Saturday, 3 December 2016 : Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Priest and Patron of Missions (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Mark 16 : 15-20

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptised will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

“Signs like these will accompany those who have believed : in My Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took His place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Saturday, 3 December 2016 : Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Priest and Patron of Missions (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Saturday, 3 December 2016 : Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Priest and Patron of Missions (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
1 Corinthians 9 : 16-19, 22-23

Because I cannot boast of announcing the Gospel : I am bound to do it. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! If I preached voluntarily, I could expect my reward, but I have been trusted this office against my will. How can I, then, deserve a reward? In announcing the Gospel, I will do it freely without making use of the rights given to me by the Gospel.

So, feeling free with everybody, I have become everybody’s slave in order to gain a greater number. To the weak I made myself weak, to win the weak. So I made myself all things to all people in order to save, by all possible means, some of them. This I do for the Gospel, so that I too have a share of it.

Friday, 2 December 2016 : 1st Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded that everything we need will be provided to us by the Lord our God. He will provide for us and bless us, and relieve from us the oppression and pressure by those who have harassed and persecuted us. But we must stand firm by the Lord and put our complete faith in Him.

In this world today, there are many occasions where people no longer put their trust in God. They were drawn away by all the distractions and temptations that the devil laid on their paths, so that they lacked faith and trust in the Lord. These are those who have slipped away from the faith and from the Church. Many of them no longer regularly attended the Mass, and some of them even stopped going to church altogether.

This is a problem which all of us in the Church must realise and understand, so that we will not fall into that dangerous and slippery path, to lose our faith and commitment to God because of oppression that brought fear to us, of persuasions and temptations that pull us away through distraction, and for some others, because of laziness and inertia, the refusal to move away and wake up from our slumber to be true disciples of our Lord.

That is why this season of Advent, is a very important time for us, as a time to prepare and to get ready for what we know as going to be a challenging time and finally the moment of joy and relief when our Lord comes again to save and liberate His people from destruction. We must learn to have hope and trust in our Lord, despite all the challenges and other matters that tend to distract us.

We live in a time where people tend to seek convenience, the easy way out of their troubles. We live in a time when what matters to us is our own convenience, always looking to take care of our own needs first and to advance our cause first, fulfilling what we need and want before anything else. That is why many of us slip and fall into the temptation of the devil who seeks our downfall and destruction.

He is offering us many tempting and more convenient ways, those that are easier, less troublesome and more appealing for us. He offers us what seems to be a better path, because it seems to be less difficult, more appealing, and it seems to satisfy our wants and needs more. He is trying to play and make advantage of our weaknesses, as we crave for worldly things, and he therefore lures many to our downfall.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important therefore, during this season of Advent, we should prepare ourselves carefully for the preparation of our interior outlook, that in our hearts and minds, and deep within our souls, we are drawing closer to the salvation of God by preparing ourselves spiritually through prayer and devotion.

Many of us slipped away from the faith and fell into temptation because we were unable to resist the devil and his many advances through the world. Many of us do not have a strong relationship with God because we do not pray and spend our time in contemplation with our Lord. Through prayer we are connected to our God in our hearts, and it is through prayer made with sincerity that we will be able to listen to the will of God, as He speaks in our hearts, and we also may speak to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend this time of Advent meaningfully, and help one another to persevere the challenges of this world to our faith, so that not only we can be prepared and ready to celebrate Christmas meaningfully, but we may also get ready for the eventual coming of our Lord, and so that at the end of time, we will be judged to be worthy of God and His inheritance. May the Lord bless us and keep us in faith to Him. Amen.