Wednesday, 26 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 23 : 27-32

At that time, Jesus said to the people and to His disciples, “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, beautiful in appearance; but, inside, there are only dead bones and uncleanness. In the same way, you appear religious to others, but you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness within.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets, and decorate the monuments of the righteous. You say : Had we lived in the time of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the blood of the prophets. So, you, yourselves, confess to be the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.”

“And now, finish off what your ancestors began!”

Tuesday, 25 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Louis, and St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Priests)

Matthew 23 : 23-26

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You do not forget the mint, anise and cumin seeds when you demand the tenth of everything; but then, you forget what is most fundamental in the Law : justice, mercy and faith! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a mosquito, but swallow a camel.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You fill the plate and the cup, with theft and violence, and then pronounce a blessing over them. Blind Pharisee! Purify the inside first, then the outside, too, will be purified.”

Saturday, 3 September 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 6 : 1-5

At that time, one Sabbath Jesus was going through the corn fields, and His disciples began to pick heads of grain, crushing them in their hands for food. Some of the Pharisees asked them, “Why do you do what is forbidden on the Sabbath?”

Then Jesus spoke up and asked them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered the house of God, took and ate the bread of the offering, and even gave some to his men, though only priests are allowed to eat that bread.”

And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord and rules over the sabbath.”

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 2 : 23-28

At that time, one Sabbath Jesus was walking through grainfields. As His disciples walked along with Him, they began to pick the heads of grain and crush them in their hands. Then the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look! They are doing what is forbidden on the Sabbath!”

And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did in his time of need, when he and his men were very hungry? He went into the House of God, when Abiathar was High Priest, and ate the bread of offering, which only the priests are allowed to eat, and he also gave some to the men who were with him.”

Then Jesus said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Master even of the Sabbath.”

Sunday, 30 August 2015 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 7 : 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

At that time, one day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus, and with them there were some teachers of the Law who had just come from Jerusalem. They noticed that some of His disciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them.

Now the Pharisees, and in fact all the Jews, never eat without washing their hands, for they follow the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything, when they come from the market, without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe; for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates.

So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?” Jesus answered, “You shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote : ‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. The worship they offer Me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules.’ You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition.”

Jesus then called the people to Him again and said to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters a person from the outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes a person unclean. For evil designs come out of the heart : theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.”

Saturday, 6 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Luke 6 : 1-5

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the corn fields, and His disciples began to pick heads of grain, crushing them in their hands for food.

Some of the Pharisees asked them, “Why do you do what is forbidden on the Sabbath?” Then Jesus spoke up and asked them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered the house of God, took and ate the bread of the offering, and even gave some to his men, though only priests are allowed to eat that bread.”

And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord and rules over the sabbath.”

Thursday, 12 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today it is revealed to us that in our obedience to God, we cannot be blindly obedient and obeying Him for the sake of obedience, or because we fear the wrath of God and His punishments. That is because any faith based on such reasons is likely to be weak and unstable, easily manipulated and shaken when we are in our most vulnerable moments.

Our faith must in fact be based on genuine love and devotion for God. And how do we devote ourselves to God, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is by finding out the true meaning of God’s love for us and His Laws, that we obey Him and follow Him not for the sake of obedience or merely for the fulfillment of our obligations to God, but because we truly understand that our obedience is because we realise our frailty and our need for the Lord to be our guide and help.

What the Lord told the disciples today is that, there is reason behind every single tenets and parts of the Law which God has given His people to follow, and that reason is all based on nothing else but love. Yes, the love of God for mankind, and the love which we ought to show and emulate among ourselves, to each other. And love is the heart of the Law, which we all need to remember always, and yet often forgets.

People like the Pharisees and the scribes like to dwell in very detailed scrutinies of the Law and certain rules, which inadvertantly diverted their attention from the true focus, that is love. Their preoccupation with otherwise minor details on the Law of God prevented them from showing acts of love and acts of mercy when they were expected to do so.

In fact, not only just that, but they even often misused their power and abused it for their own purposes, that is to secure their own positions, their own power and to preserve the dominion and authority which they felt was rightfully theirs as the leaders of the people. They would do things in direct contravention with the true meaning of the Law of God, if those things would help them to preserve themselves.

For example, the case of the woman caught in adulterous behaviour and brought to Jesus was a clear example of this abuse. The Pharisees and the elders of Israel brought her to Jesus not because they were concerned a single bit about her, whether for her redemption or condemnation, but they did so in order to discredit Jesus and trap Him in His own words, and thus constituted a vile attempt to mock the love of God and the Law itself.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are urged to build our relationships with God anew, that is to reaffirm our complete and total devotion to His love, and vow to carry on that love with us as we live our lives and as we interact with one another in this world, so that God’s love may ever be more ubiquitous and evident in our world which is increasingly lacking in love.

We are called to reflect on our own actions, on whether we have truly been faithful disciples of the Lord, that is truly taking into account how each and every one of our actions stand with reference to the Lord and His love. Have we attain a high standard of love in our actions? And have we truly been obedient to the will of God? Or are we only concerned about our own fates and well-being, often to the disadvantage of others around us?

Let us use this opportunity to reflect, and from then on, to take concrete actions, which will benefit all of us, and further spread the love of God for His people throughout the world, and make it a much better place. Remember, obey the Lord and all His ways, with all of our hearts and minds. God preserve us. Amen.

Thursday, 3 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 31-47

If I bore witness to Myself, My testimony would be worthless. But Another One is bearing witness to Me, and I know that His testimony is true when He bears witness to Me. John also bore witness to the truth when you sent messengers to him, but I do not seek human testimony; I recall this for you, so that you may be saved.

John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were willing to enjoy his light. But I have greater evidence than that of John – the works which the Father entrusted to Me to carry out. The very works I do bear witness : the Father has sent Me.

Thus He who bears witness to Me is the Father who sent Me. You have never heard His voice and have never seen His likeness; therefore, as long as you do not believe His messenger, His word is not in you.

You search in the Scriptures, thinking that in them you will find life; yet Scripture bears witness to Me. But you refuse to come to Me, that you may live. I am not seeking human praise; but I have known that love of God is not within you, for I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not accept Me.

If another comes in his own name, you will accept him. As long as you seek praise from one another, instead of seeking the glory which comes from the only God, how can you believe? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. Moses himself, in whom you placed your hope, accuses you.

If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?

 

Friday, 14 March 2014 : 1st Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

In our faith, brothers and sisters, we must always be genuine. We cannot take our faith for granted, and neither can we only keep an outward profession for faith, but inside we truly lack the faith and do not believe in God. True faith in God requires us to devote ourselves to Him and be committed in our actions and deeds to show our true faith to God.

We must heed what the Lord wants from us, in our actions and deeds, in every single aspects of our lives. We often end up doing lip-service to the Lord and following superficially the laws and rules He had given us, instead of truly devoting ourselves to His cause. This we cannot do, brothers and sisters in Christ.

And we certainly will have to do and act in the way that we preach. We cannot say one thing and yet do another, different thing from what we had said. If we do so then our faith is shallow and not genuine, and can be easily swayed by the wickedness that is in this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord loves us, and I have to repeat it again and again, that God loves us, very much, that He gave us Jesus His Son to be our helper, and to show us the way, how to devote ourselves entirely to Him, by teaching us and showing us the examples of being a good and faithful servant of God.

The key thing of all these is that we have to love, and we have to base all our actions on love, and in all of our actions and dealings, we have to always align ourselves with the ways of the Lord, that is righteousness. We have to adhere to the principles that God had established, in His laws and tenets that we ought to know, understand, and obey.

God wants all of us to love, and to love tenderly, and to forgive when someone slighted us or made mistakes to us. He wants us to do the same too, when we have slighted someone else. He wants us to be reconciled with one another, and forgoing all the hatred and differences that kept us apart, that we all may once again serve Him together as one, united people, united in love.

And He wants to show us that faith in Him cannot be just limited to observations of rituals and obligations according to the law. We cannot be just bystanders and followers, following the instructions of our faith to the letter, without understanding it. What I mean is that, we have to truly understand what we are doing, and in doing so we will make our faith much more meaningful.

And that is why God wants us to forgive one another first and be reconciled before we make our offerings to Him. What He wants from us is a heart of love, untainted by hatred, jealousy and all the other negative feelings that mar the perfection of our hearts. Let this be a lesson to all of us, that we may take note of it, whenever we do something, and whenever we say something, that we truly reflect that we belong to God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us make a resolution before the Lord, that we will be ever better servants of His will, that we will forsake the way of hatred, jealousy and other negative ill-feelings, and change them for the way of love, practicing what we have believed in, that is our faith in the One and only True God, Jesus Christ, who came to us in love to save us. Amen.

Friday, 28 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the law of God which He first revealed through Moses had been adapted, changed, and suited to the uses and means of the people of God, that is the Israelites, which they had often misunderstood in its true purpose, that is to serve God’s purpose rather than the purpose of men. Yet, in reality, the laws had been made subservient to the will of men.

And no other time was this more evident, than at the time of Jesus, when the abuse was at its relative maximum. The Pharisees, the scribes and the teachers of the law, who were the leaders of the people in the matter of faith, misused their teaching authority and gave the people of God a much improvised version of the true law of God.

The strictness of the law of God which was revealed through Moses, was indeed due to the thick-headedness of the Israelites, who constantly grumbled and disobeyed the Lord on their way through the desert to the Promised Land. They ignored the precepts and way of the Lord, preferring instead to submit to their own emotions and human desires, rather than obeying the Lord their God.

But was the intention of the Lord truly to punish and burden them with such laws? No! These laws were there because God loved and cared for them, and He dreaded the most if any of His beloved were to fall into the hands of Satan and evil, and be separated from Him by the eternal agony of hell. God loved mankind and all of His children, and that is why He bothered to give them His laws to help them.

But what the people had done by the time of Jesus was that of blind obedience, which can be as bad as thick-headedness and plain disobedience of their ancestors. That is because if their ancestors refused to believe in the Lord and His ways, the people at the time of Jesus believed only at the surface, through the various observations of the complicated rules and regulations as established by the Pharisees.

And the result is that they were as wayward as their ancestors were, and first of all would be the Pharisees and the leaders of the people themselves, who led the people in their obstinate state, refusing to listen even to the Holy One of God, the promised Messiah. When God came down upon us to explain the truth about what He desired in mankind, they refused to believe in Him and preferred to trust in their own human wisdom and judgment.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, these people saw the Lord, and yet they did not realise, as the first reading today mentioned, that the judge is already at the door, ready to mete judgment against them. But He still gave them chance for repentance, and some did repent, accepting His mercy and love.

The same too applies to us, brethren. Do we recognise the Lord and His Presence? Do we recognise Him in our faith, and do we truly believe in what we believe? Are we like those who only prefer to believe what they want to believe and discard the rest, the so-called cafetaria Christians? If we do so then we are no better than the Pharisees who chose to believe in their own human wisdom rather than in the Lord.

Are we genuine in our love and devotion for the Lord? Our devotion and faith cannot be just merely mean going for Mass every Sunday and that is it. It cannot also mean just saying our prayers without real action, and neither can it be just plain works and good deeds, without prayer and proper devotion to the Lord. If we are to dedicate ourselves to God, then we must be genuine in our faith, and we cannot be half-hearted in it.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us resolve from now on to deepen our faith in God ever further, that our faith may grow ever stronger in the Lord, and that we no longer be hampered by our own human pride, arrogance, ambitions and stubbornness, that we may listen to the Lord and know what He truly wants from us.

May we all become good and faithful children of God, resolving not to disobey the Lord by following our own path, as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done. Let us dull the edge of our pride and sharpen the edge of our humility, and open wide the doors of our heart, and put up our ears, that we may listen to God as He speaks to us, and follow His ways, always and till the end of our lives. God bless us all. Amen.