Monday, 7 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 5 : 1-12

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. He sat down and His disciples gathered around Him. Then He spoke and began to teach them :

“Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.”

“Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God.”

“Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God. Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are My followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. This is how this people persecuted the prophets who lived before you.”

Monday, 7 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name!

I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The Lord’s Angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Monday, 7 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Corinthians 1 : 1-7

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, to the Church of God in Corinth, and to all the saints in the whole of Achaia. May you receive grace and peace from God our Father and from Christ Jesus, the Lord.

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord, the All-Merciful Father and the God of all comfort! He encourages us in all our trials, so that we may also encourage those in any trial, with the same comfort that we receive from God.

For whenever the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so, through Christ, a great comfort also overflows. So, if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we receive comfort it is also for you. You may experience the same comfort when you come to endure the same sufferings we endure.

Our hope for you is most firm; just as you share in our sufferings, so shall you also share in our consolation.

Sunday, 6 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.

Sunday, 6 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 14 : 12-16, 22-26

At that time, on the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the day when the Passover Lamb was killed, the disciples asked Him, “Where would You have us go to prepare the Passover meal for You?”

So Jesus sent two of His disciples with these instructions, “Go into the city, and there, a man will come to you carrying a jar of water. Follow him to the house he enters and say to the owner, ‘The Master says, Where is the room where I may eat the Passover meal with My disciples?’ Then he will show you a large room upstairs, already arranged and furnished. There, you will prepare for us.”

The disciples went off. When they reached the city, they found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them. And He said, “Take this. It is My Body.” Then He took a cup; and after He had given thanks, He passed it to them and they all drank from it.

And He said, “This is My Blood, the Blood of the Covenant, poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not taste the fruit of the vine again, until that day when I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.”

After singing psalms of praise, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Sunday, 6 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 9 : 11-15

But, now, Christ has appeared, as the High Priest, with regard to the good things of these new times. He passed through a Sanctuary more noble and perfect, not made by hands, that is not created. He did not take with Himself the blood of goats and bulls, but His own Blood, when He entered, once, and for all, into this Sanctuary, after obtaining definitive redemption.

If the sprinkling of people, defiled by sin, with the blood of goats and bulls, or with the ashes of a heifer, provides them with exterior cleanness and holiness, how much more will it be, with the Blood of Christ? He, moved by the eternal Spirit, offered Himself, as an unblemished Victim, to God, and His Blood cleanses us from dead works, so that we may serve the living God.

So, Christ is the Mediator of a new Covenant, or testament. His death made atonement for the sins committed under the old testament, and the promise is handed over, to all who are called to the everlasting inheritance.

Sunday, 6 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 15 and 16bc, 17-18

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to Me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful. Truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s Son. You have freed Me from My bonds.

I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord. I will carry out My vows to the Lord in the presence of His people.

Sunday, 6 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 24 : 3-8

Moses came and told the people all the words of YHVH and all His laws. The people replied with one voice : “Everything that YHVH has said, we shall do.”

Moses wrote down all the words of YHVH, then rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve raised stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. He then sent young men from among the sons of Israel to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice bullocks as peace offerings to YHVH.

And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins; and with the other half of the blood he sprinkled the altar. He then took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. They said, “All that YHVH said we shall do and obey.”

Moses then took the blood and sprinkled it on the people saying, “Here is the blood of the Covenant that YHVH has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Sunday, 6 June 2021 : Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we listened to the words of the Scripture in which we are called to remember the need for us to seek the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness, and not to remain in sin any longer, but allow the Lord to enter into our lives, into our hearts and deep into the very core of our beings, that we may be healed and purified from our sins. God alone can heal us from our sins, and from all those wickedness and sins, we have to be rescued and saved.

In our first reading today, we heard an account of the moment when mankind fell into sin, as our first ancestors, Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and chose to listen to the words and lies of Satan, succumbing to the temptations of the evil one and to the temptations of their own selfish desires and pride. They chose to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil, and as such, sin entered into mankind for the very first time.

And because of that sin, mankind were cast out of the Gardens of Eden, and that was due to our own conscious choice in rejecting God and embracing the falsehoods of the devil instead. Yet, God did not just destroy or annihilate us, although He could have easily done so, or condemn us into hell for our sins, although He rightfully and justly could have done so, given that the punishment for sin is death, and death should have lead us into an eternity in hell.

But this did not happen because God still truly loved us despite all that we had done to spite Him, in rejecting, abandoning and betraying Him. God still loves us so much that He gives us chances and opportunities, again and again, reaching out to us, sending us reminders and help to allow us to find our way back to Him and to be reconciled to Him. This is what the Lord wants to do with us, because each and every one of us are precious in His sight. All of us have been created by God with love, and it is with this same love that the Lord continues to care for us.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the confrontation between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who disagreed with Him and opposed His works, simply because He did not do things according to their preferences and path. They refused to believe in Him and even accused Him of colluding with Beelzebul, one of the princes and leaders of the demons. This was indeed a really grave accusation, one that is baseless and unbecoming of those who were supposed to know the Law and the Prophets better than others.

The Lord then told those who opposed Him that whatever He had done, all had come from the Lord and it was folly to suggest that the devil or his fellow demons could have any part of it. The irony is that, the devil and all of his allies were, although divided at times, no more united than at the moment that they are going against all of us, God’s faithful people. Although they might not be fully united in all things, but they all shared the desire to see the downfall of mankind, to drag us deep down with them into eternal damnation and suffering.

The Lord proved that it was folly and indeed malicious to accuse Him of colluding with the forces of evil in order to perform His miracles and healing, for after all, everything that He had done, were all done in accordance with the words of the Scriptures, with the words and teachings of the prophets, their predictions and prophecies, all of which spoke about Christ, His entry into this world and all that He would do for the salvation of all the whole world. But those who refused to believe in Him were blinded by their jealousy, pride and worldly desires, by the temptations of the flesh, that they fell, just as their ancestors had once fallen.

Those teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were also stubborn in their opposition against the Lord because they were angry at the Lord Jesus for claiming to be able to forgive sins when God alone is able to forgive sin. This again showed them succumbing to the temptations of their pride, their desire for power and influence within the community, that they refused to accept the truth that their way of observing the Law was incorrect, and that their teaching authority and leadership could be challenged by someone else far greater than they were.

St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth reminded them and all of us to reject this path of sin, and to return to the Lord, seeking beyond the temptations of worldly pleasures and desires, and to wish for the true happiness that can be found in God alone. He reminded all the faithful that while things of this world will fade away and disappear, all sorts of earthly glory will eventually fail, the Lord alone is a source of certainty and assurance amidst all the uncertainties of this world. The Light of God is the light that leads us down the right path, and which we should follow instead of the path of sin.

Yet, many among us still chose to walk down that path of sin, following so many others who had fallen into the same temptations, and many still refused to follow the Lord, despite the fact that following the devil and his false path obviously and certainly will lead to our own destruction. That is because many of us are unable to resist the temptations present all around us, and our faith and trust in the Lord is weak. That is why we need to strengthen our faith in God by building up our relationship and connection with Him.

Many of us are still Christians in name and formality only, not living our faith in the genuine manner required of all of us. If this is how we are going to continue living our lives, then more likely than not we will end up falling further and deeper into the path of damnation through sin. We have to be careful because the allure of sin is truly powerful, and unless we take due precaution and care, we will be easily tempted by it. This is why, today, all of us are reminded of this fact, of the need for us to renew our relationship with God, and to be reconciled with Him through the Church.

The Lord has given us plenty of opportunities to be reconciled with Him, and most importantly, He wants to be reconciled with us. Are we still going to be stubborn and are we still going to refuse His love, mercy and compassion? Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, all that He has done for our sake, in His selfless giving of Himself on the Cross, that by His suffering and death we are freed from the tyranny of sin and shown the way to everlasting joy and true happiness, free from the bondage and power of sin that had us kept in chains for way too long.

All of us are called to return to God and to seek His ever generous and ever available mercy and compassion. Let us all be reconciled to Him and ask Him for His forgiveness, that by His grace and love, we may be made whole again, and be worthy to receive the fullness of His wonderful love as well as all the inheritance and things that have been intended for us as the most beloved and precious ones among all that He had created from the very beginning.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us with the resolve to remain faithful to Him, and to resist the temptations of our flesh, and the many allures of this world that we may walk in the right path, and staying true to the calling that the Lord has given us. May God bless us all in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.