Saturday, 2 October 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all celebrate the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, celebrating those innumerable Angels that God had sent to us to be our protectors and guides, as each and every one of us has a Guardian Angel assigned to us by God to watch over us constantly at all times. Although we cannot see them, our Guardian Angels never ceased to watch over us and to protect us from especially the attacks by the evil one and all of his wicked forces.

Why do we need protection, brothers and sisters? That is because if we have not realised it yet, we are constantly under attack and being targetted by the ones who sought to see our downfall, desiring to drag us together with them into the fires of hell. The devil and his fellow fallen angels have always sought our destruction and they did not want us to be saved. Right from the beginning, as he and his forces had been cast out of Heaven for their rebellion, Satan has targetted us as God’s most beloved creation and sought to undermine God’s plans for us.

That was why he tempted Adam and Eve, and brought them into their downfall through disobedience. By listening to the sweet lies and falsehoods of the devil, they had turned away from God and fell into sin. Yet, God Who dearly loved us desired for us to be reconciled with Him, to turn away from our sins and from our wicked paths, and to stay true to the path that He has shown us and revealed to us. That is why He put the Guardian Angels by our side to protect us and guide us through to the right path.

We have to realise just how fortunate we are for having the Lord and His love, His most generous care and concern for us. That He has provided an Angel to take care of each and every one of us is the proof of just how much He cares for us, and yet we often rejected His love and attention, and many of us have persisted in our erroneous path of sin, in refusing to obey His Law and commandments, and in preferring to listen to the lies and the temptations of the devil and his fellow fallen angels.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, let us first of all give thanks to the Lord for having loved us so generously all these while. Let us thank Him for the gift of life and for having been so patient with us despite our constant waywardness and disobedience. And let us then also thank our respective Guardian Angels whom God had placed by our side and who had tirelessly protected us in the constant spiritual warfare and battles raging around us for the fate of our souls.

Then, let us commit ourselves to the Lord, to His path and His truth. Let us all strive to do the will of God and to obey His commandments from now on. Let us resist the temptations of our flesh and all the efforts of Satan and all the wicked ones who sought to turn us against God. Let us be exemplary in our actions through life so that we may be inspiration to one another in how each and every one of us ought to live out our faith. Let us also listen to our Guardian Angels and allow them to guide us to the right path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our lives and our path and choices in life. Let us all realise that all of us are called to holiness and to follow the Lord, and everything has been provided and given to us, that we even have guidance from our Guardian Angels all the time. Yet, it is really up to us in the end whether we want to listen to their urgings and reminders, and to heed the Lord’s call or whether we prefer to continue to live in the state of sin. The choice is ours, brothers and sisters in Christ.

May the Lord, our ever loving God and Creator, Who has graciously provided us all with our Guardian Angels, continue to bless us and strengthen us through those same Guardian Angels, that we may persevere in life and remain faithful to Him at all times. O Holy Guardian Angels of God, watch over us and protect us always from the snares of the evil one and his forces, and continue to guide us patiently and help us whenever we falter and fall, that we may continue to struggle and strive to do our best for the Lord. Amen.

Saturday, 2 October 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5, 10

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in My Name, receives Me.”

“See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven continually see the face of My heavenly Father.”

Saturday, 2 October 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 90 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11

You, who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say to YHVH, “My Stronghold, my Refuge, my God in Whom I trust!”

He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and give you refuge under His wings.

You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks by night, and the plague that destroys at noonday.

No harm will come upon you; no disaster will draw near your home. For He will command His Angels to guard you in all your ways.

Saturday, 2 October 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 23 : 20-23

See, I am sending an Angel before you to keep you safe on the way and bring you to the place I have made ready. Be on your guard in his presence and listen to him; do not resist him for he will not pardon your wrongdoing, for My Name is in him.

If you listen to him and do what I say, I will be the enemy to your enemies and the opponent of your opponents. My Angel will go before you and bring you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; all these I will destroy.

Friday, 1 October 2021 : Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of Missions (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the great Patroness of Missions, St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus. St. Therese was a Carmelite nun who was remembered for her great piety and faith, her commitment to the Lord and her great writings and contributions to the Church. As such, she was greatly revered by many people who were touched and inspired by her examples and holy life, even though she had a relatively short life when she died at the very young age of twenty-four.

St. Therese of Lisieux was born as the daughter of the now Saints, St. Louis Martin and St. Marie-Azelie Guerin. The family of St. Therese of Lisieux was a very devout Catholic family, and her parents were truly great role models as Christians and as dedicated and loving parents to their children. Although they were not rich, but they led a happy and pious life together as a family, which eventually saw not just St. Therese joining the religious life as a nun, but in fact all of the five daughters of St. Louis Martin and St. Marie-Azelie Guerin who survived to adulthood all joined the religious life.

St. Therese had always been frail and weak since when she was born, and as she grew up, she was brought up in a very pious and devoted environment as her family observed the daily attendance at the Holy Mass every morning, the regular practice of fasting and abstinence as well as the daily and regular recitation of the Divine Office and other prayers, which her family always never failed to do, as well as numerous charitable efforts and works, which influenced the young St. Therese greatly. This would become one of the main inspiration for her to join consecrated life.

St. Therese then expressed her desire to join the religious life since a very young age. After she has lost her mother at the age of just four and a half years old, his father took care of her and her other sisters, and sent her to be educated by Benedictine nuns. Her desire to dedicate herself to the Lord became only stronger and as her own sisters also joined a Carmelite convent, especially one who was particularly close to her, this led to St. Therese expressing even greater desire to follow the Lord.

All the challenges that she had to face did not deter St. Therese from doing her best to seek entry to the religious life, and it was told that in one occasion on one Christmas Midnight Mass, she experienced a great spiritual experience that she later on described as a complete conversion experience. It was a moment of great significance as she overcame her previous troubles and spiritual troubles of having lost her mother at a very young age as well as other troubles and the sickness she had.

That also further deepened her spirituality and commitment to God as she continued to persevere in her desire to be a consecrated nun, which was eventually led her to Rome, as the Pope, then Pope Leo XIII met her in a personal audience in which she uttered her great desire to join the Carmelites. The Pope told her to obey the will of the Carmelite superiors and to entrust herself to the will of God, that if it is indeed God’s will, then she would be able to enter the Carmelite Order. Eventually, she did manage to enter the convent, by the arrangements authorised by the local bishop.

St. Therese spent her life afterwards in great piety and commitment to God, while still enduring both physical and spiritual trials and difficulties. Yet, all these did not dampen her spirit and enthusiasm as she continued to persevere through prayer and strict discipline throughout her life as a Carmelite and she wrote down her experiences of receiving visions and other spiritual experiences that she lived through. She was also then known for her famous ‘Little Way’ which also earned her the name of the ‘Little Flower of Carmel’.

What is this Little Way that St. Therese of Lisieux proposed, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is that we do not have to do great things in order to attain the glory of Heaven. Rather, our good works and our living by our faith is measured by the small little actions we do each day and every moments of our lives. Little by little, small effort bit by bit, we will eventually get there, and we will find our way to the Lord if we continue to persevere in our faith and remain faithful to God. This is what we have been called to do through the examples of St. Therese of Lisieux, her faith and exemplary life.

To the very end of her life, St. Therese of Lisieux dedicated herself to a life of prayer, and her many writings and works inspired many who had read them and come to know about her life and her devotion to God. Her immense popularity among the faithful, even long after her passing is credited with numerous conversions among the people and one of the reason why she was named as the Patroness of Missions. And we should be inspired to follow in her examples and her virtues and dedication to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we have heard the great detail of the life of this most wonderful and renowned saint, we are all then called to reflect on our own way of life. Are we all willing to follow in her good examples and are we all capable of committing ourselves to a life of total giving and service to God as St. Therese of Lisieux had done? And we have to realise that we often do not have to do many amazing and wonderful things in life. What we have to do is to reach out to others around us even through very small actions and gestures in life, that by our exemplary life we may lead more and more of our fellow brethren to the salvation in God.

As Christians we are all called to action, to dedicate ourselves to the Lord and to His cause and works in our world today. We are all called to be the beacons of His light and truth in our darkened world, and as we see how the shining faith of St. Therese of Lisieux had been an immense source of hope and light to all who witnessed and seen her life examples, we too should do the same in our own lives. Can we contribute our efforts even in the smallest way we can, to glorify the Lord by our lives?

May the Lord continue to help and strengthen us, and may He guide us in our journey throughout life so that we may always ever draw closer to Him in each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 1 October 2021 : Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of Missions (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in My Name, receives Me.”

Friday, 1 October 2021 : Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of Missions (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 131 : 1-3

O YHVH, my heart is not proud nor do I have arrogant eyes. I am not engrossed in ambitious matters, nor in things too great for me.

I have quieted and stilled my soul, like a weaned child, on its mother’s lap; like a contented child is my soul.

Hope in YHVH, o Israel, now and forever.

Friday, 1 October 2021 : Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of Missions (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 66 : 10-14

Rejoice for Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her. Be glad with her, rejoice with her, all you who were in grief over her, that you may suck of the milk from her comforting breasts, that you may drink deeply from the abundance of her glory.

For this is what YHVH says : I will send her peace, overflowing like a river; and the nations’ wealth, rushing like a torrent towards her. And you will be nursed and carried in her arms and fondled upon her lap. As a son comforted by his mother, so will I comfort you. At the sight of this, your heart will rejoice; like grass, your bones will flourish.

For it shall be known that YHVH’s hand is with His servant, but His fury is upon His enemy.

Thursday, 30 September 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures, we are all called to go forth and to do the will of God, to be converted to His path and truth and to turn away from our many sinful ways, abandoning those wicked things which we have done and committed all these while. We are reminded to look into our actions and attitudes in life thus far, whether we have done what God has taught and showed us to do, or whether we have ignored our calling in life as Christians to be committed to God at all times.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Nehemiah, the account of how the people of Israel, then very recently returned from the land of their exile in Babylon, gathered in Jerusalem to listen to the words of the Lord and the Law that He has given to them, and which had been recorded in the scrolls of the Torah or the Jewish Scriptures. The prophet and priest Ezra led the people in the session, reading to them the Law and the words of God, and explaining the meaning of what they heard with the Levites, in which many of the people wept and regretted sorrowfully over their many sins and erroneous ways.

They must have regretted the sins they had committed and the waywardness of their ancestors which had led them to lose their homeland and suffer from the long exile in the first place. They had gone through the bitter experiences of their exile and being humbled among the nations, and all these, as they were reminded of the Law and words of the Lord, of all the many things that they and their ancestors had failed to obey and keep faithfully led them to the great sorrow they expressed before God and everyone assembled.

Then Ezra and the Levites comforted and reassured the people with the words of the Lord Himself, Who wanted them all to know that it was their time to rejoice and celebrate, to commemorate their liberation and return to their homeland. They had been gathered back by the Lord, Who willed to reconciled them to Himself and Who wanted them to regain the honour, glory and inheritance that their ancestors had once enjoyed but lost through their disobedience and sins. They should not remain in sorrow and regret, but rather rejoice because they had been found and saved.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard about the commissioning and sending of the seventy-two disciples whom the Lord had chosen to do His works among the people, to go before Him and to prepare His way, as well as to minister to the people and deliver to them the Good News of God’s truth and salvation. He told them all that they ought to remain firm and strong in faith, to trust in the Lord even when they encounter trials and challenges throughout their ministry for God would always be with them, protecting and guiding them along the entire way.

What is the significance of all these that we have heard today, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is that we have been called by God to follow Him and to be His faithful disciples, to trust in Him and to allow Him to perform His many wonderful works through us. He has rescued us and called us all from the darkness of this world much like He has gathered His people back, those scattered among the nations and brought them back to their homeland. God has also gathered us back from the darkened paths of this world and called us to follow Him.

Yet, many of us remained idle and in self-deprecation, thinking that we cannot do great things for the sake of the Lord, much like the Israelites wallowing in their sorrow and regret over their past sins. The Lord showed us and reminded us that we have been led out of the darkness into His light and it is our calling to be the faithful witnesses of God’s light and truth. God wants us to do whatever we can, even in the simplest and smallest things to be great role models and inspirations in faith to our fellow brothers and sisters.

Today, we should look up to the great examples showed by St. Jerome, the great Doctor of the Church, who was remembered for his great piety and contributions to the Church, as well as his humility and commitment to the Lord for so many years throughout his life. We should be inspired by his life and examples so that hopefully our lives too may be inspirational to others who witness our works just as we are inspired by St. Jerome, his life and great contributions to the Lord, His Church and His beloved people.

St. Jerome was a student of philosophy who discovered the Lord and his faith in Him during his studies and search for truth. He once led a debauched and wicked lifestyle early in his life, which he would come to regret greatly later on in his life. After converted to the faith and began studying more about the Lord and His Sacred Scriptures, then written in the traditional Biblical Hebrew and translated into the Greek Septuagint. However, there had not been an authoritative Latin translation of the Scriptures that existed yet at that time, and it was St. Jerome who was renowned for his translation of the Greek Septuagint and the original texts into the Latin Vulgate.

St. Jerome also assisted the Pope in Rome in his many missions and works, as he continued his works on the Vulgate translation of the Scriptures back then. He assisted the Vicar of Christ in the many efforts that were done in order to strengthen the Church and its foundations, in reforming its practices and imposing discipline against creeping influences of corrupt worldly practices. St. Jerome devoted himself and his life to these works, and throughout his life, he wrote even more extensively, and his many writings inspired many who came after him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we can see from the examples set by St. Jerome, we are called to holiness and a virtuous life worthy of being inspiration for each other. St. Jerome himself had a sinful experience in his early life, but that did not prevent him from turning over a new leaf in life and became one of the Lord’s greatest servants and as a great inspiration for so many people who came after him. Are we able and willing to follow in his footsteps, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all reflect on this carefully and discern how we can be better disciples of the Lord from now on.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He guide us and give us the courage to follow Him with all of our might and with all devotion. May God bless us in our every good works and endeavours for His greater glory. Amen.

Thursday, 30 September 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 10 : 1-12

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’ But in any town where you are not welcome, go to the marketplace and proclaim : ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off and leave with you. But know for a certainty that the kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”

“I tell you, that on the Day of Judgment it will be better for Sodom than for this town.”