Tuesday, 7 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all celebrate with the whole Church, the feast of our Lady of the Rosary, that is we celebrate the Blessed Mother of our Lord herself, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we always ask for intercession and help, whenever we pray the holy rosary. Today we are reminded on the good qualities of Mary and why we ask for her intercession, to help us on our path towards salvation in God.

And why is today selected as the day to remember this very important nature and use of the holy rosary? That is because the holy rosary is a powerful tool of prayer, and when used right, it will help us to fortify ourselves against the forces and the assaults of Satan, by asking for the help and intercession of the Blessed Mother of our God, the one who is nearest to the throne of her own Son, praying and interceding for us all the time.

And today marked the anniversary of the great victory of the faithful against the threat of the great forces of evil and infidels, in the Battle of Lepanto, the renowned great battle in which the combined forces of the faithful from all over Christendom defeated the great force of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, conqueror of the Christian city of Constantinople, the scourge of Christendom and the Empire of the heathens. This victory marked the turning point in which, the faithful triumphed against their enemies.

The Pope at the time, Pope St. Pius V, dedicated the great victory to the Blessed Virgin, and attributed it to her constant intercession for the faithful ones of her Son, through the holy rosary, at the time when Christendom was threatened with oblivion and darkness, when the forces of the enemies of the Lord were advancing. The holy city and capital of the Roman Empire of Constantinople had fallen to their advance, and as the tide went on, it seemed as if it was inevitable that the rest of Christendom would also fall to the same force.

The intercession of the Blessed Virgin and the faith of the people of God eventually triumphed over the forces of the evil one. And this is because of the promise which God had granted mankind and all of His faithful, that He would give them hope through the Saviour, also called the Messiah, who He promised to the people who had fallen into the darkness of evil and sin.

When mankind first fell into sin, they have lost the inheritance and the promise shown to them, as they became unworthy due to their lack of faith and inability to listen to the will of God, and rather they followed and listened to the sweet lies of Satan instead. But God reminded both men and Satan after that unfortunate event, that while mankind would suffer the consequence of their disobedience, that is to suffer the difficult life in the world, but salvation would come through them.

The Lord said that while Satan the snake would trouble mankind and cause problem to them, a Son would be born from the woman, and that the woman would crush the head of the snake. This woman in fact referred to the very one whom the Lord had chosen among many, to be the instrument of His salvation, that is Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was her and her Son’s actions and deeds which counteracted the evils which our first ancestors had committed, and thus in the process, gained for us a renewed hope in God.

The obedience and faith of Mary, which she showed perfectly when the Archangel Gabriel came to her with the surprising and unprecedented news, the Good News of the coming of the long awaited Saviour, and that she would be the crucial cornerstone in the execution of the plan of salvation, by being the bearer of the Saviour Himself.

And unlike Eve who chose to listen to Satan instead of God, Mary listened obediently to God’s will, and rather than succumbing to the temptation of her flesh, like that of Eve and Adam, who were tempted by the temptation of knowledge and power, Mary declared obediently, that she was the handmaid of the Lord, and all that God wills for her, she will have it done unto her.

And it was also the obedience of Jesus our Lord, who listened and obeyed the Lord till the end, even unto death. Remember what Jesus had done in the agony which He went through in the Garden of Gethsemane? He was indeed tempted to forgo such a great burden He was to bear for the sake of all our sins. Imagine the weight of all of our sins, from our youth to our old age, all mankind combined together as one, and that combined weight of sin burdened on Jesus.

But Jesus did not complain, and through His obedience, He gained favour with God, and through His sacrifice on the cross, He gained for us salvation and eternal life for all of us who believe in Him and put our trust in Him. He is the new Adam who obeyed in His fullest to the Lord, in contrary to the old Adam who disobeyed and sinned before the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, on this day, we call into our mind this fact, that we all are sinners, and yet if we obey the Lord in all things as Mary had done, and as Jesus Himself had done, we will be assured of safety and salvation in God. However, we have to also keep in mind that the evil one, Satan, who is always desiring to bring about the downfall of every mankind is always lurking around us, seeking to tempt us into sin.

That is why it is recommended that all of us pray the holy rosary regularly, and if we do so, the rosary is a powerful tool against the advances of Satan, just like forces of the faithful who prayed and asked for the intercession of the Lord and His blessed mother before the great battle against the forces of the unbelievers and the followers of Satan.

And triumph and victory was given by the Lord to His faithful, just as decisively as Jesus had defeated Satan forever through His triumphant resurrection from the dead, by which He liberated all mankind from the bonds of their original sins and granted new hope to all those who believe in Him.

It is indeed important to take note that we should make use of the rosary meaningfully. Praying it for the sake of praying and praying for the sake of saying the prayer is meaningless. Rather, when we pray the rosary, let us be like our mother Mary in heaven, who is ceaselessly praying for us, interceding for us, and begging for our sake the sinners, just as she had done in Cana, on behalf of the wedding couple in distress.

Let us therefore from now on, especially on this day too, pray the holy rosary regularly, sincerely and devotedly, that we may honour Mary our mother, and the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, for her model in faith and obedience to God, and at the same time, also ask her sincerely to intercede on our behalf, that as she is the closest to the throne of the Lord, she may be our greatest defender against the evils of Satan.

May Almighty God therefore, awaken the zeal and love we have for Him within our hearts, so that from now on, with the help of the devotion of the holy rosary, we may be brought ever closer to our Lord and God, and to His love, which He gave freely to us. God be with us all, brethren, now and forever. Amen.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus.”

“He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these together gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.