Wednesday, 20 November 2019 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 19 : 11-28

At that time, Jesus was now near Jerusalem, and the people with Him thought that God’s reign was about to appear. So as they were listening to Him, Jesus went on to tell them a parable. He said, “A man of noble birth went to a distant country in order to be crowned king, after which he planned to return home. Before he left, he summoned ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds of silver.”

“He said, ‘Put this money to work until I get back.’ But his compatriots, who disliked him, sent a delegation after him with this message, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ He returned, however, appointed as king. At once he sent for the servants, to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made. The first came in, and reported, ‘Sir, your pound of silver has earned ten more pounds of silver.'”

“The master replied, ‘Well done, my good servant! Since you have proved yourself faithful in a small matter, I can trust you to take charge of ten cities.’ The second reported, ‘Sir, your pound of silver earned five more pounds of silver.’ The master replied, ‘And you, take charge of five cities!'”

“The third came in, and said, ‘Sir, here is your money, which I hid for safekeeping. I was afraid of you, for you are an exacting person : you take up what you did not lay down, and you reap what you did not sow.’ The master replied, ‘You worthless servant, I will judge you by your own words! So you knew I was an exacting person, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? Why, then, did you not put my money on loan, so that, when I got back, I could have collected it with interest?'”

“Then the master said to those standing by, ‘Take from him that pound, and give it to the one with ten pounds.’ But they objected, ‘Sir, he already has ten pounds!’ The master replied, ‘I tell you, everyone who has will be given more; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for my enemies who did not want me to be their king, bring them in, and execute them right here in front of me!'”

So Jesus spoke, and then He passed on ahead of them, on His way to Jerusalem.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 16 : 1, 5-6, 8 and 15

Hear a just cause, o YHVH, listen to my complaint. Give heed to my prayer, for there is no deceit on my lips.

Hold firm my steps upon Your path, that my feet may not stumble. I call on You, You will answer me, o God; incline Your ear and hear my word.

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; under the shadow of Your wings hide me. As for me, righteous in Your sight, I shall see Your face and, awakening, gaze my fill on Your likeness.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Maccabees 7 : 1, 20-31

It happened also that seven brothers were arrested with their mother. The king had them scourged and flogged to force them to eat the flesh of a pig which was prohibited by the Law.

More than all of them, their mother ought to be admired and remembered. She saw her seven sons die in a single day. But she endured it even with joy for she had put her hope in the Lord. Full of a noble sense of honour, she encouraged each one of them in the language of their ancestors. Her woman’s heart was moved by manly courage, so she told them :

“I wonder how you were born of me; it was not I who gave you breath and life, nor I who ordered the matter of your body. The Creator of the world Who formed man in the beginning and ordered the unfolding of all creation shall in His mercy, give you back breath and life, since you now despise them for the love of His laws.”

Antiochus thought she was making fun of him and suspected that she had insulted him. As the youngest was still alive, the king tried to win him over not only with his words, but even promised to make him rich and happy, if he would abandon the traditions of his ancestors. He would make him his Friend and appoint him to a high position in the kingdom.

But as the young man did not pay him any attention, the king ordered the mother to be brought in. He urged her to advise her son in order to save his life. After being asked twice by the king, she agreed to persuade her son. She bent over him and fooled the cruel tyrant by saying in her ancestral language : “My son, have pity on me. For nine months I carried you in my womb and suckled you for three years; I raised you up and educated you until this day.”

“I ask you now, my son, that when you see the heavens, the earth and all that is in it, you know that God made all this from nothing, and the human race as well. Do not fear these executioners, but make yourself worthy of your brothers – accept death that you may again meet your brothers in the time of mercy.”

When she finished speaking, the young man said, “What are you waiting for? I do not obey the king’s order but the precepts of the Law given by Moses to our ancestors. And you who have devised such tortures against the Hebrews, shall not escape the hands of God.”

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all reminded through the passages of the Scriptures we have heard of the loving care, mercy and compassion which Our Lord and Master has shown us all these while even though we have not returned His love in kind, and in fact after all that we have done to Him, in betraying and abandoning Him for false and pagan gods and idols, the idols of worldly attachments, money, power, fame and many more.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus healing ten lepers who came to Him seeking to be healed from their unfortunate condition, as leprosy then was greatly feared and all those who suffered from the disease were rejected from the community and forced to remain outside civilisation until they were able to prove that they had been completely cured and free from the leprosy that affected them.

But while the society rejected them, the Lord received them into His embrace, welcoming them and healing them from their predicament because of their faith, making them healthy again without they even realising it. Eventually only one of them, a Samaritan realised that it was the Lord Jesus Who had healed him and thus hurried back to the Lord to thank Him while the other nine lepers continued with their joyful rush to return to the community.

We can see how God loves us, His people so much. Even though He was no appreciated or thanked by the people whom He had loved. We must not forget either how the Lord Jesus Himself loved and still forgave all those who have persecuted and condemned Him to die a most painful death right from the very Cross of His suffering. He prayed and forgave them their sins even at the moment of His greatest anguish and sorrow.

But this is something that we should not take for granted. The love of God has always been available for us and is generously given all the time. And yet, as I mentioned earlier at the beginning of today’s discourse, we mankind often overlooked, ignored and forgot about God’s wonderful love, as we ended up being distracted by the many concerns and temptations of this world, and being dragged deeper and deeper into sinful ways.

And as the first reading today mentioned, as taken from the Book of Wisdom passage, we are reminded that the lot of the wicked and all those who spurned and rejected God’s love and mercy is one of suffering, pain and annihilation. In that passage we heard of those who are mighty and proud, wicked and sinful in their ways being punished by God, and this punishment came about because of the conscious rejection they took as they refused God’s generosity and love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now therefore we are called to reflect on our own lives and actions thus far. How have we reacted to God’s generous love, compassion and mercy? Have we opened ourselves and allowed God to enter into our hearts to fill us up with His love? Or have we instead allowed the pride and hubris, the greed and desires in our hearts to make us harden our hearts and to close ourselves away from God?

We must not forget all that God had done for us. We must appreciate His love and compassion, all the opportunities He has given us all again and again, His patience towards us and His endless desire to be reconciled with us despite our sins and wickedness. Let us therefore be like the Samaritan leper, humbling himself not just to seek the Lord for healing, the healing from our sins, but also to be thankful and to humbly recognise how God has made us well again, not by our own power, but through His infinite love and mercy. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 11-19

At that time, on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through Samaria and Galilee, and as He entered a village, ten lepers came to meet Him. Keeping their distance, they called to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus said to them, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests.” Then, as they went on their way, they found they were cured. One of them, as soon as he saw that he was cleansed, turned back, praising God in a loud voice; and throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave Him thanks. This man was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked him, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Did none of them decide to return and give praise to God, but this foreigner?” And Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 81 : 3-4, 6-7

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; defend the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the helpless and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

“You are gods,” I said, “You are all sons of the Most High.” But now, you will die like the others; you will all fall, like any mortal.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom 6 : 1-11

Listen, o kings, and understand; rulers of the most distant lands, take warning. Pay attention, you who rule multitudes and boast of the numerous subjects in your pagan nations!

For authority was given you by the Lord, your kingship is from the Most High Who will examine your works and scrutinise your intentions. If, as officials of His kingdom, you have not judged justly or observed His law or walked the way God pointed our, He will oppose you swiftly and terribly; His sentence strikes the mighty suddenly.

For the lowly there may be excuses and pardon, but the great will be severely punished. For the Lord of all makes no distinction, nor does He take account of greatness. Both great and lowly are His work and He watches over all, but the powerful are to be judged more strictly.

It is to you then, sovereigns, that I speak, that you may learn Wisdom and not stumble. For those who keep the holy laws in a holy way will be acknowledged holy, and those who accept the teaching will find in it their defence. Welcome my words, desire them and they will instruct you.