Sunday, 26 September 2021 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we are all called through what we have received in the Sacred Scriptures, to reflect on our every actions in our own respective lives, on whether we have been good and faithful in exercising the gifts that God has given us, the gifts of His Wisdom and the Holy Spirit that He has sent to us. We have to distance ourselves from sin and from all things that are wicked so that our lives may be inspiration and good models for our fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Numbers about the time when the Lord sent His Spirit down to the seventy elders appointed to be the leaders of the people of Israel in their Exodus from Egypt. The Spirit of God that was upon Moses also came upon the seventy elders who began to prophesy in the Name of God, having received the gift of wisdom from the Lord. And it was then told that two men in the assembly who were not among the seventy elders, named Eldad and Medad also received the Spirit of God and began prophesying amongst the people.

When Moses then chided those who complained and tried to stop the two men’s actions, his words were truly prophetic at that time, as he wished that every single one of God’s children and people could also receive the same gift of the Spirit and has the same wisdom and ability to prophesise. And all these, brothers and sisters in Christ, have in fact came true during the Pentecost. For at Pentecost, God sent down His Holy Spirit on the disciples, which consists of the Twelve Apostles and Mary, but may also number seventy or seventy-two in total, symbolic of the seventy elders of the Israelites.

Then, these disciples of the Lord, having received the Holy Spirit, went forth from that day onwards and proclaimed the truth of God, His Good News and salvation without any more fear, but with great joy and conviction, with the strong desire for the salvation of many souls.

Many people came to believe in the Lord through them, through the efforts of the Apostles and the disciples, and they accepted baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and becoming the members of the Church of God. And in becoming Christians, they received through baptism the same Holy Spirit that God had sent to His disciples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we ourselves as Christians have also therefore received the same Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit having come down and dwelled within us through the gift of our baptism, and then affirmed for those of us who have also received the Sacrament of Confirmation. As we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, we too have been entrusted by the Lord with the wisdom and the responsibility to make good use of the various gifts and opportunities He has given us to do whatever we can to serve Him and to glorify His Name by our various deeds in life.

Yet, that is not what many of us had done, as St. James in his Epistle which we heard as our second reading today, spoke of the ways in which we have misused and abused the various gifts and talents that we had been given. He detailed how many among the rich and the powerful abused their wealth and power to exploit others and to enrich and make themselves more powerful over the suffering and hard labours of others. He mentioned how the poor and the weak were deceived and exploited by those who held sway and power over them, and implied that such an action was most unbecoming of Christians.

The Lord was not against the rich or the powerful. In fact, was it not by God’s grace and blessings that they had received their riches and opportunities in the first place? But they had chosen to use those for their own selfish purposes and even sought to get more of what they had already possessed a lot of. That is why they exploited others especially those who could not stand for themselves and are vulnerable to exploitation and extortion. This is also the reason for the many sufferings present in our world today, as we misuse the blessings and the opportunities that God had given to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and to the people about doing the works for the glory of God, saying that they should not hinder anyone doing the good works of God even if those people did not belong to the same group as them. At that time, the disciples of the Lord saw some people who were doing works in the Name of the Lord, casting out demons and healing in His Name, wanting to stop them for doing so? Why were they doing this, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because they felt that having received the gift of power and miracle from the Lord, they wanted to keep these exclusive to themselves.

Such was a selfish action showed by the disciples which the Lord then calmly rebuked by saying that they must not have such a mindset, and that all with the desire to do the work of God, regardless of their affiliations are part of the Lord’s greater work and plans. At the same time, it is also a reminder that we should not aim to use these gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities God has given us for our own selfish purposes, and worse still if we make use of them to exploit others and causing sufferings to those who are less fortunate than us.

As Christians, all of us are called to reflect on the Lord’s words to us in our Sacred Scriptures today. When the Lord told His disciples that if their eyes caused them to sin, and they ought to tear them out, or if their hands and feet had caused them to sin and make them to fall into wickedness that they ought to cut them off, He was in fact calling on all of us to turn away from sin and to resist the temptations to sin to the best of our abilities. He did not literally mean for us to tear out our eyes, or cut off our limbs if they had led us all into sin. Otherwise, everyone would have been without eyes and limbs as inevitably, these would have tempted us to sin.

Our body, our organs and senses are all gifts from God to us, and they can be used for good purposes just as they can also be used for wicked purposes. The matter lies with how we make use of these gifts and how we make use of the other talents and opportunities that God has given to us. We have been given various gifts that are distinct from one another, and yet, many of us are still ignorant of them, or we deliberately did nothing at all to make use of them for the good of all. This is where we need to reflect and see in what way we can do to contribute our efforts for the good of humanity, for all those whom we encounter in life.

That is why, as Christians, we are all called to make good use of our gifts and talents for the benefit of all, to reach out to others around us so that whenever we see someone who is need of help, or hear the pleas and cries of the suffering and sorrowful, we may reach out to them and in various ways offer our help or do something even in the smallest ways to lighten their load, or to cheer them up and support them. We may be surprised just how much this can help in making them feel better and just how much this can benefit them in ways that we ourselves may not realise at first.

This Sunday, we also mark the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, paying particular attention on all those who have left their homeland or place of birth behind in search of a better life, or for a place of refuge especially for those who have been displaced by famine, by war or by persecution either because of their faith, their race or their background, as diverse as these reasons may be. We remember our fellow brothers and sisters out there who are still suffering daily and having no true place to be called home, especially the refugees.

Many of these unfortunate circumstances came to be because of our own human greed and pride, our egoistic behaviours and our desires, unchecked and unbridled which led to the exploitation of the weak and the poor, as well as the persecution of peoples based on their backgrounds, races and all things that led them to flee their homeland or for various other reasons that made them to wander around. For some who were lucky, they would end up finding a new home and integrate well, but many are still out there, some even after many generations, waiting to find a home that will welcome them and which they can call as home.

Sadly and unfortunately, quite a few among those who have caused these sufferings were those who call themselves as Christians. And not few among us are also biased against these migrants and refugees, and not few among us are also perpetuating these biases and prejudice against those unfortunate people. Let us not forget, brothers and sisters in Christ, that they too are our fellow brothers and sisters, the same children of God, having the same Father as us, Who loves them just as He loves all of us. If we shut the doors of our hearts to them, then how do you think God will react to His children being treated in this manner?

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday all of us are called and challenged to live our lives in a more Christian manner, to be more genuine in our Christian love and way of life, and not be hypocrites in faith. We are all called to embrace one another with love and in whatever we do, we have to show God’s love and truth to each other. Are we willing to do this, brethren? Are we willing to commit ourselves to the way of the Lord, and if we are given the opportunity to do more for the benefit of others around us, and more so if we have the chance to encounter migrants and refugees in our midst, to be welcoming towards them and to show them God’s generous love, that they may be strengthened and reminded that God never leaves them but remains with them with us, their own brothers and sisters.

Let us all do whatever we can to be less selfish and be more generous in giving to others, in touching the lives of others and in influencing one another to be more loving and caring especially to the weak and the oppressed, to those who are suffering and unloved, to those who need our care and attention. Let us all do our part, as members of the Church of God, having received the Lord’s Spirit and the commission to love, to be faithful to our calling and mission and to be good brothers and sisters to one another, at all times. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 26 September 2021 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 38-43, 45, 47-48

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.”

“If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ and bear His Name, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward. If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck.”

“If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand, than with two hands to go to hell, to the fire that never goes out. And if your foot makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot, than with both feet to be thrown into hell.”

“And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out! It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, keeping both eyes, to be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them never die, and the fire never goes out.”

Sunday, 26 September 2021 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 5 : 1-6

So, now, for what concerns the rich, cry and weep, for the misfortunes that are coming upon you. Your riches are rotting, and your clothes, eaten up by the moths. Your silver and gold have rusted, and their rust grows into a witness against you. It will consume your flesh, like fire, for having piled up riches, in these, the last days.

You deceived the workers who harvested your fields, but, now, their wages cry out to the heavens. The reapers’ complaints have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You lived in luxury and pleasure in this world, thus, fattening yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have easily condemned, and killed the innocent since they offered no resistance.

Sunday, 26 September 2021 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 18 : 8, 10, 12-13, 14

The Law of YHVH is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of YHVH is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The fear of the Lord is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, all of them just and right.

They are a light to Your servant, in keeping them, they win a great reward. But who can discern one’s own errors? Forgive the failings of which I am unaware.

Preserve me from wilful sin; do not let it get the better of Your servant. Then shall I walk blameless and innocent of serious sin.

Sunday, 26 September 2021 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Numbers 11 : 25-29

YHVH came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. He took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put It on the seventy elders. Now when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But this they did not do again.

Two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad, the name of the other Medad. However, the Spirit came on them for they were among those who were registered though they had not gone out to the Tent. As they prophesied inside the camp, a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

Joshua, the son of Nun, who ministered to Moses from his youth said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous on my behalf? Would that all YHVH’s people were prophets and that YHVH would send His Spirit upon them!”

Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the calling of Samuel, who had been called by God in his youth, when he was still under the tutelage of Eli, the judge over Israel. He was called to be the servant of God, and to be the one who would lead the people of Israel back to the Lord, as the messenger of His will and desire for His people.

And in the Gospel we heard about the parallel story of how the Apostles, that is the chief disciples of the Lord, were called. They were called from their respective lives to be the bearers of the Good News of the Lord. And therefore, just like Samuel, they brought much goodness to the people of God. They were after all called to be the bearers of God’s great Light to a people who lived in a great darkness, to dispel that darkness and bring them all back to the true Light.

Why was Samuel called by the Lord? And why was the Apostles and the disciples of Christ called by Jesus to follow Him and to do His will? That is because there is indeed much wickedness in this world, so much so that it disgusts our Lord to see such great darkness and wickedness existing among us His people. Thus, He called His servants and all those whom He had chosen to be the bearers of His will to His people, to call them to repentance.

The people at the time of Samuel was led by the judges whom God had appointed over His people. But they were only faithful as long as the judges were alive. As soon as they passed away, they returned to their old way of sin and wickedness, following the customs and practices of their Canaanite neighbours. Therefore, God was angry with them and they suffered greatly at the hands of their persecutors.

Similarly, the people at the time of Jesus lived at a time when they were adrift among the false practices of the people around them. Just a century or so before the birth of Christ, if we read the Book of the Maccabees, then we should know how many of the people of God readily submitted to the pagan ways and rejected the way of the Lord, and they sinned greatly before God.

Nevertheless, it does not mean that God did not love His people. It is neither that He desired their destruction and annihilation. In fact, God loves all of them, and He desires only for their salvation. And that is why, He called Samuel to bring His warnings and His truth to the people, that they might repent and follow Him again. And in the same way, He called His Apostles through whom He made clear His truth and teachings, and from them, the same truth is passed down to all of us.

In the second reading, St. Paul in his letter to the Church in Corinth reminded the faithful that they must avoid all forms of sins and fornications, of the flesh and of the spirit. He reminded the people that they are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, that is the very Temple and House of God where God Himself resides. If they committed sin and fornications, then they would have defiled the very House and Presence of God Himself, and they committed grave sin that threatened condemnation on them.

Therefore it will be the same for all of us if we choose to live wickedly and be filled with sin. All of us who have believed in Christ and accept Him into ourselves through the Most Holy Eucharist have been made into the dwelling and the house where God Himself resides. Thus, we are all the Temples of the Lord’s Holy Presence and we have to maintain the purity and sanctity of this Temple, that is our body, our mind, our heart and our spirit, so that no taint of sin or wickedness may come and harm our purity.

How is the reading today relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is because all of us have been called to be the disciples and followers of Christ, and we all have been baptised in His Name, and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have been granted such great grace to have the Lord Himself dwelling in us. Thus first, we have to maintain ourselves in a state of purity and avoiding the taints of sin as best as we can.

But we cannot just stop there, brethren, as the gifts and graces which we have received are the same gifts which God had given to Samuel, and also the same gifts as He had granted the Apostles and disciples in the ages past. Therefore, we too have the same obligation and duty as that which had been given to the prophets and the Apostles, that is to bring the revelations of God’s truth to mankind and to call mankind back to the Lord, abandoning their sins and embracing fully the way of the Lord.

Are we able to be like Samuel and say courageously to the Lord, “Lord, speak, for Your servant is listening!”? It is very difficult for many if not most of us to listen and to allow God to speak in us, within our heart. He speaks to us in a subtle way, and if we allow ourselves to be distracted by the many things in the world, the many pleasures and evils in it, then I would say that, we would be deaf to the Lord calling for us, to repent and to follow Him with all of our heart. Let us change our ways therefore, that we may truly be faithful and active disciples of our Lord.

And again therefore, it is related once again to how we live our lives. No one will believe in what we preach should we not live according to what our faith tells us. No one will follow us if we do not do as what we have preached to them. Thus, our faith in God must be truly a living faith, and in living our faith, we too can preserve the sanctity of our Temple, the Temple of God that is our body, our mind, our heart, and our soul.

Today we mark the World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees. We ought to pray for all those who have been displaced by various causes, either by war, injustice, oppression or any other reasons, which cause them difficulties and sufferings. If we are truly the Temples of God, the dwelling place of our Lord, then by nature all of us should act according to what our Lord would have done, that is to love those who are least, weakest, the ostracised and the rejected ones in our society. Migrants and refugees are often among these, and if we do not love them, then who will?

Let us share some of our love and our joy, our blessing and our grace with them, the migrants, those who have travelled far from their homeland, as well as refugees who have been displaced from their lands. After all, was not Abraham a migrant too? He travelled far following the will of God, and he obediently followed His commandments, and his descendants Israel also have to move from place to place, suffering difficulties along the way. Thus, let us all share a thought for this, and give them the best we can do. Do not shun them, or ostracise them or reject them, but let us welcome them all with love.

Today we also mark the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, where we pray for the eventual reunion of all the faithful and all those who profess faith in Christ, under the orthodox and true teachings of the Faith, according to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church under the sovereignty and leadership of the one and only Vicar of Christ, the Pope of Rome, whom God had appointed to be His sole representative on this world.

Thus as we begin this solemn week of prayer, let us all commit ourselves to keep ourselves pure and righteous, following the Law of God and be obedient to His teachings, so that all others who see us, will believe and repent from their sins. Let us pray sincerely for the conversion of heretics and schismatics who have separated themselves from the true faith in particular, that they may have their eyes opened and their senses awakened, so they may know what the true Faith is like and abandon all forms of lies and falsehoods which Satan had planted in them to divide the Church of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be true to our mission in life, that is to keep ourselves faithful and at the same time, bring our brethren who are still in darkness and all those who have gone wayward, to return them to the path towards the Lord. Hence, now we pray, we act and we do things that will show the faith we have in our Lord, our loving God, and He who sees it all and knows it all, will reward us richly forevermore. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-psalm/

 

Second  Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

John 1 : 35-42

At that time, on the following day John was standing there again with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at Him and said, “There is the Lamb of God.” On hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. He turned and saw them following, and He said to them, “What are you looking for?”

They answered, “Rabbi (which means Master), where are You staying?” Jesus said, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where He stayed, and spent the rest of that day with Him. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard what John had said, and followed Jesus. Early the next morning he found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah (which means the Christ),” and he brought Simon to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John, but you shall be called Cephas (which means Rock).”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/18/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 6 : 13c-15a, 17-20

Yet the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body. And God who raised the Lord, will also raise us with His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?

On the contrary, anyone united to the Lord becomes one Spirit in Him. Avoid unlawful sex entirely. Any other sin a person commits is outside the body but those who commit sexual immorality sin against their own body.

Do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit within you, given by God? You belong no longer to yourselves. Remember at what price you have been bought and make your body serve the glory of God.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/18/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 39 : 2 and 4ab, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10

With resolve I waited for the Lord; He listened and heard me beg. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

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 Lord, I did not seal – You know that very well.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/18/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Samuel 3 : 3b-10, 19

And Samuel also lay in the house of YHVH near the Ark of God. Then YHVH called, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel answered, “I am here!” and ran to Eli saying, “I am here, did you not call me?” But Eli said, “I did not call, go back to sleep.” So he went and lay down.

Then YHVH called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel stood up and went to Eli saying, “You called me; I am here.” But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

Samuel did not yet know YHVH and the word of YHVH had not yet been revealed to him. But YHVH called Samuel for the third time and, as he went again to Eli saying, “I am here for you have called me,” Eli realised that it was YHVH calling the boy.

So he said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if He calls you again, answer : ‘Speak, YHVH, Your servant listens.'” Then YHVH came and stood there calling as He did before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant listens.”

Samuel grew; YHVH was with him and made all his words become true.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/18/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-homily-and-scripture-reflections/