Friday, 25 December 2020 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Mass at Day (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 1 : 1-6

God has spoken in the past to our ancestors through the prophets, in many different ways, although never completely; but in our times He has spoken definitively to us through His Son. He is the one God appointed Heir of all things, since through Him He unfolded the stages of the world.

He is the Radiance of God’s Glory and bears the stamp of God’s hidden being, so that His powerful Word upholds the universe. And after taking away sin, He took His place at the right hand of the Divine Majesty in heaven. So He is now far superior to Angels just as the Name He received sets Him apart from them.

To what Angel did God say : You are My Son, I have begotten You today? And to what Angel did He promise : I shall be a Father to Him and He will be a Son to Me? On sending His Firstborn to the world, God says : “Let all the Angels adore Him.”

Friday, 25 December 2020 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Mass at Dawn (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 15-20

When the Angels had left the shepherds and gone back to heaven, they said to one another, “Let us go as far as Bethlehem, and see what the Lord has made known to us.”

So they came hurriedly, and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger. On seeing Him, they related what they had been told about the Child, and all were astonished on hearing the shepherds.

As for Mary, she treasured all these words, and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds then returned, giving glory and praise to God for all they had heard and seen, just as the Angels had told them.

Friday, 25 December 2020 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Midnight Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 1-14

At that time the Emperor issued a decree for a census of the whole Empire to be taken. This first census was taken when Quirinus was governor of Syria. Everyone had to be registered in his own town, so everyone set out for his own city. Joseph too set out from Nazareth of Galilee. As he belonged to the family of David, being a descendant of his, he went to Judea, to David’s town of Bethlehem, to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was with Child.

They were in Bethlehem when the time came for her to have her Child, and she gave birth to a Son, her Firstborn. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in the manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. There were shepherds camping in the countryside, taking turns to watch over their flocks by night.

Suddenly an Angel of the Lord appeared to them, with the Glory of the Lord shining around them. As the were terrified, the Angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; I am here to give you Good News, great joy for all the people. Today a Saviour has been born to you in David’s town; He is the Messiah and the Lord. Let this be a sign to you : you will find a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly the Angel was surrounded by many more heavenly spirits, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and Peace, on earth, to those whom God loves.”

Tuesday, 8 December 2020 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 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.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Dedication of a Basilica)

Revelations 4 : 1-11

After this, I looked up to the wall of the sky and saw an open door. The voice which I had first speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here and I will show you what will come in the future.”

Immediately I was seized by the Spirit. There, in heaven, was a throne and One sitting on it. He Who sat there looked like jasper and carnelian and round the throne was a rainbow resembling an emerald. In a circle around the throne are twenty-four thrones and seated on these are twenty-four elders, dressed in white clothes, with golden crowns on their heads.

Flashes of lightning come forth from the throne, with voices and thunderclaps. Seven flaming torches burn before the throne; these are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there is a platform, transparent like crystal. Around and beside the throne stand four living creatures, full of eyes, both in front and behind.

The first living creature is like a lion, the second like a bull, the third has the face of a man and the fourth looks like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures has six wings full of eyes, all around as well as within; day and night they sing without ceasing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, Master of the universe, Who was, and is and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to the One on the throne, He Who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him and worship the One Who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns in front of the throne and say, “Our Lord and God, worthy are You to receive glory, honour and power! For You have created all things; by Your will they came to be and were made.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dedication of the Basilicas)

Acts 28 : 11-16, 30-31

After three months, we boarded a ship that had spent the winter at the island. It belonged to an Alexandrian company, and carried the figurehead of Castor and Pollux as insignia. We sailed for Syracuse, staying there for three days; and, after circling the coast, we arrived at Rhegium.

On the following day, a south wind began to blow, and, at the end of two days, we arrived at Puteoli, where we found some of our brothers, who invited us to stay with them for a week. And that was how we came to Rome. There, the brothers and sisters had been informed of our arrival, and came out to meet us as far as the Appian Forum and the Three Taverns.

When Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and took courage. Upon our arrival in Rome, the captain turned the prisoners over to the military governor, but permitted Paul to lodge in a private house, with the soldier who guarded him.

Paul stayed for two whole years, in a house he, himself, rented, where he received, without any hindrance, all those who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God, and taught the truth about Jesus Christ, the Lord, quite openly and without any hindrance.

Sunday, 1 November 2020 : Solemnity of All Saints (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 7 : 2-4, 9-14

I saw another Angel, ascending from the sunrise, carrying the seal of the living God, and he cried out with a loud voice, to the four Angels empowered to harm the earth and the sea, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.”

Then, I heard the number of those marked with the seal : a hundred and forty-four thousand, from all the tribes of the people of Israel. After this, I saw a great crowd, impossible to count, from every nation, race, people and tongue, standing before the Throne, and the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands, and they cried out with a loud voice, “Who saves, but our God, Who sits on the Throne, and the Lamb?”

All the Angels were around the Throne, the elders and the four living creatures; they, then, bowed before the Throne, with their faces to the ground, to worship God. They said, “Amen, Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honour, power and strength to our God forever and ever. Amen!”

At that moment, one of the elders spoke up, and said to me, “Who are these people clothed in white, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, it is you who know this.” The elder replied, “They, are those who have come out of the great persecution, they have washed, and made their clothes white, in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Saturday, 17 October 2020 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 12 : 8-12

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before people, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the Angels of God. But the one who denies Me before others will be denied before the Angels of God. There will be pardon for the one who criticises the Son of Man, but there will be no pardon for the one who slanders the Holy Spirit.”

“When you are brought before the synagogues, and before governors and rulers, do not worry about how you will defend yourself, or what to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you have to say.”

Tuesday, 6 October 2020 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Galatians 1 : 13-24

You have heard of my previous activity in the Jewish community; I furiously persecuted the Church of God and tried to destroy it. For I was more devoted to the Jewish religion than many fellow Jews of my age, and I defended the traditions of my ancestors more fanatically.

But one day, God called me, out of His great love, He, Who had chosen me from my mother’s womb; and He was pleased to reveal, in me, His son, that I might make Him known among the pagan nations. Then, I did not seek human advice nor did I go up to Jerusalem, to those who were Apostles before me. I immediately went to Arabia, and from there, I returned, again, to Damascus.

Later, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to meet Cephas, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. But I did not see any other Apostle except James, the Lord’s brother. On writing this to you, I affirm before God that I am not lying. After that, I went to Syria and Cilicia. The churches of Christ in Judea did not know me personally; they had only heard of me : “He, who once persecuted us, is now preaching the faith he tried to uproot.” And they praised God because of me.

Monday, 5 October 2020 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Faustina Kowalska, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Galatians 1 : 6-12

I am surprised at how quickly you have abandoned God, Who called you, according to the grace of Christ, and have gone to another gospel. Indeed, there is no other Gospel, but some people, who are sowing confusion among you, want to turn the Gospel of Christ upside down.

But even if we, ourselves, were giving you another gospel, different from the one we preached to you, or if it were an Angel from heaven, I would say : let God’s curse be on him! As I have said, I now say again : if anyone preaches the Gospel in a way other than you received it, fire that one! Are we to please humans or obey God? Do you think that I try to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, that the Gospel we preached to you is not a human message, nor did I receive it from anyone, I was not taught of it; but it came to me, as a revelation from Christ Jesus.

Friday, 2 October 2020 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, which refers to those Angels whom God had set before us, to be our guide and protector, to be at the frontline of our constant struggle and the war that rages on all the time for our souls. For it is at this moment right now and has been going on all these while, that the conflict between the devil and all those seeking our downfall and destruction occurs against our guardians, those faithful Angels God set before us.

In our Gospel today, we heard the Lord Himself affirming this, as He warned His disciples against misleading the little children in their faith or in harming them, as their Angels in heaven, referring to the Guardian Angels, are constantly seeing His heavenly Father, making pleas on their behalf and interceding for them. Thus, those who cause them to fall into sin, lead them down the wrong path or suffer will all face terrible reckoning for their sinful deeds.

God has always provided for us and protected us, and He sent His Angels before His loved ones, just as our first reading today again affirmed this, as in the Book of Exodus, as the Israelites were making the long and arduous journey through the desert towards the land promised to them by the Lord, the Lord sent His Angels to guard and protect them from their enemies, all those who sought to destroy them.

This is a guarantee that showed God’s enduring love and patience for His people, which was unfortunately often disregarded by those same people that God had cared and loved, and many among them fell not because of the attacks by the enemy, but because of their own stubborn disobedience and refusal to believe in God despite everything that He had done for them.

It is actually a clear reminder for us, that just as the Israelites journeyed through for many years, fell again and again into sin, forgiven and cared for by God, so we have also walked through a similar journey that is our life. And just as God rescued the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt and established a Covenant with them, thus, God has also liberated us from the slavery of sin, and led us through the waters of baptism just as the Israelites passed through the Red Sea. And God, through Christ, established a new Covenant with each and every one of us.

That is why, we must keep in mind that our Christian life and journey does not end at baptism, but instead, was just beginning at our baptism. While baptism makes us God’s own beloved people, and promise us salvation and eternal life, but we can still fall if we are not vigilant against the attacks of the evil one and all of his forces. All the more the devil will increase his attacks on us to prevent us from attaining eternal life and Heaven.

We have to trust in the Lord and follow the path that our Guardian Angels had charted before us. They have always been there for us, praying for us constantly, without cease, but we are often distracted by the many ‘noises’ in this world, all that the devil has been using in trying to lead us astray, whenever we give in to the temptation of worldly desires and power, fame and glory, and others.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in a world ever surrounded by darkness, by fears and uncertainties, with attacks and temptations from the forces of evil, we can be overcome by those fears and swallowed by our pride and the greed within us. But we should not be afraid, brethren! Be faithful and fear no more for the Lord and His might is with us, and His Angels are always by our side, guarding us and protecting us in our journey.

Let us pray now, asking for the help of our Guardian Angels, who are always with us, with the words, “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”