Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we celebrate the last Sunday in our current liturgical year, and therefore, we celebrate with joy the great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We remember today, Our Lord Who is Our God and Saviour, and also Our King, Who will come at the end of time, at the time of His own choosing, to judge all of the people, from past, our current present time and the future to come.

In the Scripture readings today, we heard how Our Lord is King, Who is to be glorified and adored, obeyed and listened to, but He is also our Shepherd, Who is responsible for us, Who cares for us and loves each and every one of us without exception, from the smallest and least among us to the greatest. He is our Good Shepherd, the One Who leads all the faithful people towards Himself, that all may find rest in Him. He shows us all the face of true kingship, one that leads by example.

He is the One True King, from Whom all authority came from, and from Whom all power rests. All our earthly rulers, leaders, kings, presidents and all those who wield power are merely entrusted with the authority, and entrusted with the care over the people, over whom they ruled. Yet, as we have seen throughout the history of mankind, many leaders and rulers have abused the power and authority granted to them, and became intoxicated with them, losing sight of what they ought to be doing as kings and rulers.

Many worldly kings and rulers ended up becoming corrupted by power, and also tempted by wealth, fame, glory and many other forms of worldly possessions. That was how tyrants and dictators were born and created. Indeed, the saying was true, that ‘power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. It was because of our inability to resist the temptations of worldly things, that led us to corrupt the purpose of power and authority which have been entrusted to us by our True King, Jesus Christ.

Had they taken the examples from the True King, they would not have fallen into such a state. Jesus is the King Who leads by example, Who loves and cares for His people, and is committed to bring improvement and happiness to those Who have been placed under His care, that is by God His Father, Who in the Scriptures have given all power and dominion to Him, that He may rule over all creatures and beings, indeed, over the entire universe.

And while many kings and rulers of this world seek to be served and to be pleased by those who are around him, and become angry and displeased when their will is not fulfilled, or when they did not get what they wanted in terms of service by their servants, the Lord Jesus took off His outer garment, wore a garment in the manner of servants at the time of the Last Supper, and one by one, washing His disciples’ feet without hesitation, as a sign of true Kingship, the Kingship of service and love.

He showed the face of true Christian kingship, where the king does not come to be served but to serve, which in essence is also true leadership. A true leader must show by example and action, and not to be idle, not to be complacent, and not to be haughty or proud. And Jesus showed it all again during the time of His Passion, when He was arrested by the chief priests and the elders, when He did not resist, and even said to His disciples, that if He wanted to, He could have asked God His Father for man legions of Angels to deliver Him, and He did not do so.

He was also tempted by the devil in the desert as He fasted for forty days to prepare for His ministry, and yet He remained true to His mission. He was tempted by hunger, as the devil asked Him to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger, and then, He was tempted with pride and ego, when the devil brought Him up to the top of the Temple and asked Him to jump, that all might see Him and believe in Him.

And lastly, He was tempted with worldly power and riches, which Satan would give Him if only He was to worship him as god and master. Jesus rebuked Satan for all these, and reminded him that God alone is worthy of glory, honour, praise and worship. In all of these examples, we can see how Our Lord Jesus Christ has shown us the qualities of a True King, the One and only One King which we should follow.

But this does not mean that we as Christians must disobey civil and worldly authorities, rulers, kings and all. In fact, as I have mentioned earlier, these leaders have been entrusted with power and authority by the Lord, that they should execute them with justice and righteousness, following after the example of the True King, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Thus, we should be obedient citizens and lawful people, who obeyed the laws of this world, but at the same time, even more so, obey God’s will and commandments.

That is why for each and every one of us as Christians, all of us must pray for our leaders and rulers, that they may follow the example of Christ in all things, and put the people that they have been entrusted with, first in their minds and attention, and not their own selfish desires and wishes. We pray that power and authority will not corrupt them as they had for the many previous rulers and kings, and that they will become responsible stewards of God’s justice and love.

That said, all of these problems I have mentioned, which corrupted our leaders and rulers, also affect all of us as well. Many of us are often affected by greed and desire, and we seek to have more power, more wealth, more renown, more fame, more recognition and worldly glory, and thus, we spent a lot of time trying to gather for ourselves more and more of those things, and often, we cause hurt and suffering to others while we try to satisfy our own selfishness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, why is this so? That is because we mankind have not truly made Christ the King of our hearts, minds, our bodies and our whole being. We have not allowed Him the honour, glory and praise that He deserves. Instead, the devil is the king of our hearts and minds. We let him to enter our beings, allowing him to tempt us and to turn us away from the path of the Lord.

Therefore, today, as we rejoice and celebrate together in this great Solemnity of Christ the King, let us renew our commitment to Our Lord, King and Master of all of our lives, and reject the devil and all of his temptations. Let us all devote ourselves, our time and attention, to truly show that we are the servants of Our Lord and King. Let us make Christ the King of our lives and our hearts. Let us enthrone Him in the deepest, most intimate and honourable part of our beings.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Sovereign King, always be the King of our entire lives, so that as His servants, we will always follow His examples in our lives, and be thoroughly devoted to Him, loving Him and serving one another, just as He has shown us. Let us all become true disciples of Our Lord and King, and be ever faithful in our hearts. Amen.

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 15 : 20-26, 28

But no, Christ has been raised from the dead, and He comes before all those who have fallen asleep. A human being brought death; a Human Being also brings resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all die, so, in Christ, all will be made alive. However, each one in his own time : first Christ, then Christ’s people, when He comes.

Then, the end will come, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, after having destroyed every rule, authority and power. For He must reign and put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. When the Father has subjected everything to Him, the Son will place Himself under the One Who subjected everything to Him. From then on, God will be all in all.

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 22 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 5-6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul. He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing. Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 34 : 11-12, 15-17

Indeed YHVH says this : I, Myself, will care for My sheep and watch over them. As the shepherd looks after his flock when he finds them scattered, so will I watch over My sheep; and gather them from all the places where they were scattered in a time of cloud and fog.

I, Myself, will tend My sheep and let them rest, word of YHVH. I will search for the lost and lead back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak; but the fat and strong will be eliminated. I will shepherd My flock with justice.

As for you, My flock – says YHVH – I will distinguish between one sheep and another, and set apart rams and goats.

Sunday, 30 April 2017 : Third Sunday of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

(Holy Week) Sunday, 16 April 2017 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection, Easter Day Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 20 : 1-9

At that time, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat.

The napkin, which had been around his head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that He must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.

Alternative reading
Matthew 28 : 1-10

At that time, after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake : an Angel of the Lord descending from heaven, came to the stone, rolled it from the entrance of the tomb, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his garment white as snow. The guards trembled in fear and became like dead man when they saw the Angel.

The Angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said. Come, see the place where they laid Him; then go at once and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. This is my message for you.

They left the tomb at once in fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to His disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The woman approached Him, embraced His feet and worshipped Him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell My brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see Me.”

Alternative reading (Evening Mass)
Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.