Friday, 1 November 2019 : 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.”

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 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 listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the protection and love which God, Our Lord and Master has given us all of these while, not letting us to go into the harm’s path, as mentioned in our first reading today, in the Book of Exodus in which God reassured His people that He sent His Angels to guide them, to protect them from their enemies and to lead them to freedom.

And it is befitting that today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, as each and every one of us have been provided with an Angel by God to be our guide and our protector, to be the one resisting the temptation of the evil one and his wicked allies in a constant spiritual warfare and struggle. The Guardian Angels are our protectors that is always by our side, even if we cannot see or feel them.

They are always by our side when the devil and the fallen angels strike at us, pulling at us and tempting us to fall into sin. They are the voices of reason and wisdom in our hearts and in our minds, keeping us strong despite the strong temptations and challenges that we have to constantly face at all times. The devil is always busy at work trying to make us fall, and certainly he will do everything within his capability to destroy us.

But we should not be afraid, for the Lord through His Angels has always taken care of us and as the Lord mentioned in our Gospel passage today, those Angels are always constantly in contact with God, and God Who knows everything will know all that is happening to us, and He sends us His help through many means including that of the Angels who are constantly out and about fighting against the forces of evil all around us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are called to reflect on our own lives and how we have lived them thus far. Have we been following the suggestions and the advices given to us by the Guardian Angel each one of us have on our side or have we instead given in to the temptations of the devil and his fellow fallen angels, those who have always tempted us and tried to bring us down with them?

Today, we are all called to be more attuned to the presence of our Guardian Angels who is always out and about taking care of each and every one of us. God has given them to be by our side, to care for us and to love us, so that all of us, God’s beloved ones can truly be safe and protected from the evil ones. Have we realised just how much they have done for our sake, in protecting us all these while?

Let us all strive therefore to be as what the Lord has said to His disciples in our Gospel passage today, to have the faith like the faith of little children. Let us all do our best to be faithful, and it means that we should be sincere in our faith and commitment to God as those children truly loved the Lord wholeheartedly. When we have been exposed to the many corrupt temptations of this world, then our love for God has been affected and our attention on Him has been diverted.

That is why we have not been able to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly, because we prefer to listen to the sweet lies and the tempting words of Satan rather than to listen to God and His truth. We shut our hearts and minds against Him, and even though our Guardian Angels have been reminding us, we prefer to listen to the devil instead. Perhaps we should really reflect on what we should be doing from now on.

Let us all pray and ask our Guardian Angels to protect us and to take care of us, that they will protect us from the attacks by the evil one, who is always out there trying to snatch us from the hands of the Lord. Let us all be closer to our Guardian Angels and be thankful always for their constant protection and the love which they had shown us all these while.

O Holy Guardian Angels, God’s wonderful protectors, protect us from the attacks by the enemy, by those who seek our destruction. O Holy Guardian Angels, continue to love us as you have done all these while and intercede for our sake, and ask the Lord to bless us and guide us in our journey of faith. Amen.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5, 10

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in My Name, receives Me.”

“See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven continually see the face of My heavenly Father.”

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 90 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11

You, who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say to YHVH, “My Stronghold, my Refuge, my God in Whom I trust!”

He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and give you refuge under His wings.

You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks by night, and the plague that destroys at noonday.

No harm will come upon you; no disaster will draw near your home. For He will command His Angels to guard you in all your ways.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 23 : 20-23

See, I am sending an Angel before you to keep you safe on the way and bring you to the place I have made ready. Be on your guard in his presence and listen to him; do not resist him for he will not pardon your wrongdoing, for My Name is in him.

If you listen to him and do what I say, I will be the enemy to your enemies and the opponent of your opponents. My Angel will go before you and bring you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; all these I will destroy.

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, all of us are all called to live a holy and virtuous life that is centred not on worldly possessions and the many temptations present in this world, but rather on God alone. We have to remember this at all times, lest those same temptations pull us into the wrong path, as the evil one is always ever ready and ever busy to strike at us with all of his capabilities.

In our first reading today, we heard the words of the prophet Amos being directed at the Israelites conveying the anger of God at those people because of their refusal to believe in Him and His prophet, their refusal to listen to those whom God had sent into their midst to remind them to follow His path. They have hardened their hearts and closed their minds to God, and they preferred to live in sin and worshipped pagan idols and gods instead of the One and only True God they should have been worshipping.

The prophet Amos worked and ministered to the people during the last years of the northern kingdom of Israel, which was referred to in the first reading passage today as ‘Samaria’, which was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. It was a foreboding and warning to those people that should they continue to live in sin and refused to change their ways, they would see the end of their kingdom and had to endure exile, as how it actually happened in the end.

And this is related to what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, in which the Lord Jesus used the parable of Lazarus and the rich man to highlight how important it is for us to live a truly God-centric life and resist the many temptations found in this world. In that well-known parable we heard how the Lord Jesus told His disciples the story of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus, who was always by the gate of the house of the rich man, hungry and suffering while the rich man feasted and dressed well every single day.

Through this parable, the Lord wanted us all to know that it is not that He is against us having wealth or that being wealthy is something that is sinful and wrong, but rather, it is our unhealthy and dangerous attachment to those worldly possessions, be it wealth in any forms, in money and other goods of pleasures, even in matter of dress and food that we must be wary of. Those goods on their own are not evil or bad by nature.

In fact, having greater wealth and possessions is actually a blessing from God, that God has given us more and provided us with greater blessings in our own unique way. However, we must also remember what the Lord Himself also said in another different occasion, that ‘To those who have been given a lot, a lot is also then expected from them’. This means that the more blessings we have received from God, the more that we are actually challenged to make good use of them.

The very fact that Lazarus, the poor man stayed at the gate of the rich man’s house day after day, again and again showed just how oblivious the rich man and his household had been to the plight of Lazarus. The rich man and his household partied and celebrated without end, with all the goodness the world could have offered, enjoying to the fullest all of earth’s wonderful pleasures, satisfying themselves in great excess.

That poor man did not ask for much, just for food to alleviate his hunger and basic human needs and dignity. Yet, no one would give him what he deserved, and left him all alone to suffer until the day he died and went into heaven in the presence of God and Abraham, his forefather. Then as mentioned, the rich man also died, and he went into the eternal suffering in hell, suffering as the Lord said because during life, he had done what is wicked and enjoyed life as it was, while Lazarus suffered so greatly.

Being rich is truly not something that is inherently evil or bad. God does not despise the rich and the powerful as I have just mentioned. But when we misuse what God has given to us and blessed us with for our own selfish purposes, just as the prophet Amos spoke against the Israelites for their wicked and unjust actions towards one another, then we have committed a great sin against God.

But this is something that each and every one of us must always be wary about, as the temptations are always there, pulling us into the path of disobedience and sin. By our exposure to sin, and by the frailty of our body, mind and flesh, we are naturally predisposed to various desires, be it for wealth, money, for worldly things and possessions, for glory and power, for other pleasures of this world, to satisfy our own selfish desires.

This is where we must always stand ready to resist those temptations, which Satan and all the evil forces ever present around us are always ready to push onto us, trying to lure us away from the path of righteousness. And this is where in our second reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy, the Apostle reminded us that each and every one of us must strive to be holy and godly, and strive to resist all the negative emotions and temptations that threaten to take us away from God.

And looking again at the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, let us remember and realise just how futile our pursuits for worldly things and glories have been. For all of his wealth and power, his popularity and all the fame he had, the rich man was left with nothing when he entered into death and thrown into hell. In the end, he was just left by himself, in despair and total hopelessness, and no matter what he is doing and how he want to get out, once he is in hell, there is absolutely no hope for him, for he has rejected God completely and refused His love totally.

Satan purposely wants us to indulge in all those wicked things, and to be tempted to sin so that we will in the end lose everything, and he will never cease to tempt us and to push us into sin, and we should resist his efforts and seek for help in this constant battle raging daily for our souls. And today, as it happens, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael.

Today, let us all ask for the help and protection from the three Holy Archangels, who is always ready to help us with the legions of Angels and our own Guardian Angels to protect us all from the attacks of the evil ones. But we also have to make the conscious effort to resist those temptations and realise that we have to hold onto the right things in life, that is not the false joys and happiness in worldly things, but rather to trust in God.

Let us all therefore make best use of whatever God has blessed us with, for the benefit of our fellow men and not be selfish like the rich man or the Israelites of the time of prophet Amos, who put themselves, their ego and pride ahead of their love for God and for their fellow men. Let us seek to be humble in all things and love God and place Him at the very centre of our lives and our existences. Let us not be ignorant of the needs and the plight of those who are less fortunate than us, but instead, let us be generous in sharing whatever happiness, joy and blessings we have received from God.

May the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael protect us all and may they intercede for us and be our guardians in this constant, daily spiritual warfare that we may emerge triumphant, keeping ourselves away from unworthy and wicked attachments to false pleasures, joys and temptations of this world so that in all things we may become ever closer to God and be worthy of His promised inheritance and glory. Amen.

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 16 : 19-31

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Once there was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and feasted every day. At his gate lay Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores, who longed to eat just the scraps falling from the rich man’s table. Even dogs used to come and lick his sores.”

“It happened that the poor man died, and Angels carried him to take his place with Abraham. The rich man also died, and was buried. From hell where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Abraham afar off, and with him Lazarus at rest. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me, and send Lazarus, with the tip of his finger dipped in water, to cool my tongue, for I suffer so much in this fire.'”

“Abraham replied, ‘My son, remember that in your lifetime you were well-off, while the lot of Lazarus was misfortune. Now he is in comfort, and you are in agony. But that is not all. Between your place and ours a great chasm has been fixed, so that no one can cross over from here to you, or from your side to us.'”

“The rich man implored once more, ‘Then I beg you, Father Abraham, to send Lazarus to my father’s house, where my five brothers live, let him warn them, so that they may not end up in this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.'”

“But the rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham; but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced, even if someone rises from the dead.'”