Thursday, 15 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God has planned His coming into this world since a very long time ago. He had revealed His plans to the prophets who proclaimed the Lord’s coming, and yet the people failed to appreciate and understand in its fullness, the message passed down by the prophets of the Lord. In Jesus, all of God’s long awaited promise is fulfilled in its perfection.

The coming of the Lord is intended to be the end of the suffering of mankind in darkness, for through the Lord, a new light has dawned, and that light is not to be put out, and become the source of salvation and inspiration on all the people who sees Him. But not all the people welcomed the Lord when He came, and some of them even rejected Him and closed their hearts to Him when He came to knock at their doors.

Today’s first reading showed us the history of the Lord’s work of salvation, which He had long planned ever since mankind first fall to the temptations of Satan. St. Paul told the people of God the entirety of the history of salvation summarised in short words, but yet still clear enough to show the sincerity of God, and His seriousness to help us to return to His embrace.

God sent His Son to be with us, and to walk among us, so that we may see the Lord in Jesus, and walk in His ways, and therefore, obey the will of God and hence, be in the favour of God and be saved from their afflictions. Jesus is the true and real manifestation of God’s love for us, and the reminder to God’s people how they were saved from their various afflictions and persecutions, as He had done when He liberated them from the bonds of the Egyptians.

The Son of God came to perfect all the laws of the land, which He had revealed through Moses, the Law of God. He made everything clear through His explanations, and on the real and true purpose of the Law, that is love, God’s love for all of His creations, particularly mankind, the most beloved out of all His creatures. He explained with love, how much the Lord wants His children to be reunited and reconciled with Him, and showed them how to do so.

Jesus showed by example, encouraging His disciples to love one another just as He had first loved them. He sought sinners and fornicators, and those looked down upon by the society, gathering them and bringing them back to His loving embrace. He showed God’s love for them through His own love, and brought many of them back to the Lord and redeemed them.

Jesus shows how God’s mercy and love is available to everyone, even to the greatest of sinners and the most unworthy of the faithful. But this requires us to be open to this mercy and love, or otherwise, the Lord’s works will not be able to make a concrete change in us and transform us from creatures of sin into creatures of holiness and hope.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we commit ourselves to the Lord, that in all the things that we do, we do it for the sake of the Lord? Shall we focus all our attentions to the Lord and turn our ways to align with His? May the Lord guide us ever in our path, that in all things we do we may always bring glory to God. May our hearts always be open to the love and mercy of God, that we may ever seek the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness whenever we sin and therefore gain the grace and blessings of the Lord. Amen.

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, 12 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs, and St. Pancras, Martyr (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are affirmed with the love of the Lord, who had given us that love through His gift of Jesus, His only beloved Son to us, as a fitting sacrificial victim and the intermediary between us sinners to He who is perfect in heaven. Through Christ all were made worthy of the Lord and were promised the glorious eternal life in heaven.

Yes, and this promise was extended to all mankind, to all the beloved creations of the Lord Most High, and not just to a certain group of people. If we read the Old Testament, it is very easy for us to have the misconception that the people of Israel, or the Jews, are the chosen people of God, whom the Lord chose over all the other nations.

God did choose the descendants of Jacob, and therefore, the descendants of Abraham, to be His first chosen, to be the ones to whom He first revealed Himself to, and the ones to whom He revealed His will and His love. But this does not mean that God excludes all the other nations from His love. He loved them equally just the same, just as we have our breath of life every single moments of our lives.

The shepherd, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of all the people of God, did not choose favourites among His people. Indeed, He came first to the Jews, just as His Father had first chosen them to be His people. But this does not mean that His salvation is intended only for them to the exclusion and damnation of all the other nations.

He loves us all, and wishes us all to be saved, and therefore, that is why He commended the disciples to go and spread the Good News to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. That is His intention, and He desires that we all be reunited with God in eternal bliss of splendour and happiness. And thus, He sanctifies all mankind through His death and resurrection.

We must never be haughty and judge ourselves, just like the Jews who thought themselves of being worthy of salvation, because they misunderstood the intentions and actions of the Lord as one of favouritism, particularly the chief priests and the Pharisees. They judged themselves worthy and condemned others who did not share their opinions, to the point of persecuting Jesus and His followers in their ministry.

God showed His mercy to mankind, and He forgave them all, on the account of His love and dedication for them. The Lord is loving to all, and He readily shows His love for us all. He comforts us when we suffer and when we are sad, and He lifts us up when we fall down into despair and hopelessness. He shows His care for us without any discrimination.

Today we celebrate the feast of many saints, namely St. Nereus and Achilles, as well as St. Pancras, all of whom were slaves and servants of the Empress or Augusta of the early era Roman Empire. They were the servants of the wife of the Emperor Domitian or Domitianus, who was infamous for his great persecutions against the faithful and the Church, who carried out the one of the great persecution against the Church.

They were martyred in the defense of their faith, and they refused to recant their devotion and commitment to the Lord. They stayed faithful to the end and received holy martyrdom, and now they are revered by us in the Church as saints of the holy Church, worthy of heaven and interceding for our sake daily before the Lord.

In their example, we see how even the people considered to be unworthy by many in Jesus’ time can become saints and holy martyrs, by their following of the teachings of the Lord and by walking faithfully in His ways. Thus, we too should not be afraid and instead, walk courageously in the footsteps of these holy men to be also faithful disciples of the Lord and be courageous in our works, that we may bring even more souls to salvation.

May the Lord open our minds and hearts today, that we will learn to be inclusive and not to exclude others or be judgmental, and instead be humble in seeking the Lord’s forgiveness and love. May He guide us always that we may approach ever closer to His throne of mercy and to His loving embrace. Amen.

Sunday, 4 May 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 13-35

That same day, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what has happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, you know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Peter 1 : 3-9

Let us praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for His great mercy. In raising Jesus Christ from the dead He has given us new life and a living hope. The inheritance that does not corrupt nor goes bad nor passes away was reserved to you in heavens, since God’s power shall keep you faithful until salvation is revealed in the last days.

There is cause for joy, then, even though you may, for a time, have to suffer many trials. Thus will your faith be tested, like gold in a furnace. Gold, however, passes away but faith, worth so much more, will bring you in the end praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ appears.

You have not yet seen Him and yet you love Him; even without seeing Him, you believe in Him and experience a heavenly joy beyond all words, for you are reaching the goal of your faith : the salvation of your souls.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 10 : 1-10

The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s fame, and came to test him with difficult questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a vast retinue and with camels loaded with spices, an abundance of gold and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she told him all that she had on her mind and Solomon answered all her questions.

There was nothing that the king could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built, the food on his table, the residence of his officials, the attendance of his servants and their clothing, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings which he offered at YHVH’s House, it left her breathless.

Then she said to the king, “All that I heard in my own land concerning you and your wisdom was true. But I did not believe the reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. And what did I see! I was told only half the story; for your wisdom and wealth surpass the report I heard.”

“Fortunate are your wives! Fortunate are your servants who are ever in your presence and hear your wisdom! Blessed be YHVH your God, who has looked kindly on you and has put you on the throne of Israel! Because of YHVH’s eternal love for Israel, He has made you king so that you may dispense justice and righteousness.”

Then she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in abundance, and precious stones. Such an abundance of spices as those which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon was never again seen.

Friday, 10 January 2014 : Friday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 147 : 12-13, 14-15, 19-20

Exalt the Lord, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion! For He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you.

He grants peace on your borders and feeds you with the finest grain. He sends His command to the earth and swiftly runs His word.

It is He who tells Jacob His words, His laws and decrees to Israel. This He has not done for other nations, so His laws remain unknown to them. Alleluia!