Saturday, 11 January 2020 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 22-30

At that time, Jesus went into the territory of Judea with His disciples. He stayed there with them and baptised. John was also baptising in Aenon, near Salim, where water was plentiful; people came to him and were baptised. This happened before John was put in prison.

Now John’s disciples had been questioned by a Jew about spiritual cleansing, so they came to John and said, “Rabbi, the One Who was with you across the Jordan, and about Whom you spoke favourably, is now baptising, and all are going to Him.”

John answered, “No one can receive anything, except what has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’ Only the bridegroom has the bride; but the friend of the bridegroom stands by and listens, and rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice. My joy is now full. It is necessary that He increase, but that I decrease.”

Thursday, 2 January 2020 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 19-28

This was the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” John recognised the truth, and did not deny it. He said, “I am not the Messiah.”

And they asked him, “Then who are you? Elijah?” He answered, “I am not.” They said, “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Tell us who you are, so that we can give some answer to those who sent us. How do you see yourself?”

And John said, quoting the prophet Isaiah, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness : Make straight the way of the Lord!”

Those who had been sent were Pharisees; and they put a further question to John, “Then why are you baptising, if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?” John answered, “I baptise you with water, but among you stands One Whom you do not know; although He comes after me, I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandal.”

This happened in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising.

Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, marking the beginning of the period after Christmas season, the Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent seasons. Today’s feast is significant because it marks the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, at the approximate age of thirty, many years after He was born as a Child in Bethlehem, which is the focus of our Christmas celebrations, and three years before He was to be crucified and died, which is the focus of our Lenten preparation for the Holy Week celebrations.

In our own baptism, when we were conferred the very first of the seven Holy Sacraments of the Church, we were cleansed by the holy water and made to be worthy of God, washed away from the taints of our original sins, from all the past wrongdoings that we have committed, and we were accepted to be members of God’s Holy Church, and consequently, we become God’s own adopted children.

If we look at what happened that day at the River Jordan, when Jesus came towards St. John the Baptist, asking to be baptised by him, then it must have been very weird indeed, and His actions must have been incomprehensible to us. In fact, that was exactly why St. John the Baptist himself was stunned by such a request, as he himself said that he was the one who should have been baptised by Jesus.

But the Lord rebuked him and said that they should proceed according to His wish, as everything has to be fulfilled in accordance to what the Lord has revealed through His prophets. And thus, Jesus was baptised in the waters of the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist, and then heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended down upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father sounded clearly, “This is My Son, My Beloved. My favour rests upon Him.”

Why did He do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because our own baptism is a reflection of Christ’s own baptism at the Jordan, and through baptism, all of us have been made God’s own adopted sons and daughters as I have just mentioned earlier. And at the moment when Jesus was baptised, the Father revealed that He is His Son, and because He share with us our humanity, having assumed the flesh of Man and born of His mother, Blessed ever Virgin Mary, all of us mankind now have become His own brothers and sisters.

And we have been sealed in the Name of the Holy Trinity, of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit at the moment of our baptism, the moment when our live was changed forever, be it that we were baptised as babies and infants through the guidance of the faith of our parents, or whether we were baptised after we have reached adulthood and voluntarily chose to accept the Lord Jesus as our God and Saviour.

Therefore, today let us all recall the moment of our own baptism. If we cannot remember what happened, then at least we should remember the day when we were baptised and reflect on the fact that we have been so fortunate so as to receive from God an adoption as a son or as a daughter. We are so fortunate that He has willingly forgiven us from our sins and loved us so dearly that He gave us the means for our salvation and liberation from the tyranny of sin and death, by none other than the gift of His beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us all then remember what is it that we have been called to as Christians, through our baptism, that we make use of the gifts that God has given each and every one of us. We should devote ourselves, our mind, heart, body and everything we have, to serve God and His people, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, members of God’s beloved and holy Church, that we proclaim His glory and Good News, through our words and more importantly, through our actions.

Therefore, let us all continue to strengthen our faith in God, and resolve to live our lives faithfully, in accordance with His ways. Let us no longer walk in the path of sin and wickedness, but instead, resolve to remain true to our promises made at the time of our baptism, that we will keep ourselves pure and free from sin, and committed to live day after day, as worthy of God, our loving Father. May God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 1 : 7-11

John preached to the people, saying, “After me comes One Who is more powerful than I am; I have baptised you with water, but He will baptise you in the Holy Spirit.”

At that time, Jesus came from Nazareth, a town of Galilee, and was baptised by John in the Jordan. And the moment He came up out of the water, heaven opened before Him, and He saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove.

And these words were heard from heaven, “You are My Son, the Beloved, the One I have chosen.”

Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 28 : 1-4, 9-10

Give the Lord, o sons of God, give the Lord glory and strength, give the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in great liturgy.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over vast waters. How powerful is the voice of the Lord, how splendorous is the voice of the Lord.

The voice of the Lord makes the oaks shudder, the Lord strips the forests bare, and in His Temple all cry, “Glory!” Over the flood the Lord was sitting; the Lord is King and He reigns forever.

Monday, 8 January 2018 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 42 : 1-4, 6-7

Here is My Servant Whom I uphold, My Chosen One in Whom I delight. I have put My Spirit upon Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. He does not shout or raise His voice, proclamations are not heard in the streets. A broken reed He will not crush, nor will He snuff out the light of the wavering wick. He will make justice appear in truth.

He will not waver or be broken until He has established justice on earth; the islands are waiting for His law. I, YHVH, have called You for the sake of justice; I will hold Your hand to make You firm; I will make You as a Covenant to the people, and as a Light to the nations, to open eyes that do not see, to free captives from prison, to bring out to light those who sit in darkness.

Alternative reading

Acts 10 : 34-38

Peter then spoke to Cornelius and his family, “Truly, I realise that God does not show partiality, but in all nations He listens to everyone who fears God and does good. And this is the message He has sent to the children of Israel, the Good News of peace He has proclaimed through Jesus Christ, Who is the Lord of all.”

“No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him.”