Wednesday, 13 May 2015 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of our Lady of Fatima (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of our Lady of Fatima, the ninety-eighth anniversary since the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to three young children at Fatima in Portugal almost a hundred years ago, in a series of apparitions where she revealed to them the messages of utmost importance, seeking for the repentance and conversion of the world, and the consecration of Russia to her, which was at that year, precisely at that very moment, was about to fall into the long darkness of communism.

This feast of our Lady of Fatima is a reminder for all of us yet again, how we have been given so many reminders and opportunities to repent and change from our sinful and wicked ways, and the one who had appeared so many times to us so that this may happen, is none other than the loving mother of our Lord, that is Mary, the ever faithful mother of us all. She appeared to us and reminded us from time to time, in her many apparitions, to reveal to us the truth about our sins and about the love and mercy that God is willing to show all those who repent from their sins.

Why does Mary care so much about us, brethren? And why is she our mother when she is clearly the mother of Jesus, our Lord and God? To understand this, we have to understand what happened at the very last moment of Jesus’s earthly life when He was on the cross. While He fulfilled the very act of perfect love by which He redeemed all of us and gave us new hope of life, He entrusted His mother to John, His beloved disciple, and then in the same way, He also entrusted His disciple to Mary, His mother.

This can be easily overlooked, but in that single moment, God had entrusted us all and gave us the very best gift He could give us, that is of His own mother, who in her selfless dedication and love, had cared for Him with ultimate patience and care since His birth, and then on that day, to follow His Son on the way to His suffering and death on the cross, which is for our sake.

Imagine the sorrow and the sadness that assaulted the heart of Mary, as she watched her own beloved Son, as He was mocked, ridiculed, rejected, scourged, carried that heavy and painful cross, fell on the ground three times, having His hands and legs pierced by the nails, lifted up for all to see, and eventually died on the cross. All these, our Lord Jesus Christ had done, so that through Him, we may be saved and not suffer the consequences of our sins, that is death and hell.

Which mother would just ignore the plight and the cries of her children? Therefore, in the same way, Mary, whom God had made to be our mother as well, cares for us deeply and she is concerned for the state of our souls, which if nothing is done, we are truly prone to fall deeper into our sinfulness and the darkness that surround us, so that we are forever lost to the Lord.

And this is what God, and therefore, His mother Mary do not want to happen. He died for us so that we may be saved, and not suffer the eternal death in hell because of our sins. This is why, we have our best ally and friend with us, Mary, our mother, who ceaselessly prays for our sake, with all the other saints and with all of the angels, particularly each of our guardian angels, that we may be awakened from our slumber in the darkness and make the effort to come back into the light.

Thus, our faithful devotions to our Lady of Fatima is a constant reminder for us to keep our own lives in check, so that in all the things we act, say and do, we will always do them in accordance with the will of God, and remain righteous and just in all of our ways without exception. Remember, brethren, that Mary is always interceding for our sake, near to the throne of Jesus, her Son our Lord and God. She weeps for us whenever we commit sin, and rejoices whenever we repent from those same sins.

Let us all therefore put in great effort to fulfill what our Lord mentioned in the Gospel passage we heard today, that if we listen to His words and does His will in all that we do, say and act, then we truly are worthy to be called His friends, His family and as people that belongs to Him alone, and thus, if we are worthy, then the fullness of God’s grace and blessings will be with us, and happiness as well as joy will be with us and never depart from us again.

O, our Lady of Fatima, blessed Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had appeared to the children at Fatima calling for the repentance of sinners and the conversion of the world, pray for us all always, so that we may always heed the word of God in all that we do, and abandon all sorts of evil and wickedness. Remember that what matters for us in this life, is the state of our soul, and let us not seek the suffering and damnation of hell, but let us together with our blessed mother Mary, enjoy forever the glory of heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of our Lady of Fatima (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 12-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into the whole truth. He has nothing to say of Himself, but He will speak of what He hears, and He will tell you of the things to come.”

“He will take what is Mine and make it known to you; in doing this, He will glorify Me. All that the Father has is Mine; because of this, I have just told you that the Spirit will take what is Mine, and make it known to you.”

Alternative reading (Mass of our Lady of Fatima)

Luke 11 : 27-28

At that time, as Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to Him, “Blessed is the one who gave You birth and nursed You!”

Jesus replied, “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it as well.”

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of our Lady of Fatima (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 148 : 1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

Alleluia! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heavenly heights. Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His heavenly hosts.

Kings of the earth and nations, princes and all rulers of the world, young men and maidens, old and young together.

Let them praise the Name of the Lord. For His Name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.

He has given His people glory; He has given a praise to His faithful, to Israel, the people close to Him. Alleluia.

Alternative reading (Mass of our Lady of Fatima)
Psalm 44 : 11, 12, 14-15, 16-17

Listen, o daughter, pay attention; forget your father’s house and your nation.

And your beauty will charm the King, for He is your Lord.

All glorious as she enters is the princess in her gold-woven robes. She is led in royal attire to the King, following behind is her train of virgins.

Amid cheers and general rejoicing, they enter the palace of the King. Forget your fathers and think of your sons, you will make them princes throughout the land.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of our Lady of Fatima (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 17 : 15, 22 – Acts 18 : 1

Paul was taken as far as Athens by his escort, who then returned to Beroea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible. Then Paul stood up in the Areopagus hall and said, “Athenian citizens, I note that in every way you are very religious. As I walked around looking at your shrines, I even discovered an altar with this inscription : ‘To an unknown God.'”

“Now, what you worship as unknown, I intend to make known to you. God, who made the world and all that is in it, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, being as He is Lord of heaven and earth. Nor does His worship depend on anything made by human hands, as if He were in need. Rather it is He who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone.”

“From one stock He created the whole human race to live throughout all the earth, and He fixed the time and the boundaries of each nation. He wanted them to seek Him by themselves, even if it were only by groping for Him, succeed in finding Him. Yet He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being, as some of your poets have said : ‘For we too are His offspring.’ If we are indeed God’s offspring, we ought not to think of divinity as something like a statue of gold or silver or stone, a product of human art and imagination.”

“But now God prefers to overlook this time of ignorance and He calls on all people to change their ways. He has already set a day on which He will judge the world with justice through a Man He has appointed. And, so that all may believe it, He has just given a sign by raising this Man from the dead.”

When they heard Paul speak of a resurrection from death, some made fun of him, while others said, “We must hear you on this topic some other time.” At that point Paul left. But a few did join him, and believed. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus court, a woman named Damaris, and some others.

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Alternative reading (Mass of our Lady of Fatima)

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

My people’s descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Nereus and St. Achilleus, Martrys, and St. Pancras, Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about how God is ever faithful and how He will always provide for all those who continue to cling on to Him and not swayed by the tides of the world. In the first reading we heard how St. Paul and Silas his companion were freed from prison by a great earthquake when their enemies plotted against them to destroy them, and in the process the jailer himself was converted to the faith.

And in the Gospel we heard how our Lord Jesus promised the coming of the Helper, the Advocate and the Guide of all things, that is the Holy Spirit, which He would send to His Apostles and therefore to His Church after His suffering, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. This is to remind us that while this coming Thursday we are going to commemorate our Lord’s glorious ascension into heaven, He is always with us wherever we are.

God dwells in us and He is always with us, and even though we are always disobedient and rebellious, but He is ever faithful. And to all those who keep their faith in Him, He will grant such great favours and graces so as to mark them apart from all others who have not given Him their love and dedication. So we are truly very fortunate if we can count ourselves as one of the faithful ones of God.

God is always with His people, with all of His children that is all of us. He is always on our side, blessing us and giving us His graces from time to time. We have to think about this every time we breathe and have life, every single day of our life. Remember that the Lord, who is Lord and Master of all life have been so gracious and kind so as to overlook our sins and faults, to give us the opportunity for repentance.

It is very easy for the Lord to just destroy us and cast us away from His presence forever. After all, we all have betrayed His trust and His love, and chose to side with Satan and rebel together with him. But His love for us overcomes His anger at us, and His wrath is overcome by the care and pity which He has for us, His children, who are like lost sheep wandering in the darkness of this world.

Thus, He has called us out of this darkness, and to those of us whom He had called, He also entrusted us to call our brethren out of the same darkness. That is why, He gave us His Spirit, which encourages us and gives us the strength and will to overcome all the forms of indecision, fear and apathy, so that we all may help one another to be ever closer to our Lord and be saved by His mercy and grace.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Nereus, St. Achilleus and St. Pancras, all of whom are martyrs of the faith. They are all the holy defenders of the faith, who did not give up their faith despite the threat of persecution and death by those who were opposed to the Lord and to the truth they were preaching by their words and actions. St. Achilleus and St. Nereus were members of the Roman army while St. Nereus was a noble who all lived at the time of the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, infamous for his great and harsh persecution of all Christians.

St. Nereus and St. Achilleus was once pagan soldiers who took part in the persecution of the faithful, but after witnessing the example of the faith of many those whom they have persecuted, they themselves became believers and refused to obey anymore orders to persecute the faithful ones. As a result, they were tortured and put to great suffering, until eventually they were beheaded for their refusal to embrace the pagan gods.

St. Pancras was a young noble who was baptised at a young age and who led an exemplary Christian life, donating his goods and possessions to the poor and practicing the faith in his actions, and although he was discovered because of this, he refused to recant his faith in God despite being offered much wealth and power by the Emperor himself. As such, he was also beheaded for his faith after great sufferings.

All the holy martyrs might have met their death and end at the hands of their persecutors and those who do not believe in God, but they receive great and rich rewards in heaven, and through their bravery, courage and examples, they inspired countless others to believe in God and thus saved many more souls for the Lord.

These things are examples that we can adopt and discern on, as we all have also been called to walk in the same path that they have walked. It does not mean that we must antagonise others and face martyrdom, but rather that we all have to trust the Lord fully and completely, and place all of our hope in Him, and be courageous and proactive in how we live out our faith.

May Almighty God guide us and strengthen us in our faith, that by the Holy Spirit which He had sent us, we may become ever more courageous and stronger in our commitment and devotion to spread the word of God to many more people and thus lead more people towards salvation and new life in God. God bless us all. Amen.