Saturday, 15 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Mark 8 : 1-10

Soon afterwards Jesus was in the midst of another large crowd, that obviously had nothing to eat. So He called His disciples and said to them, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with Me for three days and now have nothing to eat. If I send them to their homes hungry, they will faint on the way; some of them have come a long way.”

His disciples replied, “Where, in a deserted place like this, could we get enough bread to feed these people?” He asked them, “How many loaves have you?” And they answered, “Seven.”

Then He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, He broke them, and handed them to His disciples to distribute. And they distributed them among the people. They also had some small fish, so Jesus said a blessing, and asked that these be shared as well.

The people ate and were satisfied. The broken pieces were collected, seven wicker baskets full of leftovers. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand in number. Jesus sent them away, and immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Martyrs)

Mark 2 : 23-28

One Sabbath Jesus was walking through grainfields. As His disciples walked along with Him, they began to pick on 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 were 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.”

Wednesday, 4 December 2013 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Priests)

Matthew 15 : 29-37

From there Jesus went to the shore of Lake Galilee, and then went up into the hills, where He sat down. Great crowds came to Him, bringing the dumb, the blind, the lame, the crippled, and many with other infirmities. The people carried them to the feet of Jesus, and He healed them.

All were astonished when they saw the dumb speaking, the lame walking, the crippled healed, and the blind able to see; and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus called His disciples and said to them, “I am filled with compassion for these people; they have already followed Me for three days and now have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away fasting, or they may faint on the way.”

His disciples said to Him, “And where shall we find enough bread in this wilderness to feed such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They answered, “Seven, and a few small fish.”

So Jesus ordered the people to sit on the ground. Then He took the seven loaves and the small fish and gave thanks to God. He broke them and gave them to His disciples, who distributed them to the people.

They all ate and were satisfied, and the leftover broken pieces filled seven wicker baskets.

Friday, 19 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Exodus 11 : 10 – Exodus 12 : 14

Moses and Aaron had worked all these marvels in the presence of Pharaoh, but YHVH had made Pharaoh obstinate and he would not let the people of Israel leave his country.

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.”

“That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat the meat lightly cooked or boiled in water but roasted entirely over the fire – the head, the legs, and the inner parts. Do not leave any of it until the morning. If any is left till morning, burn it in the fire.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH!”

“The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Sunday, 2 June 2013 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate a great mystery of our faith, that is the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi, in which God gave His own flesh and blood for us to consume, that He may live in us, and we in Him, that we can gain eternal life through Him. He gave up Himself that we may live, that we have a share in His death and His glorious resurrection.

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist is the centre to our faith, and the Real Presence of Christ our Lord in the consecrated bread and wine is what makes our faith truly Catholic. That is because we believe that in the Holy Mass, whenever the priest offers the bread and wine and consecrate it before the Lord, in the same words that Christ had used on the Last Supper, the bread and the wine truly become the Real Body and Blood of our Lord, and not just a purely symbolic or memorial reenactment of the Last Supper, but a real transformation of the material of the bread and wine, into the Body of Christ.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, what we receive in the Eucharist is the real Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink, and therefore, as the Eucharist is divine, being the essence of God Himself, we must treat it with the greatest deference and respect. For this is the God who came down to us as man like us, and died for us, by shedding His blood, the Blood of the Lamb of God, that all mankind may be saved.

The Lamb of God had been slaughtered, and He did not resist, nor did He protest against His unjust sentence of death, even though He is without sin, because without His death, without His sacrifice, as the only completely perfect sacrificial lamb, there is nothing that can match the severity of all the sins of all mankind combined together. Only Christ, God incarnate as man, has this power and authority over sin, and by His sacrifice, we are made pure again, white as snow.

But Christ did not give us His Body and His Blood in the Eucharist without reason, ever since He gave His disciples the first Eucharist in the Last Supper, and as He had always mentioned, that those who eat that Bread, the Bread of Life, and drink from the cup of salvation, will gain eternal life, because Christ Himself would dwell within all of us, and we would then have a share in His glorious resurrection, and therefore eligible for salvation. Only if we accept Christ, live according to His commandments, and receive Him in the Eucharist, then we gain the fullness of salvation.

As Christ would dwell within all of us who receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, our bodies must be worthy of Christ, of God who is good and perfect. We may be lowly and weak mortals, but as long as we keep our faith in God and strive to do only what is good in the eyes of the Lord, we are worthy of Him. Remember the saying, that our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit? That is because the Lord Himself through His Real Presence in the Eucharist has been willing to come to us, through the bread and wine transformed that we consume, that He would then dwell in us forever more.

That is why, we must not defile our bodies and minds with sin and corruption of evil, because our very body itself has become the very Temple of God, where the Lord resides, just very much like the Temple of Jerusalem, at the time of King Solomon, when God was willing to come down and reside in the Temple built by Solomon, and His presence overwhelmed all the people who witnessed it, so great is His majesty and power.

The Lord had decreed that no filth of evil and sin should enter the Temple, and there were large dedicated places where the people can wash and purify themselves prior to entering the Holy Temple, so that they would not defile the place physically and spiritually with the filth of their sin. It is kind of parallel to how we purify ourselves with the holy water as we enter the church building at the holy water font, and seal ourselves in purity, with the Name of the Holy Trinity and the sign of the victorious cross, in which we rebuke evil and reject Satan, and therefore, would then enter the holy place of God and preventing us from defiling that Holy Temple.

The same therefore, should apply to all of us. Ever since the Lord is willing to dwell within all of us, through His Real Presence in His Most Holy Body and Blood, we have become the new Tabernacle, the new Temple of the Lord, each one of us, who had been baptised, and who had received the Eucharist in good standing in the faith through the Church. We must therefore respect the same with regards to ensuring the purity of our own beings, that we, as the Temple of God, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, will not be defiled by our human weaknesses and sin.

St. Paul, in the same book as our second reading today, in his first letter to the people of Corinth, confirm this, that our bodies are indeed the Temple of the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit also dwell within all of us who have received the Spirit, ever since the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles in Pentecost. Thus, our bodies became ever greater in terms of the need to maintain its purity, against the evils of the world, and against the temptations of the evil one through worldly pleasures and desires, that corrupts and bring darkness to our otherwise pure and holy Temple, where God resides.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, our God has indeed dwelled within each one of us, and this is symbolised by yet another great event in the history of salvation, when Christ gave up His Spirit and died on Calvary, when He finally shed His own life and blood, for the redemption of all mankind. At that moment, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant and the Lord Himself supposedly reside, from the rest of the Temple in Jerusalem, tore in two pieces from top to bottom, at the moment when Christ died on the cross.

That moment, when the veil was torn, was a defining moment. It symbolises that the Lord is no longer limited to just that holy space within the Temple in Jerusalem, as He had been, ever since He chose to dwell at the Temple, since the time of the King Solomon of Israel. Through the tearing of that veil, God made His new covenant, which He proclaimed in the Last Supper, complete, with all mankind.

That new covenant is the redemption offered by the death of Christ on the cross, through which we receive His Body and His Blood, given freely to all of us. So that, ever since, Christ, who is God, dwells within all of us who receive Him in the Eucharist, ever since the time of the Apostles, who was commanded by Christ Himself to continue the celebration of the Eucharist, in memorial of His Sacrifice on Calvary.

But beware, brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where exists a danger in misunderstanding the meaning of Christ, when He said about the Eucharist as a memorial. Many wrongly interpreted it as the sign that the celebration of the Eucharist is nothing more than a memorial, a symbolic celebration and imitation of the real sacrifice on Calvary. That the bread and wine that we consume are mere bread and wine, and not the Body and Blood of Christ.

Beware, brethren, that we do not fall into confusion and falsehoods spread by the evil one. For within that Eucharist, within the bread and the wine, Christ is present, really present, in His complete being, and that is what we call and know as the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist. We believe that our priests, with the same authority that Christ had given to the Apostles, in the consecration of the offerings of bread and wine, bring about the complete transformation of that bread and that wine, to become the Most Precious Body and the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, some of us may ask, why then the bread still look like bread, and the wine still look like wine? And there seems to be no change in the physical appearance or substance of the bread and wine? That is exactly the wonder of the mystery of our faith in Christ. Because, yes, the bread and wine’s outside appearance remains that of physical bread and wine in shape, but it has in fact been completely transformed into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in what we call as transubstantiation, because there is a real change or ‘trans’ in the substance of the bread and the wine, into the flesh and blood of our Lord.

Remember! That Christ Himself often repeated that those who did not partake in His flesh and His blood, those who did not receive His body and blood, will have no part in Him, and will not have eternal life. Only those who willingly, and in worthy state receive the Lord into themselves, through the Eucharist, will gain the eternal rewards from Christ, that is eternal life and glory with Him in heaven. That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is very important that we take the Eucharist seriously, that from now on, we begin to participate more in the Mass and in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, that we truly understand our faith, and why we have to regularly receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

The Body and the Blood of Christ, each is Christ complete in themselves, that means, if we only receive the Body, that is the ‘bread’ or the Blood, that is the ‘wine’ we do not receive half of Christ, but in fact, we have received the fullness of Christ in each of them. When we receive either the Body of Christ or His Blood, we receive Christ in His fullness, in His glorious majesty and power, into ourselves. That is why, brethren, we must be worthy! We must be worthy to have the Lord dwell within us, as His Temple!

Remember that if we willingly and knowingly receive the Lord when we are in the state of mortal sin, we will be damned instead of being saved, because we did not keep our house in order, and did not receive the Lord properly and worthily. That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, keep our bodies, our Temple of the Holy Spirit, away from fornication and corruption of sin. Keep ourselves pure, as best as we are able to, and welcome Christ every time we receive Him in the Eucharist, that He will see that our ‘house’ that is our heart, in good order, and therefore reward us with His grace and blessings.

If we had sinned and in the state of mortal sin, which prevents us from truly accepting the Lord into ourselves, into our defiled Temple, that is our being, we must first abstain from receiving the Eucharist, from receiving our Lord. What we must do is indeed, first to ask the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness, and seek a priest to be forgiven from our sins. Remember that to our priests, God has given the authority to absolve sins, if only we ourselves are humble and willing enough, to admit our own sinful nature, and seek to return once again to God’s love and embrace. Only once we have been absolved, then we can receive the Lord again, and He will once again dwell within us, transforming us from inside with His love.

Let us reflect on the mystery of our faith, that is the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ on this sacred occasion, that from now on, we will increase our dedication for our Lord, really present in the Blessed Sacrament, in the form of His Body and His Blood, which He had given freely, so that we may live, and we may share in Him, the fruits of eternal life and salvation. God bless us all, now and forever more. Amen!

Sunday, 2 June 2013 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi (Gospel Reading)

Luke 9 : 11b-17

So, Jesus welcomed the crowd, and began speaking about the kingdom of God, curing those who needed healing.

The day was drawing to a close, and the Twelve drew near to tell Him, “Send the crowd away, and let them go into the villages and farms around, to find lodging and food, for we are here in a lonely place.”

But Jesus replied, “You yourselves give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves and two fish. Do You want us to go and buy enough food for all this crowd?” For there were about five thousand men. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Make people sit down in groups of fifty.”

So they made all of them sit down. Jesus then took the five loaves and two fish, and raising His eyes to heaven, pronounced a blessing over them; He broke them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the crowd.

They ate and everyone had enough; and when they gathered up what was left, twelve baskets were filled with broken pieces.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 6 : 30-35

Then they said, “Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe You. What sign do You perform? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert; as Scripture says : ‘They were given bread from heaven to eat.’

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread God gives is the One who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” And they said to Him, “Give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me, shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me, shall never be thirsty.”

Monday, 15 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 6 : 22-29

Next day the people, who had stayed on the other side, realised that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with His disciples; but rather, the disciples had gone away alone. Bigger boats from Tiberias came near the place where all these people had eaten the bread. When they saw that neither Jesus nor His disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking or Jesus.

When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him, “Master, when did You come here?” Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, you look for Me, not because of the signs which you have seen, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Work then, not for perishable food, but for the lasting food which gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give it to you, for He is the One on whom the Father has put His mark.”

Then the Jews asked Him, “What shall we do? What are the works that God wants us to do?” And Jesus answered them, “The work God wants is this : that you believe in the One whom God has sent.”

Friday, 12 April 2013 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 6 : 1-15

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, near Tiberias, and large crowds followed Him, because of the miraculous signs they saw, when He healed the sick. So He went up into the hills and sat down there with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

Then lifting up His eyes, Jesus saw the crowds that were coming to Him, and said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread so that these people may eat?” He said this to test Philip, for He Himself knew what He was going to do.

Philip answered Him, “Two hundred silver coins would not buy enough bread for each of them to have a piece.” Then one of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there, so the people, about five thousand men, sat down. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish, and gave them as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten enough, He told His disciples, “Gather up the pieces left over, that nothing may be lost.”

So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with bread, that is, with pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. When the people saw the miracle which Jesus had performed, they said, “This is really the Prophet, the One who is to come into the world.”

Jesus realised that they would come and take Him by force to make Him king; so He fled to the hills by Himself.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013 : Wednesday of the Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Luke 24 : 13-35

That same day (as the Resurrection), 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 traveler to Jerusalem who doesn’t 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 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 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.