Monday, 6 August 2018 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, celebrating the moment when Our Lord Jesus Christ was glorified and revealed the full truth about Himself, as the Son of Man Who is also the Son of God, fully Man and fully Divine. On that day, at the peak of Mount Tabor, the full truth about Christ’s nature was revealed to all of us through His disciples, St. Peter, St. James and St. John.

The Lord revealed that He was not just like that of any other prophets or messengers of God who preceded Him. In fact, He is God Himself Who incarnated Himself in the flesh of Man through the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, via the womb of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is fully God, for His divinity was never diminished by His assumption of humanity, and He is also fully Man, experiencing all that we experience save that for sin.

And He is truly the Messiah long awaited by the people of God, to whom God promised the coming of His deliverance. The appearance of Moses and Elijah, among the greatest and most prominent ones among God’s servants affirmed this truth. For Moses represented the Law of God, which He gave to His people through Moses, and Jesus is the fulfilment of the Law, while Elijah represented the prophets of God, and as mentioned, the prophecies were all fulfilled in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is the significance about this event of the Transfiguration of the Lord today? It is aplenty, especially for all of us. Now, let us all remember that I just mentioned how the Lord Jesus is fully God and fully Man, united in His one person, indivisible and yet distinct. And by sharing fully in our humanity, save for that of sin, He has shown us all, who we are expected to become, to be the perfect Man, free from sin and from all chains that prevented us from becoming what God intended for us to be.

For God certainly never intended for any one of us to enter into suffering or trials in this world, and neither did He intend for us to be condemned into hell. We have been created to partake in the fullness of God’s love, shared freely with each and every one of us. Unfortunately, our disobedience led us to sin, and sin caused us to be separated and sundered from this grace and love of God.

That is why, it is imperative that each and every one of us take the necessary steps to ensure that we are moving towards that ideal and perfect state, which can be achieved only through faith and total commitment towards God. And this means that we should walk in God’s path and devote ourselves to do His will, in each and every action we take in life. It is important that we adhere to this, or otherwise, we may be distracted and fall off the path due to the temptations and challenges we face in life.

And then, it is also important we take note how we will encounter difficulties and challenges in our lives, especially if we should choose to commit ourselves to God. The same challenges and persecution have been faced by the Lord Himself, as He faced many opposition and obstacles to His works among His people. He was rejected and condemned by the priests and by the Pharisees, and many others refused to listen to Him or to believe Him.

But the Lord did not let His glory to impede Him from fulfilling His mission. He went down the mountain despite the desire of the three disciples to remain in the blissful glory on Mount Tabor. He and His disciples went down the mountain, eventually heading towards His Passion, suffering and most painful death, all so that each and every one of us, through the ultimate sacrifice Christ paid on the cross, may have life and eternal glory with Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today first of all rejoice because God is so loving and so merciful towards each and every one of us, that He has given us the perfect gift of His Son, through Whom the truth about our salvation has been revealed to us. And then, let us all know the sacrifices and difficulties that each and every one of us may have to face in the midst of living our lives as good Christians.

Let us all face those challenges with courage and strength, just as the resolution shown by the Lord, when He chose to come down the mountain of His glory, and down towards His crucifixion and death. Let us all follow the examples and the humility of Our Lord, in obeying fully the will of God, and by doing what He has told us to do, we may bring ourselves ever closer to Him and keep ourselves ever steady on His path, to the time when He calls us back to Himself. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 6 August 2018 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 28b-36

At that time, Jesus took Peter, John and James, and went up the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the aspect of His face was changed, and His clothing became dazzling white. Two men were taking with Jesus : Moses and Elijah. Appearing in the glory of heaven, Moses and Elijah spoke to Jesus about His departure from this life, which was to take place in Jerusalem.

Peter and His companions had fallen asleep; but they awoke suddenly, and they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. As Moses and Elijah were about to leave, Peter – not knowing what to say – said to Jesus, “Master, how good it is for us to be here! Let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

And no sooner had he spoken, than a cloud appeared and covered them; and the disciples were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then these words came from the cloud, “This is My Son, My Beloved, listen to Him.” And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was there alone. The disciples kept this to themselves at the time, telling no one of anything they had seen.

Monday, 6 August 2018 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 5-6, 9

YHVH reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right, are His throne.

The mountains melt like wax before YHVH, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

For You are the Master of the universe, exalted far above all gods.

Monday, 6 August 2018 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white, as snow, His hair, white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.

Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Alternative reading

2 Peter 1 : 16-19

Indeed, what we taught you about the power, and the return of Christ Jesus our Lord, was not drawn from myths or formulated theories. We, ourselves, were eyewitnesses of His majesty, when He received glory and honour from God, the Father, when, from the magnificent glory, this most extraordinary word came upon Him : “This is My beloved Son, this is My Chosen One.”

We, ourselves, heard this voice from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. Therefore, we believe most firmly in the message of the prophets, which you should consider rightly, as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the break of day, when the Morning Star shines in your hearts.

(Usus Antiquior) Transfiguration of our Lord (Double II Classis) – Monday, 6 August 2018 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 111 : 3

Gloria et divitiae in domo Ejus : et justitia Ejus manet in saeculum saeculi. Alleluja.

 

English translation

Glory and wealth are in His house, and His justice remains forever and ever. Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Oblata, quaesumus, Domine, munera gloriosi Unigeniti Tui Transfiguratione sanctifica : nosque a peccatorum maculis, splendoribus ipsius illustrationis emunda. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Sanctify, we beseech You, o Lord, the gifts offered on the glorious Transfiguration of Your only begotten Son, and by the splendours of that very illumination cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Alternative Secret Prayer of the Priest (Commemoration of the Holy Martyrs)

Munera Tibi, Domine, nostrae devotionis offerimus : quae et pro Tuorum tibi gratia sint honore justorum, et nobis salutaria, Te miserante, reddantur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

We offer You, o Lord, the gifts of our devotion. May they be rendered both pleasing unto You, for the honour of Your just ones, and to us through Your mercy, helpful to salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Communion

Matthew 17 : 9

Visionem, quam vidistis, nemini dixeritis, donec a mortuis resurgat Filius hominis.

 

English translation

Tell the vision you have seen to no man, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut sacrosancta Filii Tui Transfigurationis mysteria, quae sollemni celebramus officio, purificata mentis intellegentia consequamur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Grant, we beseech You, o Almighty God, that with the understanding of a purified mind we may follow those sacred mysteries of Your Son’s Transfiguration which we celebrate with our solemn office. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Alternative Post-Communion Prayer (Commemoration of the Holy Martyrs)

Praesta nobis, quaesumus, Domine : intercedentibus sanctis Martyribus Tuis Xysto, Felicissimo et Agapito; ut, quod ore contingimus, pura mente capiamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o Lord, by the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Sixtus, Felicissimus and Agapitus, that what we touch with our lips we may receive with a pure heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Transfiguration of our Lord (Double II Classis) – Monday, 6 August 2018 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 17 : 1-9

In illo tempore : Assumpsit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et duxit illos in montem excelsum seorsum : et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies Ejus sicut sol : vestimenta autem Ejus facta sunt alba sicut nix.

Et ecce, apparuerunt illis Moyses et Elias cum Eo loquentes. Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ad Jesum : Domine, bonum est nos hic esse : si vis, faciamus hic tria tabernacula, Tibi unum, Moysi unum et Eliae unum.

Adhuc eo loquente, ecce, nubes lucida obumbravit eos. Et ecce vox de nube, dicens : Hic est Filius Meus dilectus, in quo Mihi bene complacui : ipsum audite. Et audientes discipuli, ceciderunt in faciem suam, et timuerunt valde.

Et accesit Jesus, et tetigit eos, dixitque eis : Surgite, et nolite timere. Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt nisi solum Jesum. Et descendentibus illis de monte, praecepit eis Jesus, dicens : Nemini dixeritis visionem, donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat.

 

English translation

At that time, Jesus took Peter, James and John, his brother, and bringing them up into a high mountain apart, and He was transfigured before them. And His facecdod shine as the sun, and His garments became white as snow.

And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with Him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here, if You will, let us make here three tents, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them, and lo, a voice out of the cloud saying, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” And the disciples hearing this, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid.

And Jesus came and touched them, and said to them, “Arise, and do not fear.” And they lifting up their eyes saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, “Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”

(Usus Antiquior) Transfiguration of our Lord (Double II Classis) – Monday, 6 August 2018 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 44 : 3, 2 and Wisdom 7 : 26

Speciosus forma prae filiis hominum : diffusa est gratia in labiis Tuis.

Response : Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum : dico ego opera mea Regi.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Candor est lucis aeternae, speculum sine macula, et imago bonitatis illius. Alleluja.

 

English translation

You are beautiful above the sons of men, grace is poured abroad in Your lips.

Response : My heart had uttered a good word. I speak my works to the King.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : He is the brightness of eternal light, the unspotted mirror, and the image of His goodness. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Transfiguration of our Lord (Double II Classis) – Monday, 6 August 2018 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White

Lectio Epistolae Beati Petri Apostoli – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Peter the Apostle

2 Peter 1 : 16-19

Carissimi : Non doctas fabulas secuti notam fecimus vobis Domini nostri Jesu Christi virtutem et praesentiam sed speculatores facti illius magnitudinis.

Accipiens enim a Deo Patre honorem et gloriam, voce delapsa ad eum hujuscemodi a magnifica gloria : Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi complacui, ipsum audite.

Et hanc vocem nos audivimus de caelo allatam, cum essemus cum ipso in monte sancto. Et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem : cui bene facitis attendentes, quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco, donec dies elucescat, et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris.

 

English translation

Dearly beloved, we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but having been made eyewitnesses of His majesty.

For He received from God the Father honour and glory, this voice coming down to Him from the excellent glory. This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.

And this voice we heard from Heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the firmer prophetical words, where unto you it does well to attend, as to a light that shines in the dark places, until the day dawn, and the morning star arise in your hearts.

(Usus Antiquior) Transfiguration of our Lord (Double II Classis) – Monday, 6 August 2018 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White

Introit

Psalm 76 : 19 and Psalm 83 : 2-3

Illuxerunt coruscationes Tuae orbi terrae : commota est et contremuit terra.

Quam dilecta tabernacula Tua, Domine virtutum! Conscupiscit, et deficit anime mea in atria Domini.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Your lightnings enlightened the world, the earth shook and trembled.

How lovely are Your tabernacles, o Lord of hosts! My soul longed and fainted for the courts of the Lord.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Collect

Deus, qui fidei sacramenta in Unigeniti Tui gloriosa Transfiguratione patrum testimonio roborasti, et adoptionem filiorum perfectam, voce delapsa in nube lucida, mirabiliter praesignasti : concede propitius; ut ipsius Regis gloriae nos coheredes efficias, et ejusdem gloriae tribuas esse consortes. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

O God, You Who in the glorious Transfiguration of Your only begotten Son had confirmed the sacraments of faith by the testimony of the fathers, and You Who had wonderfully foreshowed the perfect adoption of Your children by a voice coming down in a shining cloud, mercifully grant that we be made co-heirs of the King of glory Himself, and grant us to be sharers in that very glory. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Alternative Collect (Commemoration of the Holy Martyrs)

Deus, qui nos concedis sanctorum in Martyrum Tuorum Xysti, Felicissimi, et Agapiti natalitia colere : da nobis in aeterna beatitudine de eorum societate gaudere. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

O God, You Who had permitted us to celebrate the birthday of Your holy martyrs, Sixtus, Felicissimus and Agapitus, grant us to enjoy their companionship in everlasting beatitude. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Sunday, 5 August 2018 : Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday of the Lord, we listened from the Scriptures, through which we heard about the Lord Who fed His people with food, to sustain them through life, beginning from the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites traversed the desert for forty years in order to reach the Promised Land. They took so long on the journey because they disobeyed the Lord and refused to believe in Him. They made complaints after complaints, that the Lord punished them for their disobedience.

But God never intended for them to be destroyed, and He never wanted to punish them unless it was necessary for Him to do so. When He punished them, He was like a father who disciplines his children, wanting them to be developing well and not be spoilt by their own lack of discipline and understanding of what it means to grow up into a good and obedient child. God was doing what was necessary to ensure that His children would not end up falling further into sin.

The Israelites were swayed by the ways of their neighbours and those they have encountered during their journey, including that of their Egyptian former slave-masters. Although their ancestors and they themselves worshipped the one and only True God Who has brought them out of slavery, but the love of gold and worldly pleasures tempted them into sin, as they could not resist the temptation of gold and the wealth of the world, when they carried off many golden vessels and items given to them by the Egyptians.

They ended up making the golden image of a calf, likely modelled after the pagan gods of the Egyptians, and claimed it to be their god. They would rather worship an empty, human-made idol made by human hands rather than the One Who created all of them and the entire universe, the One Who had also shown His might and power before them, by His ten plagues and the many miracles which He had performed in their midst.

And that is the story behind what happened to the people of Israel, and why they constantly sinned against God, grumbling and complaining, because they sought worldly pleasures and they wanted to satisfy their body’s desires. They felt the urge of their bodies to satisfy themselves with food and sustenance of this world, and when they could not get what they wanted, they rebelled against God Who has loved them so much.

But against these people, these unfaithful and ever ungrateful children, God was ever patient and loving, and He provided them with food, food from heaven itself, the bread called the manna, as well as large flock of birds that flew into the encampment of the people of Israel. They had enough food to eat, for not just a short moment of time, but for the entire forty years period of their journey. They were well taken care of, and when they were thirsty in the middle of the desert, God gave them crystal clear water to drink.

Last Sunday, we also heard about God Who fed His people, especially the Lord Jesus Who fed the multitudes of the five thousand men and countless more women and children. He blessed and broke the bread that miraculously were able to feed all of them, despite there was being only five loaves present, and with twelve baskets of leftovers. God loved His people, and He knew of their hunger, and that was why He fed them with food, to make sure that they did not suffer from the hunger.

However, today, it is reminded to each and every one of us, that we have received an infinitely greater gift of sustenance from God, one that does not merely satisfy just the hunger of our physical bodies. On the contrary, this perfect gift from God satisfies all of our needs, fulfilling our hearts, minds, souls and indeed, our entire being. This gift is none other than His own Most Precious Body and Blood, the Most Holy Eucharist.

Today, all of us are reminded that Christ Our Lord is the Bread of Life, as He Himself mentioned in the Gospel passage we have today. And this life is not just the earthly life and existence which we have now, but true life, that is everlasting, our eternal existence with God. Just as we need to eat food in order to sustain ourselves bodily and physically, and how those who lack food will eventually die, without the Bread of Life, we will perish eternally and suffer an eternity of true death.

Now, brothers and sisters, do we all realise just how beloved and fortunate each and every one of us have been? We are truly very fortunate and blessed to have God, Our loving Father, Who devoted Himself to our care and to our whole well-being. Just as He had taken care of the people of Israel every single day for forty years in the desert, He has also taken care of every single one of us.

First of all, He gave us life, so that we can live in this world. He gave us opportunities, one after another, to find our way and path to Him. And then, He gave us the promise of eternal life through His Passion, suffering and death on the cross. He gave us nothing less than His own life, so that we can live. And not just any life, but life of eternity, and an eternity of loving existence with God, through the sharing in His Body and Blood.

The Holy Mass is as we know it, the sacrifice of the Lord on Calvary which is happening at every moment the priest offers up the bread and the wine, and relating what happened at the Last Supper, when the Lord Jesus said, “Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is My Body…” and also “Take this all of you and drink of it, for this is the chalice of My Blood…” It is the same sacrifice of Our Lord that we participate in, and the same Body and Blood which He has given to His disciples at the Last Supper.

It is the essence and reality of bread and wine that has been completely transformed by the priest, in persona Christi, by His power and through the Holy Spirit, into the Lord’s own Body and Blood, which we receive as the sign of our reception of the Lord into ourselves and our Communion with the whole body of the Universal Church. The Lord Himself has come into us, in flesh and blood, and we took Him into our own body, which has then become God’s Holy Temple.

Unfortunately, there are still quite a few of us who do not realise this truth, or that they chose to ignore this fact. Many of us do not show the proper reverence to the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, treating it nothing more than receiving and consuming a piece of bread. And many of us treat the Eucharist lightly and even with contempt, by the way that we receive the Lord.

What do I mean by that, brothers and sisters in Christ? We all know that the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, but yet, some of us come to receive Him when we are not in a proper state to receive Him, meaning that we are not in a state of grace. We committed all sorts of mortal and serious sins, and yet, we come to receive the Lord with our sins without repentance and without regret for them.

Now, this is a serious sin against God and a scandal for our Church and our faith. St. Paul reminded us all through his Epistle to the Corinthians that each and every one of us is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of God Himself. And it is therefore right and just for us to make sure that we keep this Temple holy and clean from defilement. Yet, many of us have defiled God’s holy Temple by our own sins and by our own refusal to repent.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore let us all reflect on our own lives. Let us all look again at all the things we have done in life thus far, both good and evil, and think of whether we have done what we should have done as the followers of Christ, or whether we have wandered off far away from God’s path. Let us all seek to rediscover the true purpose of our lives, that is to serve God and to glorify Him.

Let us all distance ourselves from the many idols and distractions present in our lives, so that we will no longer fall into the same predicament as that of the Israelites. Let us all distance ourselves from all these distractions and temptations, and do our very best to love the Lord from now on. God has loved each and every one of us so much that we could not have existed and lived without Him. We must repent from our sins and truly regret all the wicked things we have done in His presence.

Are we thankful to God Who has loved us and given us what we need in life? Have we taken His love for granted, and even betrayed Him or else abandoned Him for something we deemed to be better than Him, when He has done everything He could to provide for us and to give us His love, that He gave us nothing less than His life, bearing His cross and die for us? Should we not love Him with the same generosity and conviction in love?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to turn to the Lord, Our God, with a renewed sense of purpose and with a new commitment, to love Him with all of our hearts, with all of our minds and with all of our might. He, the Bread of Life, has given us so much, for our sake, that now, we have to also love Him in the same way, devoting ourselves to Him, from now onwards.

May the Lord, Who gave us life and Who loves us dearly, continue to bless us and to be with us, every single day of our lives, that we may continue to draw ever closer to Him, and to love Him with ever greater passion, through our every actions, words and deeds. Let us all have the Lord as the centre and focus of our lives, that we may no longer be separated with Him, but growing ever more intimate in our relationship with Him, day after day.

O Lord, Bread of Life, be with us always, and dwell within our hearts that we may be sanctified by Your presence. May all of us be holy just as You are holy, in our every words, in our every dealings with others, and in how we show the same love You have shown us from the beginning of time, to one another, our fellow brothers and sisters in You, Our loving Father. Amen.