Friday, 17 July 2015 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Exodus 11 : 10 – Exodus 12 : 14

Moses and Aaron had worked all these marvels in the presence of Pharaoh, but YHVH had made Pharaoh obstinate and he would not let the people of Israel leave his country.

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.”

“That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat the meat lightly cooked or boiled in water but roasted entirely over the fire – the head, the legs and the inner parts. Do not leave any of it until the morning. If any is left till morning, burn it in the fire.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a Passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH!”

“The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Friday, 21 November 2014 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of the presentation of the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is Mary, Theotokos or Mother of God. She was chosen by God from among many of the children of mankind, to be the one who was destined to be the vessel to bear the coming of the Saviour into this world, and in that, to bear the Lord and Master of all the creations Himself, when He was incarnate into flesh.

As our Lord is perfect and perfectly good, without sin and any taint of evil, thus His blessed mother, Mary, was also therefore conceived without the taint of sin, of the original sin of Adam and Eve, the first ancestors of mankind. She was conceived free from sin, immaculate and pure, worthy to be the Mother of our Lord and Saviour, as decreed by God. And today, we celebrate the memory of her presentation at the Temple of the Lord.

In the Jewish custom, as according to the Law of God revealed through Moses, the firstborns of Israel are dedicated to the Lord, through a presentation ceremony, as ceremonially belonging to the Lord. This is a strong reminder of what they had encountered in Egypt, during the time of their liberation from slavery. At that time, God sent ten great plagues to pressure the Pharaoh to liberate the people of Israel and allow them to go back to the land of their ancestors in freedom.

The last of the ten plagues, and the most terrifying of them all, is the death of all the firstborns of the Egyptians, including the firstborn of the Pharaoh himself. No firstborn was spared, and the firstborn of humans and animals of the Egyptians alike were destroyed, for the sins of the Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The firstborn of the people of Israel however, were spared, because of the Lord’s promise to them, and His instruction, that they be presented and offered to Him, and they ever since belonged to the Lord who spared them from the power of the angel of death.

Thus, Mary, who was the firstborn of the couple, Joachim and Anne, whom we know now as St. Joachim and St. Anne, was offered at the Temple of God, according to the Law. Thus from that day of the presentation onwards, Mary was entrusted completely to God, and she remained pure and blameless, as God had intended her to be, as the new Ark of the new Covenant, which was made through Jesus her Son.

Jesus too was presented at the Temple when He was eight days old, in the same manner of His mother Mary, as her firstborn Son. And from this offering of the blameless and pure sacrifice, Christ, who is the Lamb of God, offered Himself to be the One to bear the burdens of the sins of the world, and thus purify us from our sins and allow us to escape the claws of death, which is caused by sin.

The festival of the Jewish Passover, which commemorated the ‘passing over’ of the angel of death over the faithful people of God, who sacrificed a lamb and shed its blood on their doors’ lintels and surfaces, is therefore completed in its perfection through Jesus, the One and True Lamb, whose Blood is shed over all mankind, and therefore those of us who believe and receive His Body and Blood had been marked to be saved, and to be passed over by death, which is the lot of those who are wicked and unfaithful.

Thus, this feast of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is a reminder for us all, that we who believe in Him and faithfully receive His Body and Blood, had also received grace and salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord. However, this does not mean that this alone is enough for us to be saved.

When we present something to the Lord, certainly we do not offer something that is wicked, evil, tainted and filled with sin. We ought to offer something that is pure, filled with love and righteousness, with genuine faith and understanding of what that faith is about. Thus, let this day’s celebration be a wake-up call to all of us, so that we may look deep into ourselves and see where we have been faithful, and more importantly, where we have fallen short and where we have failed in our faith.

Let us all follow the example of Mary, the mother of our Lord, whose life is completely and totally devoted to the Lord and His ways, and in all that she did in her life, she did them with complete and full faith in God, knowing that God knows best for His servants and handmaids, and she also acted with love, justice and in accordance with all that the Lord had taught His people.

Mary is our role model, and we should follow her examples. Let us not wait any longer, lest the Lord comes again in surprise, and catch us unprepared. Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is at stake, is the salvation of our souls, and whether, on the day of judgment, we will be ‘passed over’ by eternal death and then proceed into eternal life and bliss, or whether we will suffer the penalty of death for sins we have been unrepentant from.

Mary, mother of us all, pray for us all sinners, that we may learn to change our ways, to follow your examples, and therefore we will be able to offer ourselves anew and refreshed, pure and freed from the taints of sin. Pray for us that we may do our best to distance ourselves from sin and all things wicked in the sight of God. May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, bring us to eternal life. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/18/friday-21-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-the-presentation-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/18/friday-21-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-the-presentation-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/18/friday-21-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-the-presentation-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-gospel-reading/

Tuesday, 5 November 2013 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brethren in Christ, the Lord loves us all, without exception. He gave us all many gifts and graces, and yet, many of us are not aware of this, or even reject these gifts He had given us, all for free. All that the Lord asks from us is in fact just that we should love Him back and dedicate ourselves and our hearts to Him alone. After all, He had given us so much, including this very life that sustains us in this world, that He does deserve our love.

However, the true fact is that many of us do not appreciate His love and kindness to us. We spurned His love and turned away from His mercy. We were not grateful at what He had done for our sake. He had given Himself up to be condemned to death, and suffer grievously in our place, as a punishment for all our sins. Yet in that suffering, He invited all of us to a great banquet, that is the banquet and feast of salvation.

Why so? That is because He offered His own flesh and blood, that is His Most Precious Body and Blood, His own Essence, to us, that all who receive them worthily and believe in Him, will receive the reward of life eternal in heaven. This is the reality of our faith. Yes, the centrepiece of our faith, that the Lord crucified, the Lamb of sacrifice, offered His own flesh and blood, just as the immaculate lambs were sacrificed at the first Jewish Passover, marking them from death.

And just as the blood of the lambs marked the house of the people of Israel, to distinguish them from their Egyptian slave masters, and therefore the angel of death passed over them, so had Jesus, the Lamb of God, with His Blood, marked all of us who believe, that death will not have dominion nor authority over us. We have been marked that we belong to God and God alone.

Even so, even many among us who had been marked, likened to the guests invited by the master of the house to his banquet, still go astray from our path, and erred. We were still easily swayed by the forces of this world, belonging to the evil one, the devil, that is the forces of darkness. And just like the guests, who made excuses not to come to the event, we too like to make excuses to God, numerous excuses to excuse us from coming closer to God and His love.

Indeed, it is often that this world and the world of material offer us so much and in a way so enticing, that it is hard for us to gaze away from them. This is what happened exactly, as the Lord showed it through the reluctant and unfaithful guests, who preferred their own personal matter and preoccupied with their own dealings, to break the promise they had made in God, and to ignore His calling.

That is also what happened, when the voice of God speaking softly in our hearts was drowned by the noise of this world, by the noise of our surroundings. We cannot focus on the Lord simply because the world around us is too attractive, and too distractive, that we often end up busying ourselves with this world’s dealings rather than spending time with our Lord who loves us.

That is why, the Lord highlighted the type of people He wants, that is, those who are humble and loving, and those who truly seek the Lord, those who truly have God in their hearts. That is what is expected from us all, brethren! We must find time for our Lord, and open our hearts to Him. Do not neglect our Lord by turning away from Him or ignoring Him. Do not be like those ungrateful guests who turned away the invitation of the Lord.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, from now on, let us resolve to be closer to God, to be open to His love, and to open the doors of our hearts and ears to His words and wisdom. We can do this by devoting ourselves to Him in prayer. Pray hard and pray devoutly, and talk to God often, and at the same time, allowing Him to speak within our heart. May the Lord our God then grant us His blessing, that all of us will remain always and ever in His love. Amen.

Saturday, 20 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Psalm 135 : 1 and 23-24, 10-12, 13-15

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His kindness endures forever. He remembered us in our humiliation, His kindness endures forever, and freed us from our oppressors, His kindness endures forever.

He slew the firstborn of Egypt, His kindness endures forever, and brought Israel out, His kindness endures forever, with strong hand and outstretched arm, His kindness endures forever.

He split the Sea of Reeds, His kindness endures forever, and made Israel pass through it, His kindness endures forever, drowning Pharaoh and his army, His kindness endures forever.

Friday, 19 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the story of salvation, the liberation of the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt. They had been brought with great power from the yoke of the Pharaohs into the new journey towards their Promised Land. In his stubborn mind and hardened hearts, the Pharaoh refused to let the people of Israel go repeatedly, valuing them greatly as assets for his great Empire, as the builders of his cities and the labour force for many of his projects. In his ambition, pride, and arrogance, he thought that he could do away with the anger of God, but as history told us, he could not.

God smote Egypt hard with plagues of fire, ice, locusts, darkness, and many others, but their lack of repentance made God to deal with them firmly in a last punishment. A punishment originally crafted by the Pharaoh to be aimed to the Israelites, was overturned by the Lord to be aimed at the people of Egypt instead, and not even Pharaoh was spared. That punishment was the death sentence for all the firstborn sons, first intended for the Israelites, but then changed by the Lord to be the firstborn sons of their Egyptian slave masters.

Those who obeyed His will gave a sacrifice of the blood of the lamb, an unblemished lamb, as a sign of their salvation, and God passed over the houses of the faithful, marked by the blood of the lamb, that none of their firstborn sons were killed by the angel of death passing through the land of Egypt at that night of the first Passover. He showed His mercy and love to the people of Israel and gave them His care.

That covenant God had with His people was renewed, in a new salvation, a new liberation. Just as once the Lord had brought His hand to save His people from slavery in Egypt, and freed them from the yoke of the Pharaohs, He made His move once again, to save mankind, and liberate all of them, without exception, from the yoke of Satan, from the slavery of evil and sin.

For that purpose, He sent none other than Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, to be our Saviour. He sent His own Son, to be born of the Virgin Mary, to be a humble man, one of us, to suffer with us, to be with us, and most importantly, to give Himself up for us, as the Lamb of God. Just as the lamb was sacrificed and its blood became the symbol of salvation for the people of Israel, so had the Lamb of God gave His Blood, the Most Precious Blood, freely for our own salvation. His Blood pouring down from the cross cleanses all of us and made us whole once again.

To those who believe and accepts His Blood, the same happened as what had happened at that First Passover. Those who receive the Most Precious gifts of the Lord, that is His own Body and His own Blood, just as the lamb sacrificed at the First Passover had given its body and blood for the people of Israel, will be saved, because, when we receive the Lord in the Eucharist, we take in the Lord Himself through His Body and Blood in the bread and wine transformed, into ourselves, and in us, the Lord will be able to see an unmistakeable mark, mark that we all belong to Him.

The Lord who sees that we belong to the Lord will then ‘pass over’ us, and we are free, free from death and the fate that awaited us, just as the people of Israel had been passed over by the Lord and His angels of death, because we have received the Lord and accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour. We who put our faith and complete trust in the Lord will not taste death but will be given eternal life. But to those who rejected Him and His free offering of Himself, He will show His wrath and anger, and they will face damnation in hell, and because they rejected Him, they too, will then be rejected.

He is the Lord of the Sabbath and the Lord of all laws, and He had rebuked the Pharisees, who had been trapped in their own petty observances of the law, which included the laws made by men, so that they entirely missed the purpose of the Law that God had given the people of Israel. That Law was meant for the people so that they will love God, and give themselves entirely, with all their hearts, with all their soul, and with all their being, to the Lord, the offering of oneself, which the Lord valued much more than the offering of sacrifices of lambs and goats.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us reaffirm our commitment and dedication to the Lord, pouring out to Him our hearts and our sincere love for Him, that He will also bless us with everlasting grace and blessing. Let us follow Him and obey His will always, through both our complete faith in Him, and also through love that we show to our fellow brothers and sisters in this world, particularly those in the greatest need for our help.

Let us not be complacent, brothers and sisters, but use all the opportunities in our power to bring salvation closer to many of those who have yet to manage to listen to the Word of God. Let us be proactive in carrying out our faith, that it will always remain alive and will not be stagnant. Let us reflect life, hope, and love in all the things we say, in all the things we do, and in all our deeds. May God who has liberated us from sin and evil, bring us ever closer into His embrace. Amen.

Friday, 19 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Exodus 11 : 10 – Exodus 12 : 14

Moses and Aaron had worked all these marvels in the presence of Pharaoh, but YHVH had made Pharaoh obstinate and he would not let the people of Israel leave his country.

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.”

“That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat the meat lightly cooked or boiled in water but roasted entirely over the fire – the head, the legs, and the inner parts. Do not leave any of it until the morning. If any is left till morning, burn it in the fire.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH!”

“The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 31 March 2013 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Scripture Reflection)

Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! He had conquered death through His glorious Resurrection, and victory over death. He triumphed over Satan, who had tried to end His mission on this world by condemning Him to death through the people and crucifying Him, but all to no avail. Satan failed to realise that in crucifixion lay the very key to our redemption by Christ, who became our Paschal Lamb, through whom we are made whole and worthy of God.

Yes, just as the lamb was sacrificed and the blood marked the doorposts of the people of Israel in Egypt, Christ had shed His blood on the cross, and this blood marked all of us as His chosen people, whom He would protect against certain death, and bring into life in Him. For the blood marked the people of Israel apart from their Egyptian masters, so that the angel of the Lord passed over them when they killed the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, animals and humans alike.

Therefore, in Christ, lie our new Christian Passover, for all of us deserved death for our sins and our sinful ways, and through the rebellion of our forefathers, since the days of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed the Lord and ate the fruits of the tree of knowledge. But although we deserved death, God loves us so much that, He could not bear us to face death and separation from Him.

That is why, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who became man like us, and was born in the flesh through Mary, His mother. He is the Lamb of God, that became the Paschal Lamb, that is the lamb of sacrifice for our sins, but not like any other lamb. Being divine, and yet lowering Himself as a human, He alone is worthy to redeem all mankind from their sins. His Precious Blood that flowed down from the cross washed down evil and sin in those who believed in Him, and who has faith in Him and believe in His Resurrection.

Let us firmly reject Satan and his lies, and reject his temptations on us with worldly goods and desires, just as our Lord rejected his approaches in the desert. Remain true to our mission just as Christ was obedient unto death on the cross. That through our faith we will be rewarded with resurrection into life just as Christ was resurrected. Let us renew our commitment to serve the people of God and make the Holy Spirit that God had given us through baptism and confirmation to bear much fruit in both ourselves and in our fellow men.

Let us strive to become truly the people of God in this blessed Easter season. Let us make full use of this season of Easter, both in our great joy in the resurrection of our Lord, and as well as to share this joy that we have, with others around us, that they too will learn of the great joy of all Christians, that is the Lord crucified had been risen from the dead, and through that resurrection, all of us are saved, and had our life restored to us.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us keep on praying that God will continue to bless us everyday of our lives, and may He guide us as we embark on the new year after this Easter season, that from today onwards till the next year when we celebrate Easter again, we can make this year a truly fruitful and blessed year. Also in the spirit of the Year of the Faith, let us also strive to strengthen our faith in the remaining half a year of the celebration of this Holy Year.

I wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter, and may the Risen Christ our Lord shine His face upon all of you, to share in the glory of His Resurrection. Amen!