Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart 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 Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is always celebrated on the day after the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We remember therefore the loving heart of the Mother of the Lord just after we remember and celebrate the love of our Lord, Who has poured out His love for us from His wounded and bleeding Heart, as He lay dying on the Cross.

Mary was there at the moment of the death of her Son, and she witnessed so many events that had happened throughout her whole life and as she journeyed and followed her Son’s path and ministry. She has always patiently followed Him and kept everything in her heart, all that she had heard and witnessed, including what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, regarding the moment when Jesus was lost to her and St. Joseph, at the age of Twelve as He remained behind in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Again in that occasion we heard how Mary patiently listened and kept everything in her heart, as she heard the Lord Jesus speaking even as a Child, that the Temple of Jerusalem is the House of His Father, His true Father in Heaven. Mary knew in her heart just as she remembered the words of the Archangel Gabriel and all the other signs and words given to her, that her Son Jesus was meant for very great things, and as the old servant of God Simeon spoke to her at the moment of the Presentation of the Lord, that a sword would pierce her own heart, and all secret then shall be revealed.

Mary truly loved her Son, and seeing Him suffering on the Cross must truly be heartbreaking for her, as after all, who would not be in pain to see one’s own child suffer and die? Yet, Mary endured it all with love and faith, knowing that everything is part of God’s plan. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary’s Immaculate Heart is truly so pure and filled with so much love for God, for her Son, and from there also, for all of us. This is because from the Cross, Jesus has entrusted all of us to her, and at the same time, He has also entrusted her to all of us.

That is why, just as much as Our Lord has constantly reached out to us with love, Mary, His beloved mother and our mother, has also constantly reached out to us, asking us and pleading with us to turn away from our path of sin, and be reconciled with God and be forgiven from those sins we have committed. She knew what suffering her Son had gone through for our sake, and the punishment that is due for our sins. And as her own adopted children, certainly she does not want us to fall into an eternity of suffering in hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, do we realise just how fortunate and how beloved we are to be loved not only by Our Lord, Who poured out for us His loved from His Most Sacred Heart, bleeding, bruised and broken, but also by His mother, Mary, from whose Immaculate Heart pours forth the most wonderful motherly love? Have we realised this and have we been grateful for such great love that we have received? And yet, so many of us still live in the path of sin, in the way of disobedience against God that made Him and His beloved mother, our mother, so sorrowful?

Let us all discern carefully our path in life, brothers and sisters in Christ, that each and every one of us may find consolation and forgiveness through the guidance of our blessed and loving mother Mary, to her Son’s most wonderful mercy and compassionate Heart. Let us all imitate the faith and commitment that Mary had, in obeying the Lord and in loving Him so thoroughly and completely in our own lives, resisting the many temptations to sin and to disobey against His Law and commandments.

May the Lord continue to be with us and bless us in all things, and may He strengthen us and give us the courage to live virtuously and faithfully in accordance to His will. May He guide us towards His path, and may His Blessed Mother, Mary continue to show us the way, through her most loving Immaculate Heart. O, Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us sinners! Amen.

Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them. As for His mother, she kept all these things in her heart.

Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Samuel 2 : 1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd

My heart exults in YHVH, I feel strong in my God. I rejoice and laugh at my enemies for You came with power to save me.

The bow of the mighty is broken, but the weak are girded with strength. The well-fed must labour for bread, but the hungry need work no more. The childless wife has borne seven children, but the proud mother is left alone.

YHVH is Lord of life and death. He brings down to the grave and raises up. YHVH makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and He exalts.

He lifts up the lowly from the dust, and raises the poor from the ash heap; they will be called to the company of princes, and inherit a seat of honour.

Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrating the most wonderful love that God has shown to all of us, to each and every one of us from His Most Sacred Heart, the heart being the representative of one’s love and emotions, feelings and thoughts. Thus, we remember today the great love that God has for each and every one of us, the love that comes outpouring from His most loving heart.

In our first reading today, we heard of the passage from the Book of the prophet Hosea, in which we heard the Lord speaking to His people through Hosea, referring to Ephraim as the son whom God had brought up and led out of Egypt. This was a reference to the Israelites in the northern kingdom of Israel, which capital of Samaria is in the land of the tribe of Ephraim. The prophet Hosea has been sent to the people of the northern kingdom, to remind them of God and to repent from their wicked ways.

However, the people of the northern kingdom continued to sin against God as they had done multiple times previously, and this is what was referred by the prophet Hosea as ‘Ephraim’ having forgotten about God Who had done so much wonders for them and Who had cared for them all those while. And yet, God would not destroy them, as He truly loved them more than He despised their sins and wickedness. He still loved them, and the fact that He sent them the prophet Hosea, it was proof that He still wanted them to be saved.

God loves every single one of us, and He created us all because He loves us all and wants us to share in this love. Unfortunately, due to our disobedience we fell into sin, as we listened to the falsehood and lies of the devil rather than to trust in the Lord. The Lord could have annihilated us and crushed us there and then, willing us out of existence just as easily as He willed creation into being. Yet, He did not do that, and why? That is because He loves us, from His heart.

It is this same love that St. Paul referred to in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, our second reading today, how God has revealed to all of us, His most generous and wonderful love. And He revealed this love in the person of Jesus Christ, His own Beloved Son, sent into this world to reveal before all of us the full extent of that love, and it was that same love which St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples had preached about, and testified, for all the wonderful love He has shown to everyone.

They themselves had witnessed and seen the Lord’s ultimate expression of true love for each and every one of us, as He picked up His Cross and bore it upon His own shoulders, bearing upon them all of the punishments and the sufferings that are due for our sins and disobedience. He willingly laid down His own life, and was tortured and suffered for us that all of us may live. This action of Our Lord’s Most Holy Passion reminds us all that His love for us is truly vast and boundless, and enduring even despite our constant disobedience and refusal to believe in Him.

God’s most loving Heart continue to ache because of all of us being distanced from Him, separated by the chasm of sin. He wants to reach out to us and to embrace us with His mercy and compassion. However, unless we embrace that same mercy and compassion, by turning wholeheartedly towards Him, then we will still remain sundered from Him. That is why, He has always sent us reminders and His servants to call us to embrace Him and His loving Heart, to repent from our faults and sins, and to be forgiven from those sins.

As He lay dying on the Cross, He showed us all the most compassionate and loving face of God, a reminder of just how blessed and fortunate each and every one of us are. Through Him, we have received the assurance of eternal life and true joy, and we are all called to devote ourselves to this most loving aspect of Our Lord, His love being outpoured from His wounded and bleeding Heart, a vision seen by one of the most famous visionaries of the Church, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque saw a vision of the Lord and His Most Sacred Heart, calling on all mankind to turn towards Him and to seek Him, to be forgiven their sins and to find refuge in Him. Through this, the Lord wants us all to know just how wonderful His love for us is, and how blessed we are to be so beloved in such a manner by the Lord, Who generously showered us with His love and kindness despite us having betrayed Him, abandoned Him and refused to listen to Him and obey Him all these while.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we still going to be stubborn and refuse to believe in Him, although He has shown us all of His love? Do not forget that He has died for all of us, the testimony of which has been made by the pouring of blood and water from His pierced heart at the moment of His death, as mentioned in our Gospel passage today. Scientifically and medically, that is the sign that someone has truly died, and hence, the soldier who pierced the side of the Lord showed that the Lord died, on the Cross, all for our sake.

And through His Precious Blood, we have been washed clean from the taints of our sins and evils. We have been cleansed and purified from those wickedness and impurities that tainted our hearts, the taints of our sins. Yet, many of us remain in the stranglehold of sin, because we still allow sin reign over us, and we allow ourselves to be swayed by its many temptations. This is why we are all called to put our trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, to come to Him and to open our own hearts, and to find Him that we may enjoy the fullness of His love and mercy.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we also celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. As all of our priests have been called to be in the person of Christ ‘Alter Christus – in persona Christi’ in the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacraments, they have been called to model themselves after the one Eternal High Priest, Christ Himself. We therefore pray that just as we all trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, they too shall always trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and model themselves and their hearts after Him.

We pray for holy and dedicated priests, who is as enthusiastic and passionate in reaching out to the people of God as the Lord has tirelessly sought each and every one of us for such a very long time. We pray that they will all be as patient and loving as the Lord has been patient and loving towards us. And last of all, we pray that we ourselves may be ever more faithful to the Lord and that we may be ever closer to His Most Holy and Sacred Heart, to be forgiven by Him and to be filled with His love and grace.

May God be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us to live faithfully in love, and may He empower all of us to remain faithful despite the challenges and trials we may encounter in life. May God bless us all in each and every one of our good endeavours, in our every good works and efforts, for the love of His Most Sacred Heart. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Amen.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 31-37

At that time, as it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away.

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.

The one who saw that, has testified to it, and his testimony is true; he knows he speaks the truth, so that you also might believe. All this happened to fulfil the words of Scripture : Not one of His bones shall be broken. Another text says : They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 8-12, 14-19

This grace, was given to me, the least, among all the holy ones : to announce to the pagan nations, the immeasurable riches of Christ, and to make clear to all, how the mystery, hidden from the beginning, in God, the Creator of all things, is to be fulfilled.

Even the heavenly forces and powers will now discover, through the Church, the wisdom of God in its manifold expression, as the plan is being fulfilled, which God designed from the beginning, in Christ Jesus, Our Lord. In Him, we receive boldness and confidence to approach God.

And, now, I kneel in the presence of the Father, from Whom, every family in heaven and on earth has received its name. May He strengthen in you, the inner self, through His Spirit, according to the riches of His glory; may Christ dwell in your hearts, through faith; may you be rooted and founded in love.

All of this, so that you may understand, with all the holy ones, the width, the length, the height and the depth – in a word, that you may know the love of Christ, that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled, and reach the fullness of God.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (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. Then you will say : “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.”

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hosea 11 : 1, 3-4, 8c-9

I loved Israel when he was a child; out of Egypt I called My Son. Yet, it was I Who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; yet, little did they realise that it was I Who cared for them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with leading strings of love, and I became for them as One Who eases the yoke upon their neck and stoops down to feed them.

My heart is troubled within Me and I am moved with compassion. I will not give vent to My great anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not human. I am the Holy One in your midst: and I do not want to come to you in anger.

Thursday, 10 June 2021 : 10th 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 Lord reminding us to be faithful to Him, to His Law and commandments, that we will truly be faithful to the Lord not just in name only but also in spirit, and truly appreciate and understand the meaning, intention and the purpose of the Law and the commandments of God. The Lord has called us all to follow Him, and we ought to walk in His path sincerely and with genuine love and commitment for Him.

This means that we should not just obey the Law for the sake of obeying it, or doing so without understanding the true meaning and intention of the Law. Or else, we will end up like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, many of whom enforced a strict interpretation and obedience to the Law, its rules and regulations, and yet, failed to understand and appreciate that the Law of God was meant to lead God’s people to Him and to teach them all to love Him and to be filled with love, to know love and to practice love in their lives.

In our first reading today we heard the words of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, reminding them and all of us that we have received the truth of the Lord from none other than Christ Himself, and through the Holy Spirit as passed down to us through the Apostles and the Church. What was unknown to the people of the past, as highlighted by the figurative ‘veil of Moses’ has been made known and revealed by the revelation of Christ, the Saviour of the world. The Lord is no longer hidden from us and He has made Himself known to us.

And therefore, all of us as Christians we have been blessed to know the Lord much more personally, to recognise His truth and to know His love, to be at the receiving end of that love. Do we realised then just how blessed and beloved we are, brothers and sisters in Christ? Or do we still take it for granted that we have been so fortunate? This is what each and every one of us need to reflect as we discern our path in life. We have to be faithful ever more in our every actions and deeds, in our every interactions with one another, that we truly embody our Christian faith and truth.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to the people and to His disciples that they ought to be faithful and to follow the Lord more faithfully than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, for those people only applied and understood the Law superficially and did not truly love the Lord from their heart. Their actions and obedience to the Law came about because they were swayed by their pride and desire for worldly glory and praise, their influential and powerful position in the community among others.

The Lord told them all that to be faithful, one must really understand that the Law is truly about love, showing and teaching us how to love one another just as we also ought to love the Lord wholeheartedly, more so than we love ourselves. If we love ourselves too much, like that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, then we will realise that we may have no place for God and for others in our hearts and minds. That is why we need to get rid from ourselves the excesses of our human pride and desires, that we may come to realise God’s love and what we all need to do to be faithful to Him.

Let us all therefore be true Christians in all of our words, actions, dealings and interactions, showing love and concern for one another, and be willing to forgive one another our faults and mistakes towards each other, just as the Lord Himself has loved us and is willing to forgive us our sins despite our numerous faults, mistakes and trespasses. This is why, brothers and sisters, if we do not know how to live our lives as Christians, then we do not need to look further than the Lord Himself as our example, and also we have the amazing saints, our holy predecessors, whose lives can be inspiration for us to follow.

May the Lord be with us all and may He strengthen us that we may always be faithful and may grow ever more in love towards Him. May He guide us and give us the encouragement and the energy to persevere through the many trials and challenges that we may have to face in our respective journeys of faith. May God bless us all, now and always, forevermore. Amen.