Monday, 18 November 2019 : 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 (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 18 : 35-43

At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road, begging. As he heard the crowd passing by, he inquired what was happening, and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was going by. Then he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The people in front of him scolded him, “Be quiet!” they said, but he cried out all the more, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped, and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the man said, “Lord, that I may see!”

Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has saved you.” At once the blind man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving praise to God. And all the people who were there also praised God.

Alternative reading (Mass for Dedication of the Basilicas)

Matthew 14 : 22-33

At that time, immediately, Jesus obliged His disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowd away. And having sent the people away, He went up the mountain by Himself, to pray. At nightfall, He was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was very far from land, dangerously rocked by the waves, for the wind was against it.

At daybreak, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. When they saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear. But at once, Jesus said to them, “Courage! Do not be afraid. It is Me!” Peter answered, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus said to him, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water to go to Jesus. But seeing the strong wind, he was afraid, and began to sink; and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and took hold of him, saying, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”

As they got into the boat, the wind dropped. Then those in the boat bowed down before Jesus, saying, “Truly, You are the Son of God!”

Monday, 28 October 2019 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of not just one but two great Apostles of the Lord, two of the Twelve Apostles, namely St. Simon the Apostle and St. Jude the Apostle. St. Simon the Apostle was also known as Simon the Zealot as he was a zealot before he joined the Lord as one of His disciples. Meanwhile, St. Jude the Apostle was known as Jude Thaddeus, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, the traitor.

Both of these Apostles were known for their great dedication in serving the Lord and being faithful witnesses of the Gospel and the truth of God just as the other Apostles had done. St. Simon was often associated and celebrated together with St. Jude and they share the same feast day today because according to tradition, they often travelled together in their missionary journeys and activities.

St. Simon and St. Jude evangelised in the regions of Lebanon, Persia and Armenia, going from places to places to spread the Word of God and calling the people to repentance from sin and salvation through Christ. Many people became believers because of their efforts and they were remembered for their crucial role in sowing the seeds of faith and building the foundations of the Church in the many places they had ministered in.

They also visited and evangelised in many more places across the Mediterranean world, from Libya to Mesopotamia, to parts of Judea, Samaria and others on their own. Eventually, they were martyred in Lebanon, where according to some tradition both were arrested and suffered because of their tireless efforts in building the Church of God, and gave up their lives willingly for their faith in God.

These two Apostles did not have it easy throughout their ministries, as although they reaped many good fruits of their work, but there were equally many if not more occurrences when they had to suffer and face rejection from those who opposed their works and refused to believe in the truth of God. And they had to endure all of these throughout their many years of service to God, but they remained faithful nonetheless.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of the great and inspiring examples of these two faithful Apostles of the Lord, surely we can also walk in their footsteps and follow their examples through our own faithful and purpose filled lives in serving God. And if we think that are not capable of walking down that path or that we are nothing compared to the Apostles who seemed to be greater than life, then we must remember that God called His Apostles from among the ordinary people just like us.

God has called His Apostles like St. Simon and St. Jude from among the ordinary ones, sinners and unworthy, people from various backgrounds and origins, but with the ultimate result of them being empowered and strengthened by God to do His will. All except for Judas Iscariot followed the Lord to the very end, with all of them except for St. John were eventually martyred for their faith and dedication to God.

The Lord has then also called us all to follow Him and become His disciples. He has called us to be His witnesses in our world today, within our communities and among those whom we know. He is calling us to be the bearers of His truth and His love to the world as the reality is such that the works of the Apostles are still work in progress and there are still many opportunities through which we can serve God.

Are we willing to take up the challenge and the cross which God has once given to His Apostles? Are we able to dedicate ourselves to Him and do our very best to be shining examples of faith among our fellow men? Let us reflect well on this and spend some time to discern our path in life. We do not need to worry that we are not capable or that the task ahead may be too difficult or challenging for us.

Instead, let us all have that courage and trust in God, doing our best in our own small ways, through our regular, daily living, by doing our best in everything we say and do in life that everyone who sees us know that truly we belong to God and then hopefully they too may come to believe in God through us. May God be our guide and our strength, and may His holy Apostles, particularly St. Simon and St. Jude intercede for our sake always. Amen.

Monday, 28 October 2019 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 6 : 12-19

At that time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose Twelve of them, whom He called ‘Apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there, and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured.

The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went out from Him and healed them all.

Monday, 28 October 2019 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Monday, 28 October 2019 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now, you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house, whose foundations are the Apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus. In Him, the whole structure is joined together, and rises, to be a holy Temple, in the Lord.

In Him, you, too, are being built, to become the spiritual Sanctuary of God.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the feast of one of the Lord’s twelve principal disciples, also known as the Apostles. And on this day, we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, who was also one of the Four Evangelists together with St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. St. Matthew was once known as Levi, who was a tax collector that the Lord Jesus called to be His disciple.

The Lord called Levi to follow him and leave behind his post, and Levi listened to the Lord, and invited Him to his house along with many of the other tax collectors. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law disapproved of this act, and they thought badly of the Lord because they saw Him as associating with the people they condemned as sinners and being unworthy of God. But the Lord rebuked them and said that He came into this world precisely to seek those who are sick, sick because of sin.

And Levi left behind his post and profession, and became a disciple of the Lord from then on. That was how he became St. Matthew eventually, one of the Twelve Apostles, a committed disciple of the Lord who followed Him throughout His ministry and through the moments of His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection. He witnessed all that the Lord has done, and was part of the Great Commission which the Lord commanded all of His disciples.

They were all commissioned and sent into the world, to preach the Good News and the truth about God’s salvation. And the Apostles and the other disciples went to various places throughout the world spreading the Word of God. St. Matthew went to the Jewish communities throughout Judea and other parts of Israel, and was likely focused on ministering among the Jewish communities at that time.

That was also why St. Matthew wrote his Gospel a few decades after the death of Christ with the particular slant and purpose, aimed to target the Jewish populations to bring to them the truth of God explaining in particular the aspect of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as the One Whom God has promised for time immemorial through His servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers of the Israelites, and also through king David, the great king of Israel.

In the way he wrote his Gospel, he wanted to deliver the truth of God towards His own people, in explaining with the context understood by the Jews at the time. He did his best through the power of his pen and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help guide the people of God to the truth. In addition, he also carried out missionary works like that of the other Apostles and eventually, was martyred for his faith as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect on the life and the works of St. Matthew the Apostle, in all the hard work that he had done for the sake of the people to whom he is ministering and evangelising towards. Are we able to dedicate ourselves to the Lord in the way St. Matthew has dedicated his? We must not forget how St. Matthew even left everything behind to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.

It does not mean that we have to leave everything behind as St. Matthew has done, but rather, we have to give our heart totally to God and focus our attention in Him. We have to do our best in our every actions, words and deeds to give greater glory to God, and become the witnesses of His truth to all others not just by words alone but through our every actions and even small gestures that we take every single day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all renew our commitment to the Lord and let us all be ever closer in our relationship with Him. Let us all entrust ourselves, our hearts, our minds and indeed our whole being to God without any more reservations. Let us all be ever more faithful and be more Christian-like in everything. May God bless us all now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 9 : 9-13

At that time, as Jesus moved on from the place where He cured a paralytic man, He saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom house; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And Matthew got up and followed Him.

Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is it, that your Master eats with sinners and tax collectors?”

When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means : What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”