(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Seventh Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 36 : 16-17a, 18-28

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, when Israel occupied her own land and defiled it by her way of life and her actions. I poured out My fury on them because of the blood they shed in the land and because they defiled it with their filthy idols.”

“Then I scattered them among the nations  and dispersed them in other lands. I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. But when they were brought to other nations, My Holy Name was profane because others said of them : ‘The people of YHVH had to be exiled from His land!'”

“Then I was concerned for My Holy Name, profaned by Israel among the nations where she had been dispersed. Now you shall say to the people of Israel : ‘It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but because of My Holy Name that you have profaned in the places where you have gone.'”

“‘I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you, and they will know that I am YHVH when I show them My holiness among you. For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land.'”

“‘Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.'”

“‘I shall put  My spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be Your God.'”

Tuesday, 6 May 2014 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 30-35

Then they said, “Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe You. What sign do You perform? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert; as Scripture says : They were given bread from heaven to eat.”

Jesus them said to them, “Truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread God gives is the One who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” And they said to Him, “Give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me shall never be thirsty.”

Thursday, 27 March 2014 : 3rd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before the Lord, our Maker. He is our God, and we His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would that today you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

 

Sunday, 23 March 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before the Lord, our Maker. He is our God, and we His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would that today you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

Friday, 28 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the law of God which He first revealed through Moses had been adapted, changed, and suited to the uses and means of the people of God, that is the Israelites, which they had often misunderstood in its true purpose, that is to serve God’s purpose rather than the purpose of men. Yet, in reality, the laws had been made subservient to the will of men.

And no other time was this more evident, than at the time of Jesus, when the abuse was at its relative maximum. The Pharisees, the scribes and the teachers of the law, who were the leaders of the people in the matter of faith, misused their teaching authority and gave the people of God a much improvised version of the true law of God.

The strictness of the law of God which was revealed through Moses, was indeed due to the thick-headedness of the Israelites, who constantly grumbled and disobeyed the Lord on their way through the desert to the Promised Land. They ignored the precepts and way of the Lord, preferring instead to submit to their own emotions and human desires, rather than obeying the Lord their God.

But was the intention of the Lord truly to punish and burden them with such laws? No! These laws were there because God loved and cared for them, and He dreaded the most if any of His beloved were to fall into the hands of Satan and evil, and be separated from Him by the eternal agony of hell. God loved mankind and all of His children, and that is why He bothered to give them His laws to help them.

But what the people had done by the time of Jesus was that of blind obedience, which can be as bad as thick-headedness and plain disobedience of their ancestors. That is because if their ancestors refused to believe in the Lord and His ways, the people at the time of Jesus believed only at the surface, through the various observations of the complicated rules and regulations as established by the Pharisees.

And the result is that they were as wayward as their ancestors were, and first of all would be the Pharisees and the leaders of the people themselves, who led the people in their obstinate state, refusing to listen even to the Holy One of God, the promised Messiah. When God came down upon us to explain the truth about what He desired in mankind, they refused to believe in Him and preferred to trust in their own human wisdom and judgment.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, these people saw the Lord, and yet they did not realise, as the first reading today mentioned, that the judge is already at the door, ready to mete judgment against them. But He still gave them chance for repentance, and some did repent, accepting His mercy and love.

The same too applies to us, brethren. Do we recognise the Lord and His Presence? Do we recognise Him in our faith, and do we truly believe in what we believe? Are we like those who only prefer to believe what they want to believe and discard the rest, the so-called cafetaria Christians? If we do so then we are no better than the Pharisees who chose to believe in their own human wisdom rather than in the Lord.

Are we genuine in our love and devotion for the Lord? Our devotion and faith cannot be just merely mean going for Mass every Sunday and that is it. It cannot also mean just saying our prayers without real action, and neither can it be just plain works and good deeds, without prayer and proper devotion to the Lord. If we are to dedicate ourselves to God, then we must be genuine in our faith, and we cannot be half-hearted in it.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us resolve from now on to deepen our faith in God ever further, that our faith may grow ever stronger in the Lord, and that we no longer be hampered by our own human pride, arrogance, ambitions and stubbornness, that we may listen to the Lord and know what He truly wants from us.

May we all become good and faithful children of God, resolving not to disobey the Lord by following our own path, as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done. Let us dull the edge of our pride and sharpen the edge of our humility, and open wide the doors of our heart, and put up our ears, that we may listen to God as He speaks to us, and follow His ways, always and till the end of our lives. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 15 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 105 : 6-7a, 19-20, 21-22

We have sinned like our ancestors; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When they were in Egypt, our ancestors had no regard for Your wondrous deeds.

They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped the molten image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of a bull that eats grass.

They forgot their Saviour God, who had done great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Sea of Reeds.

 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Our Lord and God is merciful and loving, He is gentle and tender with love. Although He hates sin and despises those who committed sin before Him, with. His love, He is willing to forgive all trespasses, providing that we ourselves commit ourselves to repentance and changing our ways to follow the Lord with all of our hearts and with all of our strengths.

God listens to the prayer of mankind, when they asked Him with sincerity and true devotion, and will not abandon His beloved ones to doom or damnation. Yes, it will be the same as just when He heard the prayer of Hannah, who conceived with the grace of God after remained barren for so long. Not only that, but Hannah even gained many children after she presented her firstborn, Samuel, to the service of God.

Mankind had been long enthralled by the power of evil and sin, ever since sin entered into us through the disobedience of our ancestors, who turned away from the Lord and instead listened to the tempting words and lies of the evil spirits, the greatest of which was none other than Satan himself. Evil spirits entered the hearts of men and possessed those who were weak against them. They twisted mankind and made them to go further in their disobedience against their Creator.

But they have no authority or power against the One whom the Lord had sent into this world in order to bring mankind and all creations out of the dominion of the evil one, and back into the dominion of the Lord. That is why the evil spirits fear Jesus, whom they certainly know to be the One sent by God to liberate God’s people from their dominion and tyranny.

The evil spirits were once rebel angels who followed the great enemy, Lucifer, into his rebellion against the Lord, the one who claimed power beyond the Most High. They were defeated and cast down together with him, and just as he became Satan, the great enemy, they became the evil spirits who were against the people of God.

They know of the ultimate fate that awaits them at the end of time, and the punishment that they deserve. They are all to suffer with Satan for eternity at the lake of fire, forever sundered from the grace of God just as all mankind who never repented or loved the Lord. That is why they feared the Lord and always tried to dissuade Him from torturing them with His power and authority.

Brothers and sisters in Christ! How lamentable it is indeed, that even evil spirits acknowledge the power and authority of Jesus Christ as Lord and God, while many of us continue to ignore and reject Him from our lives. It is lamentable indeed that we do not remain faithful to Him, but instead follow in the rebellion of Satan, the evil one. We easily fall into temptation and succumb to the power of the devil in the world.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our own actions, words and deeds. Have they all been for or against the Lord? Have we acted in a way that is rebellious against the will of God as the fallen angels and Satan did? Let us all use this opportunity to think and remember, that the actions against the will of God will only lead to death and ultimate destruction, the fate that the evil spirits feared very, very much when Jesus came to them.

If they fear such fate, then all the more, all of us as the children of God should avoid such fate with the best of our abilities. We all should resolve to be ever more obedient to the Lord and follow His will, that we too will not share the fate that these spirits will face as their judgment. Let us always remain true to the Lord and walk always in His path. God be with us all. Amen.