Tuesday, 31 December 2019 : Seventh Day within the Octave of Christmas, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 1-18

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light; for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him.

He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness. John bore witness to Him openly, saying, “This is the One Who comes after me, but He is already ahead of me, for He was before me.”

From His fullness we have all received, favour upon favour. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made Him known : the One, Who is in and with the Father.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019 : Seventh Day within the Octave of Christmas, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 95 : 1-2, 11-12, 13

Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His Name. Proclaim His salvation day after day.

Let the heavens be glad, the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound; let the fields exult and everything in them; let the forest, all the trees, sing for joy. Let them sing before the Lord.

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

Tuesday, 31 December 2019 : Seventh Day within the Octave of Christmas, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 2 : 18-21

My dear children, it is the last hour. You were told that an antichrist would come; but several antichrists have already come, by which we know that it is now the last hour.

They went out from us though they did not really belong to us. Had they belonged to us, they would have remained with us. So it became clear that not all of us were really ours. But you have the anointing from the Holy One, so that all of you have true wisdom.

I write to you, not because you lack knowledge of the truth, but because you already know it, and lies have nothing in common with the truth.

Monday, 30 December 2019 : Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to rejoice in this season of Christmas, we are constantly being reminded that we need to have the right focus in our celebrations and in our direction in life, that is to centre our attention and focus on the Lord. We need to trust in the Lord and to love Him with all of our hearts, especially as what St. John told us in his Epistle, which is part of our first reading today.

St. John wrote to the faithful reminding them all to put their trust in God, Who had sent His Saviour into this world, Who is none other than Jesus Christ, His own beloved Son. St. John exhorted both the elders and the young members of the community to have faith in God and not to be swayed by the many temptations and desires found within the world that they would not fall into sin.

This ties in well with what we have heard in our Gospel passage today from the Gospel according to St. Luke in which the encounter between the prophetess Anna and the Lord and His family was recounted to us. At that time, Mary and St. Joseph brought the Lord Jesus to the Temple on the eighth day after His birth to be presented at the Temple according to the Jewish traditions and customs.

The prophetess Anna came, together with that of the old prophet Simeon, both speaking of Who the Child was, and how He would be the very Saviour of the whole world and all mankind, despite being still just a small Baby. Through her, the Lord wanted to reaffirm what He has told His people, of the coming of His salvation as the culmination of everything that He has planned for our sake.

And all of these are meant to remind us again that as we continue to progress through this season of Christmas, we should not treat Christmas just like any other holiday that passes on and gets along just like that, without understanding and appreciating its true significance, purpose and meaning. We should not let our Christmas celebrations be empty and meaningless, especially when we focus all the celebrations to ourselves and forgetting that truly, Christ is the One we are celebrating about.

Yet, the sad reality in our world today is how Christ has often been forgotten and overlooked, even by many of us Christians in our pursuit for worldly glory, power and satisfaction in life. Many of us sought for the relief and happiness found in indulging in all these things, those many temptations in this world, the temptation of fame, power, glory, pleasures of the flesh, wealth, ambition among many others. All these distracted us and turned us away from God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us remind ourselves and one another of the focus of our celebration this Christmas and in fact, the focus and centrepoint of our lives. Let us all live not for ourselves and trust excessively in worldly matters and provisions, but instead, let us trust God and put our faith in Him once again, and know that everyone who put their faith in God, as St. John said in his Epistle, will not be disappointed as while the world will fade and go away, the Word and truth of God is forever.

May all of us as Christians be genuinely faithful to God from now on. May all of us draw ever closer to Him and seek to be more dedicated and be good Christians, being inspirations for one another in how we lead a good and virtuous life in obedience to the will of God. May God bless us all and may He give us the strength and courage to live as committed Christians in each and every moments of our lives. Amen.

Monday, 30 December 2019 : Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 36-40

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the Child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon Him.

Monday, 30 December 2019 : Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 95 : 7-8a, 8b-9, 10

Give to YHVH, you families of nations, give to YHVH glory and strength. Give to YHVH the glory due His Name.

Bring gifts and enter His courts. Worship YHVH with holy celebrations; stand in awe of Him, all the earth.

Say among the nations, “YHVH reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Monday, 30 December 2019 : Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 2 : 12-17

My dear children, I write this to you : you have already received the forgiveness of your sins, through the Name of Jesus. Fathers, I write this to you : you know Him, Who is from the beginning. Young men, I write this to you : you have overcome the evil one. My dear children, I write to you, because you already know the Father.

Fathers, I write to you, because you know Him, Who is from the beginning. Young men, I write to you, because you are strong, and the Word of God lives in you, who have, indeed, overcome the evil one. Do not love the world, or what is in it. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the craving of the flesh, the greed of eyes and people boasting of their superiority – all this, belongs to the world, not to the Father.

The world passes away, with all its craving, but those who do the will of God remain for ever.