Tuesday, 22 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Luke 21 : 5-11

At that time, while some people were talking about the Temple, remarking that it was adorned with fine stonework and rich gifts, Jesus said to them, “The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire; all will be torn down.” And they asked Him, “Master, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

Jesus then said, “Take care not to be deceived, for many will come claiming My title and saying, ‘I am He, the Messiah; the time is at hand!’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and troubled times, do not be frightened; for all these things must happen first, even though the end is not so soon.”

And Jesus said, “Nations will fight each other and kingdom will oppose kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues; in many places strange and terrifying signs from heaven will be seen.”

Tuesday, 22 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Psalm 95 : 10, 11-12a, 12b-13

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Let the heavens be glad, the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound; let the fields exult and everything in them.

Let the forest, all the trees, sing for joy. Let them sing before the Lord Who comes to judge the earth. He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Revelations 14 : 14-19

Then I had this vision, I saw a white cloud and the One sitting on it like a Son of Man, wearing a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. An Angel came out of the sanctuary, calling loudly to the One sitting on the cloud, “Put in Your sickle and reap, for harvest time has come and the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

He Who was sitting on the cloud swung His sickle at the earth and reaped the harvest. Then another Angel, who also had a sharp sickle, came out of the heavenly sanctuary. Still another Angel, the one who has charge of the altar fire, emerged and shouted to the first who held the sharp sickle, “Swing your sharp sickle and reap the bunches of the vine of the earth for they are fully ripe.”

So the Angel swung his sickle and gathered in the vintage, throwing all the grapes into the great winepress of the anger of God.

Monday, 21 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, remembering and commemorating the moment when the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was presented to God at the Temple after she was born, much as her Son Jesus, her Firstborn Son was presented to God.

It is likely that she is the firstborn child of her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. The practice of the offering of the Firstborn has deep roots in the history of our salvation, from the time of the Exodus, when the people of Israel were saved and brought out from their slavery in Egypt. At that time, the Lord showed His might to the Egyptians and their Pharaoh, who refused to let the Israelites go, raining down ten great plagues upon them.

It was the final plague that finally caused the Pharaoh to relent and let the people of God go, when he planned destruction on God’s people by seeking to kill all the firstborns of Israel. But God turned that around into triumph for His people by instead destroying the firstborns of Egypt including the firstborn of Pharaoh. Thus the offering of the firstborn children to God is a reminder of this great and eminent goodness of our Lord for His people.

And at the same time, it is also a reminder of how God saved His beloved creations, His firstborn ones from the assault by Satan and all of his fallen allies, as they sought to bring about our downfall by causing us to be tempted and fall into sin. And that was how Satan brought down Adam and Eve, our first ancestors. But God did not forget about us, and He still loved us, as shown in how He made a promise to them, that He will deliver them from all the ruination that Satan had caused.

And He foretold that a Woman will come to crush Satan and all of his spawns, to be the sign for the ultimate defeat of the evil one which God had foretold from the very beginning. And that woman was again mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, who foretold of the coming of the Messiah through the same woman. And that woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the one who bore the Saviour of the world, Jesus into this world.

If Jesus was presented to the Lord as the Saviour of all, worthy and unblemished, then His mother Mary, who was also conceived without the taint of sin, the Virgin of Immaculate Conception, was presented to the Lord as the worthy and blessed Ark to contain the New Covenant which God was making with His people in Jesus Christ. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, through which God made into reality the salvation He promised to us mankind.

And Mary is our role model, our greatest intercessor before God, whose actions and dedication to God is rivalled by none. She gave her whole life to God, and she dutifully carried out what had been entrusted to her as the Mother of God and our Saviour. In the Gospel today, we may mistook the idea that Jesus was being rude to His mother if we do not understand what He was actually trying to say. He did not go out to meet His mother and brothers who were waiting for Him, and instead saying to the people He was teaching who are His mother and brothers.

But Jesus was in fact saying that, be like His mother in all things, so that they will be worthy to be called sons and daughters of God. Therefore today, let us all model ourselves after Mary in her great obedience to the will of God, her willingness to have God leading her on the way to salvation, and her commitment without end, even unto following and witnessing her own Son’s death on the cross.

Let us be inspired by her actions and examples, and let us all also ask for her to intercede for our sake, that she will beseech for our sake, we who are sinners, that God her Son will show us His kind mercy and love. O Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us now and to the end of our lives. Amen.

Monday, 21 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was still talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is for Me brother, sister, or mother.”

Monday, 21 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (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.

Monday, 21 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Zechariah 2 : 14-17

“Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.” The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again.

Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.