Friday, 14 May 2021 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of one of the Lord’s great Apostles, namely St. Matthias, the one who was chosen as Apostle and as member of the Twelve Apostles to replace Judas Iscariot, who was the one that betrayed the Lord to the chief priests, and subsequently killed himself in grief, as noted in the Acts of the Apostles passage today in our first reading. The other Apostles had also abandoned the Lord and fled in fear when the Lord Jesus was arrested, and St. Peter also denied Him not once but three times.

However, what made the actions of Judas Iscariot to be different is that while the other Apostles returned to Him and were reconciled to Him, as especially illustrated by the encounter between Jesus and His Apostles and disciples at the Lake of Galilee after He has risen from the dead. St. Peter was called by the Lord, Who then asked him, ‘Peter, do you love Me?’, not only once but three times, at which each time, St. Peter reaffirmed his love and dedication to his Lord and Master, ‘Lord, You know that I love You.’ And through these words, the Lord did not only forgive St. Peter and the other Apostles, but also then entrusted them with the care of His faithful people.

Judas Iscariot did not have the faith in the Lord, and instead gave in to despair and regret, to fear and doubt, and he took his own life as a result. He did not trust in the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness, and allowed Satan to make him in the first place, the instrument of betrayal by which the Son of Man would be betrayed and handed over to the chief priests and the Pharisees. He had the free will to choose his course of actions, but he chose to follow his desires and temptations, and to side with his fears and despair, rather than to trust in the Lord.

Hence, as the Apostles decided in the first reading today, chaired by St. Peter, the place once occupied by Judas Iscariot had to be replaced, as their number of twelve was not just a mere number. For twelve is a truly significant number, representing the number of the sons of Israel and henceforth later on, the twelve tribes of Israel. And as seen in the vision of St. John in the Book of Revelations, the Twelve Apostles will sit on the twelve seats of judgment representing these twelve tribes, as a symbol of the unity of God’s people, with the Apostles as its pillars, for the Church is indeed the new Israel, the new chosen people of God, formed from all peoples from all the nations.

St. Matthias was chosen from among those who had followed the Lord from the beginning, to fill the seat vacated by Judas Iscariot, and hence he became the twelfth Apostle, who then was instrumental in the efforts of the early Church in expanding and establishing the firm foundations of the faith in various places, as all the Apostles went on journeys and trips to the many countries and places to proclaim the faith to more and more people who had not yet known the Lord and His truth. St. Matthias went to the region of Asia Minor, to Cappadocia and areas around the Caspian Sea, and then as far as Ethiopia.

According to some Apostolic traditions, St. Matthias was martyred in either Ethiopia, where he was stoned to death for his works and efforts by the pagans, or in Jerusalem itself by the local populace, who stoned him and then beheaded him for his commitment to the Lord and for his fearless preaching of the truth of God. Nonetheless, regardless of the details of his martyrdom, what is certain about St. Matthias is that he is truly a devoted servant of God, a great Apostle who had laid the firm foundation of the Church and the Christian faith in many places, and became the source of inspiration for many people.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate today this great feast in honour of one of Our Lord’s great Apostles, we are called to remember St. Matthias’ great commitment and love for the Lord, his passion in spreading the truth of the Gospel and all that he had done for the sake of all the faithful. And all of us should be inspired by his courageous example and faith, and doing the very best in our own lives to glorify the Lord by our lives and by our faith.

As Christians, all of us are the ones who have been entrusted to continue the great works and efforts which have been begun by the Apostles, to reach out to more and more people, and to lead more and more to the salvation in God. This is the same mission which our Lord has entrusted to His Apostles, including St. Matthias, and this mission is still far from being done, and on the contrary, it is still ever ongoing, with more and more people are in need of the Lord’s truth and light, and how many still do not yet truly know the Lord.

It is up to us then to be the bearers of this truth, and we can do this by being good role models of our faith in our own respective communities, in our own families and among our own relatives, within our own circles of friends and among those who are acquainted to us, lastly even to the strangers whom we meet and encounter in each and every moments of our lives. Even in the small and little actions, words and things we do in our lives, in what may seem to be insignificant, in truth, we all are being witnesses to the Lord among all those whose lives we have touched and even influenced, often without us realising it.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what are we then going to do in order to fulfil the mission and the commandments that the Lord has entrusted to us? Are we going to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him and to His cause? Or are we going to pretend that we have no responsibility or anything to do with our faith? As Christians, we are all called to be active in living up our faith, and we should therefore discern very carefully how we are going to live our lives from now on in accordance to God’s will. This is what we should do, brethren, and what we are all called to be as part of our baptism.

Let us all therefore be inspired by the faith and examples of the Holy Apostles, especially that of St. Matthias, in entrusting ourselves to God and in following His will and commandments, wholeheartedly devoting ourselves to serve Him each and every moments of our lives. Let us all be inspired by the zeal and courage of all of our holy predecessors, the innumerable saints and martyrs through which we may also follow in their footsteps in glorifying the Lord and in revealing His truth and light more and more in our darkened world today.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us, giving us the courage and will to persevere in our own vocations and calling in life, to be faithful in our lives that through us many more people may find their way to the Lord and His salvation. May God bless us all in our many good works and endeavours, in our efforts for His greater glory. Amen.

Thursday, 13 May 2021 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the fortieth day of the season of Easter, on which day we mark the glorious Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ into Heaven, the moment when He rose up to Heaven before all of His assembled disciples, who saw Him ascending and rising to Heaven returning to His Father and claiming His Throne and rightful place at the end of His earthly ministry. From then onwards the Lord was no longer seen in the flesh, and yet, He is still with us and by our side, for He is always ever present, and His Presence remains with us in the Eucharist.

But what is most important is that, while the Lord ascended in glory to Heaven, He also reassured His disciples and followers that not only He would still be by their side, but He would also send the Holy Spirit as the Advocate and Helper, to give them the wisdom and strength, the courage and power to do what He has entrusted to all of them to do. And at that same time, the Lord sent out His disciples and reaffirmed them in their mission, to preach and pass on the Good News of God’s salvation and His truth among the nations.

As Christians, all of us have been called to the same mission entrusted by God to His disciples, and He has also given us the same Holy Spirit to encourage us and strengthen us in our own lives and in our own actions and dealings with one another. And the Lord would not forget us and He is always be by our side, just as we heard in our Gospel passage today. Those who serve the Lord and walk in His presence will not be harmed, and this has the meaning that, in the end, if we remain firmly faithful to the Lord, then we shall be safeguarded and we shall not be disappointed, for no matter what challenges and difficulties we may face, in the end, the Lord will triumph and we shall also be triumphant with Him.

In his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, St. Paul elaborated how all of us who are faithful in God are one Body and one Spirit in Christ, as members of the same Body of Christ, the Church, and with the same Holy Spirit having come down upon us to inspire and strengthen us all. And through the Holy Spirit, God has given us many gifts, St. Paul mentioned how each and every one of us are given particular gifts, to serve the Lord faithfully in each of our own way, that in all things we may always glorify Him by our lives, and many will also come to believe in Him through us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is our calling and mission as Christians, to be the witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and to proclaim His love to all. This is not just the work of missionaries or the responsibility of priests and bishops, or any other ordained and lay ministers of the Church. Yes, these people are involved and some are very passionate and greatly involved in the works of the Church and in proclaiming God’s truth, but it does not mean then that we have no obligation or responsibility as Christians, as members of the Church.

On the contrary, each and every one of us share in this same mission to evangelise to the peoples of many nations as part of our common baptism, which we have received and shared together at the moment when we become members of the Church, be it as infants or as adults. We cannot pretend as if we do not have any responsibility or anything to do with the efforts of the Church in reaching out to more and more people. Instead, we have to be active parts of the Church’s evangelising and missionary efforts and works, at all times.

And we all have a part to play in the efforts to lead more and more people to the truth of God, and that is why we have to be active, in living our lives faithfully and becoming good role models and inspirations to one another in how we carry out ourselves in life and in how we interact with each other. That is how we can become genuine witnesses of the Lord and our faith in our respective communities. This is not just something for the members of the ordained ministry or any other lay ministers to do.

First of all, we need to support our priests and bishops, and all the deacons and others who have given themselves and their lives for the good of the Church and for the people of God they are ministering to. We also need to support those who have given themselves to the Lord as religious brothers and sisters, praying constantly for us all and through their own works daily. All of these have given themselves to the Lord wholeheartedly, in their own way, fulfilling what He has called them to, in their own vocation and way of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as the Lord ascended in glory to Heaven, He is preparing for us all a place there, and He has shown us all the way forward. Now it is really up to us to do as He has commanded us to do. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves, our time and effort to do whatever we can to fulfil the mission God entrusted to us? If we think that we are not able to do this, or that we have no ability to do so, or thinking that we need to do great and amazing things then we are unable to do it, then we must realise that what the Lord is calling on us to do, is to make good use of the gifts He has given us in each and every moments of our lives.

That means, even in the smallest of actions and in the seemingly most insignificant of interactions, we should be exemplary and show God’s love through our actions, and really show how we are truly His people by our faith, by standing up for His truth at every possible opportunities. And we should work together with everyone, as members of the same Church, same Body of Christ, in glorifying the Lord through our actions and our lives. We are not alone in this journey, and together we can accomplish so much more than we ourselves alone.

That is why, let us from now onwards dedicate ourselves to the cause of the Lord, our Master and our King, ascended into Heaven, to prepare for us the place of eternal glory. Let us in our own way then fulfil all that He has entrusted to us, the mission to preach His truth and Good News to all the peoples of all the nations. Let us touch the lives and hearts of more and more people, so that through us and our genuine faith, we may inspire more and more people, even in small ways, to walk in the path of Christ, and together we may share in His glory, and receive the true and eternal joy in Him. May God bless us all in our every good efforts and endeavours. Amen.

Sunday, 13 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, on which day we remember the day when the Lord Jesus ascended in glory into heaven, marking the end of His earthly ministry and work among His people, but not the end of His good works for us. He indeed ascended in Body and Spirit towards heaven, but He is still always ever present among us, for after all, He is God, ever-omnipresent.

And He has not left us all alone in this world, but rather, He promised and indeed gave us the Holy Spirit, to be our Guide and Helper in our journey of faith and in our struggle for a faithful life in God. This He sent to His Apostles and disciples at the occasion of the Pentecost, just days after He ascended into heaven. The Holy Spirit reinvigorated them and gave them great strength and courage, and while before that, they were fearful of the repercussions from the enemies of their faith, after receiving the Holy Spirit, their actions and faith were transformed.

He promised us all as well, that He will come again in His glory, as His Second Coming, when He would deal a final defeat on Satan and all of His enemies. In fact, He clearly stated to His disciples, that He ascended to the side of His Father, that He may prepare a place for all of those who have been faithful to Him. Then, in the meanwhile, He gave all of us a mission, that is the most important mission which He has entrusted to each one of us, also known as the Great Commission.

The Great Commission is the command that Christ gave to all of His disciples, to be His witnesses among all the nations, to go forth to various places and to many different groups of peoples, preaching the Good News and the truth which He Himself had revealed to the Apostles. And from the Apostles, who had witnessed for their faith in God, this same faith has been passed down to their successors and the faithful who came after them, and from them, all the way through the ages and years, right down to all of us living today.

That is how each and every one of us became Christians, which means that we become members of God’s Church. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Ephesus mentioned that God has given us all various gifts, and to each different people were given different unique gifts as how God wished us to use them in our own unique ways, to serve His greater glory as part of His one Church.

What does this mean? It means that each and every one of us as members of God’s Church must make use of our talents and God-given abilities in order to serve God’s will, and to fulfil our part and our obligation as part of the Great Commission which I have just mentioned. And we will do it in our own distinct and unique way, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach in being a Christian and living a faithful and devout Christian life.

That means, each and every one of us are called to be devoted in our own way, making use of the gifts which God has given us, and serve Him in that way. To those among us whom God has called to be His servants, to surrender ourselves to His will and to give ourselves completely into His service, as priests and those living holy and devoted life consecrated to Him, God has given us all the gift of faith, and He calls upon us to answer to that call and respond to Him calling deep in our hearts.

Similarly, to those among us who are called to a life dedicated to our families, as fathers, mothers and as caretakers of our children, in holy matrimony and as part of our Christian families, we are called to live a good and faithful Christian life, through which we show our deep love for God, for our families and our fellow men, and by the appreciation of the love God has shown us, we too may show the same love in our own actions and dealings with each other.

Unfortunately, as surely we all know quite well, many of us have not been able to commit ourselves in our respective tasks and callings, and in fact, many of us have wandered off from God’s path, failing to obey what God had commanded us to do, and instead of listening to His will, we prefer to follow our own desires, our own considerations and thoughts of what we think is better for us.

That is why so many of us are lukewarm in our faith, and we do not realise just how we can contribute as true Christians and members of the Church. We carry on with our lives, thinking that as long as we are Christians in name and have been baptised, then everything will be fine with us without the need for us to do any more for the Lord and His Church. But this is exactly why today, we have so many Christians who are truly most un-Christian like in their actions and in their lives!

There are many among us as mentioned, whom God had called to the priesthood and other vocations dedicated to the service of God and His people, but many were too busy with their lives to respond, or that they were tempted easily by many things in this world, and therefore, failed to realise what it is that they need to do with their lives, in order to be better Christians and more faithful to God’s will for them.

And many among the laity have also not supported wholeheartedly the good works of the Church, thinking that the priests and those who serve God are all those who suppose to be working for God’s sake, and not them. No, that is also a very wrong mentality, as in fact, being members of the laity, and as people who have chosen to carry on their lives with marriage and family as their vocations, should also be actively supporting the Church together, as one family and as part of one Church.

As St. Paul mentioned, that we are all part of this one Body of Christ, that is the Church. And because of this, it is important that we are united as one in our actions, in our deeds and good works, so that we help each other and support one another, in carrying out what God has commanded us to do, that is to proclaim His Good News and His truth among the nations, and no part of the Church, be it laity or the priests, can do it alone on their own.

It is worse still when we as Christians do what we should consider abominable, that is, backstabbing, gossiping and all sorts of nasty and vile actions towards each other. This is when we act in the most uncharitable way towards one another, being angry or jealous at others, and that is indeed, most un-Christian in nature. Do we realise this, and do we understand just how much in our own lives, we have not been truly faithful to God?

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we come together to celebrate the moment of Christ’s glorious Ascension into heaven, let us all remember that while God ascended into heaven, He is not gone from our midst. On the contrary, He is always there with us, and He has given us many blessings, graces and gifts. And as Christians, meaning as those who have accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour, and having believed in His truth, we have the obligation and duty to do our part, to be witnesses for our faith in Him.

Therefore, if we have not done our part, or indeed, if we feel that we have not done enough to contribute our abilities, our skills, in our own way, be it as a father, as a mother, as a child, as a teacher, lawyer, doctor, engineer, in our own profession and work, or as a religious brother or sister, as a priest or as bishops, as those entrusted with the spiritual well-being of the faithful, each and every one of us have the responsibility to do our part, as the members of God’s one Church in this world.

Let us all therefore now pray, that God will grant us the strength, through His Holy Spirit, that each and every one of us will be able to discern well our role in the Church and in this world, and may He grant each one of us, the courage and the desire to love Him more, love our brethren and one another more, and be ever more devout and committed Christians each and every day of our lives. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 10 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, on which day we remember the day when the Lord Jesus ascended in glory into heaven, marking the end of His earthly ministry and work among His people, but not the end of His good works for us. He indeed ascended in Body and Spirit towards heaven, but He is still always ever present among us, for after all, He is God, ever-omnipresent.

And He has not left us all alone in this world, but rather, He promised and indeed gave us the Holy Spirit, to be our Guide and Helper in our journey of faith and in our struggle for a faithful life in God. This He sent to His Apostles and disciples at the occasion of the Pentecost, just days after He ascended into heaven. The Holy Spirit reinvigorated them and gave them great strength and courage, and while before that, they were fearful of the repercussions from the enemies of their faith, after receiving the Holy Spirit, their actions and faith were transformed.

He promised us all as well, that He will come again in His glory, as His Second Coming, when He would deal a final defeat on Satan and all of His enemies. In fact, He clearly stated to His disciples, that He ascended to the side of His Father, that He may prepare a place for all of those who have been faithful to Him. Then, in the meanwhile, He gave all of us a mission, that is the most important mission which He has entrusted to each one of us, also known as the Great Commission.

The Great Commission is the command that Christ gave to all of His disciples, to be His witnesses among all the nations, to go forth to various places and to many different groups of peoples, preaching the Good News and the truth which He Himself had revealed to the Apostles. And from the Apostles, who had witnessed for their faith in God, this same faith has been passed down to their successors and the faithful who came after them, and from them, all the way through the ages and years, right down to all of us living today.

That is how each and every one of us became Christians, which means that we become members of God’s Church. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Ephesus mentioned that God has given us all various gifts, and to each different people were given different unique gifts as how God wished us to use them in our own unique ways, to serve His greater glory as part of His one Church.

What does this mean? It means that each and every one of us as members of God’s Church must make use of our talents and God-given abilities in order to serve God’s will, and to fulfil our part and our obligation as part of the Great Commission which I have just mentioned. And we will do it in our own distinct and unique way, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach in being a Christian and living a faithful and devout Christian life.

That means, each and every one of us are called to be devoted in our own way, making use of the gifts which God has given us, and serve Him in that way. To those among us whom God has called to be His servants, to surrender ourselves to His will and to give ourselves completely into His service, as priests and those living holy and devoted life consecrated to Him, God has given us all the gift of faith, and He calls upon us to answer to that call and respond to Him calling deep in our hearts.

Similarly, to those among us who are called to a life dedicated to our families, as fathers, mothers and as caretakers of our children, in holy matrimony and as part of our Christian families, we are called to live a good and faithful Christian life, through which we show our deep love for God, for our families and our fellow men, and by the appreciation of the love God has shown us, we too may show the same love in our own actions and dealings with each other.

Unfortunately, as surely we all know quite well, many of us have not been able to commit ourselves in our respective tasks and callings, and in fact, many of us have wandered off from God’s path, failing to obey what God had commanded us to do, and instead of listening to His will, we prefer to follow our own desires, our own considerations and thoughts of what we think is better for us.

That is why so many of us are lukewarm in our faith, and we do not realise just how we can contribute as true Christians and members of the Church. We carry on with our lives, thinking that as long as we are Christians in name and have been baptised, then everything will be fine with us without the need for us to do any more for the Lord and His Church. But this is exactly why today, we have so many Christians who are truly most un-Christian like in their actions and in their lives!

There are many among us as mentioned, whom God had called to the priesthood and other vocations dedicated to the service of God and His people, but many were too busy with their lives to respond, or that they were tempted easily by many things in this world, and therefore, failed to realise what it is that they need to do with their lives, in order to be better Christians and more faithful to God’s will for them.

And many among the laity have also not supported wholeheartedly the good works of the Church, thinking that the priests and those who serve God are all those who suppose to be working for God’s sake, and not them. No, that is also a very wrong mentality, as in fact, being members of the laity, and as people who have chosen to carry on their lives with marriage and family as their vocations, should also be actively supporting the Church together, as one family and as part of one Church.

As St. Paul mentioned, that we are all part of this one Body of Christ, that is the Church. And because of this, it is important that we are united as one in our actions, in our deeds and good works, so that we help each other and support one another, in carrying out what God has commanded us to do, that is to proclaim His Good News and His truth among the nations, and no part of the Church, be it laity or the priests, can do it alone on their own.

It is worse still when we as Christians do what we should consider abominable, that is, backstabbing, gossiping and all sorts of nasty and vile actions towards each other. This is when we act in the most uncharitable way towards one another, being angry or jealous at others, and that is indeed, most un-Christian in nature. Do we realise this, and do we understand just how much in our own lives, we have not been truly faithful to God?

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we come together to celebrate the moment of Christ’s glorious Ascension into heaven, let us all remember that while God ascended into heaven, He is not gone from our midst. On the contrary, He is always there with us, and He has given us many blessings, graces and gifts. And as Christians, meaning as those who have accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour, and having believed in His truth, we have the obligation and duty to do our part, to be witnesses for our faith in Him.

Therefore, if we have not done our part, or indeed, if we feel that we have not done enough to contribute our abilities, our skills, in our own way, be it as a father, as a mother, as a child, as a teacher, lawyer, doctor, engineer, in our own profession and work, or as a religious brother or sister, as a priest or as bishops, as those entrusted with the spiritual well-being of the faithful, each and every one of us have the responsibility to do our part, as the members of God’s one Church in this world.

Let us all therefore now pray, that God will grant us the strength, through His Holy Spirit, that each and every one of us will be able to discern well our role in the Church and in this world, and may He grant each one of us, the courage and the desire to love Him more, love our brethren and one another more, and be ever more devout and committed Christians each and every day of our lives. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communication Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are celebrating the seventh and second last Sunday in the season of Easter, as we approach its ending, with the coming of the Solemnity of the Pentecost next Sunday. Today we also celebrate the occasion of the World Communication Sunday, bringing to our attention the importance of communication, not just as a primary method for us all to relate with one another, but more importantly, it is through communication that we are able to spread the Word of God to others, and call more people to salvation in God.

The Apostles whom we heard in the first reading today were the ones who preached the Good News of the Lord to the world, speaking the truth of Jesus Christ and bearing His light into a world darkened by sin and evil. Had they not gone forth and courageously telling the people of the truth of Christ, many people would not have known of God’s salvation, and these souls would have been lost from God, and might have fallen into eternal damnation.

They bore the truth of God to the people, and those who heard them were touched and were moved in their hearts to follow the Lord and obey His will. But did the Apostles do all the work on their own accord? Did they do all of these by their own strength and power? No, it was because they all, as their Lord had shown them, remained firmly connected to the Lord, through none other than constant prayer and devotion.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard how Jesus Himself prayed to His Father in heaven, in a series of long prayers from the Gospel of St. John, how Jesus prayed for the sake of His Apostles and His Church. He showed them how to pray to God, the Source of their life and the Master of all. Jesus glorified and thanked the Father, as He had also done in the Lord’s Prayer, which He had taught the Apostles in a separate occasion.

Prayer indeed is not as what many of us envisioned it or knew it. Prayer is not a litany of supplications and demands, wishes and wants. Many of us thought that through prayer we are able to get what we wanted, just by asking the Lord our God and everything will be granted to us. We turned to God only when we need Him, and when He did not give us what we wanted, that is when we ended up becoming angry at Him and left Him behind.

Many of us did not realise that prayer is how we truly ought to communicate with God, to speak to Him from heart to heart, and not just utterances from the mouth alone. It is perfectly possible for someone to utter words of prayers without understanding them, or without meaning them. What good will it be for us to pray and yet not meaning what we say? And what good will it do for us if we are to pray for our own selfish intentions and wants?

Today, as we celebrate the occasion of the seventh Sunday of Easter and also the World Communication Sunday, let us all remember these two things, which are truly very important for us as Christians. First of all, let us all remember that we Christians need to pray, as prayer is the foundation and the fabric of our faith. Without prayer, our faith will be easily shaken, and we will easily fall into temptation and into the traps laid down by the evil one.

For prayer is what strengthens the foundation of our faith, and genuine prayers help us to grow in our spirituality and in our relationship with God. Through prayers, we communicate with God, and as in all communications, such interactions should be two-way in nature. We also must allow God to speak in our hearts, just as we want to speak with Him.

It is very often that we as human beings living in this world are often too busy and too preoccupied by our worldly matters, by our work and occupations, to the point that we are unable to hear the words which God spoke to us in the depths of our heart, because we are simply too busy to take note, and the noise of this world prevented and distracted us from listening to Him.

It is important therefore, for us all to spend time with God, and not just be preoccupied with our work. After all, we all often bother and worry about many things we have in this world, about how we do our work, about how we perform in life, about whether we can get promotion in life, in work and in our career, but do we all realise that all these things are ultimately not the most important things in our life?

God knows all that we need, brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is often that what we need are not what we want. Many of us may think that we need money, possessions, wealth, fame, recognition from others, glory and praise. Yet, all these things are truly not what we need in life. There are many people out there who are rich, powerful, respected and filled with glory and honour in accordance to the world, and yet, they are not happy in their lives.

Prayer is the way for us to seek the Lord and gain true happiness through Him. For it is He alone Who can satisfy us truly and Who will provide us what we need in life. It is why we need to pray, and not just any prayers, or just by uttering words of prayers without meaning them or understanding them, but making those prayers out of the sincerity of our hearts, from the desire we have to share our burdens, our concerns and our worries with Him. And then, let Him take care of everything for us, in His own way. Let Him speak to us, so that we may know what it is that He really wants from us.

And therefore, we come to the second thing, which all of us Christians need to take heed of. And that is the fact that, all of us as Christians need to share the knowledge, the joy and the things which we have received from the Lord, for we have known the Lord, and we have spoken with Him, from heart to heart. As the Apostles had once laboured and worked hard to evangelise and to preach the Good News, it is now therefore our turn to do the same.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians, as the members of God’s Church have been given the same mission which He had given His Apostles, at the time when He ascended to heaven in glory. He commanded all of them to go to all the ends of the earth, and preach the Good News to all the peoples, that all of them may come to know the truth of the Lord, His love and the promised salvation He has brought to them, so that through baptism, all of them may be saved.

This is what we need to do, brothers and sisters in Christ, that is to communicate the truth of God to all the nations, to our fellow men and women, to those who have not yet known the Lord, and even to those who have rejected or abandoned Him. But we do not have to worry, for the Lord will ever be on our side, guiding us and telling us what to do.

And we do not need to begin from great things, for what is needed is indeed for each and every one of us to begin from ourselves, by making sure that all of us are truly faithful to the Lord, by practicing our faith with zeal. Then, let us all also do what the Lord had taught us to do, by loving our brethren, forgiving our enemies and all those who have caused us hurt and suffering. By being role models to others, we can inspire many more people to come to the Lord.

May the Lord therefore empower us all, as He had sent us His Holy Spirit, so that all of us will be filled with the courage and strength to do what we need to do, in order to become ever closer to the Lord, and to bring more and more people to His salvation and love. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 5 May 2016 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a day of great rejoicing and great celebrations, for all of us commemorate today the day when our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our God, rose up into the glory of Heaven, ascending on the clouds of power, returning to the place where He came from, in order to prepare everything for us, for the time when He will come again to bring us all into the eternal glory He has designed for us.

Today’s celebration marks the culmination of the earthly works and ministry of our Lord, Who had been willing to come down from His heavenly glory, and assuming our humble form, and to suffer as we mankind have suffered, and embracing and taking upon Himself all the multitudes of our sins, that by His suffering and death on the cross, He might bring all mankind into the salvation He promised them, and liberate them from the forces of evil and darkness surrounding them.

By His resurrection our Lord had defeated death, showing to us all that if we are faithful to Him, death has no power over us, and no longer shall we despair or fear death, as death is not the end, but instead, the beginning of a new life with God that far exceeds whatever life and whatever joy and happiness that we have in our life currently on this earth.

The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven is therefore the final stage of that truth which our Lord is showing all those who believe in Him. We too shall ascend in glory at the end of time, and when the Lord comes again as He has promised even as He ascended into heaven, He shall bring us all who are faithful to Him, into the everlasting inheritance, the true joy and happiness that is the share of those who keep their faith in God.

After His ascension, indeed, we no longer see Jesus face to face as what the Apostles did. They were blessed indeed to have been able to walk with our Lord, and be in the presence of our Lord Jesus, including those disciples and the people to whom Jesus had ministered to. And those to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection had witnessed indeed His might and power, the Conqueror of death and the Giver of life.

But that does not mean that we who no longer see Christ our Lord is abandoned by God. We may no longer see Him as the Apostles did, but He is here with us, and He will always be with us, even without us knowing it. He has given us all His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, which He instituted and passed on to His Apostles and disciples, that by the bread and wine changed into the substance of His own Body and Blood, our Lord is truly present in our midst, and indeed, inside each and every one of us who faithfully and worthily received the Lord in the Eucharist.

He has also given us and sent to us the Holy Spirit, to be our Guide and Advocate, to strengthen our faith and keep the commandments which He has given us inside our hearts. He is always with us and He is always guiding us in His own subtle ways, helping us through one another and through His Church to find our way to Him and be saved. He is always active and is always at work, for the salvation of our souls, even if we have not yet noticed it.

And His promise that He will come again a second time? Yes, it is true, and He will indeed come again as He had promised. But that time will be different from His first coming. The events from the Book of the Revelations of St. John would show us that when Jesus our Lord comes again, at the very end of time, and at a time of His choosing, He will come no longer as a simple Man born in a stable amongst animals and shepherds, but instead as a victorious and conquering King.

And therefore, what does this mean to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us ask ourselves then, if the Lord were to suddenly appear and come into this world again tomorrow, or even on this very day, are we ready and worthy to receive Him? Are we prepared to welcome the Lord when He comes at the time He had designated? Or are we too caught up in enjoying the world such that we forgot about Him?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice and celebrate together the Solemnity of the Ascension, let us therefore keep in mind that we should be upright in our deeds and actions, and be filled with righteousness and justice. We must be prepared for the Lord Who will come again at anytime He desires, so that when He comes, He will not find us wicked and unworthy, and resulting therefore in us losing the promise of eternal life, and instead receive damnation.

Let us all remind one another, that the Lord is always with us, and He ascended into heaven in order to prepare the way for us, by preparing the place for us in the world to come. Let us hope in His promise, for He is forever faithful. Let us never be disheartened or discouraged by the challenges and difficulties that come about in our respective lives, for God Who is ever faithful will bless us always. Amen.