Friday, 11 December 2020 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Popes)

Matthew 11 : 16-19

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Now, to what can I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, about whom their companions complain : ‘We played the lute for you, but you would not dance. We sang a funeral song, but you would not cry!’”

“For John came fasting, and people said, ‘He is possessed by a demon!’ Then, the Son of Man came. He ate and drank; and people said, ‘Look at this Man : a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet, wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

Friday, 11 December 2020 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Popes)

Psalm 1 : 1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Blessed is the man who does not go where the wicked gather, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit where the scoffers sit! Instead, he finds delight in the Law of YHVH and meditates day and night on His commandments.

He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering. Everything he does is a success.

But it is different with the wicked. They are like chaff driven away by the wind. For YHVH knows the way of the righteous but cuts off the way of the wicked.

Friday, 11 December 2020 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Popes)

Isaiah 48 : 17-19

Thus says YHVH, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel : I, YHVH, your God, teach you what is best for you; I lead you in the way that you must go. Had you paid attention to My commandments, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Your descendants would have been like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains, their names never cut off nor blotted out from My presence.

Thursday, 10 December 2020 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Universal Church celebrates the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto or Our Lady of Loreto. The history of this devotion to Mary, the Mother of God as Our Lady of Loreto had a long history and is tied to the miraculous preservation and appearance of the Holy House of Nazareth in that place, where now the Basilica of the Holy House of Loreto now stands.

The tradition states that this very House enshrined at the centre of the Basilica is none other than the very house where the Lord and His Holy Family, St. Joseph, His foster-father and Mary, His mother had lived in, at the village of Nazareth. How is it then that this house ended up in Loreto in Italy? First of all, well-attested by Apostolic tradition is that this house was converted into a church by St. Peter and the other Apostles.

Hence, within the house there is the ‘Altar of the Apostles’, built none other by St. Peter and the other Apostles themselves. It was told that a Basilica was built at the site of the house after the Roman Empire adopted the Christian faith, and worship had continued at the site throughout the succeeding centuries afterwards. However, it came to be that the house was under threat of destruction from unbelievers at the end of the age of the Crusades.

Therefore, in a miraculous occasion, the Holy House of Nazareth was lifted up by Angels of God to a site in what is now Croatia, which was verified by several checks by the contemporary people, in both the new and the previous sites. After a few further translations, the house eventually settled at its current site, over seven hundred years ago. A great Basilica and shrine was soon built over the house, and eventually took shape of the current shrine.

The shrine and devotion to the Blessed Mother of Loreto as the Matron and Patroness of the Holy Family of Nazareth steadily grew and gained Papal patronage, as successive Popes devoted themselves to the shrine of Loreto. Miracles were also attributed to the holy shrine, and prayers made were effective. Litany of Loreto is a famous litany that is recited by many Christians around the world asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Loreto.

Today as we celebrate in this Feast of Our Lady of Loreto, the Blessed Mary Mother of God, we are all brought in deeper into the mystery of the Advent season, preparing ourselves in our hearts, minds and in our beings for the celebration of Christmas. Through this celebration as well as through the readings of the passages of the Scriptures, we are all brought to centre our focus on the Lord and His salvation, which had come into this world through the obedience of Mary.

We are all called to model ourselves after the Holy Family of Nazareth in our celebrations, in our way of life, and in everything we do. We see the obedience of Jesus to their parents, St. Joseph’s righteousness and obedience to God’s laws and commandments, his hardworking attitude, and of course, Mary’s love for her family, her obedience to God and her commitment to the mission that has been entrusted to her.

Therefore, all of us are reminded that we cannot forget our fundamental roles as Christians in our respective communities, to be exemplary in our Christian way of life, imitating the Holy Family of Nazareth. And let us all devote ourselves to Our Lady of Loreto, imitating her examples and faith, that we may also be faithful in all things, and be obedient and righteous just as she had been obedient and righteous.

May the Lord, through His loving Mother, the Blessed Virgin of Loreto, be with us and strengthen us in our journey of faith, that each and every one of us will grow ever stronger in faith and devotion, and grow to live a more faithful Christian and Christ-centric life from now on. Let us all make best use of this blessed season of Advent, and redirect our attention and focus in life towards the Lord, the reason of our joy in Christmas. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.