Friday, 7 October 2016 : 27th 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 together the feast of our Lady of the Rosary, also once known as the feast of our Lady of Victory, a celebration of the great triumph and victory of the soldiers and the defenders of Christ and His Church in the great Battle of Lepanto in the year 1571, or about four hundred and forty-five years ago against the mighty forces of the enemies of the faithful, the pagan and the wicked Ottoman Turks.

On this day, at that time, the mighty Ottoman Empire had captured much of the eastern portion of Christendom, including the holy city of Constantinople, enslaving and ruling over many of the faithful, whose lives were made quite difficult, where they were not truly able to manifest their faith and devotion to God, and coercion as well as persuasion to abandon their faith were rampant.

And the same Ottoman Turks were then menacing and threatening the rest of Christendom with their mighty army and fleet, and there was then a very real possibility that they might just be able to overcome the rest of Christendom and destroy the Church and the faithful people of God just as they had done over vast areas of lands that they have conquered.

But of course the faithful people of God did not just stand by and let the devil and his armies to roll over them. Led by the brave and the courageous leaders of the forces of Christendom, many answered to the call made by a holy and devout saint, Pope St. Pius V, who called on all the faithful to defend the Church and their Faith and made a stand against the forces of the enemy, in which the decisive battle was fought at the sea in Lepanto.

Before the battle began, the forces of the faithful asked for the intercession of the holy saints and especially that of the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary, who was since then would be known as our Lady of Victory and later on as our Lady of the Rosary for the role which she played in that battle. Through her intercession of behalf of her Son, our Lord and God, it was told that the winds and the clouds themselves rallied against the enemy forces, and a vision apparently appeared to the Turks, that so terrified them that many abandoned their ships and the battlefield.

Eventually, the forces of the faithful triumphed in the battle, and Christendom and the people of God were saved from what was once a certain defeat and destruction in the hands of those who served the devil and the dark forces of this world. And in order to commemorate that great victory, thus this day was therefore forever marked to be celebrated as the Feast of our Lady of Victory, and later on also known as the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

We all are aware of the rosary and how to pray the rosary. But do we actually pray the rosary with genuine faith and devotion? Do we really dedicate ourselves heart, mind and soul when we handle the rosary and offer the prayers to God through His mother Mary? Or do we just mutter out prayers and words without really understanding them? Perhaps we should reflect on this and think about how we really should pray the rosary.

The rosary is a tool which the Blessed Virgin Mary herself had presented to the world, to those who are looking for a path towards the Lord. Mary is mankind’s greatest ally, for who else but the mother of our Lord, God and Saviour is able to assist us in so many ways, bringing us closer to the love and grace of God, and helping us to find our way to her Son? Through the rosary, she is trying to help us out, and to lift us out from the darkness that threatens our heart, mind and soul.

Rather, the rosary should be prayed with full sincerity, devoting ourselves and our time to offer this bouquet of prayers to Mary, that she may bring those prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the rosary we are shielded and protected from the depredations and attacks by the forces of the devil, that is the spiritual battles that are constantly striking against our souls.

The Lord sent us His guardian Angels who are always in constant battles with the devils and the demons desiring to see our downfall. And if we are not spiritually strong inside us, and if our faith is not resolute and strong, we may fall into temptation and therefore collapse into sin. Just as those Turks did so long ago, where they came bearing harm and destruction upon the faithful people of God, but this one is even more dangerous.

Why is that so? It is because, sin is a great harm upon our souls, and if we lose this spiritual battle, and if our souls are lost to the Lord, we will be condemned forever in suffering in the depths of hell and darkness. But that is exactly why our loving and merciful God wants us to be saved from such a sorry fate, and that was why He sent us Mary, His mother, who then revealed to us the gift of the rosary, the spiritual prayer bouquet, through which we will be able to steel ourselves with resolve for the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, from now on, let us all commit ourselves to the Lord and His ways, and pray the rosary with fervent devotion, so that in our great faith for God, His mother Mary may notice us and intercede for our sake, that her Son Jesus may intervene and help us to be freed from the darkness and the sufferings of this world. May God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 7 October 2016 : 27th 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.

Friday, 7 October 2016 : 27th 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.

Friday, 7 October 2016 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 1 : 12-14

Then the disciples of Jesus 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.