Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is related to the Feast which we have just celebrated the day before, that is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And while yesterday we rejoice in the glory of the Holy Cross and the triumphant victory which our Lord Jesus Christ had won because of His sacrifice on the Cross, today we remember that behind the Cross, precisely at the foot of the Cross, was Mary, the mother of our Lord.

For Mary was ever faithful and devoted to her Son, Whom she followed throughout His life and ministry in this world, ever loving Him and caring for Him at all times, even to the point of following Him to the Cross at Calvary. It must have been painful and unbearably excruciating for a mother to have to witness her Son being made to suffer, tortured and rejected by the people whom He had loved, and the pain which Mary had felt upon seeing the nails piercing the hands and the feet of her Son must have been tremendous.

This was what the prophet Simeon had foretold to Mary and Joseph, at the time when they brought the Baby Jesus to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. He foretold that a sword would pierce the heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord, but through that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. It is the thought which Mary always had for her Son, ever placing Him at the forefront of her mind, and the care and love He had for her, which she now shows us from her wounded heart.

Therefore, today, all of us look upon Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God, whom her Son had entrusted to us as our Mother, and vice versa, that we have also been entrusted to her as her adopted children. And in her we see the sorrowful eyes which have gazed on the suffering of her Son, as He took up His cross, walking the long path from Jerusalem to Calvary, seeing her Son rejected and trampled upon, loathed and made to suffer, bearing the burdens of our sins, the entirety of mankind’s unimaginably huge burden of sin.

Therefore, that is why the sorrow of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows is clear, even unto this very day, because even though God had loved us and He even willingly laid down His life for our sake, sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, but we continue to sin and commit what is evil in the sight of God, refusing to obey God and His laws, and continuing to do what is against the Law of God.

Every single sin that we commit, every single one of our failure in doing what we could have done to obey God’s will, are every wounds that have been inflicted on our Lord Jesus Christ, the wounds and the whiplashes that tore at His Body, which made Him to suffer and to bleed. And all of these brought more sorrow to our loving mother, who loves each and every one of us just as she loves her Son.

Yet, we mankind continue to walk down our path towards destruction, by our ignorance of the Lord’s ways and teachings, by our refusal to repent and to turn away from all of our sinful ways. That is also why Mary made so many appearances in various times and places, including at Fatima, which centenary of her Apparition we celebrate this year.

Every time Mary, our mother made her appearance, she called upon her children to repent from their sins and to turn away from their wicked ways. She showed them the horrors of hell and what awaits those who are not faithful to God. That is because each and every one of us are precious to her, for she is our mother, and she loves us just as she loves and tenderly cares for her Son Jesus. She does not want even a single soul to end up in the damnation of hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the great sorrows of Mary, our loving mother and the mother of our Lord, who have witnessed just how great the love God had for us, that for our sake, He was willing to die for us, that each and every one of us may have life in us, let us all therefore spend some time to think about what we have done in our lives thus far, and what we have not done in accordance with God’s ways and teachings.

Let us from now on turn ourselves wholeheartedly and completely towards the Lord, our God, and through the guidance shown upon us by His mother Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, may all of us be able to find our way to the salvation and eternal life found in Him alone. Let the sorrowful heart of our loving mother Mary remind us of the need for us to reject all forms of sin, and live with faith, zeal and devotion from now on.

May all of us draw our attention to the Blessed Mother Mary, and through her may all of us find our most direct path to her Son. May the Lord continue to bless us and be with us all the days of our life. Amen.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.”

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign; a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o YHVH, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o YHVH, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o YHVH, I said : “You are my God.” My days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 5 : 7-9

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him, Who could save Him from death, and He was heard, because of His humble submission.

Although He was Son, He learnt, through suffering, what obedience was, and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation, for those who obey Him.

Saturday, 25 March 2017 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Isaiah 7 : 10-14 and Isaiah 8 : 10

Once again YHVH addressed Ahaz, “Ask for a sign from YHVH your God, let it come either from the deepest depths or from the heights of heaven.”

But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask, I will not put YHVH to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign : The Virgin is with Child and bears a Son and calls His Name Immanuel.”

“Devise a plan and it will be thwarted, make a resolve and it will not stand, for God-is-with-us.”

Thursday, 29 December 2016 : Fifth Day within Octave of Christmas, Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 2 : 22-35

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign, a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Monday, 12 December 2016 : 3rd Week of Advent, Memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Our Lady of Guadalupe)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we honour and praise Mary, the Mother of God and our greatest intercessor before her own Son, who have appeared numerous times to mankind throughout the ages, in order to remind the people of God, who have been entrusted to her care, that they should reject their old sinful way of life and embrace anew the love and mercy of God.

And today, we commemorate that moment almost five centuries ago when she appeared to a saint, St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in the New World, now known as Mexico, the site of which now is the site of a great church and Basilica dedicated to her, as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of the Americas and the New World, through whom many millions and more of souls have been converted to God.

Through Mary, God had endeavoured to make fulfilled His great promises to us mankind, and therefore, to that extent, He had set her aside and blessed her more than any other men or women, giving her the sole exception of being conceived without the taints of the original sins, which we celebrate just a few days ago at the Solemnity and Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

But even more than that, not just that Mary had been prepared by being freed from the corruption of sin, so that she would be worthy to be the vessel and Ark of the New Covenant, but throughout her life, she has dedicated her whole life to a life of purity and obedience towards the Lord and His laws. She is a paragon of faith and virtue, and an example to all of us Christians.

Through her we have seen what we should do as Christians, in obeying not our own will, but instead the will of God. We should devote ourselves and our time, our whole being to the Lord, as Mary had done. We may think that this is easy to be done, but in reality, there are many temptations and pressure for us to do otherwise. And when troubles and challenges come, it is easy for us to compromise and to lose our path.

But Mary remained faithful throughout, despite the pains and sufferings she had to endure. She watched her Son being persecuted with His disciples at the hands of the Jewish elders and the Pharisees, who opposed Him and disagreed with His ways and teachings, preferring to continue living in their wicked and corrupt ways. And she had to endure the greatest suffering of all, as a mother to see the death of her own Son on the cross. And yet, Mary continued to be faithful and dedicated to the mission entrusted to her.

That was why people like the Pharisees and the elders found it difficult to believe, because they were entangled by the temptations of power and worldly glory, by the lures of worldly goodness, by all the temptations of the flesh and the heart. They refused to believe in Jesus because of their pride and greed. They led the people as their shepherds not because they cared for them, but instead, they wanted more power, influence, fame and wealth for themselves, while others suffered under them.

Mary showed us all an example of how we should live our lives. While others embraced the demands of their greed and pride, succumbing to the temptations of power and money, she as the one to whom the Archangel Gabriel had announced to be the mother of Lord, Saviour and indeed Master of the whole Universe, remained humble and was not distracted from the task God entrusted to her, and she remained true and devoted to Him, even when the whole world was against her and Jesus her Son.

She has been entrusted by Jesus her Son on the cross to John His disciple, and John has similarly been entrusted to her care. In this symbolic trust, our Lord Jesus has entrusted all of humanity to the care of His mother Mary, who then after her Assumption into heaven, did not forget about us but continued to help us in various ways, as our greatest intercessor before God, and through her various apparitions in order to pass on her messages, calling the people of God to repentance and righteousness in Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are called to reflect on our own lives and actions. Have we been faithful to the Lord in the same way that Mary had been faithful? Have we obeyed the Lord and His commandments in the same manner that she had bene faithful and obedient? And when troubles and challenges come, do we seek to compromise and to negotiate our way out of trouble by obeying what the world asked of us, or have we instead been like Mary who persevered through and kept her faith?

Let us all ask ourselves these questions as we gather together and reflect on our lives today. Let us all devote ourselves to seek a renewal of our faith in God, and be truly devoted as Mary, the mother of our Lord had been. If God would raise Mary His mother up high because of her virtues, and blessed her more than anyone else, surely He will also bless us all if we remain faithful to Him and keep our faith amidst the challenges of the world.

May the Lord help us all to persevere through this life, that we will remain ever faithful to Him, and that we may remain true to our path towards salvation. Let us all direct our prayers to Him and ask for the intercession of His blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, for her prayers and intercessions for our sake. Through her, and by following her example, we shall find our path to justification and righteousness in God. May God bless us all. Amen.