Friday, 4 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 5 : 33-39

At that time, some people asked Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it that Your disciples eat and drink?”

Then Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them, and they will fast in those days.”

Jesus also told them this parable : “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece taken from the new will not match the old.”

“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilt, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to drink new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.'”

Saturday, 5 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest (Gospel Reading)

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

Matthew 9 : 14-17

Then the disciples of John came to Jesus with the question, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast on many occasions, but not Your disciples?”

Jesus answered them, “How can you expect wedding guests to mourn as long as the Bridegroom is with them? The time will come, when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

“No one patches an old coat with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for the patch will shrink and tear an even bigger hole in the coat. In the same way, you do not put new wine in old wineskins. If you do, the wineskins will burst and the wine will be spilt. No, you put new wine in fresh skins; then both are preserved.”

Friday, 7 March 2014 : Friday after Ash Wednesday, Memorial of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 9 : 14-15

Then the disciples of John came to him with the question, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast on many occasions, but not Your disciples?”

Jesus answered them, “How can you expect wedding guests to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The time will come, when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Marian feast)

Mark 7 : 1-13

One day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus, and with them 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.” And Jesus commented, “You have a fine way of disregarding the commandments of God in order to enforce your own traditions! For example, Moses said : ‘Do your duty to your father and your mother,’ and : ‘Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death.'”

“But according to you, someone could say to his father or mother, ‘I already declared Corban, which means ‘offered to God’ what you could have expected from me.’ In this case, you no longer require him to do anything for his father or mother, and so you nullify the word of God through the tradition you have handed on. And you do many other things like that.”

Alternative Reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

John 2 : 1-11

Three days later there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding with His disciples. When all the wine provided for the celebration had been served, and they had run out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus replied, “Woman, what concern is that to you and Me? My hour has not yet come.” However his mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars, set there for ritual washing as practiced by the Jews; each jar could hold twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim. Then Jesus said, “Now draw some out and take it to the steward.” So they did. The steward tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing from where it had come; for only the servants who had drawn the water knew.

So, he called the bridegroom to tell him, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and when people have drunk enough, he serves that which is ordinary. Instead you have kept the best wine until the end.”

This miraculous sign was the first, and Jesus performed it at Cana in Galilee. In this way He let His glory appear, and His disciples believed in Him.

Friday, 6 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are truly reminded as ever always, that Christ our Lord lies at the very centre of our lives, and that He is what truly matters for us, while other things are often unnecessary and illusory in nature. Nonetheless, we often forget this fact and relegate Christ into a corner rather than embracing and appreciating the central role Christ plays in each of our own lives.

Everything that we have, our lives, our faith, and our very existence owed greatly to the Lord, through whom indeed we were created, given life, and then a new life through salvation of the cross. For Christ is the Word of God, through whom the Lord our Creator had created all of creation including all of us, whom He had given life through the breath of His Mouth.

And even when we had gone astray from Him and be estranged from Him like that of a child estranged from the father, He willed for us to be reconciled to Himself, by the outpouring of His love, through the numerous help He sent us along our journey in this world, through countless messengers and prophets who carried His desire and love for us, the desire to be reunited with us, His lost children.

That even when we had rejected Him by turning a deaf ear to the heedings of His prophets, and even tortured and slaughtered them in cold blood, He did not give up, but in His great and infinite love, He allowed Himself to give the ultimate manifestation of His love, that is to be incarnate through a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary His mother, to be our Saviour, through which He gathered all people to Himself.

Such great is His love for us, that He even readied Himself to suffer for us, to die for us, all that we who deserved death, will not die an agonising and eternal death, separated from God who loves us. That we may live through His death on the cross which saves, and through His glorious resurrection, through which He brought unto Himself those who had died in Him.

He dedicated Himself so much for us, that He became flesh like us, and through that mystical incarnation of the divine into man, God is united to us in an everlasting bond of love. Yes, brethren, just as Jesus in the Gospel today imagined Himself as the bridegroom in the midst of His beloved, so indeed He is our bridegroom, the divine bridegroom by God made man.

He rebuked the Pharisees not because it is wrong to fast or observe the laws, but precisely because they did not truly love God, and did not have God in their hearts, that God is not at the centre of their lives as He wanted from them. Instead, they allowed their pride, arrogance, selfishness, and human nature to take over them and corrupt them.

They fast for the sake of fasting, and to show the people their great piety, which is indeed evident, but truly empty. Many of them had missed entirely the point of doing things in accordance to the rules of the Lord, and did them not out of love for God, but out of love for themselves and their ‘greatness’ and ‘superior piety and faith’.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, the lessons we had heard and taken into ourselves are truly beneficial for us. Let us make the best use out of them, in order to be able to dedicate ourselves and devote ourselves more to the Lord our God, that no matter whatever we are doing, we always do it for the Lord, and keep Him always at the very centre of our lives, each and every one of us. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 6 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 5 : 33-39

Some people asked Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it that Your disciples eat and drink?” Then Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them, and they will fast in those days.”

Jesus also told them this parable : “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece taken from the new will not match the old. No one puts new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to drink new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”

Friday, 30 August 2013 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the well-known story, the parable of the five careless and five wise women, of whom the careless ones lose out against those who are wise, by not preparing ahead of their time, that they would be ready when the bridegroom comes. Those women truly represent mankind, brethren, that is all of us, in our daily lives and in our waiting for the great bridegroom, none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.

The wise and sensible women made ample preparations and brought with them backup of fuel that might be necessary for the event, and their hard work earned them with the welcome and entry into the banquet of the bridegroom, while the careless and unwise women did not made ample preparations beforehand, and ran out of oil when the bridegroom came late to the event.

The wise women gained entry to the party when the bridegroom came at midnight, with their lamps lit with the extra oil they had prepared beforehand. The unwise women, the careless women did not have enough oil and as they could not greet the bridegroom without their lamps lit, they had no choice but to go and buy the oil first. When they went away, the bridegroom came, and the unwise women were therefore late to the party.

The unwise women knocked in despair and pleaded to be allowed entry into the party, but the bridegroom rebuked them and rejected them, and that he did not know them, because they were not there when he came to greet him. The end result is that while the wise women enjoyed in happiness inside the party with the bridegroom, the unwise women were left out, outside the party, in bitter cold and suffering.

We can easily draw parallel between this parable and our own experiences in this world, and the things expected from us, as Christ had told us through His parables and through His teachings to His disciples passed down to us through the Church and the Scripture. As mentioned, Jesus is truly that bridegroom, the wise and unwise women waiting for the coming of the bridegroom are all of us, all mankind, all seeking for the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord, in His glorious second coming into this world, indeed, pretty much like that of the coming of the bridegroom in the parable.

This is where it gets very important, and what differentiates who will end up becoming those unwise women and perish, and who will end up being in joy for being the wise women, ever ready and ever prepared. As Jesus had often reiterated to His disciples over and over again, including in this parable, that the coming of the bridegroom, that is His second coming, is totally and completely unpredicted by any power of men. No one is able and will ever be able to discern the precise moment when the Lord will come again in glory at the end of time. Even that end of time moment is undefined, except the warnings that it is indeed close at hand.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, to our God there is no such thing as being early, on time, or late. We can never box Him up in such categories, because we certainly will have no knowledge at all about the time of His coming. He had also specifically said that He will come again at the time when everyone is at their most unprepared, at the moment when no one on earth expects that He will come again at that precise timing.

We must indeed be like the wise women, who brought with all of them extra oil for use, that when the bridegroom came very late at night, their lamps would have sufficient oil for the entirety of the long vigil of waiting. Do not be like the unwise women, who came unprepared, and when the time comes, their lamps were without oil.

What is this oil and extra oil that the wise women bring therefore? It is not the physical oil that Christ truly referred to, when He taught us how to prepare for His coming. It is the love that is within us that burns brightly as the fire of love, that Christ will come and find that we are there when He comes, and He will recognise us and welcome us into His kingdom. But love is not meant for us just to be kept within ourselves and remain hidden from the world. Like fire, it requires fuel in the form of oil, and also oxygen to burn. If the fire is placed in enclosed space, it will eventually die out, and without fuel, the fire will also die out.

The fuel that inflames our fires is our own actions, words, and deeds, infused with the love we have within us, the love God had given to each and every one of us. If we open our hearts and let loose the love within us, that every word, every deeds, and every actions of our hands, legs, and others result in love for others, and for God, the love within us will multiply, like a fire brightly lit, well-supplied with fuel, yes, the fuel of love itself. If we keep our hearts closed, that love will grow dim and will die out eventually. Love is something that cannot be measured, but it can only grow when we share that love with one another, and with God.

If we keep ourselves from sharing our love, and if we remain idle and do no good for the sake of others, for the sake of God, we end up being like the unwise women, who will be too late for the coming of Christ, and at His coming, we will all be caught unprepared, and He will cast us out from His presence, because the fire in us has died out, running out of the fuel of love due to our own failure to act, our failure to love.

St. Paul had reminded the Church people in Thessalonica, that they ought to live according to the will and the commandments of God, that is love, in our First Reading today. Indeed, we are urged to love, to love God first and foremost before anything else, before even ourselves. We are ought to give ourselves, our heart, and our entire being to the Lord in complete and total dedication. And then, we also must give ourselves to our fellow mankind, to those who are in need for our love, for our help, for our care, especially the unloved ones, the ostracised, the prejudiced ones.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, having listened to the parable of the talents, and now in full knowing how we can make sure that we become like the wise women instead of the unwise ones, let us thus, from this moment onward, strengthen our acts of love, and commit ourselves more strongly and deeper into the cause of love, by making sure that all our words, our deeds, and our actions are based on love, that the fire of love within each one of us will burn ever brighter, and the Lord who comes unpredicted in His own time, will come and find our faith worthy, and reward us eternal life with Him. Amen.

Friday, 30 August 2013 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 25 : 1-13

This story throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven : Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were careless, and the others were sensible. The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were and did not bring extra oil. But those who were sensible, brought with their lamps flasks of oil. As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep.

But at midnight, a cry rang out, “The bridegroom is here, come out and meet him!” All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps. Then the careless ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.”

The sensible ones answered, “There may not be enough for us and for you. You had better go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.”

They were out buying oil when the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the doors were shut. Later the other bridesmaids arrived and called out, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But he answered, “Truly I do not know you.”

So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

Saturday, 8 June 2013 : Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Monday, 13 May 2013 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (First Reading)

Acts 19 : 1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples whom he asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered, “We have not even heard that anyone may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Paul then asked, “What kind of baptism have you received?” And they answered, “The baptism of John.”

Paul then explained, “John’s baptism was for conversion, but he himself said they should believe in the One who was to come, and that One is Jesus.” Upon hearing this, they were baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came down upon them; and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of them in all.

Paul went into the synagogue and for three months he preached and discussed there boldly, trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God.

 

Reading from the Mass of Our Lady of Fatima

 

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.