Thursday, 30 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scriptures reminding us of the works of God among us, which we often refused to heed or believe in, resulting in many of us choosing down the path of rebellion and disobedience against God, not trusting in God but instead in our own ways and choices, which we often made in contrary to His will, and not following God and His path. As a result, this led to some of us falling deeper and deeper into the path of sin, and we have to avoid that.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Amos detailing the conversation between Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, of the northern kingdom of Israel, and Amos, the prophet of God. At that time, the northern kingdom of Israel had long rebelled against God and the House of David, following their own path and way of worship, ever since the first king of that northern kingdom, Jeroboam, but not the Jeroboam mentioned in today’s passage, led the people into sin by establishing a parallel centre of worship in Bethel, in opposition to the one and true God Who ought to be worshipped at that time in Jerusalem.

Amaziah complained to this other king Jeroboam, the second Jeroboam to rule over the northern kingdom just a few decades before its ultimate destruction by the Assyrians. Amaziah as the priest of Bethel, likely representing the same pagan worship as instituted by the first king Jeroboam, found Amos, his works and prophecies to be a great annoyance and interference in his domain, and Amaziah complained to the king himself for what the prophet Amos had prophesied against the king and the northern kingdom itself.

Amaziah himself tried to push Amos away and told him off by telling him to go back to his native land of Judah. Yet, to this Amos immediately countered by saying that his mission and calling, and everything he had done come from the Lord and how God called him to do His will. Amos was to be the one to proclaim a warning and judgment of the Lord on the Israelites in the northern kingdom for all of their continued rebellion against God and refusal to obey His Law and their unwillingness to listen to the words of the many prophets that had been sent to their midst.

In our Gospel passage today, similarly we heard the case of when the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, some of whom criticised the Lord harshly for His words in proclaiming forgiveness of sins in the midst of Him healing a man who had been paralysed. The Lord had pity on the man and helped him, healing him from his troubles, and through that occasion, He also highlighted that as the Holy One of God, the Son, the Divine Word Incarnate, He has the authority to forgive sins and to deliver us from those sins, and to heal us from our afflictions, be it physical or spiritual in nature.

We heard how the Lord encountered tough opposition not only in what we encountered in the Gospel passage today but also in other occasions, where He and His disciples had to go up against the forces of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law arrayed against them. It was just like how at the time of the prophet Amos who had to go against the wickedness and stubbornness of the people of Israel, whose pride and arrogance in refusing to listen to God became their undoing. Their downfall was because they were not humble enough to admit that they were wrong and mistaken in their path, and unfortunately many among the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law fell into that same path.

Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings ought to highlight to us how as Christians each and every one of us are challenged to embrace God’s calling for us all to be great missionaries and witnesses of our faith in the midst of our various communities, within our families and circles of friends and acquaintances among others. Each one of us are called to be like the prophet Amos, and to be like the Lord Himself in standing up courageously for our faith in the midst of opposition and challenges that we may face in our journey of faith. However, it is not just that, as we are also called to be ever vigilant and on guard against the threat from our pride, ego, greed and desire, all of which could lead us down the wrong path to ruin.

Today, we all should follow the good examples of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church, those who have defended their faith and committed themselves to the Lord in the face of suffering and persecutions. They were the ones who suffered with St. Peter and St. Paul, whose great Solemnity we have just celebrated yesterday. These First Martyrs of the Roman Church were those who were persecuted, arrested and killed during the years of the first Great Persecution of Christians done by the Roman Emperor Nero, during which many were afflicted and even martyred for their faith, and for their refusal to abandon the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence renew our faith and commitment in God, following the examples of our holy predecessors and that of the Lord Himself, and while also being vigilant and heeding the warning of what we should not be doing based on what we have heard in our Scripture passages today. Let us all strive to be good examples and inspiration to one another through our life and actions, all throughout this life, now and always, evermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 29 June 2022 : Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the occasion of the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, two of the great Apostles of the Lord, courageous and most faithful servant of God, who have dedicated their whole lives to the glory of God, fulfilling the calling and mission which the Lord had entrusted to both of them, as most important pillar, support and foundation of the whole Church in this world. St. Peter and St. Paul are honoured together as the Apostles of Rome, the heart and centre of all Christendom, the seat of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ and successor of St. Peter as the leader of the entire Universal Church and all the faithful.

St. Peter was the leader of all the Apostles as the Prince of the Apostles; and leader over all the faithful, appointed by God Himself to be the Rock and foundation of the Church and as His Vicar on earth. In that capacity, St. Peter is the one representing the one true Head of the Church, the Chief Shepherd of all, none other than Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, our Lord and Saviour. St. Peter became the Vicar of Christ, the one entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and with the leadership over all the whole entire Universal Church. He has been entrusted with the leadership and maintenance of the Church, and his role as Vicar is truly a very important one.

Through him and his leadership, and by the succession of all those who was chosen to be his successor, St. Peter became the visible symbol of unity and the one upon whom all the faithful throughout Christendom orientate themselves towards, in following his examples and that of his successors, that through them they may come towards God and find their way towards Him through the Church. As the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, St. Peter in his many other works and capacities helped to maintain the unity of the Church and to resolve the issues arising among the faithful communities at that time, as shown in his leadership during the First Council of Jerusalem as listed in the Acts of the Apostles, resolving with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the other Apostles, the matter of whether the Gentiles ought to be bound by the Jewish laws and customs or not.

Meanwhile, St. Paul the Apostle was the great evangeliser and labourer of faith, known as the Apostle to the Gentiles, establishing the roots and the foundation of the Church in numerous places throughout the known world at that time, in conjunction with the efforts of many other Apostles and disciples of the Lord, working together with many missionaries and people of God, in courageously proclaiming His truth and love to the whole world, letting everyone know of the salvation in Jesus Christ and all that had been revealed through His Church and His Apostles. He travelled on many missionary journeys to various parts of the Mediterranean world with various companions, intent on bringing God closer to the people who had not yet known Him.

St. Paul also wrote extensively in many Epistles or letters to the various congregations and communities of the faithful, many of which were included in the New Testament as part of the Sacred Scriptures, in which the Apostle inspired many of the faithful and exhorted them to avoid the path of sin, entrusting themselves to God and to turn towards God with faith. He helped to resolve issues and divisions among the faithful communities, and endured many trials and challenges in the midst of his efforts, some of which we can read in the Acts of the Apostles.

As we can see from the great many list of things that these two Apostles had done, we certainly must have thought that these two men were extraordinary people that were truly special and mighty, unlike that of us. But this is where we cannot be more wrong, brothers and sisters in Christ. The two Apostles, like many other Apostles, saints and other great and holy men and women of God, all of them were just like us, they were ordinary people and sinners, just like us. They were no more special and worthy before God just like us all. However, they all entrusted themselves to the Lord and allowed Him to guide them and help them to walk down the path of grace.

St. Peter was a mere poor and illiterate fisherman of the lake of Galilee, who was uneducated, brash and can be violent at times. He did not have the eloquence, skill or intelligence to become the so-called ideal leader of all the faithful. He gave in to the temptation of Satan and tried to persuade the Lord to stay away from His mission only for the Lord to rebuke him and Satan who was misleading him then. He denied knowing the Lord publicly not just once but three times, just not long after proclaiming that he would give his own life in exchange for the Lord, and he fled in shame and wept bitterly for that weakness.

Meanwhile, St. Paul was once known as Saul, a young and overzealous Pharisee born in Tarsus, who became a very ardent and violent opponent of the Lord and His followers from early on, as he embarked on a campaign of extermination of Christians and all those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, or believing in His teachings or propagating them, as a great enemy of all the faithful. This was a person who was although intelligent and capable, but in his actions and identity was the most unlikely person to be chosen as one of the followers of Christ, less still to become one of the Apostles and considered as one of the Lord’s greatest champions.

All these showed us today that God did not choose the perfect to be His disciples or to do His will. We are all flawed after all, sinners and unworthy of God’s great goodness and perfection. Yet, God called and empowered those whom He had called and chosen to be His followers and disciples. He gave them Wisdom, guidance and strength, through the Holy Spirit Whom He had bestowed upon them. He led them down the path that He has pointed out to them, and provided them help and assistance along the way. In that way, St. Peter and St. Paul had did many wonderful deeds for the greater glory of God, in caring for the needs of the flock, in their establishment of a stable and growing, vibrant Church which they patiently guided and nurtured.

And they followed the Lord faithfully and wholeheartedly, devoting their time and effort to serve the Lord and His people, and even having to endure many persecutions and trials, for the sake of doing their best to bring God’s salvation to more and more people around the world. Through their perseverance and efforts, God’s words and truth are brought to the knowledge and attention of many people, and many more souls have been brought from the precipice of destruction into salvation in God and eternal life. All of that were thanks to the efforts of the Apostles like St. Peter and St. Paul, who gave their all to the Lord, even their lives.

St. Peter was persecuted and was eventually martyred during the great Roman persecution, in which Christians especially all around Rome were persecuted for their faith, beginning with the persecution by the Emperor Nero. St. Peter was crucified, and while he was to be crucified, as the sign of his great humility, he asked not to be crucified in the same way as his Lord and Saviour. St. Peter asked to be crucified upside-down and it was in that way that he glorified God by his martyrdom in faith. St. Paul was also persecuted in similar persecution, and according to tradition, he was martyred by beheading during the height of the Neronian persecution.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of the great examples and faith of these two great Apostles, the Patron Saint of Rome and the whole Universal Church, let us then ask ourselves, have we responded to God’s call and commit ourselves to the missions which He has entrusted to each and every one of us? Or are we still ignorant and reluctant to follow the Lord or to entrust ourselves to Him? The choice is ours, brothers and sisters in Christ, and unless we commit ourselves more fully to the Lord, then we are not yet doing what we should as Christians in our daily living. What are we then going to do about that?

Let us all hence seek the Lord with renewed faith and commit ourselves in the spirit of St. Peter and St. Paul, inspired by the examples and the lives that they had led. May God be with us always and empower us all to follow in the footsteps of the faithful Apostles, at all times and in all opportunities we have in life. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Irenaeus, Bishop, Martyr and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded that all of us must have trust in God, and believe that in Him we shall be well taken care of, and we have nothing to fear or worry about. We have to believe that in God we shall be triumphant in the end, and not fall into the temptations to abandon Him for other sources of comfort in life. Often times we may be swayed to turn to those distractions that can prevent us from finding our path in God, but this is where our Christian faith should hold us firm in our trust in God.

In our first reading, we heard yet again from the prophet Amos, the prophet whom God had called from the land of Judah to prophesy and proclaim the word and will of God among the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, during the last years of its existence. By that time, the northern kingdom of Israel had already long defied the Lord and its people and king had always committed what is vile and wicked in the sight of God, and the Lord hence proclaimed His judgment on them through Amos.

The Lord told them all that there is nothing that He does not know about the actions and behaviours of the people whose wickedness had been so despicable and unbecoming of those whom God had called to be His own people. He said to them that everything that happened in this world, are known to Him, and by their own actions and deeds hence, they would be judged and crushed by their sins, by their stubbornness and wickedness, and shall be consigned to the eternal darkness and suffering.

The prophet Amos was prophesying of the coming downfall of the kingdom of Israel, which happened just a few decades after the time of the ministry of Amos, proving that everything which the Lord had spoken truly came true, and serve as a good lesson and reminder to us, that if we turn away from God and continue walking down the path of sin, in the end, we will likely fall into ruin and destruction, if we leave the Lord and His assurances behind, and follow the tides and sway of the world instead.

Today, in our Gospel passage, we also heard about the story of when the Lord Jesus and His disciples were travelling a boat in the middle of a great storm, with lots of wind and waves, battering against the boat in which the Lord and His disciples were in. The disciples were afraid and were panicking, worried that the storm and the waves would overcome them, and sink the boat. They woke the Lord up and begged Him to help them, and to save them from their predicament. The Lord rebuked and chided them for their lack of faith, but said then that they truly had nothing to fear about, and they ought to have faith in Him.

The Lord proceeded then to miraculously calm the storm down, and the whole place become calm again, with no trace of the storm, the wind or the waves, in the sight of all the incredulous disciples, who were all astonished at seeing such great miracles occurring before their very own eyes. They were persuaded that truly, the One they were following was the Holy One of God, the Messiah and the Son of God, as they themselves witnessed in many other occasions, of His miraculous deeds, works and great Wisdom.

Now, through what we have heard in that story, there were plenty of symbolisms there, which should serve as a reminder for us in how we are to follow the Lord faithfully. First of all, the boat is a representation of the Church, while the waves, the storm and the wind are representative of the troubles, trials and challenges that the Church and the faithful often face in this world, all the temptations and struggles, the forces of evil and those who seek to sway us to the path towards destruction. And what we must then therefore remember is that the Lord never abandons His Church and His flock, and He is journeying with us through this turbulent world.

If we choose to jump ship and to abandon Him and the Church, then we shall surely perish in the waves and the storm. The disciples, although they were afraid and were panicking, but they at least trusted in the Lord and believed in Him, and called on Him to help them out of their predicament. Contrast this to the Israelites who sought for help from various sources but the Lord, putting their trust in the pagan gods and idols, and believing in the false prophets and leaders who misled them down the path of evil and disobedience against God. The Lord showed us all what those people would experience and how they fell from His grace into suffering.

Today, we should also heed the good examples set by St. Irenaeus, whose feast day we are celebrating today. St. Irenaeus was the renowned bishop of the region of what is today southern France, who hailed from Smyrna in Asia Minor, who was a courageous defender of the faith and was renowned for his many efforts to defend the Christian orthodoxy against the many heretical teachings and efforts to undermine the Church by various groups and peoples. The Lord has called St. Irenaeus to minister to his flock, and he did so amazingly, spending a lot of time and effort to care for them and also in his time spent in his writings and works against the heretical teachings of his day.

In his most famous work, Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus strongly defended Christian truths and orthodox teachings against the numerous fallacies and falsehoods promoted by the supporters of those wicked teachings, and he also persevered and laboured hard against those among the authorities and the people who supported the heretical paths. St. Irenaeus committed himself thoroughly to serve the Lord and to glorify Him by his works and deeds, becoming a great champion of the Christian faithful, and whose dedication earned him the title of Doctor Unitatis or the Doctor of Unity, declared by Pope Francis, our current Pope as the newest Doctor of the Church very recently.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed faith and commit ourselves thoroughly to Him from now on. Let us no longer be stubborn and be easily swayed by those who sought to lead us down the path of ruin, and remember that through the Lord alone there is salvation, true happiness and grace. May God be with us all and may He bless each and every one of us, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 27 June 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded that those who are prideful and mighty are nothing before the Lord, and should they remain in their pride, they shall be destroyed by that same pride. They would be cast down and overcome much as how the Lord overpowered those who rose up against Him and His people in the past. And for all of us to follow the Lord, we are all called to entrust ourselves in Him and live our lives wholeheartedly according to His ways. We have no need to fear or to be worried about anything, for God Himself will provide for us.

In our first reading today, which was taken from the Book of the prophet Amos, we heard of the Lord speaking to the people of Israel, about their wickedness and sins against Him, and how wicked they had been in their behaviour, in their mistreatment of one another especially for the poor and the weak, and God reminded them how He Himself had rescued them when they were struck down and oppressed by the same prideful and wicked people, like the Egyptians who enslaved their ancestors, the Amorites and the Amalekites, the Midianites and many other people who opposed them and oppressed them.

The prophet Amos came from the land of Judah, but he ministered to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the message of the Lord that we heard today, was directed squarely at them. At that time, the people of the northern kingdom of Israel had veered so far off the path of the Lord, with all their wicked deeds and stubborn refusal to embrace God and His forgiveness, that they had also persecuted the prophets that God sent to remind them and to guide them to the right path. Even Amos himself was told off by the king of Israel to go back to his own land and not to give any more trouble by preaching in the land of Israel.

The prophet Amos reminded the people of God that if they continued to walk in the path of sin and continued to disobey God, then they shall face the wrath of God, and although God is truly loving and merciful, but at the same time, He is also good and just, and will not tolerate sin in His presence. If they continue to persist in sin, then God will exact His justice on them, and by their own refusal to follow the Lord and to embrace His love then they would be judged and condemned. This prophecy would eventually come true with the destruction of Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel and the destruction of that same kingdom by the Assyrians, who exiled and scattered the people to far-off and distant lands.

The Lord told His people that He is always welcoming for them, always calling them all to return to Him, but at the same time, they all have to be receptive to what He has offered them. Often times for us all to follow the Lord, it requires us to have a fundamental change in our way of life and habits, that we embrace the love of God in our whole lives, the truth and the righteousness of God in our every actions, words and deeds. We cannot be complacent anymore in not following what God had commanded us to do, to be good and holy just as He is all good and holy. We are all His disciples and His people, and rightfully, we have to follow what the Lord had told us to do.

In today’s Gospel reading, we also heard of the Lord speaking to His disciples regarding the matter of following Him and being His servants and in walking down the path that He had set before them. The Lord told them frankly how following Him does not mean having good and pleasant lives, and they may have to endure difficulties and challenges in their path and in being faithful disciples and role models for one another. The Lord did not mince His words and He told them the truth, so that they know that to be Christians, to be His followers and disciples, much are expected of us all.

However, we must not be afraid because as long as we entrust ourselves to the Lord, we will always have Him by our side, and He will always provide for us, especially in our time and hour of need, and we should be assured that God will protect us against those who seek to harm us. Like the prophet Amos and many other prophets who had devoted themselves to God, we too have to have faith in Him, and not to worry, but entrust ourselves ever in His providence and care. The Lord has called us all to be His disciples, and it is up to us to follow Him and to commit our lives to Him, distancing ourselves from the path of vice and sin, and striving to do our best for righteousness.

Today we can also model ourselves based on the examples set by St. Cyril of Alexandria, a great saint and Church father, who was a great defender of the faith and also a great shepherd of his flock, who faced a lot of opposition and hardships for his staunch defence of the true Christian faith. He did not give up the struggle and fight, despite having to endure exile and persecution due to the then Roman Imperial nobles and government support for those who championed the heretical ways of Nestorius, the heresy of Nestorianism, which was supported by some of the most powerful figures of the Empire.

St. Cyril stood up for his faith, committing himself to resist the heretical teachings of the false teachers and prophets, and dedicated his life to his flock, to those whom God had entrusted to his care much as the prophet Amos and many other prophets and saints had done before and after him, and his examples should also serve as inspiration for all of us that we may be good disciples and inspiration ourselves in our own way of life. Each and every one of us should be role model for one another, and be committed disciples of the Lord, in every moments and opportunities of our lives.

May God be with us always, and may He continue to strengthen us in faith, so that we may walk ever more closely in His path and in His grace. May His love continue to watch over us and inspire us that we may ever be His better disciples and Christians, now and always, to be His witnesses and messengers to our world and communities today. Amen.

Sunday, 26 June 2022 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we recall the words from the Sacred Scriptures that we have just heard today, we are all reminded that the primary mission of the Church has been and will always be that of evangelisation and mission. That is what all the faithful had been called to, as our primary objective, in proclaiming the Lord to all the people of all the nations, to everyone whom we encounter in life. Each and every one of us are called to be faithful and committed followers and disciples of the Lord, in dedicating our time, efforts and lives for the greater glory of God.

In our first reading this Sunday, we heard from the Book of Kings of Israel and Judah, the story of the calling of Elisha, the one whom God had chosen to be the successor of the prophet Elijah, the prophet who had worked and laboured for many years in the land of the northern kingdom of Israel. Elijah had worked hard to call the people who had disobeyed the Lord, fell into the path of sin and darkness, all those who had abandoned and betrayed the Lord, those who have worshipped the pagan idols and gods and persecuted those who remained faithful and all the prophets sent into their midst to remind them.

Elijah spent most of his years working alone amidst those who were hostile against him, and Elisha was called to be the one to succeed him, as Elijah’s time in this world was coming to an end. Elisha followed Elijah, and left behind his house, his family, and entrusting himself to the Lord wholeheartedly. Elisha embraced the calling that God had made to him, and henceforth, he became the prophet of God, the successor of Elijah. He answered God’s call with faith and he did what the Lord had asked him to do. That way, Elisha showed us all how each and every one of us ought to respond to God’s call, that is with faith and obedience.

In our second reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Galatia, St. Paul spoke of Christ our Lord Who has freed us from our bondage to sin, freeing us from the chains that have enslaved us from the beginning when we first fell into sin. Through Christ, His Son, God has brought upon us His salvation and the hope of eternal life, and delivered us from the precipice of death and destruction. The Lord has given us the sure means to eternal life and guaranteed us salvation, as long as we entrust ourselves to Him, and He also showed us the new path going forward, which we ought to follow in our journey towards Him.

And that was where St. Paul spoke about the way of the Spirit, which is distinct from the way of the flesh. St. Paul said that as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord, we must be truly faithful to Him and walk in the path that He has pointed out to us, versus the path that the world has shown us, which many of us are familiar with. As Christians, we are all called to embrace His calling to holiness, leaving behind the trap of sin, which had kept us down for so long. We are all challenged to rise up to our faith, and to live our lives virtuously according to the way of the Lord while resisting the pleasures of the flesh, the temptation of human pride and greed.

Then, lastly in our Gospel today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples and followers, telling them to follow Him wholeheartedly. He sent them out in pairs to go to places that He Himself was to visit to prepare the way for Him. There were those who received the disciples well and there were those who refused to listen to them, and when the disciples asked that those who rejected the Lord ought to be punished and destroyed, reminiscing of what happened with the ancient Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord rebuked the disciples for such suggestion, and moved on to the next village.

This tells us that the Lord is calling on each one of us to follow Him, to believe in His truth and to walk in His path, and He loves us even more than our trespasses and sins. Despite the stubbornness of those who refused to listen to the disciples at the time, the Lord did not want to punish them because ultimately, He knew that some of them may yet have the chance to be redeemed in the future, and He still left the path open for those people to walk, and to enter into His merciful care, should they choose to listen to Him and soften their hearts and unseal their minds from listening and paying attention to God.

And among those whom He had called, in that same Gospel passage the Lord seemed to be quite harsh when He told those who said that they had matters to settle and to handle before they were to follow Him, such as burying their parents first or saying goodbye first, and that those who turned their back on the kingdom of God has no place in it. First of all, we must not read into the Lord’s intention literally and without understanding the context, especially considering the additional intention of the writer of the Gospels, which in this case is St. Luke. In fact, the Lord’s intention in uttering such words is to convince us all that we cannot be divided in our attention or easily distracted in our path of following the Lord.

Otherwise, we will end up being easily pulled away from the right path, and we will end up dividing our attention and time, and then falling off that path that God had set before us, as what our ancestors and predecessors had experienced. The same people of Israel that the prophet Elijah and Elisha ministered to, did not have their heart fully focus and attuned towards the Lord, and as a result, they veered off the path and were easily tempted and swayed by worldly temptations, committing sins and vile things before God and man alike. The same thing can happen to us as well unless we actively strive to remain faithful in God and to do His will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall and discern the messages that the Lord had presented to us in the Scriptures, we should remind ourselves that each and every one of us have been called by God to contribute our efforts and ourselves to the mission He has entrusted to us, that is in evangelisation to the whole world. Each one of us have been given different gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities so that hopefully each one of us can do what we can in our respective and often distinct situation and capacities, to glorify God by our lives and to bring His salvation to more and more people, all around us, and to whoever we encounter in life.

The message that the Lord wants us to receive and understand today is that each one of us can do our best wherever we are and in whatever we are doing. There are indeed some of us who are called like that of the prophet Elisha, to leave everything behind and to follow the Lord wholly and wholeheartedly. That was what our priests and religious had been called to, into their mission of serving the Lord and us, His people, the community of the faithful. But at the same time, we must not forget that the laity also have a massive impact on the works and efforts of the Church, and each one of us, especially the laity have the obligation and calling to fulfil, to be exemplary in faith in each and every one of our own way of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore embrace wholeheartedly our respective calling in life, and for those of us who have not yet discovered what our calling in life is, let us all spend the time to discern well, and to pray for the Lord’s guidance, to be open-minded and welcoming to God’s calling, so that we may soon come to know what it is that we can do as God’s followers and disciples in our world and communities today. Let us all also pray for strength and perseverance so that we may be better able to resist the temptations to conform to the way of sinfulness and evil, and that we may be more committed to the path that God has shown us.

May the Lord continue to help us and guide us in our journey throughout life. May He empower each one of us to be His faithful disciples, filling up our hearts with His love and help us in our daily struggle against evil and sin. May God be with us always and bless our every good works, efforts and endeavours, all for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day after the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated, reminding us all of the special link and connection that Jesus our Lord has with His mother Mary, and just how the loving, Immaculate Heart of Mary is truly a reflection of her own Son’s Most Sacred Heart. Mary’s heart is full of love for all of us, her adopted children, as we all have been entrusted by the Lord to her to be our own mother, and as we also become her own children by faith.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, in which the Lord spoke to the people of God through the prophet Isaiah regarding the coming of God’s salvation to this world. The Lord sent His deliverance to this world, the salvation which He has promised us from the very beginning of time, in the Son that He has begotten, the Divine Word of God incarnate in the flesh through His mother, Mary, whose Immaculate Heart and love we remember today, as our own loving mother and guide. We are reminded as we celebrate the Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, of God’s own love for us, that He has generously given and offered to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the Lord Jesus and what happened when He was only twelve years old and remained in the Temple of Jerusalem while His parents, Mary and St. Joseph went on their way back to Nazareth and not knowing that Jesus had remained behind in the Temple. I am sure we are all aware of what happened in that story, and we heard how Mary and St. Joseph went all the way back to Jerusalem in search of the young Jesus, and found Him at the Temple. We saw how concerned Mary and St. Joseph were, in looking for and being worried for the young Lord, Who told them that He wanted to be in the House of His Father.

Such were the strange and yet truthful words of the young Lord Jesus, as He was indeed in the House and Presence of His heavenly Father. Yet, man could not have possibly comprehended that truth there and then. We heard how Mary heard all these and kept them all deep within her heart. She had certainly remembered how the Archangel Gabriel came to her and proclaiming the Good News that she was to become the Mother of the Son of God Most High, and everything had come true as the Lord had said and proclaimed to her.

Mary kept everything in her Immaculate Heart, believing in what God had told her and guided her to, and she entrusted herself in His love and providence, continuing to care for her Son, and doing her part in supporting Him for the upcoming ministry and works that the Lord Jesus would be called to do, and she watched Him grew, while gaining more and more Wisdom and power, and she loved Him with all her Immaculate Heart. This same love brought her all the way to walk and journey with Him even to the foot of the Cross. It was this same Immaculate Heart that was akin to being pierced with swords when she saw and witnessed how her own Son was suffering and dying on His Cross.

Mary’s heart was truly pure and immaculate as her title suggests to us, as the Lord Himself had made her Immaculate and pure, as the Immaculate Conception, free from the taints of original sin, and as such, her heart remained pure and free from the blemish of those sins that corrupted many others. That Immaculate Heart is filled with love for all of us just as much as she has loved her Son wholeheartedly. After all, is she not our mother as well? I have mentioned earlier that through the Church and by her Son’s works, all of us have been made to be Mary’s own children, her adopted ones, to be loved by her and cared by her passionate love and care.

Therefore, today, as we commemorate this Feast in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God and also our own mother, let us all hence commit ourselves anew to love the Lord, our God and Saviour, through the examples that our beloved mother herself had shown, in how Mary had dedicated her whole life to love her Son, and how she had dedicated her whole life to obey God’s will and becoming the perfect example for all of us in how we should live our own lives as Christians.

Let us all henceforth renew our faith in the Lord our God, entrusting ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His Mother, as well as in His Most Sacred Heart, that we may strive from now on, in our best ability and effort to walk ever more faithfully in His presence, distancing ourselves from sin, and turning once again into the path of righteousness and justice, following the path that God has shown us. May God be with us always, and may His mother Mary continue to pray for us and guide us in our journey of faith through life, that we may always ever be faithful, at all times. Amen.

Friday, 24 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, marking the great and boundless love that the Lord has for each and every one of us, freely being poured out from His most loving Sacred Heart, as we recall all that He had done for our sake. On this day, as we commemorate this great celebration, we remember the Lord Whose Sacred Heart had been pierced and torn for us, and Who despite of our many wickedness and iniquities, still continued to patiently reach out to us, because His love for us, coming from His ever loving and generous Heart, is never-ending.

In the Church, the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is among the most popular devotions, and while the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was only relatively recently spread to the whole Church and the world about a hundred and seventy years ago by Blessed Pope Pius IX, but the history of the devotion and the celebration of the most generous love and compassionate care of God in His Sacred Heart had extended much earlier than that, as early as seven centuries ago with the institution of the Mass honouring the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pope Innocent VI during the late Middle Ages.

This devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is and has always been very popular and sought after by the faithful, precisely because it reminds us of the ever loving and compassionate nature of God, our Lord and Saviour. Although we are sinners, but the Lord still loves us all regardless, and His love and mercy are even greater than the combined weight and burden of our sins. We must take note though that sin is still hated and despised by the Lord, and we have to answer for our sins, but we are reminded that God willingly offered us His forgiveness and grace, as long as we are willing to embrace them.

The Lord loves each and every one of us much as how a shepherd loves his sheep and flock, an allusion that is permeating all over our Scripture readings today. From the Book of the prophet Ezekiel in our first reading today, the Lord spoke of Himself as the Shepherd of all the faithful, Who would guide all of His flock to Himself, caring for them and providing for all their needs, among other things. And then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Himself referring to the action of the shepherd who went out to look for the lost sheep, in the parable He used to teach them, and finally how St. Paul in our second reading today, highlighting the action that Christ our Lord had done for our sake, out of His love for us.

In our first reading, the prophet Ezekiel delivered the words of God to His people, who at that time had been exiled and brought far away from their homeland, in the final days of the kingdom of Judah, when their country were battered and eventually destroyed by the forces of the Babylonians, their cities torched and destroyed, the city of Jerusalem and its Temple torn down and crushed, and eventually most of the people of God carried off into exile in Babylon and other regions, and the people were scattered all over the world, lost and no longer had their homeland with them. But God showed pity and mercy on them, and He called them to come back to Him.

God reminded them through Ezekiel, that He did not abandon them or forget about them, even though they had rejected Him, abandoned Him, betrayed Him and left Him behind for the company of pagan gods and idols. He still stood by the Covenant He had made with them and their ancestors, still providing for them and caring for them regardless, and sent many messengers and prophets, guides and helpers to remind them along the way, all the time. Yet, the people often hardened their hearts and and became stubborn, in refusing God’s generous offer of love and mercy.

He sent His salvation henceforth into this world, just as He had promised, in none other than Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, the Divine Word of God incarnate, born of the Virgin Mary, His mother, as the manifestation of God’s love made flesh, becoming apparent and tangible for us. Not only that, but His actions, and all that He did for our sake, in the end, all of those brought the love of God into our midst, and we are all sharing in the generous love that God has poured out upon us, which became the source of our light, hope and salvation amidst the darkness of the world. The Lord had shown us His love, just as St. Paul presented it to us in our second reading today.

St. Paul the Apostle in his Epistle to the Church in Rome spoke of the manifestation of God’s love for us sinners, through none other than the Passion, the suffering and death of Our Lord Himself on the Cross. St. Paul spoke of how difficult it was for someone to offer to suffer and die for the sake of another, although for a truly righteous and good person, one could probably do so. However, the Lord suffered and died for us when we were still sinners and are still resisting and rejecting Him, and He laid Himself bare before us, showing us and exposing to us just how much He loved us that even though we are still sinners, but He willingly reached out to us in love, for our sake, even suffering the burdens of our sins, for our salvation.

That was what He had done as our most loving Good Shepherd, fulfilling what He Himself said in our Gospel passage today in the parable of the lost sheep. He is the Good Shepherd Who knows every single one of His sheep by name, knowing them all perfectly, each and every one of us. He embodies what He Himself said with the words, ‘The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep’ and ‘There is no greater love than this, for one to lay down his life for his friend’. We are all precious to the Lord, His beloved ones, His precious children, His friends and brothers and sisters. We are all His flock, His sheep, whom He knew and love tenderly.

There is truly nothing that can separate us from the love of God, save that of our own stubbornness and refusal to embrace His love. And if we still doubt that love which God has for us, then let us look upon His Most Sacred Heart, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we can see just how wounded and painful His Heart has been, by the many transgressions and sins we have committed, and yet, by that same Heart, by that same love He has always had for us, He constantly gives us the chances and opportunities to embrace His love and mercy, and to return once again to His Presence.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, knowing how much God loves us and how generous He has always been in reaching out to us and in trying to be reconciled with us, let us all therefore turn towards Him, and let us seek once again His loving Heart, ever filled with love for us. Let us all not be stubborn any longer, but allow Him to touch our hearts and minds, and respond positively and courageously to His call, in asking us to embrace and enter into His loving care and compassionate mercy. Let us all turn towards Our Lord and His Most Sacred Heart with renewed love, faith and conviction to live our lives from now on with true commitment to Him.

May the Lord continue to love us as always, and may His Most Sacred Heart continue to shower us with that love and kindness, and that each and every one of us may come ever closer to His Presence. O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in You! O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, be with us always, we who are sinners and are always in need of Your love and mercy. Amen.

Thursday, 23 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the occasion of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, which commemorates the moment when St. John the Baptist, the Herald of the Lord and Saviour of the world, was born into this world, into the family of Zechariah and Elizabeth, his parents. Today we mark the moment when the Lord brought forth into this world the news and revelation of His salvation, of the long awaited salvation and Saviour that He has always promised and spoken about to His people. The Lord has reassured all of us that His love for us has always endured, and He will deliver unto us His providence and strength.

St. John the Baptist was born as a servant of God, called and chosen from even before he was conceived and born. His parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth were already relatively old and Elizabeth herself was likely already well-past childbearing age. It was at that time which God came to intervene and sent His Angel to announce to Zechariah first that he and his wife would have a son, the one whom God had called and chosen to be His servant, to be the one to fulfil the prophecy of the prophets, as we heard in our first reading today, from the Book of the prophet Isaiah. St. John the Baptist was the fulfilment of that prophecy, mentioning the coming of a servant who would speak of the coming of the one true Lord and Saviour of the world.

Through St. John the Baptist, who was miraculously conceived and born of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the Lord brought forth His Good News into this world, as He told them all through St. John that He would come soon, and because the salvation of this world was about to come, the people were also called through St. John the Baptist to return to the Lord, repenting from their sinful ways and wickedness. St. John the Baptist dedicated his whole life to God, and he spent his years preparing himself in the desert, and committing himself henceforth to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God.

He laboured for many years, preaching about the coming of the Messiah, calling of the people to turn back towards God, and going up even against the Pharisees and the religious authorities who questioned him and doubted his efforts, and he courageously carried out his ministry in serving God and His people, with all of his strength. Through him, many thousands and more became believers, and turned back towards God, seeking to be baptised by St. John the Baptist as a mark of their willingness to convert and to turn away from their sinful ways. St. John the Baptist revealed the Lord’s truth and works to them, and many more would come to believe in God, preparing the path for the eventual coming of the Lord Himself.

Not only that, but just as I am sure we are quite aware of through the life of St. John the Baptist, this great and courageous saint and servant of God also endured prison, suffering and even martyrdom in the midst of his mission, as he courageously spoke up against the adulterous behaviour and relationship that king Herod of Galilee had with his own brother’s wife, Herodias. Herodias in particular held grudge against St. John the Baptist, and she manipulated the king to order the execution of St. John the Baptist, who had by then been imprisoned. Hence, that was how St. John the Baptist came to the end of his mission in this world, after many years of faithful service.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice today in this celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, rejoicing in the memory of the birth of this great saint and servant of God, let us also therefore remember everything that he had done for the sake of God’s people, the dedication and zeal with which he had carried out his mission, in embracing the call and the mission that God had entrusted to him, and which he carried out fervently and humbly, as when he was asked if he was the Messiah, he immediately told them that he was not the Messiah, but rather merely the one who prepared the way for the coming of the Saviour.

Let us all discern our own path in life, and see how each one of us can be inspired to follow in the footsteps of St. John the Baptist, in all that he had done as a faithful disciple of the Lord. Each and every one of us as Christians have been called to various missions and ministries, given the opportunities and the talents, the gifts of abilities and other means to reach out to one another, and to proclaim God’s truth, love and hope to our world today. Every one of us should be inspired by the examples that St. John the Baptist has shown us, and we should walk in his footsteps as faithful disciples of the Lord.

May the Lord continue to guide each and every one of us to be ever more faithful and committed to Him, and may He continue to bless us and strengthen us with faith, such that we may continue to serve Him in our own various capacities and opportunities with zeal and dedication, inspired by what his saints, especially that of St. John the Baptist, had shown us. May God bless us all and our every good efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop, and St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Thomas More, Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops) or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded to seek the Lord and renew our faith, and to avoid being hypocrites and wicked in our deeds. Each and every one of us are called to holiness in God, and we are all called to be full of the fruits of faith, to bear witness to the truth of God in our respective communities and societies today. All of us are called to be holy and to be good examples to each other in how we live our faith in life. Otherwise, we are no better than hypocrites and even false prophets, who misled many from the path of the Lord.

In our first reading today, taken from the Second Book of Kings, we heard about the rediscovery of the Book of the Law of God during the reign of king Josiah of Judah, one of the last kings of the southern kingdom. In that occasion, the Torah and its accounts of the laws and commandments of God, which had likely by then been lost or hidden, not known by the people in the kingdom of Judah. When the king asked the contents of the Law to be read to him, what he heard shocked him very much, as we must understand that by then, the people and the kingdom had been diverging from the path as set by the Law for a long time.

Many among the people had been worshipping pagan idols of their neighbours and did not obey the laws and commandments of God, with the Temple of God and its celebrations neglected for a very long time. It was presumed that ever since the days of Solomon, proper celebrations of the Passover and other festivals as prescribed by the Law had not been carried out, and this, compounded with many other wicked deeds that the people had done, caused the king to be greatly alarmed, as Josiah must have thought that God would soon enact His punishment and retribution on His people because of their many sins.

That was why he ordered a thorough campaign of purification and cleansing throughout the land and the kingdom of Judah, eliminating the vestiges of pagan idols and worship, the pagan priests and practices, and also reinstated the celebrations and the practices as ordered by the Law. He was the first king to preside over the celebration of the Passover after a very long time and also restored the Covenant between God and His people, which had repeatedly been broken and neglected by the past generations of the people of Israel and Judah. That had led to the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel, and Josiah must have wanted to avoid the same fate for Judah.

This is echoed by what we had heard in our Gospel passage today, in which we heard how the Lord told His disciples and followers to be wary and careful of those who were false prophets and agents of evil, who would try to mislead the people with false promises and other falsehoods, in opposition to the truth of God. Then, as the Lord went on in saying with a parable of how a good tree would produce good fruits and how a bad tree would produce bad fruits, these were all allusions and reminders from the Lord that if their hearts and minds are not set on the Lord and His truth, then it is likely that they will end up doing things that are wicked, sinful and against the Lord and His path.

That is why, through the actions of king Josiah of Judah and what the Lord Himself had told His disciples, each and every one of us are reminded to turn away from the path of sin, from the temptations of disobedience against God. The Lord has called on us all to return to Him and to embrace once again His path, and He has placed many help along the way as He guides us on the path back to Him. The question is now, do we want to embrace God’s ever generous love and mercy towards us? Or do we still continue to stubbornly resist Him and refusing to listen to His call for us to turn back to Him?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we should heed the examples of our predecessors, in how they have lived their lives with faith, rejecting the path of sin, the temptations and wickedness of this world, and in dying to defend their faith in God. St. Paulinus of Nola was a renowned bishop of Nola who was remembered for his dedication to the Lord, in his work for the poor and those who were lost from God, in caring for their physical and spiritual well-being. St. Paulinus of Nola showed us all how we can be dedicated as Christians in following God’s will, proclaiming His truth and love in our world today.

Meanwhile, both St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher were the saints and martyrs of the English reformation, as they both were persecuted and martyred for their courageous defence of the one true faith and one true Church in God, against the wicked and vile actions of king Henry VIII of England, who for his unquenchable and persistent desire to have a male heir, leading him to break with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and establishing his own national Church, predecessor of today’s Anglican church. St. Thomas More was the king’s trusted chancellor while St. John Fisher was the influential bishop of Rochester, later made as a Cardinal by the Pope for his faith and efforts.

Both St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher refused to obey the commands of the king who demanded all of the clergy and the officials of his realm to swear allegiance to his new church. They chose to endure persecution and suffering rather than to betray their conscience and faith in God, not fearing the threats made against them. St. Thomas More also chose rather to surrender his chancellorship and his privileges, suffering and enduring the martyrdom rather than surrendering his Christian identity and faith. St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher hence showed us all the true faith and dedication that we all as Christians should have in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, following the examples set by our courageous and holy predecessors, and remembering God’s call for us to return to Him and to enter into the path towards holiness, let us all therefore seek Him from now on with renewed faith and zeal. May the Lord continue to guide us in our path, and may He empower each and every one of us to be ever more committed and faithful disciples of His, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded to entrust ourselves to the Lord and not to be easily swayed by sin, which would lead us down the path towards annihilation and destruction, and we must not let pride and hubris from affecting and influencing us or our actions in life. Instead, we should try our best to humble ourselves before God and heed His calls, listening to His words and reminders for us to turn away from our sins. We are all called to be holy and righteous in all of our words, actions and deeds, and everything ought to begin from our daily living.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Kings of Israel and Judah the account of the attack on Judah and the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, which happened during the reign of the righteous king Hezekiah of Judah. King Sennacherib of Assyria brought his whole vast army to conquer Judah and Jerusalem, and the people of God and their king were thoroughly outnumbered and no one would have expected them to survive the attack by the Assyrians, least of all from Sennacherib himself, who proudly believed and announced that no god or deity had ever protected any other nations he had destroyed and conquered, and that the same fate would happen to Judah as well.

But Judah and Jerusalem had the Lord, the one and only True God, Who was by the side of His people, Who listened to every single blasphemous words uttered by king Sennacherib in his vain pride and arrogance. The Lord listened to Sennacherib’s prideful words as well as Hezekiah and the people of Judah’s prayers for deliverance, made through the prophet Isaiah, all of whom trusted in the Lord and His providence and help. The Lord therefore delivered His beloved people from harm, and as we heard in our first reading today, sent His Angels to crush the forces of the Assyrians, and caused massive deaths among them, which led to Sennacherib having to retreat back to his land in shame.

The Lord showed that all those who pride in themselves and refused to believe in Him, or persecute those who have faith in Him, will face defeat and destruction in the end. He has always been with those who entrusted themselves to Him, just as He proved to the people of Judah and their king, Hezekiah. Pride is indeed a very grievous and terrible sin, and is something that can easily distract and pull us away from the path towards salvation. We must not be prideful and haughty, arrogant and thinking that we are great and powerful, for as we have heard, the Lord brought low those who were proud and mighty, when they boasted of their power and glory before others.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord speaking to His disciples and followers, calling on all of them to holiness, stating to them how the path to salvation and eternal life is truly one that is narrow and difficult, and unless one makes the effort to enter the narrow gate, then many may end up not being able to enter into that desired path. And why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is exactly because of pride, hubris and arrogance I mentioned earlier, the downfall of many of our predecessors, as well as many other things such as greed, jealousy, hatred, lust among other things.

That is why as Christians each and every one of us are called and challenged to remove from ourselves, our hearts and minds, all these obstacles of pride, greed, jealousy, hatred, gluttony, wrath, envy, sloth and all other things that often prevented us from finding our way towards God. We cannot allow those things to distract or tempt us to fall into the path of sin, again and again, as many of us had experienced throughout life. We are all called to be better Christians in actions, words and deeds, and we cannot be hypocrites who act in the way contrary to what our faith had shown and revealed to us.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, one of the renowned young saint of the Church, who despite his young age at death and relatively short life, managed to inspire many people who were touched by his dedication to God, his faith and contributions, in his commitment and personal holiness. St. Aloysius Gonzaga can become our inspiration in how we can be better disciples and followers of Christ, as even though he was born into an aristocratic noble family, and as firstborn son was in fact also the heir of his family titles and fortunes, he chose to leave it all behind to become a religious and priest.

Despite his father and family’s resistance and efforts to dissuade him from doing so, St. Aloysius Gonzaga would not be deterred, and after a lot of effort and persistence, he was finally allowed to join the religious life, and he chose to surrender all rights to inheritance, power and glory. He became a member of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits, and began his instructional period and training. He devoted himself thoroughly to his calling, even serving and caring for the poor and the sick around his community, and which caused him to be falling ill with the disease. Nonetheless that did not stop St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who continued with his labours until he passed away in his good works.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we can see from the example of the faith of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, his commitment and virtuous way of life, his humility and willingness to abandon the pursuit of worldly power and glory, each and every one of us are also called and challenged to be better Christians following his examples, to rid ourselves of unhealthy attachments and obsessions for worldly things and matters, and instead refocusing our attention on the Lord. Let us all seek the Lord from now on with renewed faith and zeal, at all times. May God bless each one of us, now and forevermore. Amen.