Saturday, 5 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Tobit 12 : 1, 5-15, 20

At that time, when the wedding feast was over, Tobit called Tobias, his son, and said to him, “Be sure you give the wages to the man who accompanied you, and we should add something extra.”

Then Tobias called the Angel and said to him, “Please take half of all that you have brought.” The Angel took Tobit and Tobias to one side and said to them, “Bless God, return thanks to Him, proclaim His glory and render Him thanks before all the living for all He has done for you. It is good to praise God and to exalt His Name, by making known in a worthy manner the story of God’s deeds. Do not be slow in giving Him thanks.”

“It is good to hide the secrets of kings but to make known publicly the works of God. Do the works of God. Do good, and evil will not harm you. It is a good thing to accompany prayer with fasting, almsgiving and justice. It is better to do a little with honour than much with injustice. It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold. Almsgiving preserves from death; it purifies from all sin. Those people who give alms and act justly will have a long life, but sinners only harm themselves.”

“I will hide nothing from you. Yes, I have said that it is good to keep the secrets of kings but to make known publicly the glorious works of God. Tobit, when you and your daughter-in-law Sara prayed, I kept the remembrance of your prayer before the Holy One; when you, Tobit, buried the dead, I was with you in the same way; and when you did not hesitate to rise up and leave your meal in order to hide the dead man, your good deed did not go unnoticed because I was with you.”

“Well, God sent me to cure you and also to cure Sara, your daughter-in-law. I am Raphael, one of the seven holy Angels who present the prayers of holy people and who stand before the glory of God. Now bless and give thanks to God, because I am returning to the One Who sent me. Write down in a book all that has happened.”

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are called to reflect on the most amazing and wonderful love of God which He has expressed from time to time again, by giving us His love as evident in the readings we have just heard. In our first reading today, we have the story of how Tobit was healed by God through His Archangel Raphael, concluding the amazing story of God’s providence to His servants in their hour of need. Then in the Gospel, we heard of the revelation that Jesus made to the people gathered, how He was indeed the Messiah, the Son and Heir of David, as promised and prophesied.

In our first reading, Tobit was one of the Israelites who had been brought into exile by the Assyrians who destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, its cities and brought most of its people into exile. He was righteous and God-fearing, and an accident caused him to lose his eyesight. Nonetheless, he remained firm in his faith and never lost hope. He prayed to the Lord and the Lord heard his prayers and remembered his virtues and charitable actions to his fellow brothers and sisters, and thus, God sent Archangel Raphael to assist Tobit and to heal him from his blindness.

After helping Sara, the wife of Tobit’s son, Tobias, freeing her from the influence of a powerful demon, the Archangel Raphael then administered God’s healing for Tobit, opening his eyes and allowing him to see once again after what must have been quite some time. His sight restored and his energy restored, Tobit became whole once again, by the grace of God. Tobit and his whole household henceforth praised and glorified the Lord for all of His wonderful deeds, for His love and His faithfulness to the Covenant that He had made with His people.

What we heard in our Gospel then is an even more powerful reminder for us of God’s love, for that time, God sent not just one of the Archangels, but His own Begotten Son, the One and only promised Saviour of the world, that by His entry into this world, He has brought healing and salvation to us all. He is the fulfilment of all the prophecies and all the promises of God made through His messengers and prophets. And through Christ, all of us have been healed and made whole, the veil of darkness and the power of sin had been lifted up and away from all of us.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having been reminded as such of God’s generous love and kindness, have we realised and appreciated just how fortunate all of us are to have been beloved in such a manner by God? We are mere sinners, weak and unworthy, wicked and terrible, corrupted and dirty, and yet, God willingly embraced us, sought us and wanted us all to be healed, made whole and rejuvenated, reconciled fully and completely with Him.

That is exactly just how beloved and how fortunate all of us are, and many of us unfortunately still do not yet recognise this fact and reality. And we continue to disregard the Lord and His generous love for us. We focus on ourselves and our worldly desires, and we turn away from God’s truth and way, following our own selfish desires and wants, our ambition and pride. Today we are all called to discern carefully our path going forward in life, that we do not end up in the wrong path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek the Lord therefore with renewed faith and conviction, and let us all turn towards Him with new dedication. We are all called to be genuine in how we live our lives, full of Christian charity and faith. Because God has loved us so much then it is only right and just that we also love Him and dedicate ourselves to Him. It is a constant reminder for us that we must not be idle or ignorant of our Christian faith and calling. As much as we are able to, in every opportunity, we should show good examples in our actions in life.

Let us ask the Lord for strength and courage, that we may persevere in being faithful and good throughout life. May all of us draw ever closer to the Lord and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him, and may all of us grow ever stronger in our Christian faith and commitment. May God bless us all and our many works, and may He remain with us always, through every moments of our lives. Amen.

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 12 : 35-37

At that time, as Jesus was teaching in the Temple, He said, “The teachers of the Law say that the Messiah is the Son of David. How can that be? For David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared : The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet!'”

“If David himself calls Him Lord, in what way can He be his Son?” Many people came to Jesus, and listened to Him gladly.

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 145 : 1-2, 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, my soul! I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to God while I live.

The Lord is forever faithful; He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord straightens the bent. The Lord loves the virtuous, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. The Lord protects the stranger.

He sustains the widow and the orphan. The Lord will reign forever, your God, o Zion, from generation to generation. Alleluia!

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Tobit 11 : 5-17

Now Anna was sitting there, scanning the road along which her son should return. She saw Tobias and Raphael coming in the distance and said to the father of Tobias, “Your son is coming with the man who accompanied him.”

While Tobias and Raphael were still going along the road, Raphael said to Tobias, “I am sure that your father will regain his sight. Rub his eyes with the fish gall and when he feels his eyes itching, he will rub them and the film will come away like scales from his eyes. He will regain his sight and see the light.”

Anna ran to meet Tobias and threw her arms around his neck saying, “At last I have seen you again, my child. Now I can die!” And both of them began to cry. Tobit also got up and, stumbling, arrived at the door of the courtyard. Tobias ran to him with the fish gall in his hand. He breathed on his father’s eyes, embraced him and said, “Father, have confidence!”

Then he spread the fish gall on Tobit’s eyes. Tobias waited. When his eyes began to itch, Tobit rubbed them and with both hands scaled off the film from the corners of his eyes. When Tobit saw his son he threw his arms around Tobias’ neck and began to weep. He said, “Blessed be You, o God. Blessed be Your Name forever. Blessed be Your holy Angels. You have punished me, but You have taken pity on me, and now I can see my son, Tobias.”

Tobias was very happy. After entering the house he told his father about the important things that had happened in Media. He told his father about the successful outcome of his journey, how he got his money, and how he married Sara, daughter of Ragouel, who just then was approaching the gates of Nineveh.

Tobit, happy and praising God, went out to meet his daughter-in-law at the gates of Nineveh. All those who saw him walking alone and unaided, were amazed that he could see. Tobit proclaimed to them that God had taken pity on him and cured him. Then he went to Sara and blessed her saying, “Welcome, daughter! May God be blessed for having brought you to us and may your father and mother also be blessed.”

It was a day of great rejoicing for all Tobit’s relatives who lived in Nineveh.

Thursday, 3 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, celebrating this very important aspect of our faith that is central to our Christian beliefs. What is this central tenet and teaching, brothers and sisters? It is the belief that in the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Lord has appeared to us in the flesh and blood, in the Most Holy Eucharist at the Holy Sacrifice on the Altar. The bread and wine offered by the presider of the Mass has been turned into the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord.

This is the same belief that many of our separated brethren holding faithfully the Apostolic Tradition such as those in the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox churches also hold, as they all just like us, believe that the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, in His complete presence, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, all entirely present in the bread and wine transformed in reality and matter into the matter and the nature of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. There are of course those who still deny this truth, claiming that the bread and wine are just merely symbolic or that they did not really turn into the Body and Blood of the Lord.

Some may come to think of that because although the bread in the Eucharistic host and the wine in the chalice remains in appearance, taste and our human recognition as bread and wine, but what is indiscernible by our human senses is the truth that by the same power and authority that the Lord has given to His Apostles, our bishops and priests who offered the bread and wine, had turned the bread and wine, by the Holy Spirit descending onto the gifts and offerings, they had been turned completely into the matter of the Body and Blood of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

All the early Church fathers and the Ecumenical Councils, the Apostolic traditions and others concurred that the Eucharist is none other and nothing less than the Lord Himself truly present in all completeness and perfection, not just merely symbolic or spiritually present as argued by those who reject this truth. We believe in the Doctrine of the Transubstantiation, which means exactly what I had just elaborated slightly earlier on, that the bread and wine has been completely transformed in matter and reality, fully and perfectly into the Body and Blood of the Lord, although in the appearance it is to us still that of bread and wine.

In fact there is an important parallel here to Our Lord’s own Incarnation in the Flesh, as He assumed the form and existence of Man. In what is another very important tenet of our faith, we believe that Jesus Christ, is both Man and Divine, having two natures that are distinct and different from each other, and yet are perfectly and completely united in His one Person, inseparable and indivisible. The world may perceive Him as a Man, and He did indeed appear as a Man, but in truth, He is fully Divine as well, as He showed His disciples at the Transfiguration and after He has risen from the dead.

Therefore, in a similar manner, the bread and wine although they have the appearance of bread and wine, and yet unmistakably they are fully by nature and reality, the very essence, matter and Body and Blood of Our Lord. However, it goes further that the bread and wine has also been completely transformed and are no longer just mere bread or mere wine. This is what we have seen, known, understood and acknowledged with the eyes of faith. We have received the truth from God, and we believed in it, and we put our faith in Him, because we believe in His Real Presence in the Eucharist.

And this is where then we have to appreciate that the Lord has given us all an immeasurably great gift as He gave to us nothing less than His own Precious Body and Blood, to be shared amongst us and to be partaken as we become members of His Body, the Church of God. All of us who share in this Holy Communion are therefore said to be in Communion with one another, united as the visible Body of Christ, the Church, and those who have not partaken in this same Eucharist, are separated and sundered away from this Body of Christ, our separated brothers and sisters, some of whom did not acknowledge the truth of the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, yet, that is exactly what the Lord has told all of us, His people, plainly and clearly. In our Gospel passage today, as He gathered His disciples for His Last Supper with them, He told all of them as He broke the bread and offered it and the wine to the Lord, that the bread, is His Body, and the wine, is His Blood, plain and clear, concise and precise, never mentioning once that what He had done was just something symbolic or something that is not real. The same bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of the Lord at the Last Supper, which was not yet complete that night, is the same bread and wine at the Holy Mass transformed into our Lord’s Real Presence.

When He spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life before the assembled people, in one of His teaching sessions, He also referred to Himself as the Bread of Life, and explicitly and clearly mentioned that His Body is real Food, and His Blood is real Drink, and these things He spoke clearly and precisely too, without being ambiguous or figurative, and He clearly referred to all those who share in His Body and Blood that they will enjoy eternal life and will not perish, but live wonderfully with God forevermore. That moment is a foreshadowing of what would happen at the Last Supper and the Passion of the Lord.

The Lord completed His offering, of His own Body and Blood, as the High Priest representing all of us mankind, and at the same time as the Lamb of Sacrifice Himself, the Paschal Lamb, brought to the Altar on Calvary on Good Friday, the Altar of the Cross. And those who thought mistakenly that the Holy Mass is a repeat or reenactment of the Sacrifice of the Lord on the Cross failed to understand that at every single celebration of the Holy Mass, by all priests, bishops, and even the Pope, all of these are the very same Sacrifice that Christ has performed at Calvary, on the Cross that He had died on.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Altar on which the priests celebrate the Eucharist is the same Altar of the Cross on Calvary, and the same Body and Blood shed and given to us is the same sacrifice made two millennia ago, for all time and all occasions, the same offering and Sacrifice of the Lord, the Eternal High Priest, Who through His representatives, the ordained ministers, in persona Christi, or in the person of Christ, performed the very same sacrifice of Calvary at every single celebration of the Holy Mass, without exception.

When the Lord told His disciples ‘to do this in memory of Me’ it was not merely a memorial as how some misunderstood it. Instead, through that act, the Lord had authorised and empowered His disciples and their successors to be the priests ordained in His ministry, to be His priests representing Him in offering the most worthy sacrifice, the sacrifice of Our Lord Himself on the Cross. They are to perform the same offering and sacrifice of Our Lord that every Mass we are in fact celebrating and commemorating Our Lord’s Passion, His suffering and death for our salvation.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask ourselves, whether we have truly believed in the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, in His Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood that we celebrate every Mass, and which we share together as one Church, the one Body of Christ. Do we really appreciate God’s love given to us by the shedding of His Body and by the outpouring of His Blood? Remember that by His sacrifice, Our Lord has purchased us from our sins, and freed us from the certain destruction due to those sins.

If we truly believe in the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, then why we have not given Him the respect and worship that He truly deserves from us? Why have we instead acted as if the celebration of the Holy Mass is just like a mere ordinary gathering, and worse still, with inappropriate and profane music and attitudes unworthy of God? And how many of us also turned up at the Holy Mass unprepared both in body and soul, being dressed inappropriately and unrepentant from our sins?

There had been comments by those who had not believed in the Lord’s Real Presence, His Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist precisely because as Catholics, we ourselves have not acted in the manner fitting the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. If only that we ourselves have behaved ourselves and acted appropriately, there can be so many more people who will be convinced of the truth and come to believe in the Lord and in His Real Presence as well. That is why, as Christians, we have to understand our faith well and we have to live up an upright and good life in accordance to our faith.

We have to remember the love that God has shown all of us by His coming into the world in order to save all of us and seal with us a New and Everlasting Covenant, one that will last forever, undoing the effects of our sins. The Covenant of God was sealed by none other than the outpouring of the Blood of the Lamb of God, Christ Himself, Who surrendered Himself in perfect obedience and suffering, so that through Him, and by His suffering and death we may experience and receive the sure promise and guarantee of eternal life in glory and true happiness with God.

Today therefore, on this Solemnity of Corpus Christi, of Our Lord’s Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, broken and shared with us, let us all reflect on Our Lord’s most generous and enduring love for us, and we should also reflect on our attitudes towards the Lord, truly present in His full Divinity, His presence in the Flesh in the bread and wine transformed into the essence and reality of His Being. Let us all truly profess faith in the belief of the Real Presence of Our Lord from now on, striving to do our best to glorify the Lord especially at every celebrations of the Holy Mass, where He is truly present before all of us.

And let us all also strive to make our lives holy and worthy, to be exemplary in our way of living, in the most Christian manner possible, that as we share in the Lord and receive Him in the Eucharist, we may truly be worthy to be the dwelling place of Our Lord, the Temples of the Holy Spirit, of His Real Presence entering into us and uniting with us, body and soul. May the Lord be with us always, through His Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood, that through Him we may be sanctified and made worthy, and in all things, we may become great role models and inspiration for one another. Amen.