elders of the Church in Ephesus, during his journey towards Jerusalem, which would see him embarking on his last mission in his life. He would later on travel to the city of Rome to be judged by the Emperor, and as part of the persecution of Christians in that city, he was martyred by beheading in the year 64 AD.

But despite this fate awaiting him, St. Paul remained positive in his outlook on life, and rather than getting himself scared or worried, he reassured not just himself but also those who were with him, with words of consolation and hope, telling them that God would always be with them and protecting them, as long as they place their trust in Him. However, they must also beware of the challengers and difficulties they would face because they were faithful.

St. Paul reminded the elders to be watchful over their flock, entrusted to them the work and the guardianship over the people of God. They were warned of the challenges and dangers facing the faithful, which included that of false shepherds and guides who would seek to subvert the truth and turn the faithful against God and His truth. Indeed, in times to come, there were many false teachers and heretics attempting to snatch the faithful away from God and His Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord Jesus also gave His disciples the same warning, that the world would hate them all just as they had hated Him first. That was what the Lord Jesus mentioned in His prayer to His Father, our Gospel passage today. But the Lord reassured us that He would always be with us, and He will never abandon all those who have placed their trust in Him.

Now, what each and every one of us as Christians need to understand is that, all of us are called to a life of holiness, dedicated and committed to God. But carrying out such a life and living such a faith is not going to be an easy task for us. There will be plenty of challenges along the way, and often we will also be tempted to give in to the temptations of this world. There will be pressure and persuasions, even from those who are close and dear to us, to give in to the demands of this world.

This is where we all need to remember St. Paul and all that he had done throughout his ministry among the people of mostly non-Jewish origin, calling them all to repentance and to be converted to the one and only true faith in God. He encountered many opposition and troubles along the way, and even those who were close and dear to him abandoned him at times. But St. Paul remained strong in his faith and dedication to the Lord.

Now, what many of us lack, is faith, faith that is genuine and strong in us. We are often unable to resist temptation and pressure, and as a result, we tend to conform to the desires and ways of this world, rather than to stand up for our faith and rather than obeying God’s will. We often find ourselves giving in to these temptations and pressures because we easily fall prey to fear, worrying and being afraid of this and that. As such, we end up falling away from the path that God had set before us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now, our challenge is for us to learn to put our trust in God, and to live our lives more worthily of our God. How do we do this? It is through our commitment to charity in all of our actions and deeds. We ought to follow the example of the saints and the holy servants of God who have preceded us, that we may live our lives with ever more faith, with ever more trust in God, day after day.

Let us all draw ever closer to God, with each and every action we take. May the Lord continue to bless us and guide us. May He bless us all and our every endeavours, that through what we have done, we will bring ever more souls closer towards God. Amen.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 : 7th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 17 : 11b-19

At that time, Jesus prayed to God His Father, “Holy Father, keep those You have given Me in Your Name, so that they may be one, as we also are. When I was with them, I kept them safe in Your Name; and not one was lost, except the one who was already lost, and in this, the Scripture was fulfilled. And now I come to You; in the world I speak these things, so that those whom You gave Me, might have joy – all My joy within themselves.”

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, I do not ask You to remove them from the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.”

“I have sent them into the world as You sent Me into the world; and for their sake, I go to the sacrifice by which I am consecrated, so that they too may be consecrated in truth.”

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 : 7th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 67 : 29-30, 33-35a, 35bc and 36c

Summon Your power, o God, with the strength You have wielded for us. To Your Temple in Jerusalem, kings will come with gifts.

Sing to God, o kingdoms of the world; sing praises to the Lord, to Him Who rides the ancient heavens, and speaks in the voice of thunder. Proclaim the might of God.

He is great in Israel, powerful in heavens. Blessed be God!