(Usus Antiquior) Sunday after the Ascension (II Classis) – Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White
Lectio Epistolae Beati Petri Apostoli – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Peter the Apostle

1 Peter 4 : 7-11

Carissimi : Estote prudentes et vigilate in orationibus. Ante omnia autem mutuam in vobismetipsis caritatem continuam habentes : quia caritas operit multitudinem peccatorum. Hospitales invicem sine murmuratione : unusquisque, sicut accepit gratiam, in alterutrum illam administrantes, sicut boni dispensatores multiformis gratiae Dei.

Si quis loquitur, quasi sermones Dei : si quis ministrat, tamquam ex virtute, quam administrat Deus : ut in omnibus honorificetur Deus per Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum.

 

English translation

Dearly beloved, be prudent, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves; for charity covered a multitude of sins. Using hospitality one toward another without murmuring. As every man had received grace, ministering the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God. If any man ministers, let him do it as of the power which God administers, that in all things God may be honoured through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Sunday after the Ascension (II Classis) – Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White

Introit

Psalm 26 : 7-9, 1

Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam, qua clamavi ad Te, Alleluja : Tibi dixit cor meum, quaesivi vultum Tuum, vultum Tuum, Domine, requiram : ne avertas faciem Tuam a me, Alleluja, Alleluja.

Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea : quem timebo?

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Hear, o Lord, my voice with which I have cried to You, Alleluia. My heart had said to You, I have sought Your face, Your face, o Lord, I will seek. Do not turn away Your face from me, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus : fac nos Tibi semper et devotam gerere voluntatem; et majestati Tuae sincero corde servire. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation
Almighty and eternal God, make us ever bear a devout affection towards You, and with sincere heart to serve Your majesty. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 27 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, as we approach the seventh Sunday of the season of Easter, which is also the World Communication Sunday, we speak about the preaching of the Apostles to the people across the Mediterranean, throughout the many cities and towns, spreading the faith in Jesus to all the peoples, by the means of preaching and teaching.

It was by communicating that the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had become witnesses to His truth and resurrection, to all that He had revealed to them, and to all that He had done for the sake of the whole race of mankind. These faithful servants went forth and told the people who have not yet heard of God’s salvation, and therefore allowing more and more people to come to believe in the Lord and His truth.

They courageously went forth to distant lands, to the places where no one had yet known the Lord and His love, those who were still living in darkness and ignorance, all those who were still living in a state of sin. Without the courage of these Apostles, who taught and preached with zeal, many more souls would have been lost to the Lord, into the damnation in hell.

And that was what the saint whose feast day we celebrate today, had done by devoting his entire life, in order to avoid such a fate for those who have remained in ignorance of the Lord. St. Augustine of Canterbury, the founder of the Church and its architect in the lands of the Anglo-Saxons, now known as England, set forth from Rome, under the orders of the Pope at that time, Pope St. Gregory the Great, going away from his homeland, in order to be a missionary to the people who have not yet received proper guidance in the faith.

At the time, the collapse of the Roman Empire authority in Britain has left the Christian faith over there to fall into decline, as the pagan barbarians invaded, and disestablished much of the foundations of the Church in that area, which had not been strong and extensive to begin with. As a result, St. Augustine of Canterbury went to a region mostly filled with ignorance and lacking in faith in the Lord.

Nonetheless, St. Augustine of Canterbury persevered through the difficult times, and despite the challenges he faced, including opposition from the pagans and the enemies of the Church. St. Augustine of Canterbury patiently preached to the people, calling them to accept the truths as the Lord had revealed to His Church, and therefore for them to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.

Gradually, St. Augustine of Canterbury managed to reestablish the Church in England, establishing his diocese in Canterbury, and at the same time building crucial infrastructure and foundation for the Church in that region, which eventually flourished and many people came to end up converting to the Christian faith. This is what he had done, for the sake of the Lord and for His people, all of the hard work he had done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on the actions of St. Augustine of Canterbury, as well as the works of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, all of whom had devoted much of their life’s work and energy in order to advance the cause of the Lord, and bring more and more souls back to the Lord’s loving embrace.

All of us should follow their examples, and learn to do the same with our lives. All of us should devote our time and effort to accomplish what the Lord had commanded His Apostles and disciples to do, and which therefore had become the same command that all of us need to obey as well. This is what we need to do, in order to fulfil what the Lord had wanted us to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all come ever closer to the Lord, and be ever more committed to Him. May He bless us all and give us the strength to persevere in this life, filled with ever more zeal and love for Him. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 27 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 16 : 23b-28

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you. So far you have not asked in My Name; ask, and receive, that your joy may be full.”

“I taught you all this in veiled language, but the time is coming when I shall no longer speak in veiled language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. When that day comes, you will ask in My Name; and it will not be for Me to ask the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and you believe that I came from the Father.”

“As I came from the Father, and have come into the world, so I am leaving the world, and going to the Father.”

Saturday, 27 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 46 : 2-3, 8-9, 10

Clap your hands, all you peoples; acclaim God with shouts of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared; He is a great King all over the earth.

God is King of all the earth; sing to Him a hymn of praise. For God now rules over the nations, God reigns from His holy throne.

The leaders of the nations rally together with the people of the God of Abraham. For in His hands are the great of the earth, God reigns far above.

Saturday, 27 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 18 : 23-28

After spending some time at Antioch, Paul left and travelled from place to place through Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening the disciples. A certain Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived at Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker and an authority on the Scriptures, and he had some knowledge of the way of the Lord.

With great enthusiasm he preached and taught correctly about Jesus, although he knew only of John’s baptism. As he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, Priscilla and Aquila heard him; so they took him home with them and explained to him the way more accurately.

As Apollos wished to go to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly strengthened those who, by God’s grace, had become believers, for he vigorously refuted the Jews, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

Friday, 26 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the message of the Holy Scriptures speaking to us clearly about what to expect if we are to remain true to the Lord and obedient to His truth. If we are to remain as His disciples and are faithful to Him, we will end up facing difficulties, troubles, and sometimes even persecution and sufferings that our predecessors, the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had faced.

Yes, that was the reality of life for the many disciples and followers of the Lord, for most of its earliest history. There were many persecutions and challenges against the faithful, and the Church members were struck with tribulations and arrests. The Lord however was ever faithful to His people, never leaving them behind in their time of need.

Indeed, there would be sorrow and pain, suffering and anguish to be suffered by God’s people, as the Lord Himself had mentioned to His disciples. He did warn them beforehand that in order to follow Him, one therefore must be ready to sacrifice and to give their all if they are to obey the Lord and follow Him, for there surely will be those who would persecute them and challenge them in their faith.

But what the Lord offered us is greater than any other promises, for even though the path of His faithful ones will be painful and filled with sufferings, but at the end of it all, God will reward all those who keep their faith in Him with true joy and satisfaction, for the final victory over evil and death will be theirs. They will then avenge their sufferings and pains caused by their enemies and all those who had persecuted them.

The devil on the other hand, is also always offering us an alternative path, one that seems to be easy and less risky, one that seems to be more lucrative and enjoyable as compared to the path of the Lord. These are the temptations which he had placed in our path, hoping that we will take them and therefore fall into the trap of sin, and thus perish in damnation with him.

When times get difficult, and when challenges come on our way, it is easy for us mankind to end up being distracted and be tempted to leave behind our sufferings, and instead seek for the easy way out. That is indeed when we end up walking in the path of darkness instead of walking in the light of God. This is not what we as Christians should do, for we have to be resolute and strong in our faith, resisting those temptations in life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all heed and learn from the examples of St. Philip Neri, a renowned and holy saint who lived during the time of the Counter Reformation, and who was credited and famous with the founding of the Oratory, in order to carry on and continue the missionary works which he had started. He was known for his labours and works among the sick and the poor, serving the most destitute of the people of God.

St. Philip Neri ministered to many sinners, prostitutes and all those who have been abandoned and rejected by the society. Certainly, all of his works did not entail easy or manageable tasks, and many of them required him to devote most of his time to a life of service, both to God and to His people. He encountered challenges and rejections, where people refused to believe in all that he had said.

And yet, St. Philip Neri persevered through all of them, calling many people to repent from their sins, and indeed, they repented and turned away from those sins towards the Lord. Many souls who had once been condemned to damnation, had been saved by the good works of St. Philip Neri, all because of the fact that St. Philip Neri never gave up on the mission which God had entrusted to him, and he placed his complete trust in the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians have to do the same, and following their examples, we should do our best in order to show our love, care and concern for our brethren in need, all of those who have sinned against God, and all those who have been sundered from God’s love. We have our calling, mission and responsibility in order to help our brethren who are still lost to the Lord, that these may find the way to return to our God and His salvation.

May the Lord strengthen our faith, and may He empower us all in order to become ever more faithful in all things, so that we may draw ever closer to God, and find our salvation in His most Holy Name and Presence. May God bless us all. Amen.