Tuesday, 4 December 2018 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 10 : 21-24

At that time, Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will. I have been given all things by My Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Tuesday, 4 December 2018 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 71 : 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

God, endow the King with Your justice, the royal Son with Your righteousness. May He rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

Justice will flower on His days, and peace abound, till the moon be no more. For He reigns from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

He delivers the needy who call on Him, the afflicted, with no one to help them. His mercy is upon the weak and the poor; He saves the lives of the poor.

May His Name endure forever; may His Name be as lasting as the sun. All the races will boast about Him; and He will be praised by all nations.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 11 : 1-10

From the stump of Jesse a Shoot will come forth; from his roots a Branch will grow and bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him – a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and power, a Spirit of knowledge and fear of YHVH.

Not by appearances will He judge, nor by what is said must He decide, but with justice He will judge the poor and with righteousness decide for the meek. Like a rod, His word will strike the oppressor, and the breath of His lips slay the wicked. Justice will be the girdle of His waist, truth the girdle of His loins.

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will rest beside the kid, the calf and the lion cub will feed together and a little child will lead them. Befriending each other, the cow and the bear will see their young ones lie down together. Like cattle, the lion will eat hay. By the cobra’s den the infant will play. The child will put his hand into the viper’s lair. No one will harm or destroy over My holy mountain, for as water fills the sea the earth will be filled with the knowledge of YHVH.

On that day the “Root of Jesse” will be raised as a signal for the nations. The people will come in search of Him, thus making His dwelling place glorious.

Monday, 3 December 2018 : Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Priest and Patron of Missions (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of St. Francis Xavier, Patron saint of missions, as he was remembered by his extensive and tireless labours in evangelisation and missionary activities in Asia and the Far East for many years. St. Francis Xavier was remembered for his important role in establishing and consolidating the scattered Christian communities in places ranging from India, to Southeast Asia, and to China and Japan.

St. Francis Xavier was one of the founding members of the Jesuit religious order, also known as the Society of Jesus. At that time, during the tumultuous and difficult years of the internal and external threats to the Church and Christendom, St. Ignatius of Loyola gathered like-minded men and the faithful who wanted to serve God and advance His cause, and therefore, the foundation of the Society of Jesus was made. St. Francis Xavier was one of those whom St. Ignatius of Loyola called.

St. Francis Xavier met St. Ignatius of Loyola and the other founding members of the Jesuits as he was pursuing his studies, and initially, St. Francis Xavier resisted the call to be a priest and to serve the Lord, as St. Ignatius suggested. But through the patience and hard work of St. Ignatius, eventually St. Francis Xavier was convinced to accept God’s call and he eventually founded the Jesuits with St. Ignatius of Loyola and became a priest.

And when the Jesuits were busy dealing with the troubles of the period of the ‘Reformation’ in Europe, there was also a great need for missionaries to go to the many areas which Christian explorers and traders had gone to, in India, in Southeast Asia, China, Japan and many other parts of the world, where the Lord was still unknown, the Gospels unproclaimed and the prospects for the salvation of souls were great.

And thus, by chance, St. Francis Xavier was tasked with some of his fellow Jesuits, to be the missionaries in charge of those regions, and this task was carried out with great obedience and humility by St. Francis Xavier, who dedicated the rest of his life to great missionary works in various places across Asia. He visited India a few times, and went to various parts of Southeast Asia including Malacca and the Moluccas islands, to Macau and also to Japan.

Through all of his hard work, there were indeed many challenges, as sea travel at that time was hazardous, and took many months to reach a particular destination. There were also oppositions to the works of the missionaries, and the lives of the missionaries, including that of St. Francis Xavier, were always in constant danger and uncertainty. But regardless, St. Francis Xavier continued to push on with his mission.

Through his effort and hard work, many Christian communities across Asia today can be traced to the foundational works that he and his fellow missionaries had done. They all persevered through years of hardships and troubles, enduring harsh livelihood and oppositions, for the sake of the people of God and for the salvation of souls. Not few of them were martyred for their faith. St. Francis Xavier himself died on an island while waiting for the opportunity to enter China and evangelise there.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to reflect on the lives and the courage with the missionaries of the Lord, particularly that of St. Francis Xavier, in how they have modelled for us the way for us to live as a Christian, to be true and devout witnesses of our faith by our constant living of a Christian way of life, that in our every words, actions and deeds, we always proclaim the greater glory of God, and others who see us, may come to believe in God as well.

Let us all today be inspired by the efforts shown by those missionaries who have given their all in serving the Lord, and also ask ourselves, what each and every one of us can also do in our own lives in order to serve the Lord to the best of our abilities. May we find in us the strength and the courage to live ever more faithfully and ever more committed to God, each and every days of our life. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 3 December 2018 : 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.

Monday, 3 December 2018 : 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.

Monday, 3 December 2018 : 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.