Saturday, 1 June 2019 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us all of the truth which all of us have received from none other than God Himself, through the very words of Our Lord Jesus as written in the Scriptures and through the inspiration given to the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord by the Holy Spirit. Through this truth, we have received the true meaning of what it means for us to be followers of the Lord.

In the first reading today we heard about the passion and the courage by which Apollos, one of the Lord’s disciples, went about many places making testimonies and preachings, leveraging on his great charisma and popularity to attract many people to the faith. Although Apollos did not have the full knowledge of the truth, but his passion and commitment to do what the Lord had called him to do was truly remarkable.

And we heard how some of the disciples came to Apollos and instructed him in the fullness of the truth as passed onto them by the Apostles and through the Holy Spirit. This was exactly what the Lord Jesus mentioned in the Gospel passage we heard today, of the moment when He would reveal everything to His disciples and no longer speaking in veiled language and parables.

The Lord revealed His truth to His disciples and by sending them the Holy Spirit, He explained the meaning of this truth, which was then preserved through the Church, by the hard work and the commitment of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, who committed themselves to the propagation of the truth and the conservation of those same truths as recorded in the Scriptures and supplemented by the Apostolic traditions of the Church.

When the Apostles and the disciples went on with their evangelisation and missionary works, they stood up for the truth of God, even in the midst of opposition from the world, from all those who did not want the truth to be propagated. And many of them had to suffer and endure persecutions because of their defense of those truths. They went to prison, were tortured and not few were martyred for their faith.

Today, we celebrate the feast of one of those many martyrs of the truth of God. St. Justin the Martyr was a renowned Roman martyr and saint who was one of the early teachers of the faith who was once an intelligent pagan that has great eloquence in knowledge and philosophy. He became a Christian when he encountered an old Syrian Christian man who opened his eyes and mind to the truth of God.

From then on, St. Justin rededicated himself to the service of the Lord and made use of his great intellectual skills and knowledge to the purpose of the propagation of the Christian truth and faith. Many more people were themselves converted to the truth of God through the many works of St. Justin, as he travelled from places to places spreading God’s truth to everyone whom he encountered.

He was imprisoned and made to suffer by his enemies, the pagan philosophers who opposed him and sent him to the Roman authorities who tortured him and some other of the saints, eventually ended with his beheading. But even through his suffering and martyrdom, St. Justin continued to inspire many more people and more of the faithful throughout the centuries, to remain strongly attached and to stand by the truth of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? Are we able and willing to stand up to the truth of God in the same way as St. Justin and many of our committed predecessors had done? We ourselves have received the same truth from God through His Church, and just as the Apostles and the disciples had laboured hard in order to continue the spreading of the truth, we too have the same charge and responsibility to do the same.

Let us all devote ourselves anew therefore to the way of the Lord’s truth, by being sincere and being as committed as possible, in all the things we say and do, to be exemplary in everything we act so that everyone who witness us, our words and all of our actions will see God’s truth being fully alive and shown in our own lives and actions. May God be by our side always and strengthen us in our faith and in our understanding of His truth. Amen.

Saturday, 1 June 2019 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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, 1 June 2019 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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, 1 June 2019 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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, 31 May 2019 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. On this day we recall the moment when Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea, upon hearing how her elderly cousin had miraculously become pregnant with a child as told to her by the Archangel Gabriel.

In the occasion celebrated today, the essence of it is the joyful expectation of the coming of God’s salvation to His people, the fulfilment of His promise and the affirmation of His love for His people, after a long awaited period of expectation and waiting for the coming of the light of salvation to the world filled with suffering and darkness. The Lord revealed His salvation to all of His people not in glorious way, but through a humble woman coming to visit another elderly woman.

God fulfilled His promise in sending His Saviour, in the womb of this holy woman, a humble and unknown virgin from a small Galilean village of Nazareth, a most unlikely source of God’s salvation and work, and yet, that was the reality of what had happened. God came into this world not as a mighty conqueror or a triumphant King, but rather, as a humble Child borne by a humble and simple woman from humble and unknown origins.

Ultimately, in the end, this proves a very important point that God did not do His works by human might, power and means, but by His own power and mysterious ways. And that was exactly how God worked His wonders and salvation to all of us. He has done everything He wanted to do, so that all of us might be saved and receive from Him the assurance of eternal life and glory.

In our Gospel passage today, we listened to the words of Mary, in a song she sang when filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. This song is known today as the Magnificat, a great song of praise and glorification, a song of great thanksgiving and submission to God. Mary essentially summarised all that God had done for each and every one of us, showing us His love and His faithfulness, that He will not abandon us even when we are in great need.

God has always been faithful to us, and He gave us everything we need, and the greatest of His many gifts is none other than the gift of His own Son, Our Lord Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour. And in the Visitation, it was symbolic of God coming into our midst, even when He was still in the womb of His mother Mary, and the response that St. John the Baptist, who was also in Elizabeth’s womb, should be the same response that we have as well.

St. John the Baptist, even as a baby, recognised his Lord and Master, and was so joyful, leaping with joy in his mother’s womb. This joy was the same joy that Mary felt and expressed in her song, in the great love and providence which God has given His people, in not leaving them behind in their fate and in the darkness of the world. The Lord Who loves and provides has become the source of all of our joy and happiness.

Unfortunately, in our world today, many of us cannot recognise God’s presence and His love for us. We tend to seek those who give us worldly joy and happiness, seeking comfort in money, power, human praise, glorification and pleasures of the flesh, that distract us from being able to recognise God being present in our midst and in our lives. Are we then able to resist these temptations of the false and temporary, worldly joys, and instead seek the true comfort of God?

Let us all be firm in our faith and in our hope, knowing that God is always watching over us and protecting us, providing us with all that we need. Let us all strive to be ever more committed and draw ever closer to the Lord, from now on, with a new commitment and courage. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 31 May 2019 : 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.

Friday, 31 May 2019 : 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.