Friday, 3 January 2014 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 29-34

The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! It is He of whom I said : A Man comes after me, who is already ahead of Me, for He was before me. I myself did not know Him, but I came baptising to prepare for Him, so that He might be revealed in Israel.”

And John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove from heaven, and resting on Him. I myself did not know Him, but God, who sent me to baptise, told me, ‘You will see the Spirit coming down, and resting, on the One who baptises with the Holy Spirit.'”

“Yes, I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God!”

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)

 

Luke 2 : 21-24

On the eighth day the circumcision of the Baby had to be performed; He was named Jesus, the Name the angel had given Him before He was conceived. When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord.

As it is written in the law of the Lord : “Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God.” And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 31b-39

If God is with us, who shall be against us? If He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not give us all things with Him? Who shall accuse those chosen by God : ‘He takes away their guilt.’ Who will dare to condemn them? Christ who died, and better still, rose and is seated at the right hand of God, interceding for us?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Will it be trials, or anguish, persecution or hunger, lack of clothing, or dangers or sword? As the Scripture says : ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; they treat us like sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all of this we are more than conquerors, thanks to Him who has loved us. I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor spiritual powers, neither the present nor the future, nor cosmic powers, were they from heaven or from the deep world below, nor any creature whatsoever will separate us from the love of God, which we have in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Thursday, 22 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (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.

Dedication of the State of the Vatican City to St. Joseph and St. Michael the Archangel

As all of you have heard, the Vatican City state had been dedicated by Pope Francis to both St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus Christ our Lord; as well as St. Michael the Archangel, the leader of all of heaven’s angelic forces, the mighty champion of our Lord, and the terror of demons.

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The above statue is a statue of St. Michael the Archangel subduing Satan, the evil one. The statue was unveiled and blessed by Pope Francis in a ceremony at the Vatican Gardens where the statue is located.

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The ceremony was attended by both Pope Francis and his predecessor as the Vicar of Christ, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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Let us pray for both our Pope and our Pope Emeritus, that God will continue to guide them in leading the Church, in the spirit of prayer. St. Joseph and St. MIchael the Archangel, pray for us! Pray for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and protect our leader, the Successor of Peter, whose residence now entrusted to both of you for protection.

God bless the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church!

(Special) Sunday, 23 June 2013 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Luke 1 : 5-17

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah, belonging to the priestly clan of Abiah. Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, also belonged to a priestly family. Both of them were upright in the eyes of God, and lived blamelessly in accordance with all the laws and commands of the Lord, but they had no child. Elizabeth could not have any and now they were both very old.

Now, while Zechariah and those with him were fulfilling their office, it fell to him by lot, according to the custom of the priests, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. At the time of offering incense, all the people were praying outside; it was then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

On seeing the angel, Zechariah was deeply troubled and fear took hold of him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, be assured that your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall name him John. He will bring joy and gladness to you, and many will rejoice at his birth.

“This son of yours will be great in the eyes of the Lord. Listen : he shall never drink wine or strong drink, but he will be filled with Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Through him, many of the people of Israel will turn to the Lord their God. He himself will open the way to the Lord with the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah; he will reconcile fathers and children, and lead the disobedient to wisdom and righteousness, in order to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Saturday, 22 June 2013 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorials of St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop, Saints John Fisher, Bishop and Thomas More, Martyrs (Psalm)

Psalm 33 : 8-9, 10-11, 12-13

The Lord’s angel encamps and patrols to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere the Lord, all you His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need, but those who seek the Lord lack nothing.

Come, listen to me, my children; I will show you how to fear the Lord. If you desire long life, if you want to enjoy prosperity.

Friday, 31 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Virgin to her cousin, Elizabeth, who had become pregnant earlier than Mary herself, when the angel appeared to Zechariah her husband, that she would bear in her old age, the one who was to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. That child born of Elizabeth, as we all knew, is St. John the Baptist, who straightened the path for the Lord and brought many to repentance through his baptisms at the Jordan, and his call for repentance.

Mary herself had been pregnant by the time of that visitation to Elizabeth, after another angel, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and revealed to her, the culmination of the promised salvation that God promised His people through the prophets throughout history, that she would bear a Son who would be the Son of God Most High, Jesus Christ, the Messiah who would save all mankind and bring them back to God their Father who loves them all.

The moment of salvation at the time when the visitation happened was truly at hand, because the Saviour Himself is about to be born into the world, and preceded by another, John, who was born before Him to prepare for His way. It is through both John’s call for people to repent, and ultimately, the works of Jesus the Messiah, that the plan for salvation that God has crafted since the day that men fell from grace, came into perfection.

Yes, that is because, ever since our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, had rebelled against the commandments of the Lord by choosing instead to follow the foul advice of the evil one hidden as the devilish snake, and therefore brought sin into mankind and into the world. Ever since, men has suffered as a result of sin, because of our sinfulness, we became unworthy of God, who is perfect and good.

But God did not abandon us, and neither did He leave us with nothing and condemn us directly into hell that is prepared for Satan and his rebellious angels, who followed him in his rebellion. He loves all mankind, whom He created last of all creations, and whom He loved over all other things. It was a great sadness surely that has been in God’s heart, seeing that men who have sinned against Him, having to suffer eternal separation from Him, suffering the same fate as Satan and his angels.

Therefore, God gave us a promise at the beginning of creation, to Adam and Eve herself, that from them would rise a salvation that will deliver mankind from the hands and tyranny of Satan, the snake, and whom the deliverer would destroy Satan and his hold over us forever. This deliverer is none other than Christ the Messiah, the very Son of the Most High God, who was born through Mary.

God even said that although Satan would harass the children of Adam throughout time, but eventually the woman born from them would crush the snake under her feet. This woman is Mary, whom through her crucial role of being the Mother of God, and the Mother of our Saviour, she crushed Satan forever under her feet.

Why did Elizabeth said that Mary is blessed amongst all women? That is because of Mary’s own actions that allow salvation to be executed perfectly, for through her humble acceptance on the will of God, she had made possible the salvation that God offered through the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ, incarnate into man, through Mary, His mother. She is blessed because she, amongst so many other women, many with much greater wealth, and many with much greater power, was selected to be the vessel for the coming of the Messiah in this world.

Her own humility, and her acceptance of her part in the divine plan of salvation made her blessed among every other women, and indeed, that is why she also became our greatest intercessor, the greatest of all saints, because of her own purity in life, through her Immaculate Conception, and through her great virtues throughout her life. And who would be best to help us to bring our prayers to the Lord if not Mary, our Lord’s own mother? Remember that at Cana, through the urging of Mary, Jesus was willing to perform His very first miracle, which saved the wedding couple from potentially disastrous humiliation.

But be careful, brothers and sisters, that we do not glorify Mary beyond God Himself, because, Mary is the Mother of God, but she is not a goddess. We revere and glorify her because of her great virtues, and we ask her for her intercession, and that is why all the prayers that we have for her, so that she would bring her Son to listen to our cause. But we do not worship her and neither do we accredit her with the goddess status, as many people outside the Church had misunderstood, and even used this misunderstanding to attack the faithful ones in the Church.

Today, we celebrate and commemorate the great joy that accompany this Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, because on this day, it was proclaimed that Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Saviour, Jesus, who would come to save all mankind and complete the long planned salvation. Mary, filled with the Holy Spirit that had dwelled within her ever since the conception of Jesus, praised God in a song that we know knew as the Magnificat, as a song of pure and unadulterated joy.

A great joy indeed because the Lord is about to come and end all the works of evil in this world and on mankind. He who is the great judge would make all things good once again, and bring justice to this world, protecting the humble and the weak, and punishing those who are arrogant and overconfident in their own powers.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today, let us glorify God, for His willingness to come down upon us as a lowly man through His mother, Mary, had enabled us to hope once again, for the eternal life and salvation, which Christ, through His death on the cross, had freely offered everyone, without exception. Through Mary, let us reach Christ her Son, and allow her to help us in our attempt to reach salvation.

For Mary, the greatest saint, is the perfect role model for all of us to follow. By following her virtues and examples, we can only become closer to God, as long as we do God’s commandments, by following the examples of our Lady. Have faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, for God will never abandon us, and today, we are joyful, and we are commemorating that completion of salvation, which allows mankind to be reunited once again with God, God who is love, and God who loves us, so much that He sent His only Son, for us, that we may live. Amen.

Sunday, 5 May 2013 : 6th Sunday of Easter (Second Reading)

Revelation 21 : 10-14, 22-23

The angel took me up in a spiritual vision to a very high mountain and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shines with the glory of God, like a precious jewel with the colour of crystal-clear jasper.

Its wall, large and high, has twelve gates; stationed at them are twelve angels. Over the gates are written the name of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Three gates face the east; three gates face the north; three gates face the south; and three gates face the west. The city wall stands on twelve foundation stones on which are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God, Master of the universe, and the Lamb are themselves its Temple. The city has no need of the light of the sun or the moon, since God’s glory is its light and the Lamb is its lamp.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the story of the courage of Stephen, the first martyr, who welcomed death in Christ when he defended his faith and his belief in Christ against the Pharisees and the Jewish high priests when he was questioned and ridiculed for his faith. Instead of fighting back in anger, he explained in detail the story of mankind from its creation and how God brought about salvation through Christ.

Yet, they rejected still the explanation by Stephen, and despite the fact that Stephen himself was full of the Holy Spirit, which is manifested in his shining face, that looks like an angel, the Pharisees and the chief priests still failed to see the truth that was told to them by Stephen, and which they surely had heard as well, from Jesus Himself in their numerous encounters, especially those designed to trap Him and allow them to arrest Him for blasphemy.

They were blinded in their jealousy and hatred against the Lord, against Christ our Risen Lord and Saviour, that they refused to believe all that had happened and had been told about Him and His works, His resurrection, and His nature as the Messiah. They rejected Him not because His message was wrong, but because of human weakness and them allowing Satan to enter their hearts.

They persecuted Stephen and the disciples just as they had persecuted Christ. Yet, this is where Christian qualities came out best, in that of forgiveness and love. Instead of hating them back and cursing, Stephen, just like Jesus on the cross, forgave them and indeed, asked God not to blame the priests and the Pharisees for their faults, especially for having killed the holy man of God in Stephen himself.

Forgiveness is a very difficult thing to do, particularly if we are deeply immersed in hatred and prejudice against others. It is not easy to forgive, but if we do not forgive, we are merely continuing the vicious cycle of evil, that is perpetuated by hatred, anger, jealousy, and violence, which will continue to make the people blind from the truth of God, and that was exactly what happened to the Jewish priesthood who stoned and killed Stephen, and also brought Jesus to be condemned and death on the cross.

Despite all that, both of them forgave their oppressors and their condemners. They did not want to let Satan to revel in the continuation of that endless cycle of evil. Rather, as Christ had wanted, He wanted love to flourish, and begin a new rejuvenation of the human soul, purified from hatred and sin. In order to do so, even though it may be very difficult, we need to first learn to forgive, and to douse our anger and hatred with the cool spring of love.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today pray, pray that God will grant us a new heart, filled with love and compassion, and mercy for others, and also filled to the brim with forgiveness, that we will forgive those who had caused us pain and suffering, and instead sharing God’s love with them, that neither us nor them will be lost, and we will eventually praise the Lord in our heavenly glory together. May God bless us all, and bless our world with His love and mercy. Amen.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Acts 5 : 17-26

The High Priest and all his supporters, that is the party of the Sadducees, became very jealous of the apostles; so they arrested them and had them thrown into the public jail. But an angel of the Lord opened the door of the prison during the night, brought them out, and said to them, “Go and stand in the Temple court and tell people the whole of this living message.”

Accordingly they entered the Temple at dawn and resumed their teaching. When the High Priest and his supporters arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, that is the full Council of the elders of Israel. They sent word to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. But when the Temple guards arrived at the jail, they did not find them inside, so they returned with the news, “We found the prison securely locked and the prison guards at their post outside the gate, but when we opened the gate, we found no one inside.”

Upon hearing these words, the captain of the Temple guard and the high priests were baffled, wondering where all of this would end. Just then someone arrived with the report, “Look, those men whom you put in prison are standing in the Temple, teaching the people.”

Then the captain went off with the guards and brought them back, but without any show of force, for fear of being stoned by the people.