Prayer and Meditation for Thursday, October 13, 2016 — “In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ.” — “In Christ we have redemption by his Blood.”


Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 470

The plan of humanity that God has for us has been revealed to us

Reading 1 EPH 1:1-10

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
to the holy ones who are in Ephesus
and faithful in Christ Jesus:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
to the holy ones who are in Ephesus
and faithful in Christ Jesus:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.In Christ we have redemption by his Blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

Responsorial Psalm  PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

Alleluia JN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 11:47-54

The Lord said:
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute’
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.


Commentary on Luke 11:47-54 From Living Space

More strong words from Jesus against the Pharisaic mentality. Today the charge is of hypocrisy.

They now build monuments to remember the prophets of old but those same prophets were killed by the ancestors of those who later built them. On the one side they are building the monuments as an act of atonement while they themselves have exactly the same attitudes as their ancestors. They do not listen to their own teaching.

Jesus utters words which he identifies as “the wisdom of God”: “I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of these they will persecute and kill.” It is not a quotation from the Old Testament or any other book known to us. It could refer to God speaking through Jesus (the Word, the Wisdom of God) or presenting in quotation form God’s decision to send prophets and apostles, even though they would be rejected.

Jesus is basically saying that the mission of the Church (apostles) is linked with the mission of the Old Testament prophets, who, like Jesus’ disciples, suffered and, in some cases, died at the hands of their contemporaries. Jesus, of course, himself will be one of them, the last and greatest Prophet.

Jesus says the scholars of the Law carry with them guilt for the killing of every good person and every prophet since the murder of Abel down to that of Zechariah. The murder of Abel by his brother Cain is recorded in Genesis 4:8, the opening book of the Old Testament, and that of Zechariah, son of Jehoiada in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, a book regarded as the closing of the Hebrew Testament by the Jews. It is like our describing the whole Bible in terms of “from Genesis to Revelation”. Jesus was referring to the history of martyrdom right through the whole of the Old Testament.

There is one final attack against the Scribes and their way of thinking and acting. They interpret the Law in such a way that they make it inaccessible to the ordinary person. And, what is worse, they do not observe it themselves. “You yourselves have not gained access, yet you have stopped those who wish to enter!” They kept both themselves and the people in ignorance of the true way to salvation and wholeness. As it is put in Matthew’s gospel: “They shut the kingdom of heaven [God] in people’s faces” (Matt 23:13).

One wonders how many of our Church leaders, teachers and theological and moral ‘experts’ have not done exactly the same thing over the years and down to the present day? How many Catholic parents and teachers have made the Christian message basically inaccessible to the young and then we wonder why they have “no interest in religion”?

Not surprisingly, all these attacks only increased the hostility of the Pharisees and the religious leaders against Jesus. They got him to speak on a multitude of religious questions hoping that he would convict himself out of his own mouth. As far as they were concerned, they were more than successful. What they did not realise was that Jesus was operating from a completely different vision of what life is really about. His new wine could not fit into their old wineskins.

The question for each one to ask is: Do I share the vision of Jesus? What does ‘Christianity’ mean to me?


Members of Pakistan’s Christian Democratic Alliance march during a protest in Lahore in 2010, in support of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother sentenced to death under local blasphemy laws. © AFP/File / by Gohar Abbas


Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
13 OCTOBER 2016, Thursday, 28th Week of Ordinary Time


Not in any epoch in history has there been a time when the world was on the brink of despair, as we are now in, because of hopelessness.   In those days of war, famine and pestilence, at least there was a hope for a new world to come in the next life.   People then, in spite of their miseries, believed in the Sacred and retribution after death, where the good would be rewarded with paradise and the evil consigned to hell.

Indeed, when you remove God from the world, man has no place and no way to explain himself.  Man cannot explain his existence on earth, whither he came from and where he is going after life on earth.  The universe and his own existence are seen as something that happened accidentally.  Life has no purpose except to work hard, have sufficient to live on comfortably and enjoy the pleasures of life.  A man is defined more as an epicurean, a hedonist, a sensualist and a pleasure-seeker, not much different from the animals.  Not surprisingly, the world has become very materialistic. We are living in a consumerist society.

Thus, we can understand why many who have no faith live in hopelessness and meaninglessness.  They do not live beyond this earth.  So much so there is not much meaning in this life because they know all is temporary and everything will end in annihilation.  The purpose and motivation for doing good is reduced to pure humanitarian reasons, compassion for one’s fellow human beings in their suffering.  St Paul wrote, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Cor 15:19)  Man cannot live just on food alone but he needs purpose, meaning and hope.

For us who are Christians, we do not walk in the dark as if we have no hope.  The plan of humanity that God has for us has been revealed to us.  This is succinctly summarized in today’s first reading.  No Catholic should ever say that he or she does not know what is life and what he or she is living for.  Because of Christ, the plan of God is revealed.  St Paul calls Christ the mystery, that is, the plan of God revealed.   He is the mystery of salvation, not in the sense of mysterious, but that the hidden plan of God for all eternity has now been revealed in Him.  Christ is “the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints.” (Col 1:26) In his letter to the Ephesians, St Paul says “before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ.”

What, then, is the plan of God for us in Christ?  We are called “to be holy and spotless.”  Our first call then is the call to holiness.  This is the common vocation of all Christians when we were baptized in Christ.  We desire to be holy and spotless in Christ.  In other words, we want to be pure like Christ.  St John said, “What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1 Jn 3:2f)  Living a life of holiness is to live a life of purity in love and in truth.   It is to be another Christ in the way we live.

Secondly, we are called “to live through love in his presence.”  In other words, living a holy life is not something that we seek to do with our own strength.  Rather, we must do it with the love of God in our hearts.  Only when we draw His love by living in His presence, can we then find ourselves capable of loving, giving and sharing.  We all can carry our crosses in life when we live in His presence because knowing that He is with us and that He loves us will give us the strength to persevere right to the end.  With God’s love and with Him in us, we have no reason to fear because we are not alone.

Thirdly, we are called to “become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ.” This is our dignity as Christians.  We are called not just to be creatures of God but to be heirs with Christ.  St John affirms this divine filiation given to us when he wrote, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 Jn 3:1)   As adopted sons and daughters in Christ, we too share in His dignity.  “When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rom 8:15b-17)

How is this possible if not through the redemption wrought by Christ’s death and resurrection?  Christ who has been foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament is the Saviour who set us free from our sins through forgiveness manifested in His death on the cross.  Salvation is freely given through faith in God’s love and mercy in Christ.  His death enabled us to overcome death and sin.  Through His resurrection, He gave humanity a clear hope of our destiny at the end of time.  Death would not be the end of everything as what the world thinks but it will lead to new life in the resurrection.  Indeed, God’s plan is that “we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ for his own kind purposes, to make us praise the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved, in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.”  Truly with the psalmist, we declare, The Lord has shown his salvation.  Sing a new song to the Lord for he has worked wonders. His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation.  The Lord has made known his salvation; has shown his justice to the nations.  He has remembered his truth and love for the house of Israel.”

Accordingly, Christ is the One who is our leader in salvation and all things are recapitulated in Him.  “He has let us know the mystery of his purpose, the hidden plan he so kindly made in Christ from the beginning to act upon when the times had run their course to the end: that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth.”   In Christ everything is made clear, our origin, our destiny.  He is the answer to all riddles in life.  In the constitution of the Church, she teaches, “The Church firmly believes that Christ, who died and was raised up for all, can through His Spirit offer man the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme destiny. Nor has any other name under the heaven been given to man by which it is fitting for him to be saved. She likewise holds that in her most benign Lord and Master can be found the key, the focal point and the goal of man, as well as of all human history.” (GS 10.3)

Acceptance of this divine plan presupposes that we accept Christ as the mystery of our salvation, the revealer of the Father, the Way, the Truth and the Life.   Do we truly believe that Christ is the Christ that the prophets foretold?  Those in the time of Christ and before Him did not.  All the prophets that prepared for the Lord’s coming were put to death, including John the Baptist, the precursor of our Lord.  This is what Jesus told the people, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will slaughter and persecute, so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary.”  Today, many still reject Christ as their Saviour and by so doing also reject the revelation of God through Him.

Secondly, there are some, whilst not outrightly rejecting Christ as the revelation of God, do not accept Him in fact.  Many Catholics are like the Jews criticized by the Lord.  “Alas for you who build the tombs of the prophets, the men your ancestors killed! In this way you both witness what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do the building.”  Indeed, we might not have killed the Lord but by our lives of counter-witness, we have also killed Him.  Nominal Catholics do Christ as much harm as those who reject Him.

Finally, we too show ourselves to have rejected the Lord when we lack faith and understanding.  We are all supposed to be leaders of faith and mentors to our children, as parents, elders and adults.  But when we do not even know our faith and have no relationship with the Lord, how can we ever lead our children to God, to know Him?  It is bad enough that we do not enter the Kingdom of God but by so doing, by our scandalous conduct and shallow faith, we prevent others from entering as well.  We have committed a double sin.

Although we are saved through grace by our faith in Christ, grace requires a response.  And such a response means responsibility in living out our faith.   Let us therefore live out our calling to be God’s children in Christ by sharing in His life, living in His presence and living in love and holiness.  We are reminded that we are called to be “saints who are faithful to Christ Jesus.”

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore

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One Response to “Prayer and Meditation for Thursday, October 13, 2016 — “In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ.” — “In Christ we have redemption by his Blood.””

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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