Tuesday, 8 September 2020 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrating the moment when Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, was born into this world. And if we noticed the date and timing, we will realise how it is exactly nine months today, after the eighth day of the month December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

If on the day of the Immaculate Conception we rejoice in the moment the Mother of God herself was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, then nine months after that, today, we celebrate her birth into this world, the moment of joy when both her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne welcomed her into the world although at that time no one would have ever known that this little baby, soon to be a young woman and lady, would be the one to bear the Saviour of the world.

In today’s Scripture readings, we heard of the humanity of Christ that came forth from His descent, through His legal foster-father, St. Joseph, who was the rightful heir of David, the great King of Israel, and He was also descended from king David through His mother Mary, through another lineage also highlighted in the Scripture and according to the sacred traditions of the Church.

We heard through the long lineage how the Lord eventually descended through the kings of Judah and Israel, to king David and through him, from Abraham, the father of many nations, and ultimately from Adam, the very first one of all man. Through this very significant link, we can see that in Christ lays the ultimate culmination of the Lord’s salvation of His people, in Christ as the New Adam, a comparison that was made by St. Paul, the One Who liberated us all from death just as the first, old Adam brought us into death through sin.

Then how does Mary fit in all these, brothers and sisters in Christ? Just as Adam was the first man, and Eve was created by God from the flesh of Adam, then we can surely see the interesting parallel that exists between Adam and Eve, and Christ and His mother, Mary. Yes, exactly, Mary is the new Eve, the new Woman that the Lord Himself had proclaimed at the beginning as the one through whom the final victory of man over Satan and his forces would come from.

When Eve fell to the temptations of Satan and fell into sin, it was Mary’s faith and obedience to God that marked a new beginning for all of us. And while Adam and Eve fell into sin, embracing the temptations of Satan who persuaded them with knowledge and power, to fill themselves up with greatness and in Satan’s own words ‘to be like God’, the new Adam, Christ Himself, although fully Divine, chose to empty Himself from His divinity, and in humble and perfect obedience, destroyed the sins caused by the disobedience of man.

Through Mary and her obedience, her faith and commitment, the love she has for her Son, showed by her dedication through her whole life since birth and through the lifetime and ministry of her Son, she has showed us what it means for us to follow God and to be faithful to Him, and that is why, rightfully, the devil himself fears Mary very, very much, the most of all the children of Adam and Eve, as it was her devotion to God, her perfect love and faith, modelled after her Son, that brought him to his ultimate and complete defeat.

Unlike Eve, Mary was not and could not be tempted by Satan, just as he failed to tempt the Lord Himself. That is why, rightfully, he feared Mary, just almost as much as he had to yield to her Son, his rightful Lord and Master, whom he had rebelled against, lost, and cast out, to face eternity of defeat and destruction, while all of us, who share in the glory of Christ, will be brought out of the clutches of Satan, and with Mary guiding the way for us to her Son, our Lord and Saviour.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice today in celebration of the birthday of the Mother of Our Lord, let us all therefore look upon the examples of her faith and dedication, her trust in God and how she humbly allowed God to lead her in all things. And indeed, it is by following her examples and being inspired by her faith that we can be closest to God, for ‘through Mary, to Jesus’ should be our rallying cry, in the constant struggle against sin.

Let us all not lose faith and remain strong in our commitment to the Lord, and let us all have faith, that in the end, we will win the struggle over our souls, and by siding with God, with the help of His beloved Mother, Mary, who is also our mother, we will find the surest and best way to reach the salvation in God’s everlasting grace and love.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, whose birth we celebrate and rejoice today, pray for all of us, your adopted children and sinners, that we may grow ever stronger in faith and love for your Son, by imitating and following your own examples, humility, obedience and faith, in all times and at all moments of our lives. May the Lord be with us always, and may He always bless all of our good endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 1-16, 18-23

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 1 : 18-23

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 12 : 6ab, 6c

But I put my trust in Your unfailing love, my heart will rejoice on seeing Your salvation.

I will sing to YHVH, for He has been good to me!

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Micah 5 : 1-4a

But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, so small that you are hardly named among the clans of Judah; from you shall I raise the One Who is to rule over Israel. For He comes forth from of old, from the ancient times.

YHVH, therefore, will abandon Israel until such time as she, who is to give birth, has given birth. Then the rest of His deported brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand, and shepherd His flock with the strength of YHVH, in the glorious Name of YHVH, His God.

They will live safely, while He wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace.

Alternative reading

Romans 8 : 28-30

We know that in everything, God works for the good of those who love Him, whom He has called, according to His plan. Those whom He knew beforehand, He has also predestined, to be like His Son, similar to Him, so, that, He may be the Firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

And so, those whom God predestined, He called, and those whom He called, He makes righteous, and to those whom He makes righteous, He will give His glory.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together with the whole Universal Church the occasion when Mary, the Most Blessed Mother of Our God, Jesus Christ, was born into this world, after she was conceived in her mother’s womb and grew there for the nine months of pregnancy. She was born from her mother, St. Anne, pure without sin, just as she was prepared by God specially since the moment of her Conception.

In today’s readings we heard about the fulfilment of God’s long prepared plan to save His people, by the sending of the Messiah, through Whom He would gather all of His people and reconcile them to Himself, saving them from their predicament and fated destruction because of their disobedience and thus, their sins. And God would make this salvation a reality, through none other than the cooperation of Mary, a human being whom God had especially chosen and blessed, to be the Mother of Our God and Saviour.

In today’s Gospel passage, we heard the long citation of the genealogy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning from Abraham, the father of many nations and the ancestor of the Israelites, who himself was the descendant of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors. Through Abraham was born Isaac and then from Isaac, Jacob, and later on through the generations, king David and his successors, to whom God has promised that his descendants will rule forever and his kingdom will never end.

And in the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we have seen the perfect fulfilment of God’s promise to us mankind, first of all, to Adam and Eve, that the reckoning would come for the deceit of Satan who tricked them to sin, and to Abraham, as through the Lord Jesus Christ, all of mankind have been gathered together as one people, all who looked up to Abraham as their father in faith, to king David as mentioned, for Christ is the one true Heir of David’s kingdom.

All of these came about because of the plan and works which God had carried out to its perfect completion, by the cooperation, faith and commitment which one woman, Mary, showed before all of us, by her obedience to God’s will, and by her willing collaboration throughout her life that God’s saving works are carried out to its perfect completion through Christ, her Son.

As mentioned, Mary was prepared and designed to be special, distinct from all other men and women, by the singular grace of God, that she alone of the children of man is preserved from the taints of original sin that has affected all other men and women. She was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, pure and immaculate, free from sin and perfect, blameless and worthy, in the Dogma that the Church upholds as the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Therefore, as we remember Mary’s birth into this world on this day, we should reflect on the coming of this beacon of hope into our world. When Mary came into the world, it was the first time since the beginning of time, that a man walked in this world, free and unbound by the chains of sin and death. For ever since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and sinned against Him, sin has ever since enthralled us all mankind.

But sin has no hold or sway over Mary, for she was without any sin, and remained free from sin throughout her life. Mary lived an exemplary life, filled with love and faith in God, as evident in how she loved her own Son, the Divine Word incarnate. Mary’s love for God was so perfect, as shown by the perfect, motherly love she has shown for her Son, and her obedience to the will of the Father, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in her, that Satan and his wicked forces have no hold whatsoever over her.

Rightfully, Satan was afraid of her, as she was the fulfilment of what God had Himself declared to him at the moment of the fall of Adam and Eve into sin. God said that while Satan will strike at the children of mankind, but the Woman will crush him under her feet. This was a reference to what Mary, the Woman mentioned by God, would do to Satan, for through her role in the bringing of the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, into this world, she has crushed for eternity, Satan’s power and kingdom.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians are called to reflect on our own role in the works of God’s salvation. We should look upon Mary as the perfect role model and example for our own faith and in how we should live out our own lives in accordance with God’s ways. Mary has loved the Lord with all of her heart, and devoted herself so completely to God, in a state of total surrender to the will of God. Many of us can follow her example in how we should be faithful to God.

Why is that so? That is because many of us are still burdened by the temptations of our pride, our greed and human desires, and by all the temptations and hurdles that kept us from truly being able to dedicate ourselves to God. And many of us grew distant from God, because we did not build up a good relationship with Him, as we are often too preoccupied in life, by our careers, studies, and all other things that made us to forget to spend quality time with God.

Let us therefore turn towards God, through Mary, His most blessed and beloved mother, who is our perfect role model as the ideal Christian, in following the Lord’s ways and in how she has walked faithfully and obeyed God all her life. Let us all also ask Mary to intercede for us, for being the Mother of God, she is the greatest of all saints and the one who is closest to her Son, at the very side of His throne, interceding for us sinners.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived and born without sin, pure and immaculate, pray for us all sinners, and bring us all closer to your Son, that we too one day, may be worthy as you are, to be with God, your most beloved Son, Our Lord and Saviour. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 1-16, 18-23

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 1 : 18-23

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 12 : 6ab, 6cd

But I put my trust in Your unfailing love, my heart will rejoice on seeing Your salvation.

I will sing to YHVH, for He has been good to me!

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Micah 5 : 1-4a

But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, so small that you are hardly named among the clans of Judah; from you shall I raise the One Who is to rule over Israel. For He comes forth from of old, from the ancient times.

YHVH, therefore, will abandon Israel until such time as she, who is to give birth, has given birth. Then the rest of His deported brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand, and shepherd His flock with the strength of YHVH, in the glorious Name of YHVH, His God.

They will live safely, while He wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace.

Alternative reading

Romans 8 : 28-30

We know that in everything, God works for the good of those who love Him, whom He has called, according to His plan. Those whom He knew beforehand, He has also predestined, to be like His Son, similar to Him, so, that, He may be the Firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

And so, those whom God predestined, He called, and those whom He called, He makes righteous, and to those whom He makes righteous, He will give His glory.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. On this day, parallel to the presentation of her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, which we celebrate on the second day of February, we see the venerable custom of the Jewish people, commanded by God in the Law, that all of the firstborn children of the people of God ought to be offered to God, to be sanctified before Him.

Through the Blessed Virgin Mary, God wanted to show all of His beloved people, His love and also hope for our salvation. Through her, the Saviour of this world has been born, the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man through His mother Mary. Mary indeed has been prepared especially for this role, as the Church and our faith believes that she was conceived without sin, immaculate and pure from the moment of her conception.

Why is that so? That is because she was to be the one who bear the Saviour in her womb, as the one who would bear the Master of all the universe Himself, Who is all good and perfect. She is the new Ark of the Covenant, and as the old Ark which is made of precious metals and materials, the new Ark was even better, as compared to the old Ark which was the product of man’s craftsmanship, the new Ark was God’s craftsmanship alone, as all of us have been made in the image of God.

And when Mary was offered at the Temple to the Lord, it also symbolises the complete surrender and dedication to God, which all of us mankind are supposed to be doing with our lives as well. Mary kept herself in the service of God all her life, and she obeyed Him and followed Him in what He wanted to do with her life. She listened to God’s will and allowed Him to perform His wondrous works through her life, the most important of which was her acceptance of the role to be the Mother of God.

In the Gospel passage today, Jesus was speaking to the people about who is truly His brothers and sisters, His mother and His family. At the first glance, it might seem that Jesus was rebuking His own family and His own mother no less, as they were looking for Him and wanted to speak to Him, and yet He apparently refused to even acknowledge them as His family.

Yet, in reality, He was using the opportunity to teach the people and to reveal to them, that because of Himself, Who has come into this world, as the Son of God born of the Virgin and became Man, all of mankind who share in the humanity of Christ have also been called to become God’s children. But many of us have been wayward and refused to obey Him, and instead, we follow other leaders and other ways, falling into sin in the process.

This is where Jesus showed us the way to go forward, that is the best way for all of us to reach out to Heaven. And it is none other than through Himself, by His sacrifice on the cross, which bridged the once unbridgeable gap between us mankind and God, and this way passes through His mother, Mary. Thus, the saying, ‘ad Iesum per Mariam – To Jesus through Mary’, which signifies that Mary, the Mother of Our God is the best and easiest way for us to reach out to the Lord and His saving grace.

When Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, that those who listen to the Lord and obey His will and commands are considered to be God’s family, He was in fact pointing out that Mary, is the best embodiment of that obedience, for her entire life, as I have mentioned earlier, has been dedicated to God and His service. Mary is the finest example for all of us Christians to follow, on how to be true disciples and followers of the Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate together today as the whole entire Church, with joy for the remembrance of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, let us all renew our conviction and commitment to live faithfully, and filled with sincere and wholehearted faith, that in each and every one of our actions, we will always be ever faithful to God, following the examples of Mary, in her obedience and commitment to God.

Let us all also devote ourselves and indeed, resolve to present ourselves to the Lord, even though we are sinners and unworthy, so that through our renewed commitment and effort we will draw ever closer to Him, and be eventually ready to receive His everlasting grace. May God bless us always, and may His loving mother Mary intercede for our sake always. Amen.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”