Thursday, 1 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, which also falls on the same day as the day set aside for the celebration of the right of workers and labourers around the world, commonly known as either the Labour Day or May Day. On this day, workers around the world celebrate their right to equal pay, treatment and rights, as well as even protesting to demand for more, if they did not receive enough.

Today we celebrate the memory of St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, who was also a very diligent worker as a carpenter in the village of Nazareth. St. Joseph is the role model for all workers, not only that he is so diligent and hardworking, but he is also very upright in his actions and did not do things that were in opposition to the Law of God and the teachings of the prophets.

St. Joseph reminded all of us, not just the workers of who we are, namely the children and most beloved of all the creations of the Lord. We were created last by the Lord in creation, and we were made in His image, and as if that is not enough, He also endowed us with His own Spirit that bears life inside each one of us. And yet, we are at the same time, as the first reading from the Book of Genesis mentioned, also made of dust, which the Lord used to craft our mortal bodies of flesh and blood.

Thus the well-known saying that ‘We are dust, and to dust we shall return, which the priest utters every Ash Wednesday as he applies the ash onto our forehead. This is to remind us of our humanity, fragility and mortality, which should keep us to realise that we are in this world as its caretakers and everything that we do, we ought not to do it for our own sake and benefits, but for the sake of the Lord and all our brethren around us.

St. Joseph showed that above all, we should be the bearers of the good will of the Lord, and walk always in the way of God, be righteous in all of our actions and deeds, not turning left or right, or be persuaded or tempted by the world’s persuasions and temptations. As we work, we should always remember to have good work attitudes and openness to suggestions and advice, and not to close ourselves off from cooperating with others.

A truly major problem with our world and its working force is that we no longer work for the good of one another, but we ended up to be in the sole pursuit of one thing, that is money and even other forms of material possessions. As I have often mentioned, money is not necessarily evil, and indeed, it is perfectly neutral and is completely not a vice that we should avoid. The evil lies in us, that is in how we attempt to gain it, how we gain it, and eventually how we use it, and what we use it for.

This world has increasingly become a commercialised and materialistic world, where you can almost literally say that money is king, for those who have more will not just tend to have even more, but that they also are likely to have a better and more enjoyable life. For many of us, working and our actions in work had become nothing more than literally slaving away our lives and our precious time for money, and more money.

We forget that when we work we should be more like St. Joseph, who worked with great simplicity and humility, and while being serious and dedicated to his works, he dedicated it out of love towards God and to his fellow men. As a carpenter, he certainly did not earn much from his works, but certainly from every single furniture he crafted for those who ordered them from him, he gained much gladness and satisfaction, seeing the happiness on their faces seeing the completed product.

Surely we all can visualise and imagine how St. Joseph had worked hard to help provide for the Holy Family, for Jesus our Lord and Mary His mother. It is this kind of simple and yet genuine devotion to one’s work based in love that is the kind of work attitude that we need to have and follow. Sadly the truth is indeed that we have been so caught up in our busy life schedules and careers that we end up forgetting what is the most important thing in our lives.

As St. Joseph has shown us, we cannot discount God out of our lives, as without God our lives will be meaningless and empty, and this is also the reason why so many of us lost our true purpose as we work, that we no longer work for the benefits of others around us, and instead, for our own benefit, that is for our own selves, in our great ego, desire and greed.

It is easy these days to be tempted, brethren, for the temptations of goodness of this world is basically all around us, from all the promotions and commercials that we are exposed to every single day of our lives, that we really cannot escape but notice how much good that this world can grant us. Therefore we are prone to fall into this trap of materialism and commercialism, where we desire more and more the goods of this world, while forgetting that the true purpose we have in this world is to love and to dedicate ourselves completely to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate today’s occasion on the feast of St. Joseph the worker and the day of celebration of labour, let us always be reminded that we should not be working for the sake of working and to seek for more and more material goods. Instead, as we work, let us have a good purpose to it, especially praising and glorifying the Lord our God.

St. Joseph the worker, the foster-father of our Lord, pray for us all, that we will seek less of our own glory and pleasure when we so something or work, that we do not become creature of ego or the servant of material possessions. Help us through your prayers that we may instead work for the good of one another, and be dedicated to our work just as you had been dedicated to yours. May God be with us all and bless our work at all times. Amen.

Thursday, 1 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 31-36

He who comes from above is above all; He who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.

The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

 

Matthew 13 : 54-58

Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?”

And so they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Thursday, 1 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

 

Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 12-13, 14 and 16

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children.

Thursday, 1 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 27-33

So they brought them in and made them stand before the Council and the High Priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders not to preach such a Saviour; but you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend charging us with the killing of this Man.”

To this Peter and the Apostles replied, “Better for us to obey God rather than any human authority! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging Him on a wooden post. God set Him at His right hand as Leader and Saviour, to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses to all these things, as well as the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

When the Council heard this, they became very angry and wanted to kill them.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

 

Genesis 1 : 26 – Genesis 2 : 3

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God said, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day.

That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God has done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day He rested from all the work He had done in His creation.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

 

Colossians 3 : 14-15, 17, 23-24

Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May the peace of Christ overflow in your hearts; for this end you were called to be one body. And be thankful.

And whatever you do or say, do it in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly, working for the Lord, and not for humans. You well know that the Lord will reward you with the inheritance. You are servants, but your Lord is Christ.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

The Lord loves all those that belong to Him, and He cares deeply for all of them. Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why with the Lord on our side, we should not fear, for God will guide our way and protect us from harm, as He had done with His Apostles who spread His Good News to the people.

God’s tender mercy and love for us is indeed so great, that in His willingness to save all of us, as we all know from the well-known passage taken from John 3 : 16 as we read in the Gospel today that the Lord so loved the world that He gave us His only Son, that all who believe in Him may not die, but receive life eternal through Him. That is the complete truth about God’s love and dedication for us all His creations.

Jesus indeed came into the world to liberate it from the darkness that had veiled the eyes of the people for a long time, and He came so that the Law can be explained in its fullness, and its purpose revealed, that is first to bring glory to God, and secondly, to bring mankind and all the people of God back into the loving embrace of their Lord and Father.

Jesus did not condemn anyone for their sinfulness and unworthiness, and He instead proclaimed forgiveness for all those who were willing to repent with true sincerity and turned their backs against their past, sinful lives. He did not judge them unless they themselves had refused to listen and accept His presence and teachings in the first place, as what the Pharisees had done with great impunity and stubbornnness.

Jesus our Lord sought out the sinners and the downtrodden, the so-called least and lowest in the societal hierarchy, that is those rejected by the people, marginalised and ostracised. He sought them out with love, that He might bring God’s love and forgiveness to them, and through this, many believed in Him and were profoundly changed, bringing them closer towards salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that in essence, is the Christian love that all of us should aspire towards, and which we should follow, sharing our love, care and attention especially to those who are marginalised and rejected, whose rights are trampled against, and who are treated unjustly. These people need our help, and if our Lord and God did not hesitate to come and save us all, His people, then we too should not be hesitant to help our brethren in need, in whatever way we can.

There will be many who will be against our good works and our charitable acts, just as many had opposed the Lord when He was in the world and exercised His power to bring light to many. There are many people who still remain in darkness, and sadly, that many prefer to remain in darkness rather than to be welcomed into the light, and this resulted in the opposition that we may face as we go about doing what we are doing.

But do not be disheartened, brothers and sisters, and do not fear, for we have to always remember that the Lord is on our side, and He will guide us and protect us on our way, and He will not abandon us to those who seek our destruction. The Lord loves all peoples, and especially those who had given themselves to His cause and walk in His ways.

Today we celebrate the feast of a saintly Pope, the leader of the Universal Church, that is Pope St. Pius V, who was renowned for his leadership of the Church during a time of division and troubles, when the Church of God was assailed from within and without, and when the Church was truly in dire straits, and the fate of the many souls of the people of God were in true danger.

For Pope St. Pius V lived during a time of particularly difficult era for the Church and Christendom in general, when the powerful Ottoman Empire, the heathen-led unbelievers, assailed the very heart of Christendom, and had risen to be a very powerful, all-conquering and mighty empire with an enormous force of arms. Pope St. Pius V lived at the height of the tumult created by Protestant reformations, when misguided people of God turned their backs against the orthodox and true faith of their fathers in the Church.

Today we celebrate the life and examples of this Pope, who reigned as the leader of the Universal Church and the guide of the barque of St. Peter at this difficult time. Pope St. Pius V and his examples were truly legendary and great, and his sainthood cannot be separated from the fact that he managed to keep the Church and the faithful united strongly together amidst the difficulties and the various forces opposed to the people of the Lord.

He led the efforts to fight back the enemies of the faithful by forming a Holy League composed of those who pledged themselves to the Lord to fight for the people of God and in the end won an astounding and total victory at the Battle of Lepanto, which Pope St. Pius V attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother of our Saviour, which day of battle he dedicated to be the feast of our Lady of Victory, now known as the feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

Pope St. Pius V also solidified the Church and the faithful by completing with great faith the reforms of the Council of Trent, designed to purify the faith of all human errors and sinfulness, and changing the Church of God for the better while condemning all the erroneous judgments made by the heretical Protestants who cared more for themselves and for worldly glories rather than the glory of God.

Pope St. Pius V is someone whose dedication to the Lord and His Church we should emulate, in our own lives, that we may be dedicated to the Lord as well, that in all of our actions, we may reflect that we are truly the children of Christ, and the followers and disciples of Christ, proclaiming the love and forgiveness of God wherever we go.

May Almighty God be with us, guide our steps and strengthen us as we embark on this journey of life, that, following the footsteps of Pope St. Pius V we may do good to others and be faithful and dedicated servants of our Lord, defending the orthodox and true faith, keeping it pure from any worldly taint of sin and human desires, that we may be in the end, worthy of His presence and glory. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 16-21

Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through Him the world is to be saved. Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God.

This is how the Judgment is made : Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For whoever does wrong hates the light, and does not come to the light, for fear that his deeds will be seen as evil. But whoever lives according to the truth comes into the light, so that it can be clearly seen that his works have been done in God.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will bless the Lord all my days, His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes it boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name! I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!