Thursday, 9 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Denis, Bishop and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs, and St. John Leonardi, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 1 : 69-70, 71-72, 73-75

In the house of David His servant, He has raised up for us a victorious Saviour; as He promised through His prophets of old.

Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of our foes. He has shown mercy to our fathers; and remembered His holy covenant.

The oath He swore to Abraham, our father, to deliver us from the enemy, that we might serve Him fearlessly, as a holy and righteous people, all the days of our lives.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let Me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my hope, my trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day, little though it is what I can understand. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Thursday, 3 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s reading from the Scripture, we found that our Lord and God hates sin and the spirit of disobedience. And this was what we witnessed, as the people of Israel sinned against God. They refused to obey the Lord and believe in Him fully without reservations, even after what they had witnessed in the Ten Plagues and the opening of the Red Sea which paved the way to their liberation from Egypt and their slavery there.

That was why God was angry and wrathful, not just because He despises sin in any form, which the people of Israel clearly committed in their debauchery, with the gold and riches they took from Egypt, engaging in lustful revelries and made for themselves a god out of that gold, the golden calf. God loves all of His children, but He also despises sin.

Yet, this is were we are once again reaffirmed of the love and care which our Lord and God has for us. He loves us even more than He hates our sins, and what is this proof? Moses, the servant of God would know of this love, because he saw what God is like and he knew of His will and His plans for mankind, which would involve coming down by Himself, to be the very One to save His people from eternal damnation.

Yes, that proof of God’s love and eternal commitment to us is Jesus Christ, the Son of God and One of the Holy Trinity, the very Word who came to be incarnate to the flesh, and He is the living and eternal proof of God’s love for all of us without exception. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord and they are all equal in God’s favour, except for sin which keeps us apart from the fullness of His grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord gave His best to us all, and He did not even hold back His own Son from our reach. Instead, He gave us the One through whom He can directly reach out to us, and similarly, from us to reach out to Him, our loving God and Father. And in Jesus we found the perfection of mankind in love of God, which we all should aspire to.

Yes, brethren, that is in essence because Jesus came into this world not for some meaningless purposes or without any clear goal. On the contrary, Jesus came into this world and gave Himself and His own life, so that we may be freed from the bonds of sin that kept us away from God, but also so that in His examples, we may be made whole and know what God expects from us, just as Jesus Himself had done.

Jesus was the embodiment of the perfect Man, the One who followed the Lord and obeyed Him in the complete and unadulterated fullness of the Law of God, desiring only to serve the Lord and His people, unlike the people of Jesus’ time, especially the Pharisees, who outwardly were very pious, but in fact were concerned and occupied with their own worldly desires and concerns that they forgot to keep the Lord in themselves.

The key message that we ought to bring out of today’s Scripture readings is that God loves us, and He would stop at nothing to help us and to embrace us, giving us His divine mercy and compassion, through none other than Jesus His Son, that we may have hope. So, just as God has loved us with all of His heart and being, shall we not then do the same?

That is the challenge posed to all of us, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we ought to give ourselves and our own love for God, just as He had loved us first. What we usually did was in fact to spurn this love and opportunity which He had given us, and for many, it was not until too late that they realised how much God actually loved and cared for them, because they were too busy with their own human affairs and the affairs of the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us from now on therefore begin to change our attitude, if our attitude towards God had not been right. Let us all embrace the love God had for us and resolve to love Him back as much as possible. Let us not spurn the great offer which God has given us, in Jesus His Son. In Him only lies the salvation and hope of the world.

May Almighty God bless us, forgive us from our sinfulness, open our hearts that we may ‘see’ His love, understand it, and embrace it to be our own dedication of love, to Him who had loved us first. God be with us all. Amen.

 

Sunday, 30 March 2014 : 4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the story of Jesus healing the blind man, and in the first reading story on the Lord’s choosing of David to be His faithful servant. In the series of readings from the Scriptures today, we are reminded today that we must never be selfish nor feel self-righteous and just to the impediment of others. We must never be judgmental nor be prejudiced against others because of who we perceive them to be.

God sees what is inside the heart, and what is truly man’s values and worth. He judges man not by his or her appearance, but by their true values and what are inside their hearts. God judges mankind by their heart not by their face values. Therefore we too should follow His examples and not be prejudiced against our fellow mankind in any way, especially in how they look and act.

It is in our human nature to feel hurt when we are challenged in our pride, or shown that the way that we believe in things is wrong. We easily fall to the temptations of jealousy and greed, and this shows in the way we act and do things. And that was also exactly what the Pharisees had shown, condemning and judging on the healed blind man, alleging that he was a sinner, when they felt that their teaching authority and influence was challenged.

They judged mankind by appearances, disdaining the poor and the disabled, those with diseases and afflictions, and they also set themselves by appearances, preferring to show off their rituals, prayers and observations of the faith so that others may see what they had done and praise them for that. This is the kind of faith the Lord does not want, for it is superficial and temporary, and it is not true and genuine faith to the Lord.

Yes, brethren, for in fact in their observations they gave in to the tempting forces of fulfilling their own ego and desires. They did those acts to gain human praise and worldly glory. They did not truly do them for God. They thought only of themselves and their own righteousness. And they rejected the Saviour sent to them, Jesus Christ, the very One and only Son of God, the Messiah.

That is because they saw Christ and they did not understand Him and what He had done. They were only able to think in terms of human power and glory, and in terms of human minds, which made them unable to comprehend the teachings of Jesus, and in their lack of faith and understanding, they hardened their hearts and sharpened the edges of their hearts’ pride, and made them resolved to resist and oppose Christ at every turns and opportunities.

They condemn the deaf because they were unable to hear, but they themselves were deaf, because they failed to listen and take in the message of Christ which He had spoken repeatedly as He taught, and yet they refused to believe. They condemned the blind ones because they were unable to see and mocked them for that, just as what they had done to the blind man Jesus healed in today’s Gospel.

They condemned tax collectors, prostitutes and many other people they considered as sinners and plagues of the society, thinking that they were beyond any redemption, but yet, they failed to look beyond their prejudices. They were blinded by their own pride and arrogance, thinking that they are the best over any other people. They failed to recognise that in them, an even greater sin was present.

What is this sin? This is the sin of condemnation, the sin of jealousy, the sin of arrogance, and the greatest of all, the sin of pride. Not only that they did not honour God in their pride, rejecting Jesus everywhere He went, but they also brought calamity to many of their fellow mankind, by condemning them, cursing them, and leading them to the false paths that did not lead to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this session however cannot become a bashing session for the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. They have had their share of faults, but shall we also look into ourselves? Have we ourselves done things in the same way that those Pharisees had done? It is easy for us to quickly judge others and be prejudiced, all because of our human pride and arrogance, thinking that we are better than others.

We sometimes look at the fault in others without realising our own faults and mistakes. We blame others and condemn them, quick to jump into conclusion, often without taking careful considerations of things before we judge.  That was the exact same thing that the Pharisees had done, disregarding their own sinfulness while calling others sinners.

They may look great, and like us, we may look amazing and wonderful, yes, indeed, in the eyes of men. But do we really look great in the eyes of God? Maybe, or maybe not. It all depends on whether we have done what the Lord asked of us to do, and not ignore those who are in need of our love and help. It does not mean that we must look utterly miserable in the eyes of men, but we cannot seek the glory of men and solely that, to the detriment of our brothers and sisters.

Hence, brethren, shall we reflect on our own lives and actions? We have to devote ourselves to complete and total devotion to God, changing our ways to conform to that of the Lord’s way. Loving one another and committing ourselves to that love is what is needed from us. And in order for us to be able to truly love genuinely without any hidden motives, we have to really cast away our prejudices and love our brethren as they are.

May the Lord guide us always in our path, that we will ever walk in His path and not to fall into the temptations of the devil. God be with us all. Amen.

 

Friday, 28 March 2014 : 3rd Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

The essence of God is love, and everything about God is love. Love is the driving force of all His actions, and the meaning of His Law is love. This is what we have to remember when we obey the Lord and His commandments. God did not wish to burden us with His laws, or to punish us, but instead they were meant to bring us all closer to Him, and that we may learn to love Him more and more.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God gave His people Israel, the gift of the Ten Commandments, His own laws in which He gave them guidelines in life of what to do in order to live in God’s favour. But even though there are indeed ten laws in the Ten Commandments, as Jesus had revealed to His people, that they can be grouped together into two main laws, to love God and to love one another.

Indeed, this is the essence of love, as taught by Jesus to His disciples, that first of all we have to give it all in complete dedication to God, our Lord, our Creator, and our loving Father. Then, we also need to give our hearts, filled with love, to each other, for we are all equal, servants of the same One God, and the children of that same God who created us. We are all brothers and sisters to one another.

Obeying the law must not mean that we blindly obey to the letter, the words of the Law, or make empty proclamations and professions, to fulfill the Law superficially. Our observation of the Law must be genuine and true, filled with total love and dedication to all, to God and our fellow mankind. Thus, we have to have love in ourselves, and fill our words, actions and deeds with genuine love.

These days, it is difficult to love genuinely, as love itself in our understanding had been twisted such that we no longer understand what love truly means. Our understanding of love had been corrupted with the pleasures of the flesh and the lust and greed of this world, with material goods and possessions in train. That is how our families and marriages today are under threat, because they were often no longer based on love.

In our faith and in our life, we have to give our attention and focus on the Lord, devoting ourselves wholly to Him, that we will not serve or worship any other gods, and keep holy His Name and His presence, that we will not sully It by any form of blasphemy or misconduct. We have to put our complete faith and trust in Him.

But we cannot just love God alone, for to love God completely also means that we must also give our love to our brethren, especially those in need of that love. God Himself said through Jesus that all that we do for the least, the lost, and the rejected ones of our society, we do it for the Lord Himself, and therefore, in the same argument, to love our brethren means to love God Himself.

And because God is love Himself, it is impossible for us to not love Him and just love one another. Our love cannot be not based on Christ. Yes, the love of God must and is always at the centre of our love, the love that we show to one another. Outside of that, the love we have is not true and genuine love, but one that is tainted by the evils of the world.

We have to be able to distinguish true love from lust and desires of the world. We have often confused between love and lust, and between love and desire for pleasure and for material goods of the world. That is why we end up not doing the will of God, because we mistook His true desire for us with the desire and things of this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we therefore should renew our commitment in faith to our Lord, by loving Him all the greater, through our obedience and following His will, doing our acts all in accordance with God’s love and care for us. Let us not forget our brothers and sisters out there who need our love and attention.

May we grow stronger in love, that day by day we may be ever more solid in our dedication and faith to the Lord. Let us not be hesitant to love God who is our Father, who loves us all with all of His might and care for each one of us. Let us never be separated from God’s love and remain ever in His grace. Amen.

 

Saturday, 8 March 2014 : Saturday after Ash Wednesday, Memorial of St. John of God, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 85 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Listen, o Lord, and answer me, for I am afflicted and needy. Preserve my life for I am God-fearing; save Your servant who trusts in You.

Have mercy on me, o Lord, for I cry to You all day. Bring joy to the soul of Your servant, for You, o Lord, I lift up my soul.

You are good and forgiving, o Lord, caring for those who call on You. Listen, o. Lord, to my prayer, hear the voice of my pleading.

Sunday, 9 February 2014 : 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 111 : 4-5, 6-7, 8a and 9

He is for the righteous a light in darkness, He is kind, merciful and upright. It will be well with Him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty.

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever. He has no fear of evil news, for his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is confident, he gives generously to the poor, his merits will last forever and his head will be raised in honour.

Sunday, 9 February 2014 : 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 58 : 7-10

Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the one you see naked and do not turn away from your own kin. Then will your light break forth as the dawn and your healing come in a flash. Your righteousness will be your vanguard, the Glory of YHVH your rearguard.

Then you will call and YHVH will answer, you will cry and He will say, I am here. If you remove from your midst the yoke, the clenched fist and the wicked word, if you share your food with the hungry and give relief to the oppressed, then your light will rise in the dark, your night will be like noon.

Saturday, 25 January 2014 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.

Saturday, 18 January 2014 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

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

Today brethren, we heard about how God had chosen Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, to be the king over His people Israel, and how He instructed Samuel, His prophet and servant, to deliver His will to Saul and later on, to let it be known to the people.

He anointed Saul through His servant Samuel, that Saul be filled with His own Spirit bearing power and authority, that He be granted wisdom and power, which came from God, to lead the people of God through righteous life and obedience to the Lord, and make sure that the people of God faithfully keep the laws and commandments of God without turning from them or abandoning them.

But sadly, Saul, and many other kings of Israel did not remain faithful to God, and followed their own ways and desires, in ruling the people, misusing the power given to them and the authority entrusted to them. They became tyrants and abusers of power, serving their own needs and desires instead of serving the people of God.

The people of Israel were eventually lost and were scattered all over the world, after their kingdoms of Israel and Judah were destroyed by their enemies. They went into exile, and only a portion would eventually return to their Promised Land, and began anew, trying to once again obey the will of God and not walk the path of sinfulness as their ancestors had under the rule of the corrupt kings.

God resolved to show His infinite love for His people and for all mankind, the most beloved of all His creations, by sending to us His ultimate form of love, that is, Jesus Christ, His own Son, the Logos, the Word of God, who was made man, by the power of God, and born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus, as Lord, is the true King of all, for God is the true King over all creations, the Lord and King over all the universe. From God all authority and power comes.

But Jesus showed all of us, that true kingship is not one based on the abuse of power or tyranny. Even though He was Lord of all and King of all kings, and have all the power and authority He needed, He never showed them off or used them to push things to His advantage. The kingship of Jesus is one of true service for His people, to care and love them very, very much, so much that He even was willing to lay down His own life for them.

He also came to seek the lost and the ones without hope. He came to bring light to those who live in the darkness, especially those who were deeper and even deeper in darkness. That was why, when He came, He sought those who were sinful and considered the troubles of the society, the hated enemies of the people. Yes, people such as tax collectors, prostitutes, and those possessed by illnesses and the evil spirits.

Jesus came to bring them to the comfort of the light of God, and to show that they too deserve redemption, even more so because they were so deep in the risk of damnation. He also made the point that these people were truly capable of great deeds and great piety, even more than those who outwardly showed brilliant faith, but inside were not as brilliant as they seemed to be.

That was why, He as the King who has authority over us, and who is like a father to all of us, came to correct things as well as perceptions of the society, that we should not judge others based on their appearance or their deeds in the past. Yes, the likes of Saul, who was very tall and handsome, who seemed like the perfect choice for a regal king, and yet failed miserably, and the likes of the Pharisees, who outwardly showed faith in God but in their hearts there were no love for God, but only for themselves.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called by our King, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be the beacons of light shining the way for those who have been lost in the darkness of this world. Let us imitate Jesus and seek out those who have been condemned and villified by the society, those ostracised and hated. Let us not hate or be prejudiced against them, but instead embracing them, that we show to them the love of God, that they too may believe and therefore be saved together with us.

May the Lord put in our hearts, the courage to embrace the least of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are looked down upon by the society, and those who are unloved and rejected. May God be with all of us, that together, we may help one another to find a way to seek the light, our King, the One and only True King, Jesus Christ our Lord and God! Amen.