Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, part of our celebration of the Marian month of October, when the daily recitation of the rosary is highly encouraged as part of our devotion to God through His mother, Mary. And we remember today, this loving mother, whom the Lord had entrusted to us as our own mother, through the rosary which she had granted us and revealed to us, as the means to help to achieve our salvation.

The origins of this feast came about from the historical moment of a great battle that raged over four centuries ago, at the time of great danger to the Christian world and the faithful, when the forces of the enemies of the Church and the unbelievers were arrayed against it, attacking the Church both from within and without. The Church was divided and assailed by the heresies and divisions that threatened to destroy the faithful.

But the greatest threat then came from the forces of the mighty Ottoman Empire, which armies and ships had risen up against Christian nations and states, overpowering them one by one. Christendom at that time came under very great threat, the threat of destruction and martyrdom. Yet, at the same time, salvation came as the Christian forces gathered together and met the Ottoman forces at the Battle of Lepanto in the year 1571.

While the Ottoman fleet outnumbered the Christian fleet, but through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who apparently according to some eyewitnesses, made her apparition among the clouds with many other saints of God, the Ottoman forces were driven back and vanquished. And in thanksgiving for the great battle, which occurred on the seventh day of the month of October that year, the Pope then, Pope St. Pius V declared that day as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

Before the battle, the Pope called for all of Christendom to pray the rosary, and led a rosary procession through the city of Rome himself. The great victory and triumph of the forces of the faithful at Lepanto was therefore commemorated on this day, also as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, in remembrance of the power of the holy rosary in calling upon the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary.

Now, back to our present day, there is still a great reason to celebrate this Feast of the Holy Rosary, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary herself. For there is always a great challenge and opposition facing the Church and all of us the faithful, by Satan our great enemy, and all of his forces of fallen angels and demons, arrayed against us. The devil is always active at work, trying to persuade, cajole, force and pressurise us to abandon our faith and commit sin instead, disobeying God’s laws and commandments.

Through the praying of the holy rosary, we reorientate ourselves to the Lord through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. The rosary is a great tool through which Mary desired to help all of us, whom God had entrusted to her as her own children. Surely, a mother who loves her children will not want any of them to be lost from her. For the price of sin is death and damnation in hell, as we are sundered forever from God’s grace and love.

St. Louis-Marie de Montfort once said that Mary is the surest, straightest and easiest path for us to reach out to God. And this cannot be further from the reality and the truth, as it is by imitating Mary that we will come closer to God, by following the examples of Mary, the mother of our God. Mary was faithful and obedient, and it was by the same obedience to God’s will that she accepted her role as the mother of God and Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The rosary when prayed with genuine devotion and faith is a constant reminder of the faith of Mary, through which she had devoted her entire life to the service of God. The rosary is the means through which mankind, fallen into sin, are able to climb their way back up to the light, from the darkness which had enveloped us through sin. And Mary is rightly feared by Satan and his allies, not just because of her great faith and commitment to God, her piety and holiness, but also because of the rosary.

Let us think of how many souls the devil has lost because of the rosary. Let us reflect on how many souls have gone to heaven instead of going to hell with the devil, just because they piously pray and recite the rosary prayers from their hearts, dedicating themselves to God through His mother Mary. Those who pray the rosary daily and with devotion, shall not fall into damnation, but instead go towards eternal life.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, if we do not yet have the habit of praying the rosary daily or at least regularly, let us begin praying it every day, especially during this month of October, the Marian month of the rosary. Let us all pray the rosary, believing that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we will be able to find the surest and most straightforward path to our Lord, through her guidance.

May the Lord continue to bless us and guide each one of us, so that we may continue to draw closer and ever more towards His salvation. Let us pray, asking for the continued intercession from our Blessed Mother, that she will continue praying for the sake of us sinners, for the salvation of our souls, and through the rosary, may we find the way towards righteousness in God. Amen.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

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.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these, together, gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women, and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Friday, 6 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in the Scriptures today, all of us see the importance of faith in our lives. For there will always be the pressures and temptations for us to lose the faith or to resist the faith, falling into sin as the people of Israel had demonstrated in the past.

In the first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Baruch, the prophet recalled the sins which the people of Israel had committed in various occasions in the past, in disobeying the Law and commandments of God, worshipping the pagan idols and offering sacrifices to those idols. They have tested the patience of God and even persecuted the Lord’s messengers and prophets.

And all of these happened even though God had performed many miracles and mighty deeds before them, where all of them witnessed the great power of God. Beginning from the time of the Exodus when God freed His people from the slavery in Egypt, when God showed forth His might by sending ten great plagues to strike at the Egyptians, who eventually had no choice but to let the Israelites to go free.

When the Egyptians tried to reassert their control over the Israelites, the Lord delivered His people from their hands, making them walk through the Red Sea on dry land, while crushing the chariots and armies of the Egyptians to the bottom of the sea as He set the sea against them and buried them under the waves. Yet, despite all of these that God had done for His people, they ended up betraying Him, and even setting up a golden calf idol over them.

The people of Israel had seen many wonders and miraculous deeds done by the Lord. Yet, they turned their backs to Him, and acted with impunity in disobeying the laws and commandments God had given to them. They fell because in them, the roots of the faith were not firm or strong, and temptations of the world, the temptations of pleasure and human greed ended up making them to fall into sin.

Their hearts were closed against God’s words and truth, because they were blinded by worldliness, by those same temptations and prejudices I mentioned earlier. That was why even though the people in Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida had seen all the wonders and miracles of the Lord Jesus, but they failed to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and the Lord long awaited by His people.

This is a reminder to all of us as Christians that we all need to be truly faithful in all of our deeds, in our every actions and words, so that in everything we will always declare the glory of God, and walk faithfully in His path. And perhaps we should follow in the footsteps of St. Bruno, the holy man whose feast we celebrate today. He is also known as St. Bruno of Cologne, the founder of the Carthusian religious order.

St. Bruno was a renowned educator of the faithful, as a philosopher and theologian who educated the future leaders of the Church, from Popes to Cardinals, to bishops and abbots. Yet, he remained humble, and refused the promotion to the episcopate as a bishop when the opportunity came, renouncing any ambitions or desires for self-gratification or advancement.

St. Bruno truly had a great and true faith in God, as he was dedicated to the reform in the Church, and in teaching the people of God the truth about Him. And by showing his faith through real action and commitment, he has inspired many others who followed in his footsteps, becoming good Christians in their own stead. This is why it is so important for us all as Christians to be role models in faith, so that we will be beacons of light for others, for our fellow brothers and sisters in faith to follow.

Otherwise, we may end up falling into the temptations of this world, and failing to sin. Let us do our best, following the examples of our holy predecessors in faith, so that in everything we say and do from now on, we will always bring greater glory to God. May God be with us all and may He always bless our endeavours. St. Bruno, holy man of God, pray for us all. Amen.

Friday, 6 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Luke 10 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! So many miracles have been worked in you! If the same miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would already be sitting in ashes and wearing the sackcloth of repentance.”

“Surely for Tyre and Sidon it will be better on the Day of Judgment than for you. And what of you, city of Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead. Whoever listens to you listens to Me, and whoever rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me, rejects the One Who sent Me.”

Friday, 6 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 78 : 1-2, 3-5, 8, 9

O God, the pagans have invaded Your inheritance; they have defiled Your holy Temple and reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have given Your servants’ corpses to the birds, and the flesh of Your saints, to the beasts of the earth.

They have poured out the blood of Your faithful, like water around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. Mocked and reviled by those around us, we are scorned by our neighbours. How long will this last, o YHVH? Will You be angry forever? Will Your wrath always burn to avenge Your rights?

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us, for the sake of Your Name.