Saturday, 12 January 2019 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 22-30

At that time, Jesus went into the territory of Judea with His disciples. He stayed there with them and baptised. John was also baptising in Aenon, near Salim, where water was plentiful; people came to him and were baptised. This happened before John was put in prison.

Now John’s disciples had been questioned by a Jew about spiritual cleansing, so they came to John and said, “Rabbi, the One Who was with you across the Jordan, and about Whom you spoke favourably, is now baptising, and all are going to Him.”

John answered, “No one can receive anything, except what has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’ Only the bridegroom has the bride; but the friend of the bridegroom stands by and listens, and rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice. My joy is now full. It is necessary that He increase, but that I decrease.”

Saturday, 12 January 2019 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 149 : 1-6a, 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips, this is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Saturday, 12 January 2019 : Saturday after the Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 14-21

Through the Son of God we are fully confident that whatever we ask, according to His will, He will grant us. If we know that He hears us whenever we ask, we know that we already have what we asked of Him.

If you see your brother committing sin, a sin which does not lead to death, pray for him, and God will give life to your brother. I speak, of course, of the sin which does not lead to death. There is also a sin that leads to death; I do not speak of praying about this. Every kind of wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin leads to death.

We know, that those born of God do not sin, but the One Who was born of God, protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. We know, that we belong to God, while the whole world lies in evil. We know, that the Son of God has come and has given us power to know the truth. We are in Him Who is true, His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and eternal life. My dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

Friday, 11 January 2019 : Friday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scripture telling us about the healing which the Lord Jesus performed on a leper, who asked Him to heal him of his condition, and the Lord was moved by his sincerity of faith and his plight, and healed him off from his leprosy. And we heard how many more people came to the Lord Jesus asking to be healed from their own sicknesses and conditions.

Through this we have seen how Christ is the source of our healing and of our salvation. There is no other Name by which we can be saved, and there is no other means by which we can escape our fated destruction. Through Him mankind have received healing from its predicament, just as the leper was healed from his leprosy. Sin is also like that of the sickness of leprosy, ever spreading and ever growing.

However, unlike leprosy, that affects only the physical body and the flesh, but cannot affect the mind, the heart and the soul, sin is far more dangerous, for sin affects the deepest parts of our own beings, corrupting us deep within our souls, and the consequences of sin are eternal, for the soul is eternal. Leprosy cannot affect us beyond this mortal life, but sin can bring about our downfall and eternal suffering.

Leprosy is a disease that can be cured by many means, and there are ways that leprosy can be easily handled, especially in our modern world today where medical technology has advanced to a great extent, that many of the diseases known to us are easily curable. But sin alone has no cure in any human and worldly means, for in God alone, that we can find our cure from sin. He alone has the power and the authority to forgive us from our sins.

St. John mentioned in his Epistle, that there are three testimonies that proclaim before us how God’s salvation and healing have come down upon us through Christ His Son, namely the testimony of the Spirit, water and the Blood. What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is a reminder of the proof which has occurred in history, showing us that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Saviour of the world, promised by God to us, His beloved ones.

The Spirit of God present in us all have recognised Christ’s presence in our midst, as Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist recognised the One Who was in Mary’s womb, as well as her yet unborn son, who rejoiced upon feeling the presence of the Messiah in his proximity. And Mary herself was also filled with the Holy Spirit, praising God in a beautiful song, the Magnificat, proclaiming the great wonders that God has done.

Then, when the Lord Jesus was baptised by St. John the Baptist in the river Jordan, we saw the Holy Spirit descending down upon Him, with the word of God spoken, revealing the Divinity of Christ, Son of the Father. Again, we see in this instance how God has revealed His truth before all, in revealing the salvation that He was about to bring into His people’s midst, through Jesus Christ, His Son.

And lastly, at the moment of the crucifixion, when Christ laid down His life on the cross, He laid down His Body and Blood for the salvation of the world, and we heard how one of the Roman soldiers, who was tasked to check if Jesus had died, pierced His side and immediately water and blood poured forth. The soldier who witnessed that miracle became a believer, St. Longinus, the bearer of the Holy Lance that pierced the side of the Lord.

That occasion again proclaimed the truth about Christ, for the water and the blood represented the two natures of Christ, as a Man and as a Divine, two natures united in the single person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the One Who laid His life on the cross is not just a mere Man, but God Himself, incarnate in the flesh, and it is by His perfect and worthy offering, that we have been saved from eternal damnation.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing then now to allow the Lord to come into our midst and heal us from our afflictions? Do we truly believe in Him, that He is our Lord and Saviour, by Whose authority and power alone we can be healed from our sins? If we truly believe in Him and in His power to heal us, then now, we need to put ourselves in the hands of God, and entrust ourselves to His loving care.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all turn towards God with a renewed faith from now on, loving Him ever more sincerely, with an ever greater commitment, knowing that in Him alone we have the hope of salvation, and liberation from the pain of eternal death. May God, our loving Father and Saviour, continue to love us and to bless us, in each and every days of our lives. Amen.

Friday, 11 January 2019 : Friday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 5 : 12-16

At that time, one day, in another town, a man came to Jesus covered with leprosy. On seeing Jesus, the man bowed down to the ground, and said, “Lord, if You want to, You can make me clean.”

Stretching out His hand, Jesus touched the man and said, “Yes, I want to. Be clean.” In an instant, the leprosy left him. Then Jesus instructed him, “Tell this to no one. But go, and show yourself to the priest. Make an offering for your healing, as Moses prescribed; that will serve as evidence for them.”

But the news about Jesus spread all the more; and large crowds came to Him, to listen and to be healed of their sickness. As for Jesus, He would often withdraw to solitary places and pray.

Friday, 11 January 2019 : Friday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 147 : 12-15, 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!

Friday, 11 January 2019 : Friday after the Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 5-13

Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through Blood. Not only water but water and Blood. And the Spirit, too, witnesses to Him for the Spirit is truth.

There are then three testimonies : the Spirit, the water and the Blood, and these three witnesses agree. If we accept human testimony, with greater reason must we accept that of God, given in favour of His Son. If you believe in the Son of God, you have God’s testimony in you.

But those who do not believe make God a liar, since they do not believe His words when He witnesses to His Son. What has God said? That He has granted us eternal life and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life, the one who do not have the Son of God do not have life.

I write you, then, all these things that you may know that you have eternal life, all you who believe in the Name of the Son of God.

Thursday, 10 January 2019 : Thursday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the love of God, which we need to show in our own lives, just as St. John wrote in his Epistle, that each and every one of us who wants to love God, must also love one another just as He has loved us first. He has shown us His perfect love, by the generous giving of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has become Our Saviour. He has given us His commandments and laws, which are then revealed in its perfection by Himself.

That was when the Lord Jesus came into this world, bearing the truth which we mankind have longed to see. He has revealed to us just how great God’s love is for us, that in essence, all the Law and the commandments He has given His people, is founded upon the love which He has for us, from the very beginning, love that is not selfish and filled with ego, but instead love that is pure, selfless and genuine.

In the Gospel passage, we heard the Lord Himself proclaiming the fulfilment of the prophecies which God has given His people through His prophet Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah had written in his book that the Lord would anoint His Messiah to bear the salvation and new joy into this world, the healing of the sick, the opening of the eyes of the blind, and how those who were paralysed would be able to walk again, and prisoners would be set free. And Jesus came to fulfil all of these.

How did God fulfil His promises of love? It is by liberating us from the source of all of our misery and sufferings, that is sin. Sin is caused by our refusal to obey God’s will, and by our own selfish desires in trying to satisfy our own greed and wants. Sin has corrupted us and made us to suffer, because it made us to be separated from God, and away from God we have no certainty in life. Our conflicting desires and actions cause us to act unjustly towards one another, causing us to suffer.

We suffer because others oppress us, manipulate us and trying to gain more by taking what should have been ours. And we suffer because, even when we have gained what we wanted in life, in terms of all sorts of worldly glory and achievement, money and material possessions, fame and influence, we often do not feel happy, as we end up craving for even more than what we have already had. Life is never fully and truly happy, as we desire for these worldly things, that we can never be fully satisfied from.

We love ourselves more than anything else, but this is what have led us down the path of sin, as well as the path of suffering and unhappiness. That is why, God showed us the way out of this predicament, by showing us what a true love is all about. Through Jesus, we have seen the perfect example of obedience to the Law, which He summarised into two key points, namely, first of all, the love for God, and then the love for our fellow brothers and sisters.

He loved His Father so perfectly, that everything He did, He did because of the love He has for His Father in heaven, obeying Him and doing His will on earth. And this is translated into the love which He showed to all those Whom the Father has loved, His brothers and sisters, each and every one of us, the sons and daughters of man. And this love is made perfect, by the total surrender and obedience to the will of the Father, at the Passion when He willingly suffered for us, because of His love, that by His suffering and by bearing all of our sins, we may receive liberation from those sins, and find our way to eternal life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Our Lord has shown us what it means to love, and He Himself has shown it by what He has done for every single one of us. He loves us all so tenderly, that He did not mind to suffer the pain of the cross, so that by enduring the suffering due for our sins, we may be saved and not perish in hell. This is just how great God’s love is for us, and we should imitate the same love in our own lives. Therefore, first of all, let us love God and put Him at the very centre of our lives, and then, love others just in the same way as we have love God and ourselves.

Let us no longer be selfish and greedy in life, and let us realise that all of our worldly glory and possessions cannot satisfy us, and that they only bring about more sufferings and pains if we continue to desire and crave for them. Instead, let us overcome those selfish desires in us, and learn instead to love more tenderly and generously, and let us all be loving and be willing to share the blessings that we have received from God with one another. Let us be loving just as Christ Our Lord has loved us. Amen.