Saturday, 25 March 2023 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the whole Universal Church celebrates the occasion of the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, marking the moment when the Archangel Gabriel came to Nazareth, to the then periphery of the Jewish world and community, to a young woman named Mary, whom God had chosen to be the one to bear the Saviour of the whole world, His promised Messiah or Christ, the One Whom we would come to know as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord, Saviour and Master. On this day of the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel came to Mary to proclaim the long-awaited Good News of salvation which the Lord had promised His people, all of us, from the very beginning of time. It was truly the end of the long wait for the coming of the fulfilment of God’s many wonderful promises and assurances that He has made through His many prophets and messengers.

This Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord must be understood as the moment when the Lord became Incarnate in this world, just as the Archangel Gabriel himself mentioned that the Lord would send the Holy Spirit to overshadow Mary, and through that, the Son of God would be conceived in her womb, taking up the nature, appearance and existence of our humanity, becoming the Son of Man, the Divine Word Incarnate. That is why this Solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated this day, exactly nine months to the date of Christmas, signifying the nine months of the period of pregnancy that happened to Mary, as she bore the Son of God within her, as the bearer of the Messiah and the Mother of God. It is on this day that the hope and light of this world came into the world, Incarnate in the flesh, amidst still veiled within the holy womb of Mary, His mother.

It was also then Mary’s ‘yes’ to the Lord as she uttered it to the Archangel Gabriel that made it all possible and tangible, as God gave her the freedom to choose whether to obey His will and His calling or not. Mary, being full of grace and full of faith in the Lord, responded with great love, humility and grace, in accepting the very important role that she was to play in the history of the salvation of the whole world. As we heard from the exchanges between her and the Archangel, we can tell that Mary was indeed uncertain and unsure about the path that she was to embark on, but unlike those others who refused to obey the Lord or those who fled in fear away from Him and His calling, Mary chose to obey perfectly, and committed herself to the calling that she has been entrusted with, the calling to be the Mother of God’s own Son, with the simple and humble words, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me as you have said’.

Let us all contrast what Mary had said and how she responded to what we heard in our first reading today, in how King Ahaz of Judah responded to the prophet Isaiah who just like the Archangel Gabriel, came to him bearing the Good News of God. King Ahaz rejected the offer that the prophet Isaiah made to him, as the latter told him to ask of the Lord of a sign and favour, and the King of Judah told him that he would not put God to the test. Now, outwardly this might seem as if King Ahaz was being humble before God, but what he exhibited was actually false humility and more of lack of faith and hypocrisy if anything. Why is that so? That is because this King of Judah was just like many of his predecessors who had disobeyed the Lord and His Law and commandments. He was being insincere and rather hypocritical when he told Isaiah that he would not put God to the test.

That is because his actions, as well as his continued sinful acts and constant lack of faith in God, all of those had put God to the test many times, scandalised His Holy Name and spurned His kindness and love. Thus he was truly insincere and being a hypocrite when he told Isaiah that he would not put God to the test. His wickedness and lack of faith and trust in God had brought many of the people of God into sin, and he would not humble himself before God, unwilling to believe in the words of the Lord which had been delivered to him through Isaiah and God’s many other messengers. And that was King Ahaz’s sin and failure, which can be contrasted with the way that Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and Saviour, had responded to God full of faith and trust in Him. Mary entrusted herself in the Lord and committed herself to the calling which He has given to her, even when she was still unsure of what to make of the surprising news from the Archangel Gabriel.

This is what the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in the second reading today also highlighted, that what the Lord truly wants from each one of us is obedience and faith, and not merely just outward expression of faith. He does not want merely just lip service and faith that is superficial, as He wants from us true obedience and commitment, faith and dedication, like just what Mary has shown us, and which the Lord Jesus Himself, in His perfect love and obedience to His Father’s will has shown us. God values our love and obedience much more than our sacrifices and offerings, just as it is possible for one to offer rich sacrifices and offerings to God and yet had little or no love for Him. In fact, that was what many of the people in the past had done, from the time of King Ahaz and before him, and up to the time of the Lord Jesus, with many among the people just doing what they thought were obeying the Law and commandments of God, and yet, without genuine faith in God or love for Him.

Instead, they loved themselves more than they loved the Lord or each other. They placed themselves more importantly than anything else, and allowed themselves to be swayed by the many temptations of worldly comfort, pleasures and ambitions, allowing their greed and desire to distract them from the path towards the Lord and righteousness. They let themselves to be swayed and misled by their own worldly ambitions and pride, and hence, faltered in their path and journey in life. The Lord has called on them to follow Him, and yet, they closed their hearts and minds from Him, and were too busy with their many pursuits and ambitions in life that they forgot about Him and His ways. That is also why at this juncture in the season of Lent, each and every one of us are reminded not to be like those people, but be inspired by the examples and the faith showed by especially our Mother Mary, the faithful one who had dedicated herself wholly to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, just as today we commemorate this Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, let us all remind ourselves of the love of God and His faithfulness, His commitment to the Covenant which He had made with us all. He has come down into this world, willingly becoming Incarnate in the flesh through His Son, Jesus Christ, so that by His coming into our midst, He may be present amongst us and touch us all, and reach out even to the least and the most wicked among us. Why He had done all these? That is because His love for us is truly very pure and great, and His desire to be reconciled with all of us, His beloved ones, is always great. He has no desire to see us destroyed and crushed by our sins, and He wants us to be freed from the bondage and domination by all those evils and sins we have committed. Hence, He gave us all the most perfect gift in His Son.

Today, let us all reflect carefully on our lives and ask ourselves whether we have listened to the Lord and His words, and whether we have paid attention to His truth and His ways. If we have been stubborn and difficult in constantly refusing to listen to Him and in being disobedient, as many of our predecessors had done, then it is perhaps time for us to reorientate our lives and see the examples that Mary has shown us, in surrendering herself completely to the Lord, entrusting her life and path to the Lord, Who has called her to follow Him and to do His will. Let us all be inspired to follow the Lord in the same way, committing ourselves, our time and effort to walk in His path. Let us all be the good role models and examples ourselves for our fellow brothers and sisters all around us. This is our calling as Christians, what we are expected and called to do.

May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen us in our faith and life, and may His blessed Mother Mary, our role model and our loving mother, continue to inspire us and intercede for us on our behalf, so that the Lord may be moved to help and guide us in our various challenges and the many trials that we may have to face and overcome amidst this journey of life we have in this world. May she continue to watch over us as she has always done, and help us to come ever closer to her Son. May God be with us always and may He bless our every efforts and good endeavours, for His greater glory. Amen.

Friday, 25 March 2022 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, marking the moment when the Archangel Gabriel came to the little town of Nazareth before Mary, the one God had chosen to be the bearer of His Messiah, and revealed to her the Good News that all of us mankind had awaited for a very long time. The word Annunciation itself has the same meaning as the word ‘announce’ as the Good News was announced and revealed in this world at long last, that God’s salvation was finally at hand.

The Lord has promised His salvation to all of us from the very beginning of time. In our first reading today, when we heard the account from the Book of the prophet Isaiah regarding the sign from God which Isaiah prophesied would come despite the lack of faith from the king, as when Isaiah told king Ahaz of Judah to ask for a sign from God, he refused to do so, and the prophet chastised the king for his refusal as that refusal was made not so much so by humility but rather by his lack of faith and trust in the Lord. Ahaz was one of the kings of Judah who was considered to be one of the unfaithful and wicked kings, whose actions further misled the people away from God.

Isaiah mentioned how God would show His sign in due time to all the people, that a woman would bear a Child, and that woman is a Virgin, who bears the Child with a most peculiar name, that is Emmanuel, or God-is-with-us. That was in fact an early revelation of what God would do for His people, that He Himself would come upon us through the Virgin, the Woman whom He had in fact spoken about right from the beginning of time, when mankind first fell into sin. In the Book of Genesis, we heard of how Adam and Eve, our first ancestors sinned against God, and how they ate of the forbidden tree’s fruits, and Satan deceived Eve in order to do that.

God sent Adam and Eve to wander on earth, into this world to endure the sufferings as the just consequences of our sins. However, at the same time, He still reassured us all of His love, and while we have to suffer the consequences of those disobedience and wickedness we had committed, but He still loved us no matter what, and He proclaimed before Satan, Adam and Eve, that while Satan might strike at the children of man, implying how he would come to drag more and more of the children of man into sin and therefore into damnation, but through the Woman He spoke of, God reassured and promised us all of the deliverance that would come, and that Saviour would crush the head of Satan.

Thus, the words of the prophet Isaiah was in fact yet another reassurance from God of the truth behind all that He would do for the sake of His people. God would come Himself upon us, by willingly taking up on our human existence and flesh, becoming incarnate through Mary, His mother, that He became tangible and approachable to us, conceived by the Holy Spirit and then born into this world, the Saviour Who had been long awaited for by the whole world. He is Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God Most High and the Son of Man. Mary’s acceptance of her role in the bringing forth of God’s salvation into this world made all these possible.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, Mary had listened to the words of the Archangel Gabriel, revealing to her how she was to become the Mother of the Son of God Most High, and her acceptance of the role that the Lord had entrusted to her, sealed her role in the history of our salvation. That is why the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord is exactly nine months before Christmas, as it was at the very moment that Mary answered the Archangel Gabriel with total submission to the will of God, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said,’ that by the power of the Holy Spirit, Our Lord was conceived in the womb of Mary, the Virgin who was to bear a Child, the Saviour of the world.

Mary’s obedience to the Lord and her total commitment to Him marks her as the New Eve as opposed to the first and old Eve of the Book of Genesis. While the old Eve disobeyed the Lord and gave in to her desires and listened to the lies of Satan tempting her with the allures of wisdom and knowledge, Mary as the New Eve remained faithful to the Lord and committed herself to Him, despite all the challenges and trials she might have to face for the path that she was led into. As an unmarried woman, to have a Child outside the bond of marriage it was very risky for her as she could have been stoned to death for her supposed adultery, and naturally Mary must have some hesitation in her heart, knowing all that. But she trusted wholeheartedly in the Lord and gave herself to what the Lord entrusted her with.

Mary has indeed been specially prepared by the Lord as we all know, conceived immaculate as the Immaculate Conception, set aside to be the worthy vessel to bear the Lord, as she is not just the New Eve but also the Ark of the New Covenant, the Covenant to be made and established by Jesus, her Son, Who resided in her womb for nine months. However, although she was made immaculate and free from the taint of original sin, to prepare her for her role, this did not strip from her the free will to choose. She chose consciously to follow God, to obey Him and to listen to Him instead of following the path of the evil one.

And that is not all, brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as we heard from our second reading passage today, from the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author of that Epistle spoke of the worthy offering offered to the Lord, and highlighted how the offerings of blood and animals of old cannot fully satisfy these offerings and requirements to the Lord. But the perfect and most worthy offering has then been made by none other than Christ Himself, the perfect offering of His own Most Precious Body and Blood, offered willingly and out of perfect and total obedience to the will of God, His heavenly Father.

In that way, Christ has become the New Adam much as His mother Mary is the New Eve. As the old Adam disobeyed the Lord and refused to follow His commands, and instead listened to the lies of Satan to satisfy his own desires and in seeking worldly achievements, thus Christ has rebuked and rejected Satan, showing us that we can break free from the power and domination of evil, from his lies and falsehoods, from all of his temptations and the pressures that he had placed on us in trying to mislead us and to distract us to fall into the path of sin. And not only that, but Christ also showed His perfect obedience to the will of His Father as a model for us all to follow.

Today, as we celebrate this great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, all of us are reminded of the assurances that God has given to us all these time, all that He had done for our sake and everything He has promised to us. If we are faithful to Him, we truly have nothing to fear. For He has shown us the path forward to eternal life, true happiness and joy with Him. Unfortunately, more often than not it is we who have faltered, stubbornly refusing to follow the Lord and all that He has shown us. The Lord has always patiently led us to Himself, and He wants us to know that all of us are beloved to Him, and He loves us all dearly.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all remind ourselves today not to succumb to the temptations to sin, but instead be inspired by Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, and Our Lord Himself, who as the New Eve and New Adam respectively have shown us all the path out of the darkness of sin and evil, into the light of righteousness and faith. They have shown us that sin and death do not have the final say or power over us, as long as we have faith in God, walk in His path and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to Him.

The question is, are we all willing to walk down this path that God has shown us? Are we willing to walk down the path with God Who has always been with us, reassured us again and again, and Who has come down into our midst, to live with us and to be Emmanuel, God Who is with us, tangible and approachable? He has shown us all His light, the path and hope amidst the darkness of this world. Are we all willing to follow Him? Or are we still stuck in living in the darkness of this world and in following the temptations and pressures to disobey Him and to sin?

On this great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord therefore, let us all reflect on these and discern carefully our path forward in life. Let us all follow the obedience showed by Mary, the Mother of God as she obeyed the will of God so perfectly, entrusting herself to the care of her Lord, and followed Him in all things. And let us all also follow the example of her Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in His faith and total obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. May all of us draw ever closer to God and may He strengthen us all to live ever more worthily in His presence, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 25 March 2021 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, marking the exact nine months before the date of Christmas as we recall that moment when Our Lord and Saviour was incarnate in the womb of His beloved Mother, Mary, right upon her acceptance of the will of God and her total and complete entrustment to God. By her positive response to the Good News delivered to her through the Archangel Gabriel, Mary has completed and heralded the long awaited coming of the Messiah.

On this day we rejoice in the memory of the Good News that was brought by the Archangel Gabriel, announced to Mary in Nazareth, the coming of God’s long awaited salvation, the fulfilment of all of His plans in saving us mankind. Mankind has long awaited the coming of the salvation which God had in fact proclaimed from the very beginning, right from the very moment that mankind fell into sin because of the temptations of Satan.

Right at that moment the Lord proclaimed that while Satan would strike at the heel of the children of men, but the Woman shall crush Satan himself under her feet. That Woman referred to by the Lord was Mary, the one who would indeed come a long time later as the proof and the fulfilment of God’s many promises to His people, that in the end, He is always still with them and never abandoned them to destruction and evil.

He renewed His promises and as we heard in our first reading today He made the same commitment through His prophet Isaiah, speaking to Ahaz, the king of Judah. The king refused to ask for a sign from the Lord which the Lord then rebuked the king for his false humility and faith, as although he said that he did not want to put the Lord to the test, in his actions and rule as king, he did quite a lot in misleading the people down the path of sin and wickedness, and hence, God again reiterated that the Woman would bear a Child.

Through that exchange between Ahaz and God, we heard the clearest yet of the prophecy of what was to happen, as Mary, the Woman mentioned and promised by God, would indeed bear a Child, Who is the Son of God Most High, the Word of God, Only Begotten Son of God, incarnate in the flesh becoming Man, the Son of Man. He is the Emmanuel mentioned by the Lord to king Ahaz, as His coming into the world meant that God Himself has then dwelled in this world, in our midst, among each one of us.

Today therefore on this great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, all of us rejoice in the Lord and His love for us, that He has fulfilled the promises He made to us, and gave us all His Good News, through the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, soon to be Mother of God, of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Through Mary’s obedience to the will of God, her faith in God and her humble acceptance and commitment to her role as the Mother of the Lord and Saviour, we have therefore received the salvation from God in Christ.

Today therefore we ought to reflect on the faith that Mary had in the Lord, her virtues and dedication, as although she was conceived without the taint of original sin by the grace of God, but she was still a woman, and she remained pure and blameless throughout all her life, and hence the Archangel Gabriel hailed Mary as being in the fullness of God’s grace, which made her to be perfect as the one to bear the Lord and Saviour of all, and as the Ark of the New Covenant.

We may be wondering if it is indeed possible for someone to remain pure, blameless and immaculate from sin throughout. Yet, it was how we ourselves have been created by God, pure and incorrupt, and we were tainted only because we allowed sin to enter into our hearts and minds. Our love for God is not great enough for us to resist the temptations to sin and to do what is against the will of God. On the contrary, Mary loved God with all her heart and with all her might, and that love allowed her to remain true to Him, and remain in fullness of grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? Have we been living our lives in accordance of God’s will as Mary had done? Or have we instead allowed sin and our desires to control us and the direction of our lives? This is the question that we should really ask ourselves today on this Solemnity of the Annunciation and looking back throughout our Lenten journey, and even further back throughout these past years of our lives. Have we been genuine and good Christians, brothers and sisters?

Let us all seek the Lord with renewed conviction and faith from now on, by looking upon His mother, Mary as our role model and example. Let us all be inspired by the faith of Mary, her piety and dedication, her commitment and humility to accept her role in whatever God had entrusted her with, that she dutifully followed and committed herself, all the way even to the foot of the Cross, when she saw her own Son dying and suffering on the Cross for our salvation, for our benefit.

May Mary, the Mother of God, our loving mother as well, pray for us and continue to aid us in our journey through her guidance and ceaseless intercessions, that we may draw ever closer to her Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour that we all may be worthy to receive from Him the gift of eternal life and glory. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, at the moment exactly nine months before the date of Christmas, as this date commemorates the very moment when Our Lord and Saviour was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary, when she responded to the revelation of God’s Good News through the Archangel Gabriel which marked this moment of the Annunciation, when God finally revealed the arrival of His long awaited Saviour into the world.

On this day we rejoice greatly because of this event which heralded the beginning of the whole process of the story of salvation, as the long awaited salvation promised by God has finally come, through a humble and young Virgin in the small and backwater village of Nazareth in Galilee. The Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she was to become the Mother of the Saviour, and since He is also the Son of God Most High, she would also become the Mother of God.

Such a news brought by a great Angel to that young woman would have surprised and rocked anyone’s lives tremendously, and evidently Mary was also surprised and did not expect to hear such a revelation. Yet, it is her response to the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel that we need to pay close attention to, as she humbly listened to the Archangel and obeyed the Lord’s words and will, with her now famous words of acceptance and total submission to God’s will, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me as you have said’.

It is indeed interesting to see how God chose to come into this world in such a way. But this is because He wants to share in our humanity, by His incarnation in the flesh, assuming our fullness of humanity in Jesus Christ, born of Mary, His mother, to bring forth the fullness of God’s salvation to all of His people. And we focus our attention today to this wonderful occasion and especially on the amazing woman whose faith in the Lord can truly inspire us all in how we live our own lives.

We compare the response of Mary to the response of Ahaz, the king of Judah that we heard in our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Isaiah. At that time, the king Ahaz also received revelation from God through Isaiah, of the coming of God’s salvation to His people. But Ahaz refused to accept the sign, saying that he would not put God to the test even when the prophet Isaiah had specifically said that God had asked Ahaz to ask Him of anything. This shows a lack of faith and obedience on king Ahaz’s side, and contrasted him to Mary.

King Ahaz of Judah led the people of Judah further into sin, as according to the Chronicles and the Book of Kings, he did not follow or obey God’s laws and ways unlike some among his forefathers. Thus, his lack of faith can indeed be contrasted to Mary’s total submission to God, his pride and false humility contrasted against Mary’s humility and devotion to God. Mary is the role model for all of us, as her obedience and willingness to accept her role as the Mother of God and Saviour is something that all of us as Christians should also emulate in our own lives.

In this season of Lent, which the Solemnity of the Annunciation’s date often falls within, all of us go through this time of renewal and purification as we prepare ourselves for the celebrations during the joyous season of Easter. And especially this year, our Lenten season have been filled with lots of uncertainty, sorrow and grief, challenges and trials, obstacles and difficulties as most of the world has, and is now still currently suffering from the current coronavirus pandemic and the disease it caused, COVID-19.

More than ten thousand people had died over the past few months and hundreds of thousands are suffering from this sickness, with millions and tens of millions more being affected in various ways, many have lost their jobs and means of living, many have been affected because of the impact this pandemic had on the economy and much of global movement and dynamics of peoples. Many people suffered, and suffering, and will suffer because of this current plague that is claiming more and more victims with every passing moment.

However, despite the darkness and sorrow that surrounded us, despite all the seemingly difficult and tough challenges that are suffocating us with their tight grip, we must realise that we must have faith in God and put our trust in Him while obeying His will and entrust our lives and our whole existence to His care. On this day of the Solemnity of the Annunciation, we are reminded once again that despite the darkness and all the uncertainties in our world, God’s promise of salvation is a reality, and He will always fulfil what He has promised to us.

On this day we celebrate God Who willingly assumed our human existence and chose to be incarnate in the flesh, dwelling in the womb of Mary, His mother, that through Him, Our Lord Jesus Christ, a new Light of hope may be born into this world, dispelling the darkness and all the evils that have been surrounding us, affecting us and enslaving us under their power. We are called today to look upon this Hope and Light we have in Christ, and put our trust in Him even in these difficult and darkened times.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, amidst this difficult crisis and this terrible pandemic, let us all entrust ourselves to God just as Mary had done, and humble ourselves before God, seeking His forgiveness and mercy, and also forgiving each other our faults and shortcomings to one another. Let us all grow ever stronger in faith and in our love and devotion to God, and let us all have no fear of what is to come, knowing that God is always by our side. Let us all take good care of one another and pray for each other in this turbulent times, that the darkness will soon pass and everything will be fine again.

May God be with us always, and may He bless us all and our families, and may He be with all those who are currently sick and dying, and be with those whose loved ones have been afflicted, that He will comfort them, console them, guide them and heal those who are sick. May God bless our world and His Church, and dispel the darkness and evils from our lives. Amen.

Monday, 25 March 2019 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate together the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which is celebrated on every twenty-fifth day of the month of March each year unless it falls within the time of the Holy Week and Easter Octave or on Sundays. The Annunciation of the Lord therefore marks a period which is exactly nine months prior to the date of Christmas, that is the twenty-fifth day of the month of December.

And that is because the Annunciation of the Lord marks the time when the Lord finally proclaimed His Good News to His people at the time He has appointed, after long waiting and expectation by mankind throughout time. This was the moment marked by the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel before Mary, the virgin and young woman at Nazareth, in which the revelation of God’s Good News was made. When Mary accepted her role as revealed by God, the Lord was incarnate in the flesh of Man right at that moment.

The Archangel Gabriel came to Mary bearing a very important revelation, which all of mankind have awaited for a long time. That was the news of the coming of God’s salvation, which most unexpectedly came in the form of the virgin conception and birth of the Child that Mary bore within her. Yet, that was the exact fulfilment of what the prophet Isaiah had mentioned before king Ahaz of Judah, when Ahaz refused to ask God for a sign, showing his lack of faith.

In contrast with the lack of faith in king Ahaz, when Isaiah spoke to him of God’s favour, we saw the faith in Mary, who despite the uncertainty in her heart, accepted fully and faithfully God’s plans and intentions for her, to be the bearer and mother of the Messiah or Saviour of the whole world. When she asked the Archangel, “How can it be, since I am a virgin?”, Mary was not expressing her disbelief or lack of faith, instead, it was natural that anyone who heard those proclamations by the Archangel would be surprised.

After all, it seemed to be against all natural laws, for a virgin to bear a child, as since the beginning of time, children came about when a man and a woman become joined together, and bearing together the fruits of their love for each other. But Mary, as a virgin and yet to be married to her fiancee, St. Joseph, could not have been with a child yet. Nonetheless, what is impossible or seemingly impossible for us, is completely possible for God.

And Mary chose to trust in God and in the plans He had for her and for the salvation of the whole world. Even more importantly, Mary committed herself not just to a part of God’s plan for humanity, but for the entirety of the journey and the plan that God had made evident through Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary. Mary chose to devote herself to her Son, dedicating her whole life to take care of and raise the One Who had been entrusted to her as Son, and later on, to follow Him throughout His life and ministry, right to the very foot of the cross.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why, Mary is so honoured in the Church and our faith, not because she was different in essence from any one of us. We do not worship her as God is worshipped, but we honour her and glorify her as all saints are honoured, and her honour surpasses that of all the other saints. For her faith, dedication and total commitment to what the Lord has entrusted to her, she has indeed become the Co-Redemptrix of our salvation, as without her faith and commitment, our salvation through Christ would not have been possible.

That is why, Mary is not just a role model to all of us Christians, but she is also the shining example for all of us, in all of her actions, in how humble she was in accepting the role that she was to play as the mother of Our God and Saviour. She remained simple and humble throughout life, and continued to dedicate herself to God and to her Son, Jesus, in doing what she could to support His ministry, as a faithful servant and mother attending to Him.

In this season of Lent, there is a reason why the occurrence of the Solemnity of the Annunciation often happens within the boundaries of this blessed season. That is because all of us have also received God’s Good News, that He has proclaimed to us through His Church, just as Mary received the Good News of salvation through the Archangel Gabriel, as well as how king Ahaz accepted his through the prophet Isaiah.

Now, we all have a choice, brothers and sisters in Christ. Do we want to follow the example of king Ahaz, in his refusal to accept the Good News and in his lack of faith, or do we want to follow the example of Mary, Mother of God and humble servant of His? I think the choice here is very clear. While Ahaz is often condemned and grouped together with those wicked kings of Israel and Judah that led the people of God to sin, but Mary, though once a poor and unknown young woman from the small village of Nazareth, now, she is remembered all over the world as the very Mother of Our Lord and Saviour.

Yet, we must also remember that Mary committed herself thoroughly to God’s call, and dedicated herself in her faithful service. In the same way, all of us are also called to devote ourselves to God, in changing our way of life and turning completely to God. And this season of Lent, with its penitential nature, is the perfect time for us to begin this transformation and conversion, that we may become new beings, filled no longer with doubt, pride, ego, hatred, jealousy and wickedness, but instead with God’s love, full of faith and love in us.

May the Lord continue to guide us through this blessed season of Lent, that each and every one of us may imitate the faith and commitment that His own Mother, Mary, has shown us all, in her humble acceptance of the role that He has granted to her, as well as in her commitment and faith to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, throughout her whole life. May God empower us all, to be ever faithful, that we may grow closer to Him, and be worthy to receive eternal glory at the end of our earthly journey.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, full of grace and blessed among women, pray for us all sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Monday, 9 April 2018 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which is traditionally celebrated on the twenty-fifth day of March, nine months before Christmas, but postponed this year to this date as the date fell on Palm Sunday, and during the Holy Week and the Easter Octave, the Solemnity of the Annunciation could not be properly celebrated.

This great and solemn feast of the Annunciation is celebrated nine months before Christmas because, on this day, as according to the Scriptures and the Church traditions, is the day when the Lord Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary, upon her acceptance and submission to the will of God, Who through the Archangel Gabriel has revealed His long planned salvation of all of His people.

On this day, we celebrate the moment when the Archangel Gabriel came to the small village of Nazareth, to a woman betrothed to Joseph, a humble and lowly carpenter, who truly was the heir of David, as the heir to the unbroken lineage of the family of David, king of Israel and God’s faithful servant. One might wonder why the Lord would choose such a humble and lowly family to enact His plan to save us mankind, but in truth, that is what God has willed, and what He has done.

Through Mary, He was to fulfil the long promised and long awaited salvation He has proclaimed to His people through the prophets and messengers He sent into this world. And through Mary, the Divine Himself, the Creator God and Master of all, was to become a Son of Man, born of a woman, that while He is the Creator of all, He was also born of His creation. Such was the great mystery of our Lord and our faith in Him.

Ultimately, we need to know why God has done this, if we are to appreciate what we celebrate today better. All of these were because of the love which God has for each and every one of us. If God has not loved us, or if He had not considered as us beloved and truly dear to Him, He would not have taken the trouble to do all He had done for our sake, by becoming a Man, to be with us and to dwell among us, that by that action, He might save us all.

First of all, all of us mankind have, by the reason of our disobedience, been cast off from the grace of heaven and from the love of God. We have sinned because of that disobedience beginning from the time of Adam and Eve, when we mankind first disobeyed God by falling into the temptation of Satan. And because of that, we should have perished and should have been destroyed, as due to our sins, we have become defiled and tainted, and no sin or corruption can exist in the presence of God.

God had laid His plan from the very beginning, knowing right from the start, what He would do in order to bring about the reconciliation and salvation of His beloved creation, that is all mankind. That is why He warned Satan from the very beginning, that whatever plots and efforts he had done to sway mankind to fall away from God would eventually fail, as God would give His salvation, and it would come through the Woman prophesied, not just by God Himself mentioning it, but also the prophet Isaiah.

The prophet Isaiah mentioned to king Ahaz of Judah, that a woman would be with child, and though a Virgin, she would bear a Son. This is something that is impossible with man, for no one can have any child or conceive save through sexual relationship and intercourse. Yet, with Mary, God fulfilled His promise and revealed just how wonderful His love for us is, that, He was willing to take up our human existence, and wrapping His divinity in human flesh, that He, from then on, has two natures, Divine and Man, united in the person of Jesus Christ.

Through His wondrous conception in the womb of His mother, the Blessed ever Virgin Mary, God made it clear that He was not like other man in that He was created as a mere creature of God. Instead, He was begotten by the Father, co-equal with Him, as the Son, from before the beginning of time, and by the Holy Spirit and His power, as the Archangel Gabriel mentioned to Mary, He was incarnate in the flesh.

God entered into this world, taking up human nature, so that by that very action, He may reconcile us as the New Adam, as the first one among mankind to be free from the slavery to sin, by His perfect love and obedience to His Father, rejecting Satan and his temptations to obey the will of God His Father, to the point of taking up the cross, suffer indignation and rejection, being nailed to the cross, and dying on that cross, and that by His death, all mankind may be saved.

By His death, we have shared in His death, in the death of His human existence, that we die to our sinfulness and all of our taints and corruption of this world. And by His glorious resurrection from the dead, He showed us all a glimpse of our eternal existence with Him, if we are faithful to Him and His ways,

Now, are we aware of this great love which God has for us? Are we aware that He has loved us so much that He went through all of these for us, just so that we may be saved? But yet, so many of us are still ignorant of this fact, or that we know, but we reject God’s love and generous offer of mercy, just because we are too proud to admit that we have been wrong and mistaken in our ways.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore as today we recall the great love which God has for us, that for our sake He has willingly become one of us, embracing our humanity in a way unprecedented and never done before, let us all rededicate ourselves to Him, and love Him just as much as He has loved us first. Let us no longer be disobedient or be rebellious in our ways, that we may draw closer to God in our lives, day after day.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He guide us along our journey, that we will be able to find the path forward, and persevere in our loving relationship with God, the God Who had made Himself Man, that by sharing in our humanity, He may save us all by His death and then by His glorious resurrection. May God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 25 March 2017 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the day which celebrates the moment when the Archangel Gabriel came into the world, to the poor village in Nazareth in the region of Galilee, proclaiming to a young virgin named Mary the Good News which mankind had awaited for a very long time.

On this day we remember that very moment when Mary conceived the Lord Jesus, Son of God Most High and Saviour of all mankind, the moment when she said yes to the Archangel Gabriel, the time when she obeyed the will of God with a perfect humility and devotion, with perfect love and commitment to God. And it was because of this yes, that the world has seen its Saviour and God’s long planned salvation has come to its fruition at last.

It was at this moment, at that time in Nazareth, that the Lord made into motion His long planned plan to save all of us. He has promised His beloved people again and again, that He would send forth His salvation towards them, and the Messiah, or the Saviour would enter into this world, and through Him all the people of God will find their way to the Lord and be saved.

It was thus why Jesus was born into this world, according to the words of the Scripture itself, that as the prophet Isaiah mentioned it in his book, that the new light has dawned upon the world, and all those who are living in the darkness, in this darkened world has seen a great, new light. That light is the light of Christ, Who is the true Light of the world.

God Himself had loved us so much to the point that He sent us none other than His own Beloved Son, the Divine Word Incarnate, God before all ages, Son of God and part of the Holy Trinity into this world, to become our Saviour. In order to do this, He became Incarnate into the flesh of us mankind, that as a Man, at the same time that He is Divine, He may share in our humanity, and lifting up all of our sins and unworthiness, He may bring upon us the reconciliation with God.

By assuming our flesh, through the will of God the Father and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus the Son has united all of our humanity with Himself, as He became our great and true High Priest, offering for our sake and in our place, the perfect sacrificial offering for our sins and wickedness. It is because of His love for us that He had done all of these. He would not want us to fall into hell and damnation there, and therefore, He came into this world for our sake.

But all these were also made possible because of the obedience and the faith of Mary, who placed herself in the hands of God, trusting completely in His will and desires, obeying Him as one who is His servant and handmaiden, with the words, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me as He has willed it.” This basically means, “His will shall be done”, the example of perfect and total obedience. It was at that very moment that God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became Man and took upon Himself the flesh and the nature of mankind.

Let us all ask ourselves in this time of Lent, during this season when we are supposed to spend time reflecting on our lives and take a step back, in order to reevaluate our actions and deeds in life. Are we able to be like Mary in our lives, in our deeds and works? Are we able to follow in her footsteps, in how she responded to the Archangel Gabriel?

Let us not think that just because Mary, the mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, has been conceived and born without the taint of original sin, therefore she is different from any one of us. She also experienced moments of doubt and uncertainty when the Archangel Gabriel suddenly appeared to her and declared to her that she would bear a Child, and the Child is none other than God Himself, and thus, she would become mother of God.

Who would not be surprised when the person heard such a shocking revelation? And yet, even though some doubts and uncertainties came to her in the beginning, as she asked the Archangel Gabriel for clarification on how such thing was possible, as she was still an unmarried virgin, she chose to place her trust in God, and surrendered herself completely to do the will of God.

It is often that we mankind like to do things our own way, and we prefer things to go according to what we have planned and prepared for. We do not like it when things do not go as what we wanted it, but unfortunately, more often than not, that is exactly what happened in reality. And when we tried to make things to go along what we wanted, that is when much bickering, struggles, infighting and animosity came about.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, we are all called to reflect on the state of our souls, on our actions and deeds in this world that had led us into sin and disobedience against God. This is the time for us to find the way to the Lord, by discerning carefully what it is that we need to do in order to draw closer to the Lord our God. And there is indeed no better way to do so, than to follow in the example of Mary, the mother of God.

Let us all learn from the faith which Mary had in the Lord, putting her complete trust in Him, despite all the uncertainties and fears she had, but she remained faithful and obedient, even to the very end. She placed her faith in God, and she followed her Son all the way to Calvary, to the foot of the Cross, waiting patiently at the side of her Son as He completed the work of salvation for which He came into this world for.

May all of us be more like Mary in our ways, our actions, words and deeds. Let us all commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, following the example of Mary and the holy saints of God, so that in all things, we may grow ever closer to God, particularly through this perfect opportunity of Lent, seeking forgiveness for all of our sins and wickedness, that we may find our way to the Lord and receive His grace forevermore. Amen.