Saturday, 5 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 43-51

The next day, Jesus decided to set off for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the One that Moses wrote about in the Law, and the prophets as well; He is Jesus, Son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

Nathanael replied, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.” Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?” And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.”

Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that. Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Saturday, 5 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 99 : 2, 3, 4, 5

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God; He created us and we are His people, the sheep of His fold.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His Name.

For the Lord is good; His love lasts forever and His faithfulness through all generations.

Saturday, 5 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 3 : 11-21

For this is the message taught to you from the beginning : we must love one another. Do not imitate Cain who killed his brother, for he belonged to the Evil One. Why did he kill him? Because he himself did evil and his brother did good.

So, be not surprised, brothers if the world hates us; we love our brothers and sisters, and with this we know that we have passed from death to life. The one who does not love remains in death. The one who hates his brother is a murderer, and, as you know, eternal life does not remain in the murderer.

This is how we have known what is love is : He gave His life for us. We, too, ought to give our life for our brothers and sisters. If anyone enjoys the riches of this world, but closes his heart when he sees his brother or sister in need, how will the love of God remain in him? My dear children, let us love not only with words and with our lips, but in truth and in deed.

Then we shall know that we are of the truth and we may calm our conscience in His presence. Every time it reproaches us, let us say : God is greater than our conscience, and He knows everything. When our conscience does not condemn us, dear friends, we may have complete confidence in God.

Friday, 4 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the salvation which has come upon us through Christ, Our Lord, which in our Gospel passage today, He was revealed by His herald, St. John the Baptist, the one whom the Lord sent into the world in order to prepare the way for the Saviour to come. St. John the Baptist directed the people to the Lamb of God, Christ, through Whom God would save all of His people.

He has been revealed to all, and He has been revealed as the Lord and Saviour of all, and yet, not everyone has recognised and acknowledged Him, for they instead chose to trust and follow in the path of the devil, that is the path of rebellion and disobedience against God, as written by St. John in his Epistle. The devil was the first to disobey God, the most brilliant and mighty angel Lucifer, whose pride and ego brought him down.

Lucifer thought that in the brilliance, power, and might that God had created him, he was powerful and worthy enough to even overtake his Creator and Lord. And in his ego and pride, he wanted to seize for himself the throne of heaven, taking with himself part of the Angelic host, those who followed him into his rebellion and became the forces of wickedness and the devil’s allies. He failed, and was thrown down, and his final defeat had been sealed.

Those who sinned against God are like those who followed into the same folly of the devil’s rebellion, all those fallen angels, who thought that their power and glory were greater ever than God’s, only to be put in their place, and knowing that having rebelled against God, their due and their fate was destruction and eternal damnation. But God still loved us, and that is why, because He created us all in love, He gave us the chance to be saved.

And He did so, by sending to us, His own begotten Son, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. In Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man, the Divine Word Incarnate, God has humbled and emptied Himself, by assuming the appearance and the substance of a human being, to become one like us, a Man in all of its fullness. Against the pride and disobedience of the devil and those who followed his path, Christ showed us all, the perfect love and obedience He has for His Father’s will.

It was also by that love and obedience, that He willingly took up the cross, the burden of sins of all mankind, our burden and pains, our sorrows and our challenges and difficulties, our shortcomings and our rebelliousness, upon Himself, so that by bearing them all instead of us, as how it should have been, He may give us all the hope and the only way out of our fated destruction.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard from the Scriptures, we have seen how Our Lord made His love evident for each and every one of us, that He gave everything for our sake, even to endure such pains and sorrowful occasion in order to bring about salvation for us. God did not hold back anything from this effort, not even sparing Himself from the persecution and oppression by His enemies.

If He has done all of these for our sake, then we should indeed make best use of these opportunities that God has granted to us, this grace and chance for us to turn once again towards Him, to be forgiven and liberated from the tyranny of sin. God has always loved us, and He wants only the best for our sake, and provided with these opportunities, we should do our best to turn towards Him and to abandon our sins and disobedience against Him.

From now on, let us turn towards God, our loving Father and Creator, embracing the love which He has lavished upon us so much, all the compassionate care and mercy that He has given us. Let us all wholeheartedly serve Him from now on, dedicating ourselves to love Him and to walk in His path, in all the things that we say and do, in everything we commit in our respective lives.

May God be with us always, and may each and every one of us continue to walk faithfully in His path, devoting ourselves and becoming ever closer to Him, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 4 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 35-42

On the following day John was standing there again with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and said, “There is the Lamb of God.” On hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. He turned and saw them following, and He said to them, “What are you looking for?”

They answered, “Rabbi (which means Master), where are You staying?” Jesus said, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where He stayed, and spent the rest of that day with Him. It was about four o’ clock in the afternoon.

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard what John had said, and followed Jesus. Early the next morning he found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means the Christ), and he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John, but you shall be called Cephas” (which means Rock).

Friday, 4 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 1, 7-8, 9

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

Let the sea resound and everything in it, the world and all its peoples. Let rivers clap their hands, hills and mountains sing with joy before the Lord.

For He comes to rule the earth. He will judge the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.

Friday, 4 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 3 : 7-10

My little children, do not be led astray; those who do what is right are upright, just as Jesus Christ is upright. But those who sin belong to the devil, for the devil sins from the beginning.

This is why the Son of God was shown to us, He was to undo the works of the devil. Those born of God do not sin, for the seed of God remains in them; they cannot sin because they are born of God. What is the way to recognise the children of God and those of the devil? The one who does not do what is right is not of God; so, too, the one who does not love his brother or sister.

Thursday, 3 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Our Lord. On this day we focus our attention on the Name which is above all and every other names, as written in the Scriptures, the Name which was revealed by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, His mother. This is the Name that every knee, in heaven, on earth and in hell, in all of the universe, must bend and give homage, when the Name is uttered and mentioned.

For the name of a person is a very important sign of his or her identity. It is a very major part of his or her identity, what makes up the persona of a person. It is something that makes us unique and stands out from others. And that is why, we also have the practice of naming ourselves and our children after the saints of God, as we want to emulate in our lives, the virtues and the good examples of the saints after whom we have been named, or whom we are naming our children for.

In the history of the people of God, the Name of God is something that is so holy and sacrosanct, that they could not and were not supposed to be able to decipher and to utter it, without committing blasphemy before God. The Holy Name of God, YHVH, is the symbol of His holiness and how He is almighty and great, perfect and holy beyond all comparison and comprehension. To utter His Name would be unthinkable for the people of Israel, and is actually a part of the Ten Commandments, that is, keep the Lord’s Name holy.

But God, in His so great love for us, has willingly decided to become One Who is tangible and approachable, has shown His love for us in the flesh and being, by adopting for Himself, and assuming for Himself, a human existence, that is united to His eternal divinity, in the person and Name of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, Our Lord and King. It is He, Who has been named as such, through Whom our salvation comes from.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must not take our Lord’s Name lightly, or worse still, use them in profane and unbecoming way, as how many of us have grown accustomed to, in habits and expressions. There are those who use Our Lord’s Name in vain, when His Name was uttered without even the least bit of knowledge and understanding of the great significance and power behind this Name.

Indeed, God made Himself known to us, by incarnation in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, that we may know Him, and through Him, we are saved. It is by the power of His Name that we have been saved, for He has become our Saviour. But we must never again use His Name in vain, in how we just toss this Name around with contempt and lacking for respect for the One through Whom we have been saved.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that God had made Himself available to us, by revealing to us His Name, that all of us may know Him and love Him so deeply, that by sharing in His glory, His resurrection from the dead and triumph over evil and death, we may free ourselves from the power of the evil one. Upon the Name of Jesus, even the devil and all those who have reigned over us, must obey and admit their defeat.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from now on, every time that the Holy Name of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, is mentioned, let us reflect on this great love and saving grace we have received from Him, and commit ourselves to honour Him and to love Him all the more. Let us bow down and honour Him, every time His Name is uttered and mentioned, and glorify Him from now on. May God, in His Holy Name, bless us always and keep us from all evil. Amen.