20 October 2012
Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians 5:1-6
When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free.
Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
It is I, Paul, who tell you this: if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all.
With all solemnity I repeat my warning: Everyone who accepts circumcision is obliged to keep the whole Law.
But if you do look to the Law to make you justified, then you have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen from grace.
Christians are told by the Spirit to look to faith for those rewards that righteousness hopes for, since in Christ Jesus whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference – what matters is faith that makes its power felt through love.
Extracted from Psalm 119:41,43-45,47-48
Lord, let your love come upon me.
Lord, let your love come upon me, the saving help of your promise.
Do not take the word of truth from my mouth for I trust in your decrees.
I shall always keep your law for ever and ever.
I shall walk in the path of freedom for I seek your precepts.
Your commands have been my delight; these I have loved.
I will worship your commands and love them and ponder your statutes.
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 11:37-41
Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house.
He went in and sat down at the table.
The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal.
But the Lord said to him, ‘Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness.
Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too?
Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.’
Readings for Holy Mass on 16 October 2012:
1st Reading: Galatians 5:1-6 (see above)
Psalm 119:41,43-45,47-48 (see above)
Gospel Reading: Luke 11:37-41 (see above)
A wise and elderly Priest gave a short sermon after the aforesaid Readings and we have summarized to share with you:
Saint Paul said in his letter to the Galatians (1st Reading) that it is not required for anyone to be circumcised in order to be saved, what’s required for all Christian is Faith in Jesus Christ with Righteous Living.
Saint Paul’s writings on the aforesaid reinforced what Jesus Christ told us in the Gospel Reading above:
Jesus accuses the Pharisees of emphasizing externals of religion while overlooking in their own conduct the breach of essentials – to live in Righteousness.
He mentions the absurdity of religiously cleaning the outside of a cup while one’s own inside is full of evil.
Thus, what Jesus tells us is to have a right and clean disposition inside in order to be saved. He is not interested about how well we decorate ourselves, or we may appear untidy (or sweaty?) in rushing to Mass after a hard day’s work. He is only looking at our inner dispositions.
20 October 2012
22 October 2012
On 21 October 2012, the Universal Church celebrated World Missionary Day. We have extracted the homily of Blessed Pope John Paul II on 22 October 2000 to share with you as a source of encouragements to all of us whom God has also called as “missionaries within our society in our own ways”.
WORLD MISSIONARY DAY
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Sunday 22 October 2000
1. "The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10: 45).
These words of the Lord, dear brothers and sisters, resound today, World Mission Sunday, as good news for all humanity and as a programme of life for the Church and for every Christian.
Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, recalled this at the beginning of our celebration, as he informed us of the presence this morning in this square of delegates from 127 nations, who have taken part in the World Mission Congress, and of the scholars of various denominations who have come for the International Missiological Congress. I thank Cardinal Tomko for his opening address to me and for all the work that he, along with the members of the Congregation over which he presides, carries out to serve the proclamation of the Gospel in the world.
"The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many". These words tell us how the divine Master presents himself. Jesus describes himself as the one who came to serve and that it is precisely service and total self-giving even to the cross that reveals the Father's love. His face as a "servant" in no way lessens his divine greatness, but sheds new light on it.
Jesus is the "great high priest" (Hebrews 4: 14), the Word who "was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1: 2-3). Jesus is the Lord who, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Philippians 2: 6-7); Jesus is the Saviour, whom "we can confidently approach". Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14: 6), the shepherd who gave his life for the sheep (John 10: 11), the head who leads to life (Acts 3: 15).
2. Missionary commitment arises like the fire of love from the contemplation of Jesus and the attraction that he holds. Christians who have contemplated Jesus Christ can only feel enraptured by his splendour (cf. Vita consecrata, n. 14) and bear witness to their faith in Christ, the one Saviour of mankind. What a great grace is this faith which we have received as a gift from on high, not as a result of any merit of our own (cf. Redemptoris missio, n. 11)!
This grace in turn becomes a source of responsibility. It is the grace that makes us preachers and apostles: this is why I said in the Encyclical Redemptoris missio that "mission is an issue of faith, an accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us” (n. 11). And again: "Unless the missionary is a contemplative, he cannot proclaim Christ in a credible way" (n. 91).
It is by fixing our gaze on Jesus, the missionary of the Father and the high priest, author and perfecter of our faith (cf. Hebrews 3: 1; 12: 2), that we learn the meaning and style of mission.
22 October 2012