Saturday, 5 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are all reminded to be good and faithful, to be righteous and just in all of our actions and dealings, that we may be exemplary and as good inspirations to one another in faith. All of us are called to give of ourselves to the Lord wholeheartedly, sincerely and with good commitment.

In our first reading today, we heard the conclusion of the story of Tobit which we have heard for much of the past week. Tobit was an Israelite exile in the land of Assyria, who encountered an unfortunate incident and had lost his eyesight, but through his prayer and virtue, God listened to Tobit and helped him, sending to him the Archangel Raphael to assist him and to restore his eyesight. He showed us that He truly loves us and He hears our prayers.

Not only that, but Archangel Raphael also helped and guided Tobias, Tobit’s son, on his journey to meet Tobit’s friend, Ragouel. He helped Tobias in the journey, and not just that, but he also helped to free Sara, Ragouel’s daughter, from the oppression and troubles she had from the demon Asmodeus. The Archangel Raphael showed Tobit and his family, and all of us, the love of God and the generous mercy and compassion that He has for each and every one of us.

And in today’s first reading, Archangel Raphael revealed himself to Tobit and his family, that all that he had done, all are God’s way of showing His love and care to His faithful ones. Archangel Raphael showed Tobit how God knows all that he had done, in him being virtuous and just, in caring for his fellow exiles, burying one of his fellow countryman who had died, and showed care and concern for his own brethren, showing no concern for his own selfish needs and desires. And God of course listened to his prayers and knew what is needed.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the moment when the Lord and His disciples encountered an old, poor widow at the Temple of Jerusalem, who donated two small copper coins to the Temple treasury, and compared to all others who donated plenty of money and offerings, what the widow gave to the Temple was almost worthless and paltry in comparison. But she gave all that she had, even when she herself did not have enough to go on for herself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to reflect on all these things that we have heard and witnessed. We are all called to love the Lord wholeheartedly just as much as the Lord Himself has loved us. As Christians, we should devote ourselves and our time to walk in the path that the Lord has set before us. And if we have not done whatever we could to glorify the Lord and to follow Him, then we should commit ourselves more and follow God with ever greater zeal and faith, in each and every moments of our lives.

Today, we should look upon the examples and inspiration set up by St. Boniface, a great saint and servant of God, who was a renowned missionary to the region now known as Germany. His dedication and contribution in all things were so profound that he was called the Apostle to the Germans. St. Boniface helped to establish a firm foundation of the Church by his contributions and works, reaching out to the still pagan populations in Germany, while strengthening the faith in those who had already believed in Christ.

It was not an easy journey as there were plenty of obstacles and also opposition against his work. In a now famous occasion, St. Boniface converted the people of an entire town when he chopped off a great sacred oak revered by the local pagans, and when a great gust of wind brought down the oak and nothing happened to the saint, the whole populace believed in God and turned to the Christian faith, giving themselves to be baptised in the faith. Through this occasions and many other moments of his works, St. Boniface reached out and preached the truth of God to many people.

And he gave it all to the mission he has been entrusted with, just like the poor widow giving everything she had in the offering to the Temple. St. Boniface helped to strengthen the foundation of the Church and converted many pagans to the true faith, and eventually, in his missionary works among the pagan Frisians in northern Germany, he was martyred during one of his missionary journeys, when he was ambushed by group of armed robbers, and killed. To the very end, St. Boniface remained firmly faithful to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore follow in the examples showed by the saints, especially that of St. Boniface, and let us all be true and genuine Christians, in all things, in all and every one of our actions and works. Let us all turn towards the Lord and put ourselves with full trust to the Lord. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us at all times, and may He empower each one of us with the strength and courage to carry on living our lives with faith and commitment. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 5 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 12 : 38-44

At that time, as Jesus was teaching, He also said to His disciples, “Beware of those teachers of the Law, who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace, and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues, and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow’s and the orphan’s goods while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!”

Jesus sat down opposite the Temple treasury, and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings. But a poor widow also cane and dropped in two small coins. Then Jesus called His disciples and said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty, and put in everything she had, her very living.”

Saturday, 5 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Tobit 13 : 2cdef, 6fghi, 6klmn

God makes people go down to hell and rise up again. No one can escape His hand.

If you turn back to Him with all your heart and soul, and live justly before Him, then He will turn back to you and will no longer hide His face from you.

See what He has done for you and return Him thanks aloud. Bless the Lord who alone is just and praise the King of ages.

Saturday, 5 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Tobit 12 : 1, 5-15, 20

At that time, when the wedding feast was over, Tobit called Tobias, his son, and said to him, “Be sure you give the wages to the man who accompanied you, and we should add something extra.”

Then Tobias called the Angel and said to him, “Please take half of all that you have brought.” The Angel took Tobit and Tobias to one side and said to them, “Bless God, return thanks to Him, proclaim His glory and render Him thanks before all the living for all He has done for you. It is good to praise God and to exalt His Name, by making known in a worthy manner the story of God’s deeds. Do not be slow in giving Him thanks.”

“It is good to hide the secrets of kings but to make known publicly the works of God. Do the works of God. Do good, and evil will not harm you. It is a good thing to accompany prayer with fasting, almsgiving and justice. It is better to do a little with honour than much with injustice. It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold. Almsgiving preserves from death; it purifies from all sin. Those people who give alms and act justly will have a long life, but sinners only harm themselves.”

“I will hide nothing from you. Yes, I have said that it is good to keep the secrets of kings but to make known publicly the glorious works of God. Tobit, when you and your daughter-in-law Sara prayed, I kept the remembrance of your prayer before the Holy One; when you, Tobit, buried the dead, I was with you in the same way; and when you did not hesitate to rise up and leave your meal in order to hide the dead man, your good deed did not go unnoticed because I was with you.”

“Well, God sent me to cure you and also to cure Sara, your daughter-in-law. I am Raphael, one of the seven holy Angels who present the prayers of holy people and who stand before the glory of God. Now bless and give thanks to God, because I am returning to the One Who sent me. Write down in a book all that has happened.”

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th 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 Scripture, we are called to reflect on the most amazing and wonderful love of God which He has expressed from time to time again, by giving us His love as evident in the readings we have just heard. In our first reading today, we have the story of how Tobit was healed by God through His Archangel Raphael, concluding the amazing story of God’s providence to His servants in their hour of need. Then in the Gospel, we heard of the revelation that Jesus made to the people gathered, how He was indeed the Messiah, the Son and Heir of David, as promised and prophesied.

In our first reading, Tobit was one of the Israelites who had been brought into exile by the Assyrians who destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, its cities and brought most of its people into exile. He was righteous and God-fearing, and an accident caused him to lose his eyesight. Nonetheless, he remained firm in his faith and never lost hope. He prayed to the Lord and the Lord heard his prayers and remembered his virtues and charitable actions to his fellow brothers and sisters, and thus, God sent Archangel Raphael to assist Tobit and to heal him from his blindness.

After helping Sara, the wife of Tobit’s son, Tobias, freeing her from the influence of a powerful demon, the Archangel Raphael then administered God’s healing for Tobit, opening his eyes and allowing him to see once again after what must have been quite some time. His sight restored and his energy restored, Tobit became whole once again, by the grace of God. Tobit and his whole household henceforth praised and glorified the Lord for all of His wonderful deeds, for His love and His faithfulness to the Covenant that He had made with His people.

What we heard in our Gospel then is an even more powerful reminder for us of God’s love, for that time, God sent not just one of the Archangels, but His own Begotten Son, the One and only promised Saviour of the world, that by His entry into this world, He has brought healing and salvation to us all. He is the fulfilment of all the prophecies and all the promises of God made through His messengers and prophets. And through Christ, all of us have been healed and made whole, the veil of darkness and the power of sin had been lifted up and away from all of us.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having been reminded as such of God’s generous love and kindness, have we realised and appreciated just how fortunate all of us are to have been beloved in such a manner by God? We are mere sinners, weak and unworthy, wicked and terrible, corrupted and dirty, and yet, God willingly embraced us, sought us and wanted us all to be healed, made whole and rejuvenated, reconciled fully and completely with Him.

That is exactly just how beloved and how fortunate all of us are, and many of us unfortunately still do not yet recognise this fact and reality. And we continue to disregard the Lord and His generous love for us. We focus on ourselves and our worldly desires, and we turn away from God’s truth and way, following our own selfish desires and wants, our ambition and pride. Today we are all called to discern carefully our path going forward in life, that we do not end up in the wrong path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek the Lord therefore with renewed faith and conviction, and let us all turn towards Him with new dedication. We are all called to be genuine in how we live our lives, full of Christian charity and faith. Because God has loved us so much then it is only right and just that we also love Him and dedicate ourselves to Him. It is a constant reminder for us that we must not be idle or ignorant of our Christian faith and calling. As much as we are able to, in every opportunity, we should show good examples in our actions in life.

Let us ask the Lord for strength and courage, that we may persevere in being faithful and good throughout life. May all of us draw ever closer to the Lord and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him, and may all of us grow ever stronger in our Christian faith and commitment. May God bless us all and our many works, and may He remain with us always, through every moments of our lives. Amen.

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 12 : 35-37

At that time, as Jesus was teaching in the Temple, He said, “The teachers of the Law say that the Messiah is the Son of David. How can that be? For David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared : The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet!'”

“If David himself calls Him Lord, in what way can He be his Son?” Many people came to Jesus, and listened to Him gladly.

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 145 : 1-2, 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, my soul! I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to God while I live.

The Lord is forever faithful; He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord straightens the bent. The Lord loves the virtuous, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. The Lord protects the stranger.

He sustains the widow and the orphan. The Lord will reign forever, your God, o Zion, from generation to generation. Alleluia!

Friday, 4 June 2021 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Tobit 11 : 5-17

Now Anna was sitting there, scanning the road along which her son should return. She saw Tobias and Raphael coming in the distance and said to the father of Tobias, “Your son is coming with the man who accompanied him.”

While Tobias and Raphael were still going along the road, Raphael said to Tobias, “I am sure that your father will regain his sight. Rub his eyes with the fish gall and when he feels his eyes itching, he will rub them and the film will come away like scales from his eyes. He will regain his sight and see the light.”

Anna ran to meet Tobias and threw her arms around his neck saying, “At last I have seen you again, my child. Now I can die!” And both of them began to cry. Tobit also got up and, stumbling, arrived at the door of the courtyard. Tobias ran to him with the fish gall in his hand. He breathed on his father’s eyes, embraced him and said, “Father, have confidence!”

Then he spread the fish gall on Tobit’s eyes. Tobias waited. When his eyes began to itch, Tobit rubbed them and with both hands scaled off the film from the corners of his eyes. When Tobit saw his son he threw his arms around Tobias’ neck and began to weep. He said, “Blessed be You, o God. Blessed be Your Name forever. Blessed be Your holy Angels. You have punished me, but You have taken pity on me, and now I can see my son, Tobias.”

Tobias was very happy. After entering the house he told his father about the important things that had happened in Media. He told his father about the successful outcome of his journey, how he got his money, and how he married Sara, daughter of Ragouel, who just then was approaching the gates of Nineveh.

Tobit, happy and praising God, went out to meet his daughter-in-law at the gates of Nineveh. All those who saw him walking alone and unaided, were amazed that he could see. Tobit proclaimed to them that God had taken pity on him and cured him. Then he went to Sara and blessed her saying, “Welcome, daughter! May God be blessed for having brought you to us and may your father and mother also be blessed.”

It was a day of great rejoicing for all Tobit’s relatives who lived in Nineveh.

Saturday, 9 June 2018 : 9th 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, on this day, just the day after the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, today we commemorate together the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God and Our Lord Jesus Christ. And why is this day special? That is because just as her Son’s heart is most sacred and holy, as He is God, Mary’s heart was also holy in a similar way, and immaculate, meaning pure and clean from corruption.

This is because Mary herself, according to our faith, has been conceived without sin, known as the Immaculate Conception of Mary. And because of this, unique among other men, Mary alone was free from the taints and corruptions of the original sin. And her heart, mind and whole being are therefore free from the corruption of sin and all sorts of wickedness that corrupt us.

But Mary was great and honoured, more than just because she is the Mother of God and not just because she has been conceived without sin. Mary was exemplary in her life, in how she led a prayerful and devout life, dedicated to purity and holiness, and in how she dedicated herself to the mission which has been entrusted to her, to be the Mother of God, guiding her child Jesus right from before He was born, to the time when she followed Him up to the hill of Calvary for His crucifixion and death.

Mary saw and witnessed many things throughout her life, especially those years when she brought up the Baby Jesus, having seen Him being worshipped and glorified by three Magi from the East, with strange and peculiar gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which act as premonition to Who Jesus truly was and what His mission in this world would be. She has endured many things, including persecution and difficulty from those who desired to see the Lord Jesus destroyed.

She witnessed as mentioned in the Gospel passage today, the great wisdom of her Son Jesus, when He debated the intellectuals and teachers of the Law at the Temple of Jerusalem when He was merely just twelve years old. She heard Him saying peculiar things such as Him having to dwell in His Father’s house. Even though the Archangel Gabriel had told Mary that Jesus would be God’s own Son, but surely that fact must have remained a mystery to Mary.

Yet, she had great faith in the Lord, and put everything she had heard, all her uncertainties and questions into her heart, as the Gospel mentioned today. The heart of Mary is filled with love, and pure love for her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. And that love alone is enough for her to overcome all kinds of uncertainties, fears, concerns and all the questions she might have.

That is why, Mary followed her Son even to the foot of the cross, where she saw her Son suffered and died for the sake of all of us. She loved Him so much to the very end. And Our Lord entrusted all of us to her from the cross, as He entrusted His disciple St. John the Apostle to her. Then He also entrusted her to us all, by entrusting her to the same St. John, His Apostle.

Therefore, all of us have Mary as our mother, and her loving heart, and all the love she has shown to her Son, she has also shown to us, whom she had adopted as her own children. Let us have faith in God in the same way as she has been faithful, and let us follow her example in life, in how she have led her life filled with faith, commitment and devotion.

Let us all entrust ourselves to her, and let us all turn towards God with a renewed faith and devotion from now on. Mary, Mother of God, in your most Immaculate Heart, pray for us all sinners, that God will forgive us and welcome us all into His heavenly kingdom. Amen.

Saturday, 9 June 2018 : 9th 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.