Thursday, 31 May 2018 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 39-56

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “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.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

Thursday, 31 May 2018 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid. YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me. You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation.

Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.

Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Thursday, 31 May 2018 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18

Cry out with joy, o daughter of Zion; rejoice, o people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! YHVH has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. YHVH, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem : Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for YHVH your God is within you, YHVH, saving Warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for He has revived His love. For you He will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the Feast.

I will drive away the evil I warned you about, and you will no longer be ashamed.

Alternative reading

Romans 12 : 9-16b

Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God.

Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep.

Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary things.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scriptures speaking to us about our obligation as Christians, to be true to our faith in God, by showing just how much we have understood the faith we have been called to, through our actions and deeds. Faith is as what the Lord Jesus made it clear in our Gospel passage today, what it means to be a follower of Christ.

In the first reading passage, taken from the first Epistle of St. Peter, we heard of how as Christians we have been transformed from our old ways and paths, from the path of desire, greed, pride and worldliness, into the path of love. We have been called to follow the Lord’s own examples in His most generous love, and to abandon behind our old ways of greed, of ambition, and of desire for all sorts of worldly temptations and glory.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord showed us yet again by His interaction with the disciples, beginning with St. James and St. John, who went to Him with their mother, asking Him to grant them special privileges and advantage over the other disciples of the Lord. They were asking for favouritism and jockeying for power in conflict with the other disciples. But the Lord would have none of that.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we heard how the Lord rebuked His two disciples for their wrong perception and understanding of the faith, and what it means to be His disciples. At that time, they were still thinking and misunderstanding the Lord Jesus as just another one of the worldly rulers, and compounded by the general misconception of the Jewish people of what the Messiah would do, and Who He would be, when He came to His people.

They all thought that the Messiah would come as a great King, much like king David and king Solomon in ancient times. They thought that the salvation of Israel would mean the destruction of all of their enemies and the reestablishment of the kingdom of Israel, which had physically existed hundreds of years before Christ, but was destroyed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

Therefore, they thought that by following the Lord, Who would be King, then they could amass for themselves power, glory, fame, influence, and many more things. Certainly some of them had this misconception, and they misunderstood what it means to be the disciples of the Lord. Hence, when the Lord saw them bickering over the matter and became angry at St. James and St. John, He rebuked all of them.

The Lord rebuked them for their pride and desire for worldly power, and He showed them that as His followers, as Christians, they must be humbler yet, and they must be ever be ready to serve one another, just as the Lord Himself had shown them. The Lord showed that even He has come into this world in order to love His people and to care for them, and not to be a tyrant over them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to realise that each one of us face the same temptation as the Apostles and disciples of the Lord had faced, however, are we allowing all those wickedness to influence us and to lure us away from God’s path and saving grace? Let us all therefore seek to be ever more committed to the Lord, resisting the temptations to sin, for worldly power, glory, fame and all the things that are obstacles in our way to the Lord.

Let us instead turn ourselves towards the Lord, and place Him at the very centre and focus of our lives. Let us all be genuine Christians in each and every actions we take, and learn to be truly faithful in all things. May God be with us all, and may He bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 32-45

At that time, Jesus and His disciples were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead. The Twelve were anxious, and those who followed were afraid. Once more Jesus took the Twelve aside to tell them what was to happen to Him.

“You see we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be given over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. They will condemn Him to death, and hand Him over to the foreigners, who will make fun of Him, spit on Him, scourge Him and kill Him; but three days later He will rise.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to Him, “Master, we want You to grant us what we are going to ask of You.” And He said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They answered, “Grant us to sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, when You come in Your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptised in the way I am baptised?” They answered, “We can.” And Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink; and you will be baptised in the way that I am baptised; but to sit at My right hand or at My left is not Mine to grant. It has been prepared for others.”

On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John. Jesus then called them to Him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations behave like tyrants, and those in authority oppress the people. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all. Think of the Son of Man, Who has not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Peter 1 : 18-25

Remember, that you were freed from the useless way of life of your ancestors, not with gold and silver, but with the precious Blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish. God, Who has known Christ before the world began, revealed Him to you in the last days. Through Him, you have faith in God, Who raised Him from the dead, and glorified Him, in order that you might put all your faith and hope in God.

In obeying the truth, you have gained interior purification, from which comes sincere mutual love. Love one another, then, with all your heart, since you are born again, not from mortal beings, but with enduring life, through the word of God, Who lives and remains forever. It is written : All flesh is grass and its glory like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever. This word, is the Gospel, which has been brought to you.