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, 6 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard that as Christians, for us to love God and to devote ourselves to God, we do not need to seek to do ambitious things and achievements, and we do not need to think of the many things we desire and want, as serving the Lord does not mean that we focus the attention to ourselves. On the contrary, to be Christians mean that we ought to give our whole selves to God and to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly and live our lives with the focus on God in everything that we say and do.

As Christians we ought to reflect carefully on what we have heard in our Gospel passage today as we heard of the account of the Lord Who spoke with regards to the people who came to the Temple of Jerusalem, there were the rich people making lots of offerings probably showing off what they were offering to each other and also to the other people around, while there was a poor, old woman who came by quietly and placed in two small coins to the Temple treasury.

And the Lord also mentioned of the excesses of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, warning His disciples against their behaviour and how they exercised and practiced their faith. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law often prided themselves in their privileged and highly respected position in the community, and showed off their faith, seeking important and privileged positions, basking in the praise and respect from the other people who saw them and their actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, essentially what the Lord had told us all is to be careful and vigilant against the temptations of ego and pride in our lives. We must focus our attention on God and put Him first and foremost in our lives, or else we will be easily swayed and tempted just as many of our ancestors had done in the past. Ever since the time of Adam and Eve in the Gardens of Eden, Satan has tempted us mankind with the temptation of pride, desires of our flesh and with the temptation of knowledge, and our great enemy definitely knows very well our vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, we also have to understand that God was not against the rich and neither does He have any bias or prejudice against the rich and those who are wealthy, powerful and the elites of the society, and unlike what some would have argued otherwise, the Lord was not only concerned about the poor, the marginalised and the needy. For the truth is that, every single sons and daughters of mankind are precious to Him, and all of us, regardless of our background and origins, are equal before Him, and are equally beloved by Him.

What the Lord is warning us is rather the fact that we mankind are easily distracted and tempted, and the more attachments we have to worldly things and the more concerns we have, the more vulnerable we become. Instead, he wanted us all to develop more trust and faith in Him. He wants us to be like the old woman who entrusted herself to the Lord and gave from her heart, even if she had only very little to live on with. At this, all of us are called to believe in God in this manner.

We heard in our first reading today on the great courage shown by St. Paul, who recounted to St. Timothy, his protege, of the great sufferings he had endured for the sake of the Lord, all the things he had to go through as many opposed his good works and efforts, rejecting him and his message of God’s truth. St. Paul stood by his faith in the Lord and his famous words, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.’ are reminders to us just how dedicated St. Paul had been throughout his missionary works and efforts to bring the Good News to many peoples, even to all those who have rejected these truths.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Norbert, a renowned German bishop and saint, who was once a nobleman and member of the elite of the then society, but an experience of the faith changed his life forever as he was saved from a near death experience, and he eventually joined the priesthood and led an ascetic, holy and simple lifestyle. He travelled around Christendom and saw the troubles and the lack of discipline as well as the need for reform in the Church.

St. Norbert founded the religious order known as the Canons Regular of Prémontré. Through his efforts and dedicated works, his piety and great, genuine love for God, St. Norbert rapidly expanded the religious order, and when he was appointed by the Pope as the Archbishop of Magdeburg in Germany, he continued the efforts he started in reforms and practiced the same practices he did among the Canons Regular to his diocese and the faithful in that diocese.

Through what the Lord’s followers had done, St. Paul and the other Apostles, the many saints and martyrs, like St. Norbert among many others, all of us have seen how the Lord’s followers have dedicated their lives to God, giving their all to the Lord with their lives and services, many of them giving even their lives in martyrdom in the defence of their faith. Are we able to follow in their footsteps, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to follow their examples and courage, and inspire one another to follow the Lord in the same way?

Let us all devote ourselves anew, each and every days of our lives from now on. Let us give our very best to the Lord from the depths of our heart. May the Lord help us all and give us the strength to follow Him with all of our hearts from now on. St. Norbert, holy saint of God, pray for us all. Amen.

Saturday, 6 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

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.”