Sunday, 17 September 2017 : Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 14 : 7-9

In fact, none of us lives for himself, nor dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Either in life or in death, we belong to the Lord; It was for this purpose that Christ both died and came to life again, to be Lord, both of the living and of the dead.

Sunday, 9 July 2017 : Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Romans 8 : 9, 11-13

Yet, your existence is not in the flesh, but in the spirit, because the Spirit of God is within you. If you did not have the Spirit of Christ, you would not belong to Him. And if the Spirit of Him, Who raised Jesus from the dead, is within you, He, Who raised Jesus Christ from among the dead, will also give life to your mortal bodies. Yes, He will do it, through His Spirit, Who dwells within you.

Then, brothers, let us leave the flesh and no longer live according to it. If not, we will die. Rather, walking in the spirit, let us put to death the body’s deeds, so that we may live.

Sunday, 2 July 2017 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Romans 6 : 3-4, 8-11

Do you not know, that in baptism, which unites us to Christ, we are all baptised and plunged into His death? By this baptism in His death, we were buried with Christ and, as Christ was raised from among the dead by the glory of the Father, we begin walking in a new life.

But, if we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with Him. We know, that Christ, once risen from the dead, will not die again, and death has no more dominion over Him. For, by dying, He is dead to sin, once and for all, and, now, the life that He lives, is life with God.

So you, too, must consider yourselves dead to sin, and alive to God, in Christ Jesus.

Friday, 30 June 2017 : 12th 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, on this day all of us celebrate the feast of the first martyrs of the Holy Roman Church, remembering all those martyrs of the faith, who perished during the great persecution by the Roman Emperor Nero, in conjunction with what we celebrated yesterday in the great Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, both Apostles who also died in martyrdom during the same period of persecution.

At that time, the Church which the two Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul founded in the city of Rome, the capital and heart of the Roman Empire was truly flourishing with many converts from the Jewish and Gentiles communities alike. Many more people turned from their pagan gods to follow the Lord, Who have shown His glory through His Apostles and disciples, as we have heard in our Scripture passages today.

He healed them of their sickness and diseases, and caused evil spirits to go away from the people afflicted by them. He brought joy to the people much as Abraham in our first reading, faithful to the Covenant which God established with him, received his share of joy in the child whom God promised him, Isaac, his own son with his wife Sarah. And thus, the faithful God showed His love to His people, and many more people came to believe in Him.

But there were great oppositions from those who were not happy to see all these people becoming Christians, as those who believe in God. First of all, there were those who were opposed to the teachings of Christ, including those who were holding fast to the way of the Pharisees among the Jews, as well as those who were pagan in nature, the pagan philosophers and teachers who saw the Christian faith as a threat to them.

Then, the Imperial administration, the government, the Emperor and all the state officials viewed the Christian faith with suspect, particularly and primarily because, having adhered themselves completely and truly to the teachings of the Lord, refused to offer sacrifices to the Roman pagan gods and idols as well as to the Emperor, which was mandated from all the Roman citizens and subjects.

Therefore, the state carried out a great persecution of Christians, particularly in the city of Rome, when the perfect opportunity to scapegoat and blame them appeared as the Emperor Nero allegedly instigated the Great Fire of Rome, when most of the capital came down in a great fire that engulfed most of it. Christians were blamed for the fire, and many were put to death because of their faith as a result.

Many of the faithful were put to the gladitorial games in the Roman arenas, where they were thrown to the lions and wild beasts to be torn apart. Many were also put to death by beheading and by crucifixion. Yet, most if not all of these faithful people of God never feared, and they faced their death with faith, knowing that the Lord was with them, to the very end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of these should bring us to the reality of our faith, that as Christians, there will always be obstacles and challenges in our path, not least from this world and all those who belong to the world, all those who are opposed to the Lord, to His ways, His truth and His salvation. Remember, brethren, that the devil and his angels are always prowling about, waiting for us to fall into the trap of his sin, temptation and persuasion that we end up as their prey.

Therefore, let us all be inspired by the examples of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome, whose memory we celebrate on this day. Let us be inspired by their steadfast faith, and their refusal to let go of their principles and their faith, even if certainly they must have been persuaded to do so. Let us all thus stand firm in our faith, and be really obedient to the will of God, by our actions and deeds in this life.

May the Lord be with us always in our journey of life, and may He empower us all to become His faithful disciples so that in all of our actions in life, we will always bring glory to Him, and will be worthy to share in that inheritance He has granted to all of His saints and martyrs, not least those martyrs whose memory even now, we remember before Him. May God bless us all, now and forever. Amen.

Friday, 30 June 2017 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Matthew 8 : 1-4

At that time, when Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. Then a leper came forward. He knelt before Him and said, “Sir, if You want to, You can make me clean.”

Jesus stretched out His hand, touched him, and said, “I want to, be clean again.” At that very moment, the man was cleansed from his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you do not tell anyone; but go to the priest, have yourself declared clean, and offer the gift that Moses commanded as evidence for them.”

Friday, 30 June 2017 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear YHVH and walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots, will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears YHVH. May YHVH praise you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

Friday, 30 June 2017 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Genesis 17 : 1, 9-10, 15-22

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, YHVH appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty. Walk in My presence and be without blame! For your part, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation. This is My Covenant with you, that you will keep, you and your descendants after you : Every male among you shall be circumcised.”

God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai, your wife, no longer are you to call her Sarai, but Sarah. I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. I will bless her and from her will come nations; kings and peoples shall come from her.”

Then Abraham fell face down, and he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? And can Sarah who is ninety have a child?” And Abraham said to God, “If only You would accept Ishmael as Yours!” But God said, “Not at all! It is Sarah, your wife, who will give birth to your son and you will name him Isaac. I will establish My Covenant with him and his descendants after him forever.”

“As for Ishmael, I heard you. I will bless him and make him fruitful, and I will multiply his race. He shall be the father of twelve princes and I will make of him a great nation. But My Covenant I will establish with Isaac, the child Sarah will have this time next year.” When He had finished speaking with Abraham, God went away from him.