Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 ECCL 11:9—12:8
and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart,
the vision of your eyes;
Yet understand that as regards all this
God will bring you to judgment.
Ward off grief from your heart
and put away trouble from your presence,
though the dawn of youth is fleeting.Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the evil days come
And the years approach of which you will say,
I have no pleasure in them;
Before the sun is darkened,
and the light, and the moon, and the stars,
while the clouds return after the rain;
When the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men are bent,
And the grinders are idle because they are few,
and they who look through the windows grow blind;
When the doors to the street are shut,
and the sound of the mill is low;
When one waits for the chirp of a bird,
but all the daughters of song are suppressed;
And one fears heights,
and perils in the street;
When the almond tree blooms,
and the locust grows sluggish
and the caper berry is without effect,
Because man goes to his lasting home,
and mourners go about the streets;
Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken,
And the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the broken pulley falls into the well,
And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
all things are vanity!
Responsorial Psalm PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the Lord our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Alleluia SEE 2 TM 1:10
Our Savior Christ Jesus destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 9:43B-45
While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
Being created a clean one, sprinkled, purged, and purified by the blood of Christ; in which the fear of God is put; the laws of God are written; where Christ is formed, and his word dwells richly, and he himself by faith, where the Spirit of God and his graces are: and then to walk in the ways of such a heart is to walk in the fear of God, according to his word, as Christ is an example; and to walk after the spirit, and not after the flesh. The Septuagint and Arabic versions are, “and walk in the ways of thine heart unblamable”:
The first time I became completely confused by my Vietnamese family, the only helper I could think of that might have a solution was the Vietnamese priest.
When I explained at length my dilemma, he gave me the best four word advice I’ve ever heard:
“Listen with your heart,” he said.
I had no idea my heart had ears.
In fact, I’d pretty much forgotten about my heart entirely (a common American illness).
Many of us think about our heart only when we ponder a “heart attack.”
But Our Heart is supposed to be the repository of our love. Our Compassion. It is our Heart that says, “Hug the Leper.”
So now, I give that advice out to others, like me, who sometimes forget why they are here on this earth.
We’re here to serve others.To love. To have compassion. Each one of us gets to be the Prodigal son — and, if we live long enough, the all forgiving son. We get to be the Good samaritan AND the man that needs a drink.
Bishop Goh says enjoy your responsibility. But he really mean, embrace your responsibility as you live out the Bible Stories in your own life. Be the Prodigal Son. Embrace the leper.
Listen with your heart….
Give all you can give. All that the other needs.
And to get them what they need, we need to listen with our heart.
But before you start giving away love and compassion — you might have to re-stock your “heart” with the kind of love and compassion Jesus talks about and demonstrates every day….
John Francis Carey
Commentary on Luke 9:43-45 From Living Space
After yesterday’s reading where the disciples recognised their Master as the Messiah and are told about the death and resurrection of Jesus, there follows the scene with the three chosen apostles on the mountain where they get a glimpse of Jesus in glory (the transfiguration). This is followed by the healing of the epileptic boy.
The reaction of the crowds to this cure was that “they were all amazed at the mighty power of God”. Not, we might note, the mighty power of Jesus. Even the crowds could recognise the real source of what Jesus was doing.
It is at this high point of Jesus’ popularity that he says just to his disciples, “Let all this sink into your ears, for the Son of man will be handed over into the hands of men.” What Jesus seems to be saying is that they are to realise there is no contradiction whatever between Jesus revealing in himself the unlimited power of God and his being handed over powerless to the power of his enemies. Only when they can see and understand the meaning of a suffering Messiah will they fully know the Way of Jesus.
But, Luke tells us, they were not ready yet for this. “They did not understand what Jesus was saying. It was hidden from them and they could not see it.” At the same time they were afraid to ask him.
To what extent can we say that we understand and accept the idea of a suffering Messiah? We are used to looking at the cross of Jesus but to what degree do we see the place of suffering in our own lives? Can we see that, without pain and suffering in our own lives and in those of others, our lives would be in many ways impoverished? Strange as it may seem, it is pain and suffering that can bring out what is most deeply human in all of us.
Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
24 SEPTEMBER 2016, Saturday, 25th Week of Ordinary Time
ENJOY YOUR YOUTH RESPONSIBLY
One of the best times in one’s life is certainly youth. It is great to be young! But I wonder if all young people feel that way. The irony of life is that young people cannot wait to grow up. They want to behave like adults. Unfortunately, instead of imitating the good examples of adults, they emulate all the bad ones! As a result, they waste away their youth, and even their future.
Conversely, the old are regretting that they never had a great childhood or enjoyed their life as a youth. They lament that they missed out the joys, the adventures, the fun and the thrills of growing up. Most of all, they regret having wasted away their youth. Instead of making the best of it, they lost golden opportunities where they could have had fun, growth and happy memories. Now it is a bit too late to regret because one cannot turn back the clock. As the author says, “And the mourners are already walking to and fro in the street before the silver cord has snapped, or the golden lamp been broken, or the pitcher shattered at the spring, or the pulley cracked at the well, or before the dust returns to the earth as it once came from it, and the breath to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, Qoheleth says. All is vanity.”
Indeed, before the mourners come, let us as young people live a life of wisdom because life is short. Before you realize it, you would have grown up, married, and taken up more responsibilities in life. We are all getting old. No one is getting younger. Life is short! The prayer of the psalmist should be ours. “You sweep men away like a dream, like the grass which springs up in the morning. In the morning it springs up and flowers: by evening it withers and fades. Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart. Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever?”
We must reckon that however we live our life now will have an impact on our future and most of all eternity. So as young people, we must not forget that the way we make use of the opportunities given to us now will determine our happiness in the future. So it behooves us to decide how best we wish to live the present. We must not forget the consequences of our actions here and now. It would be a big mistake to live our lives frivolously and recklessly as if there is no tomorrow. If we do that, we will look back with regret. And the worst word in life is “regret.” So if we do not want to live a life of regret and despondency, we must ask how can we live our youthful years purposely, with joy, passion and excitement without getting hurt. How, then, should we live our days as a youth?
Firstly, young people must learn to cultivate healthy, loving, faithful and sincere relationships. Acquaintances are many, real friends are few. Most are fair weather friends. These are not the real friends in life because when you need them, they are not there. Finding friends whom we can share our life is of course a risk, not easy, and often we become vulnerable and get hurt. Quite often, especially with the opposite sex, we become too physical in the relationship before we can develop emotional bonds and sharing of the mind. As a result, we often get played out, hurt and wounded. Unfortunately, most never learn from the previous relationships. They plunge immediately into a new relationship, mostly out of loneliness, emptiness, fear and anger. Not surprisingly, those who do not find closure from the previous relationship are bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. This is the tragedy of many young people.
But one cannot do without relationships, either with family, friends or fellow students and colleagues. We need to build healthy and loving relationships. Life is not all study and work. For life to be meaningful and rich, we need relationships because we are created by love, in love and for love. So even whilst doing our work, activities and studies, we must not isolate ourselves completely from people, be so absorbed in our career, studies and ambition that we lose touch with people. Not only will we end up being alone in life later on but life would be such a chore and a cross. So having fellowship with good friends and people that you live or work with us is important for cultivating friendship, mutual understanding and support.
Secondly, whether studying or starting out in our career, we should acquire as much knowledge, skills and experience as we can. The time of learning and acquiring new knowledge and experiences are important for the future. A time will come when we will be called upon to assume leadership and greater responsibilities. If we do not try to study as much as we can now, in later years, when we are fully entrenched in our projects and responsibilities, we will not have the luxury to read as much. Many young people lack foresight. They want to be in action and start doing without the knowledge. They do not take their studies seriously. Later on in life they will realize that they are handicapped by their lack of knowledge, skills and experience to do their job or conduct their business well. So a student’s time is not to be wasted idling away, doing nothing and being non-productive. Indeed, many students regret when it is time for them to move on after their studies. They will see the wiser and smarter students who spent time seriously on their studies graduating and moving up in life, whilst they are left behind. So, youth is a time of formation.
Thirdly, we must get involved too. There should be involvement, otherwise what we study and learn will simply be an intellectual pursuit, good for the ego but useless for life. So to enjoy life means that we must be involved, especially when we are called to contribute our talents and services, be it in the church, school or society. It is when we exercise our talents and put our knowledge into practice that we grow in understanding and in experience. Better still, we must use such opportunities to grow our leadership skills. By being involved in social and church activities, we could sharpen our leadership skills and hone them further because all these skills will be useful later on in life.
Most of all, we will feel useful and contributive to society and that we can make a difference in the lives of others. This sense of usefulness and being able to contribute to humanity makes life worth living. At least we know that we are not living in vain. This is what gives us passion in life. To have passion means to have love. But it is not just a passion for FI or cars or some hobby. Passion means love for humanity and for God. When we do things for others, for God and for society, we are entering into the love and life of God. This makes our life expansive and more holistic. Those who live for themselves cannot find life. Indeed, at the end of the day, all of us, regardless of our vocation or career are called to live for others, for our loved ones, and beyond, for our society and church and country.
Fourthly, to find life as a youth we must also take risks and be adventurous, but not recklessly and cause harm and destruction to ourselves or to others. Risks and adventures we must take, but calculated risks, because we need to bear in mind that we are not an island. What we do, whatever happens to us, will impact society, family and our loved ones; not just ourselves. Young people need to discover the world for themselves and not be always under the watchful eyes of parents and guardians. They will make some mistakes but these are part of the learning curve. We learn more from our mistakes than from our success.
Finally, we are reminded that God must be the center of our lives in all things. There will be judgement here and now on this earth and in the future. We will suffer the consequences of our follies or reap the rewards of our wisdom. The author says, “But this you must know: for all these things God will bring you to judgement. Cast worry from your heart, shield your flesh from pain.” It is not enough to live just for today, or even tomorrow, but for eternity. Even Jesus, although successful in His ministry, was always conscious of the passion awaiting Him. We read that “At a time when everyone was full of admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘For your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men’.”
So let us take the advice of the Preacher seriously. Let us enjoy our life of youth in a responsible way. We must not desire to grow up too quickly but go according to the pace of creation. But at every stage of the journey and in everything, whether studying, working, in relationships, social and voluntary services, let us enjoy life as a whole and not isolate one from the rest. We must live a balanced life. Focusing exclusively on one without seeing the others in perspective will lead to a life of misery. Of course, the weightage for all the different dimensions of life cannot be the same. When young, the focus is on study rather than on relationships, but none is excluded because all aspects of life are meant to help us grow holistically. When we live this way, we will not end up saying, “Yet youth, the age of dark hair, is vanity. And remember your creator in the days of your youth, before evil days come and the years approach when you say, ‘These give me no pleasure.’” So just take every stage of life’s journey as it comes, with its joys and woes, struggles and triumphs. But don’t squander your future away! And we won’t if we live fully here and now and responsibly.
Tags: "Listen with your heart, 2 TM 1:10, according to his word as Christ is an example, allow yourself to be created anew, and let thine heart be in good, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth, Before the sun is darkened and the light and the moon and the stars while the clouds return after the rain, Catholic Mass, created anew, eccl 11:9-12:8, embrace your responsibility, fear of God, Follow the ways of your heart, follow the Word of God and the way of Christ, In every age O Lord you have been our refuge., let thine heart prompt and put thee on doing that which is good, Lk 9:43b-45, Prayer and Meditation, Psalm 90, purified by the blood of Christ, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, Remember your Creator in the days of your youth before the evil days come And the years approach of which you will say I have no pleasure in them, September 24 2016, The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, to walk in the ways of such a heart is to walk in the fear of God, unless you become like little children, walk in the ways of thine heart unblamable