Saturday, 11 July 2020 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 6 : 1-8

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted; the train of His robe filled the Temple. Above Him were Seraphs, each with six wings : two to cover the face, two to cover the feet, and two to fly with. They were calling to one another : “Holy, Holy, Holy is YHVH Sabaoth. All the earth is filled with His glory!”

At the sound of their voices the foundations of the threshold shook and the Temple was filled with smoke. I said, “Poor me! I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips, and yet I have seen the King, YHVH Sabaoth.”

Then one of the Seraphs flew to me; in his hands was a live coal which he had taken with tongs from the Altar. He touched my mouth with it and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?”

I answered, “Here I am. Send me!”

Friday, 26 June 2020 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Kings 25 : 1-12

In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched with his entire army and laid siege to Jerusalem. They camped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was under siege up to the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah.

On the ninth day of the fourth month famine became a serious problem in the city, and throughout the land there was no bread for the people. When the city was opened by a breach in the wall, the Judean army fled through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, while the Chaldeans were still around the city; and they fled towards the Arabah. The Chaldeans followed in hot pursuit of king Zedekiah and caught up with him in the plains of Jericho. All his army deserted him and scattered.

The Chaldeans seized the king and led him away to Riblah in the territory of Hamath and there the king of Babylon passed sentence on him. There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah in his presence. He then put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with a double bronze chain and took him to Babylon.

On the seventh day of the fifth month in the nineteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, commander of the captain of the royal guard and servant of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem and set fire to the House of YHVH and the royal palace, as well as to all the houses in Jerusalem. The Chaldean army under the commander of the bodyguard completely demolished all the walls around Jerusalem.

Nebuzaradan, commander of the bodyguard, carried off into exile the last of the Jews left in the city, those who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the remainder of the artisans. But he left those among the very poor who were capable of working in vineyards and cultivating the soil.

Thursday, 25 June 2020 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Kings 24 : 8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he succeeded his father, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. Jehoiachin treated YHVH badly, as his father had done.

At that time, the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to attack Jerusalem, surrounding the city. Nebuchadnezzar came while the city was being besieged by his men. Jehoiachin, king of Judah, surrendered, together with his mother, his servants, his leaders and the palace officials. It was the eighth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar captured them and he took away the treasures of the House of YHVH and of the king’s house. He also destroyed all the objects of gold which Solomon, king of Israel, had made for the Sanctuary of YHVH. So the word YHVH had spoken, was fulfilled.

Nebuchadnezzar carried off into exile all the leaders and prominent men, the blacksmiths and locksmiths, all the men of valour fit for war. A total of ten thousand were exiled to Babylon. Only the poorest sector of the population was left. Nebuchadnezzar also carried away Jehoiachin, with his mother, his wives, the ministers of the palace, and the prominent men of the land.

So all the prominent people, numbering seven thousand, the blacksmiths, numbering a thousand, and all the men fit for war were deported to Babylon by the king of Babylon. He made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king of Jerusalem, in place of Jehoiachin. And he changed his name to Zedekiah.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020 : Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 57-66, 80

When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her. When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father.

But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!” and they made signs to his father for the name he wanted to give him. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John;” and they were very surprised. Immediately, Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.

A holy fear came on all in the neighbourhood, and throughout the hill country of Judea and the people talked about these events. All who heard of it, pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?” For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.

As the child grew up, he was seen to be strong in the Spirit; and he lived in the desert, until the day when he appeared openly in Israel.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020 : Vigil Mass of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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, that 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 the 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.”

Tuesday, 23 June 2020 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Kings 19 : 9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36

Again Sennacherib sent messengers to Hezekiah with these words, “Say to Hezekiah, king of Judah that his God in Whom he trusts may be deceiving him in saying that Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria. Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands they have destroyed! And will you be spared?”

Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, and when he had read it he went to the house of YHVH; where he unrolled the letter and prayed saying, “O YHVH, God of Israel, enthroned above the Cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth; You have made the heavens and the earth. Give ear, YHVH, and hear! Open Your eyes and see! Listen to all the words of Sennacherib who has sent men to insult the living God!”

“It is true, YHVH, that the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the countries of the earth. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not true gods but gods made of wood and stone by human hands. Now, o YHVH our God, save us from his hand and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that You alone, YHVH, are God.”

Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent word to Hezekiah : “You have called upon YHVH and He has heard your prayer regarding Sennacherib, king of Assyria. This is what YHVH has spoken against him : ‘The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises and scorns you; the Daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head behind you.”

“For a remnant will come from Jerusalem and survivors from Mount Zion. The zeal of YHVH of Hosts will accomplish this. That is why YHVH has said this concerning the king of Assyria : ‘He shall not enter this city nor shoot his arrows. He shall not raise a shield to oppose it nor build a siege ramp against it. He shall leave by the way he came and he shall not enter the city, word of YHVH. I will protect this city and so save it for My own sake and for the sake of David, My servant.”

It happened that the Angel of YHVH went out that night and struck one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. So Sennacherib, king of Assyria, departed, returned home and lived in Nineveh.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and World Day of Prayer for Peace (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 16-21

So the shepherds 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.

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.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019 : 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.”

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.