Sunday, 18 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord, or the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, in which we remember and rejoice in one of the most important tenets and indeed the very core of our faith in the Lord. It is our belief that the Lord has given us His very own Body and His very own Blood for us all His faithful ones, as real food and real drink in the Eucharist.

This is what all of us believe, all of us who believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, that the bread and wine which we use in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been thoroughly and completely transformed, or as the term says it: transubstantiation, into the very essence, and real material of the Body, the Flesh, and the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, presence really in His Body, Soul and Divinity.

This is what we, who adhere to the true Christian faith, as well as our brethren in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches believe in, as separated and distinguished from those who had fallen into the heresy and falsehood of believing that the Lord’s sacrifice in the Mass is merely a symbolic gesture or a remembrance without real meaning and without the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

That is why, all of us believe that the Holy Mass is the highest form of worship, far greater and higher than all of our other participations in the acts of divine worship, for it is in the Holy Mass, more appropriately the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that the priests or the bishops, having been given the same authority by the Lord through His Apostles, acting in persona Christi, united with Christ Himself, offer the same offering of His Body and Blood, as the one He offered as He laid dying on the cross on Good Friday.

What we receive, and what we eat, is no longer a bread, or a chalice of wine, as even though we see the bread and the wine in appearance and in taste, but that is how our human senses perceive them as such. That is because in reality, transcending all senses and realities, the bread we receive and eat, and the wine we drink in some special occasions, have been completely transformed to the full Presence of our Lord, as Jesus Himself had mentioned in the Gospel today.

At that time, Jesus spoke the truth to the people of Israel and to His disciples, that He came into the world, bearing the true and living Bread of heaven. It was not the same with the bread from heaven which came at the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Lord fed His people with manna in the desert for forty years. He gave them food in the form of manna to sustain them, but that food, even if they are the bread of Angels, gave no real and complete sustenance unlike the One which Jesus our Lord gave them and all of us.

Jesus Himself said plainly and clearly, that He is the Living Bread Who came from heaven, and all those who do not eat His Body or drink His Blood, has no share of life in Him. And at the Last Supper, at the time when Jesus our Lord according to the tradition of our faith, instituted the Holy Eucharist, which we now celebrate during every celebration of the Holy Mass, also said the same thing, that as He blessed and passed around the bread He broke, He said that the bread is His Body. And He said the same with the chalice of wine, which He said that the wine is His Blood.

Did the Lord say that the bread is merely a ‘symbol’ or ‘representation’ of His Body? Did He say that the wine is merely an ‘image’ or ‘illusion’ of His Blood? No, He did not, brothers and sisters in Christ, and He really meant what He had said. That is why all of us in the Church believe that He is really, truly and completely present, in Body, Soul and Divinity, the wholeness of God in the bread and in the wine in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Indeed, there are those who refused to believe in this truth, but remember, brethren, that the very same response can be seen in the Gospel passage today, as we heard how many of the followers of Jesus left Him because of what He had said about the giving of His Body and Blood to them. The very same doubt that we encounter today has been expressed by the people at that time, ‘How can He give us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink?’.

Those people refused to listen to the truth because it seemed to be unimaginable and disgusting to them that someone had said something of the sort. In fact, the same falsehood was spread by those who would try to bring down the Church in its early years, as misinformations, be it deliberate or unintentional led the Roman authorities to believe that Christians were a group of dangerous sect, not just because they refused to worship the pagan gods and the Emperor, but they were also a cult of cannibals who eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Jesus.

Yet, that is what we believe, and indeed, while doubt will arise, as even the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were dismayed and doubtful at what He had said, by saying, ‘Lord, this truth is hard to be accepted, who can believe and accept such truth?’, but we must not be swayed by doubt, and we must truly redouble our faith and devotion to the Lord, Who is truly and really present in the Eucharist.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why it is important that I bring you to attention to the reality in our Church today. Unlike in the past, when all the faithful ought to receive the Eucharist worthily and properly, when they are not in a state of sin and disgrace, and by kneeling and showing proper respect before Him in the Eucharist, and by receiving Him in the tongue only and not on the hands, nowadays, with the rampant abuse of the option to allow the faithful to receive Him on the hands, and the lack of proper catechism, we end up seeing many of the faithful not treating the Lord with respect, and go through receiving the Eucharist as if going through some regular motion without real meaning and understanding.

Brethren, this is a great scandal of our faith! This is what we need to stop from continuing to happen. We must really restore what is right and proper in this centre tenet of our faith. We can no longer be careless in our adoration and belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Every single particle of the bread of the host, and every single drop of the wine in the chalice, even to the smallest particle, is the Real Presence of Our Lord Himself, present fully in Body, Soul and Divinity.

But nowadays, we treat the Lord in the Eucharist and queueing to receive Him as if we are queueing for free food in a fast food joint, and we do not even receive Him with proper respect while doing so. We want to go through it as quickly as possible, and even get angry when the queue is getting very slow. We are impatient because it ends up making the Holy Mass to get longer, and we cannot wait to return to our daily activities outside the Mass.

That is simply unacceptable, brothers and sisters in Christ, and in reality, it scandalises our faith, in that, there had been a few people, who refused to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, who commented that they did refuse to believe because they had seen that even us, Catholics, did not seem to believe in this through our actions and the way we come to Him and receive Him at the celebration of the Holy Mass.

How can we expect others to believe in the Lord Who is really present in the Eucharist, if we ourselves treat Him with disdain and lack of respect? How can we expect others to believe in the Real Presence when we do not bow down, kneel and feel unworthy to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, when we approach Him, and when we receive Him improperly while we are still in a state of grievous sin without confession?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we commemorate this great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us all rediscover our understanding and respect for the Lord Who has given us His own Body and Blood, and for what is that? It is for our salvation, that by eating His Body and Blood, we may share in the life He has brought upon us, by His sacrifice on the cross, and become united to Him in body and soul, and one day may come to share in His divinity, in the glory of His majesty forevermore.

Let us all start from ourselves, by striving to participate more actively and solemnly in the celebration of the Holy Mass, and by properly revering Him in the Eucharist, preferably by receiving Him only on the tongue and not on the hands, so that no particle of the Lord’s Body end up falling to the ground and get trampled on our feet. And also by properly preparing ourselves before receiving Him, knowing that we have sinned through our life’s actions, and how unworthy we are to receive Him, Who has come to us in Body, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.

Let us all do this, starting from ourselves, and thus by showing our own examples to others, we may create the great ripple effect, leading many, many more people, from our families, to our relatives, to our friends, throughout our communities and societies, that eventually, the whole Church, priests and laity alike, will return to the true reverence and faith in the Lord Jesus, in His Real Presence in the Eucharist, and reject all forms of abuse that had happened in the recent years and decades.

May the Lord, Who is present in the Eucharist, continue to sustain us through the giving of His Body and Blood, that we, who receive Him worthily into our being, may be strengthened by His Presence, and may all of us grow ever more faithful and ever more devoted, that we, the Temple of His Holy Presence, will be deemed worthy of eternal glory with Him forever. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 18 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 6 : 51-58

Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “I am the Living Bread from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The Bread I shall give is My Flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”

The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, live in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, Who is Life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Sunday, 18 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
1 Corinthians 10 : 16-17

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion with the Blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is it not a communion with the Body of Christ?

The bread is one, and so we, though many, form one body, sharing the one bread.

Sunday, 18 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 147 : 12-13, 14-15, 19-20

Exalt YHVH, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion! For He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you.

He grants peace on your borders and feeds you with the finest grain. He sends His command to the earth and swiftly runs His word.

It is He, Who tells Jacob His words; His laws and decrees, to Israel. This, He has not done for other nations, so His laws remain unknown to them. Alleluia!

Sunday, 18 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Deuteronomy 8 : 2-3, 14b-16a

Remember how YHVH, your God, brought you through the desert for forty years. He humbled you, to test you and know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He made you experience want, He made you experience hunger, but He gave you manna to eat which neither you nor your fathers had known, to show you that one does not live on bread alone, but also by everything that comes from the mouth of God.

Do not forget YHVH, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery. It is He Who has led you across this great and terrible desert, full of fiery serpents and scorpions, an arid land where there is no water. But for you He made water gush forth from the hardest rock. And He fed you in the desert with manna which your fathers did not know.

Saturday, 17 June 2017 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures, speaking to us about how we have been saved by the Lord, Who had reconciled us to Himself. And all of us as Christians are called to live our lives henceforth for the sake of the Lord, and to bring glory to the Lord, and no longer seeking glory for ourselves.

All of us have been called to serve the Lord with faith, zeal and real commitment, and this is what all of us Christians must do, that we are truly worthy of being called Christians. The essence of what we heard in the Gospel passage today is the same. When the Lord said to the people and to His disciples, that they should not swear by the heavens or the earth, or by Jerusalem, or by God Himself, He was not prohibiting them from making oaths or swearing, but rather, what He wanted to say is, that all Christians must really mean what they say and show it through real action.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask ourselves, how many of us made promises upon each other, with many words and persuasions, only to renege on those promises later on? It cannot be the case for our faith, for in reality, there are many Christians who have made their baptismal vows and promises during their baptism, and which are renewed every year at Easter, who then committed what is evil and wicked before the Lord.

And this is because the lack of faith among those who have not obeyed the Lord in His ways and commandments. If we have a strong and genuine faith, certainly then we will try our best to fulfil what the Lord has required us all to do in our respective lives. But when our faith is not solid, when it is shaky and we easily stumble on temptations and persuasions to do what is evil, then we end up failing in fulfilling what we have promised to do before the Lord. And thus we commit sin.

The Lord is calling all of us to live our faith with sincerity and zeal. We can no longer be complacent or be ignorant of what our faith requires from us. We can no longer treat our faith as if it is merely just a formality and nothing else. Nothing good can come from having Christian listed as our identity or religion, if we then do nothing at all about it in our lives, or worse still, doing what is contrary to our Christian faith.

In all of this, we may think that we need to do a lot of things in our life. But in reality, it is indeed just our commitment and desire to do what the Lord wants us to do is required. If we cannot even give our heart’s commitment in small matters, how then can we give it for matters that are complicated and difficult? We have to begin from ourselves, by reexamining the way we have lived our lives.

Have we given our time daily for the Lord and spending that time with Him? Many of us have forgotten to pray to Him. And if you think that prayer is a matter of saying sets of pre-crafted prayers, then that is not good enough. Our prayers must be sincere and genuine communication with God, in which we ought to open our hearts and let the Lord to speak in the depths of our hearts, and we can then have a good conversation with Him, knowing what it is that He wants us to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we therefore from now on renew our commitment to the Lord? Shall we seek to love Him with ever greater zeal and desire to love Him with all of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls? Let us all be true Christians who have genuine faith in God, and not just as mere formality or showing a fake and empty faith.

Let us all devote ourselves through our every words, actions and deeds, that all of them will declare the glory of God, and therefore, all of us will be worthy before the Lord, Who will bless us all, His faithful ones, forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 17 June 2017 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Matthew 5 : 33-37

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “You have also heard that people were told in the past : Do not break your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this : do not take oaths. Do not swear by the heavens, for they are God’s throne; nor by the earth, because it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.”

“Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white of black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything else you say comes from the evil one.”