Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day when we celebrate the moment when Mary, the Mother of God visited Elizabeth, her cousin, who was also the mother of St. John the Baptist, the Herald who would bring forth the news about the Messiah and proclaim Him to the world. Mary visited Elizabeth who was with St. John the Baptist in her womb while she has also already had Jesus in her Immaculate womb. Mary and Elizabeth’s moment together also revealed to us more of the truth of both infants present in their wombs.

Mary came to Elizabeth after hearing the news about her miraculous pregnancy that happened in her old age, a sign of God’s blessings, which happened to her as well because she had also conceived a Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Word and Son of God incarnate in the flesh through her. Jesus was already in Mary’s womb when she went to visit Elizabeth. It is a truly joyous occasion when two women affirmed and supported each other, both having been blessed by God and through whom the salvation of God would come for all of mankind, one to proclaim the coming of that salvation, while the other One is the Saviour Himself.

Both Mary and Elizabeth showed us the virtues of their faith and dedication to the Lord. Both were righteous and anchored themselves on the Lord. They have been faithful to the Lord and obeyed the Lord’s commandments and allowed themselves to be part of God’s plan of salvation. Elizabeth was willing to become the mother of the Saviour’s Herald, and in her old age, the Lord took away from her the shame of her barrenness. And by the will and power of God, Mary also conceived the Son of God in her, willingly accepting the role that the Archangel Gabriel had proclaimed to her, to become the Mother of God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, after all of us hearing what had happened during the Visitation and all that Mary and Elizabeth had done, and what they represented, all of us are reminded that we should follow the Lord faithfully in the way that those two amazing women had done. We are all, as Christians, called to be role models and inspirations to one another in faith, and in how we should live our lives as Christians, as the holy people of God so that all those who witness our works, hear us and see us in our daily living, our interactions and our activities may come to share our faith in Christ and to believe in Him as well.

Elizabeth’s joy and proclamation upon seeing Mary, her cousin, saying that the Mother of her Lord had come to see her, and all the joy accompanying their encounter should also be our response when we come to seek the Lord through Mary, His mother. We should rejoice and desire to come to the presence of the Lord, whenever we come and enter into His House, the Church and where He is truly present, enthroned in His Real Presence in the Tabernacle and in the Holy Mass. And we should rejoice to come to see Him, to glorify the Lord and strive such that more and more people may come to know the Lord.

Yet, many of us are lukewarm in faith, not being excited to come and see the Lord, and we end up spending a lot more time doing things that are against God and His truth. We did things that scandalise our faith in God and His Church, and even the sanctity of His Name and Presence. This is what caused others to turn away from the Lord, and to be hesitant to come and follow the Lord as well. Often times, the answer given by those who were asked why they did not become Christians or refuse to become one and be baptised is that they had seen Christians doing sinful things and living wickedly, and hence, those things discouraged and hindered them from believing in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us all remind ourselves of the faith that we should have in the Lord, and how Mary, the Mother of God showed us, each and every one of us should give our lives to God and to commit ourselves to His path, doing God’s will and walking in the path that He has shown us and called us to go through. We are all called to embody our faith in our every words, actions and deeds, so that we can lead more people to come closer to God and to inspire others to remain strong in their faith and belief in God.

May the Lord bless us all in our every day moments and lives, and may through His Blessed Mother Mary, and all the great saints, holy men and women who had dedicated their lives to God, all of us may also be more inspired to live in the same way that they had done, be ever more worthy of God in all of our actions, words and deeds. May God be with us always, now and evermore. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners and help us to live our lives in the manner you have lived yours. Amen.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 39-56

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour! He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed.”

“The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name! From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”

“He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid. YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me. You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation.

Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.

Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18

Cry out with joy, o daughter of Zion; rejoice, o people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! YHVH has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. YHVH, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem : Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for YHVH your God is within you, YHVH, saving Warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for He has revived His love. For you He will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the Feast.

I will drive away the evil I warned you about, and you will no longer be ashamed.

Alternative reading

Romans 12 : 9-16b

Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God.

Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep.

Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary things.

Monday, 30 May 2022 : 7th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are presented with the revelation of what all Christians are expected to do, in proclaiming the truth of God to all people, so that more people may come to know of God through us, and know Him well and correctly, that we share the same Christian truth we have upheld for all these while through the Church. Each and every one of us are called to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, in proclaiming the love and truth of God. This is our calling as Christians.

In our first reading today, we heard of the story of how St. Paul evangelised to the people of Ephesus, continuing his ministry to the people of God. As mentioned, it was there that St. Paul spoke and preached to some of the faithful there who had followed and learnt through St. John the Baptist, the one who heralded for the coming of the Messiah, the One true Lord and Saviour of all. St. Paul revealed more of the truth of God to them and made them true believers as well, calling on them to follow Christ, and then, they received the Holy Spirit, beginning to proclaim God’s truth on their own.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord revealed to His own disciples, more of the things that He would do before all of them, the truths and revelations that He had brought unto their midst. The Lord spoke to them at that time just before He was about to suffer and die, at the time of the Last Supper, when He revealed to them not just that He would be betrayed and abandoned by His own disciples, but that He would be handed over to His enemies and suffer a most painful and humiliating death. Everything would eventually come true as the Lord went on through His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross.

The Apostles themselves had been witnesses of everything that had happened, while those who did not witness them firsthand received the same revelation through the Holy Spirit and through the words and traditions passed down to them by the Apostles and their successors. The Church has always kept those traditions as one of its fundamental pillars together with the Scriptures and the teachings of the Magisterium, the leadership of the Church. They henceforth delivered that same message and truth to all those whom they encountered and ministered to, in every possible opportunities and places they went to.

Now, each and every one of us as Christians have also been called to follow the footsteps of St. Paul and all others who have devoted their lives and service to the Lord. We are all given the wisdom and courage of the Holy Spirit, and we have been the recipients of the same truth and traditions through the Church. And we have to realise that we all thus share the responsibilities to carry on the works of evangelisation, spreading the word of God to all those who have not yet known Him, or those who have been separated from Him, so that hopefully through us, we may bring back many more souls to God and His salvation.

How do we do that then, brothers and sisters in Christ? First of all, we have to live our lives as true Christians, spending the time and effort to live well in accordance with the way of the Lord. It means that we cannot just be Christians in words alone, but also through deeds and actions. In fact, if we profess and claim to believe in Christ, and yet, our actions speak otherwise, and what we do in our lives do not match that of our words and proclamations, then not only that we are making empty proclamations and words, but we in fact have scandalised the Lord and our faith in Him, His Church and the whole body of the faithful.

That is not what we should be doing. On the contrary, we should try our best to be good role models for one another, living our lives as best as we can, so that in all that we do, we will be inspiration for our fellow men and women, our brothers and sisters, leading everyone closer to God. We should not do things that instead make people to distance themselves away from God. Remember, brothers and sisters, that each and every one of us have been entrusted with this same mission, and whatever we do, to fulfil it or to do things contrary to our mission, will be held on our account, and if we and our faith are found wanting, then let us not be full of regret later on if we find ourselves on the wrong side of the fence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all ask the Lord to help and guide us so that we may be courageous and strong enough to proclaim His truth and love in our respective communities today. May the Lord be with us always and may He bless all of our efforts and works, that we will always do our best in every opportunities that God has provided us. Amen.