Tuesday, 13 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial Feast of our Lady of Fatima (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a truly wonderful and beautiful feast of the Church, honouring the blessed mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that is His mother, Mary, who appeared to three children at a village known as Fatima in Portugal, almost a century ago, in which she revealed much revelations of truth to the children, about the faith and the Church and the constant battles it faces daily against the evil in the world.

The revelations of Fatima had been a very popular topic among many of the faithful, and many speculations about its contents had arisen. But most importantly, the truth is that Mary who appeared to the three children foretold the many events that would happen, and did happen in the course of the last one century since the apparition.

The apparition was seen by the three children, but many tens of thousands of other people saw the miracle of the sun and testified to its truth, through which the Blessed Virgin Mary showed the truth of her message, and the urgency of the contents of such message, in the view of the increasing dangers facing the Church of God and the faithful disciples of the Lord.

Our Lady and mother of our Lord had often appeared to us, to mankind to continue to urge us to return to the loving embrace of her Son, and abandon our past, sinful lives, in exchange of a new life anchored upon God’s love. She appeared to the three children at a time of great difficulty, not just for the Church but also for the entire world and mankind.

The first world war was raging when the three children saw our Lady in Fatima, and her appearance occurred just moments before the downfall of the Christian nation of Russia, the Russian Empire, which was overthrown by the Communist rebels and agitators, ushering in a long period of suffering, death and destruction, which we all are very aware about, the effects of which are still felt today.

The Cold war, and the second world war was all indirectly and directly linked to that event, and also to other sad events that had unfolded during the past one century. And the apparition revealed those sad events to the children, who eventually one of them revealed much of the revelations to the Church. This world indeed had been filled with so much violence and evil for much of the past century, and it is therefore ever more urgent that we heed the call for repentance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to change our ways if we have dwelt in darkness and engage in wicked behaviours and dealings. We cannot be ignorant and continue with our lives as if nothing has happened. We have to commit ourselves to the way of the Lord and listen to the call of His mother, who, as the greatest among the saints and intercessors, and as the one nearest to her Son’s throne, she is our greatest help in this life’s battle against the corrupting nature of sin and evil.

The Lord Himself said that those who do the will of God, and keep as well as understand His precepts will be blessed. As such, that is what our Lady at Fatima encouraged mankind, that is to give themselves to the Lord and dedicate themselves to Him, and to ask His mother for help and intercession during the time of troubles. We must not be afraid to do so, for the mother of our Lord is loving and merciful, and she wants to help us that we may be saved and be reunited with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have to be profoundly changed in our ways, that in all the things we say and do, we will always reflect the will and nature of our God, and in that, be blessed in all that we do. Let us heed the call of our beloved mother Mary, who appealed to us to reform our ways that we may shun violence and evil, and embrace instead her Son who showed us love in all its perfection through His sacrifice on the cross.

O, our Lady of Fatima, the mother of our Lord and our mother, help us to change our ways and continue to speak to us, just as you had spoken at Fatima long time ago, that we may understand better, how to become loving children of God, and sin no more but live eternally in His grace. O most loving mother, pray for us sinners. Amen.

Monday, 14 October 2013 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Callistus I, Pope and Martyr (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyr)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord Jesus is our promised salvation, the One whom the prophets had been proclaiming about. He is the descendant of David, the One to inherit for eternity the kingdom that had been given to His forefather, to be the king of not just Israel, but over all the world, and indeed, as the Lord Creator of all, as the King of all creations.

He is also the descendant of Adam, the first man, and as a new Man, the Son of Man, becoming the new Adam, the first One to rise from the dead and into glory. Just as Adam had fallen into temptations of Satan, the evil one, with his wife, Eve, then Christ had broken hold of evil over mankind, the descendants of Adam, by being the faithful One, the One who held on true to His faith and love in God, even unto death.

Yes, for through Jesus, the new Adam, mankind had been liberated, ransomed with the price of the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Himself. That is the price He had paid for the sake of our salvation and liberation from slavery of sin under Satan. That ultimate sacrifice He had done at Calvary, to die on the cross for the sake of all mankind, is the sign of Jonah that He had promised to show the people, who so stubbornly demanded Him to show a miraculous sign.

Yes, brethren, demanding Jesus to show them a sign, while what they have experienced while they were with Him, especially the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who had always tailed Jesus wherever He went, and tried Him with questions and traps they had laid for Him. They have seen what Jesus had done, and had heard His teachings, and yet they did not believe, or rather, refused to believe in Him or in what wonders He had done.

The sign of Jonah is the reinforcement of what had happened to Jonah, when he tried to escape from his prophetic responsibility, to bring the judgment of God to the city of Nineveh. His escape ship was struck with a vicious storm, and he had to throw himself into the sea so that the ship would not sink. God sent a big fish, a whale, to swallow and protect Jonah in its belly for three days. That is what had happened to Jonah, and precisely what Jesus had shown the people of God.

Jesus Christ Himself was taken away from the world, that after His death, He went down into hell, not as a condemned one, but instead as a triumphant and conquering One, as One who liberates those who had been imprisoned unjustly by the evil one, delivering them from the darkness of the hell and this world into the light of heavenly glory. For three days, He was hidden from the world, just like Jonah who was in the belly of the fish for three days.

And just as Jonah who had been freed from the belly of the fish and went on to continue his ministry to Nineveh and its people, and after realising the benevolence and merciful nature of God, understanding that the people of Nineveh was not punished because they were repentant and regretful of their past sinful ways, so did Jesus bring about salvation and forgiveness for all those who had shunned their sinfulness and embraced Him as their Lord and Saviour.

This is the fundamental core of our faith, one that we have to keep uphold strongly throughout our life. We must never forget that our Lord had died for us and given up His life so that we may live and not suffer death eternal in hell, for He had freed us from bondage to Satan and bring us into new life of holiness and true joy.

Today, brethren, we celebrate the feast of Pope St. Callistus I, also known as St. Callixtus I, one of the first Popes and therefore one of the early leaders of the Universal Church. Pope St. Callistus I faced many difficult experiences in his life, and even more so during his ministry as the successor of St. Peter, as the leader of the Universal Church. There were oppositions and persecutions from the pagan Romans and their Emperors, and life was truly difficult. There were also oppositions from within the Church, with rival factions and disagreements threatening to split the Church apart, especially over treatment of lapsed Christians and forgiveness given unto them when they decided to return to the Church.

Yet, Pope St. Callistus I persevered through these tribulations, and led the people of God through those difficult times, enduring oppositions after oppositions, and led the people of God back to God, reconciling themselves with one another. Pope St. Callistus dedicated himself to the cause of Christ even unto his death, his martyrdom in the defense of his faith. In that, he had upheld the faith that he had in Christ, in the One who had Himself persevered through numerous trials and oppositions, and death so that all of us may be saved.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us then commit ourselves ever more devotedly to the Lord our God who had given His all for our sake, that we will not abandon Him, and truly believe wholeheartedly in His Passion, in the suffering and death He had endured for the sake of us all. And may Pope St. Callistus I pray for us and intercede for our sake before the Lord Jesus, our loving God and Father of all. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Psalm 148 : 1-2, 11-12ab, 12c-14a, 14bcd

Alleluia! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heavenly heights. Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His heavenly hosts.

Kings of the earth and nations, princes and all rulers of the world, young men and maidens.

Old and young together – let them praise the Name of the Lord. For His Name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven. He has given His people glory.

He has given a praise to His faithful, to Israel, the people close to Him. Alleluia.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Acts 17 : 15, 22 – Acts 18 : 1

Paul was taken as far as Athens by his escort, who then returned to Beroea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up in the Areopagus hall and said, “Athenian citizens, I note that in every way you are very religious. As I walked around looking at your shrines, I even discovered an altar with this inscription : ‘To an unknown God.’ Now, what you worship as unknown, I intend to make known to you.

God, who made the world and all that is in it, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, being as He is Lord of heaven and earth. Nor does His worship depend on anything made by human hands, as if He were in need. Rather, it is He who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone.

From one stock He created the whole human race to live throughout all the earth, and He fixed the time and the boundaries of each nation. He wanted them to seek Him by themselves, even if it were only by groping for Him, succeed in finding Him.

Yet He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being, as some of your poets have said : ‘for we too are His offspring.’ If we are indeed God’s offspring, we ought not to think of divinity as something like a statue of gold or silver or stone, a product of human art and imagination.

But now God prefers to overlook this time of ignorance and He calls on all people to change their ways. He has already set a day on which He will judge the world with justice through a Man He has appointed. And, so that all may believe it, He has just given a sign by raising this Man from the dead.

When they heard Paul speak of a resurrection from death, some made fun of him, while others said, “We must hear you on this topic some other time.” At that point, Paul left. But a few did join him, and believed. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus court, a woman named Damaris, and some others.

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Sunday, 7 April 2013 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (First Reading)

Acts 5 : 12-16

Many miraculous signs and wonders were done among the people through the hands of the apostles. The believers, of one accord, used to meet in Solomon’s Porch. None of the others dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem.

So an ever-increasing number of men and women, believed in the Lord. The people carried the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and on mats, so that when Peter passed by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them.

The people gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those who were troubled by unclean spirits, and all of them were healed.