Saturday, 20 April 2019 : Easter Vigil Mass, Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Seventh Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 36 : 16-17a, 18-28

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, when Israel occupied her own land she defiled it by her way of life and her actions. I poured out My fury on them because of the blood they shed in the land and because they defiled it with their filthy idols. Then I scattered them among the nations and dispersed them in other lands. I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.”

“But when they were brought to other nations, My holy Name was profaned because others said of them : ‘The people of YHVH had to be exiled from His land!’ Then I was concerned for My holy Name, profaned by Israel among the nations where she had been dispersed.”

“Now you shall say to the people of Israel : It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but because of My holy Name that you have profaned in the places where you have gone. I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you, and they will know that I am YHVH when I show them My holiness among you.”

“For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land. Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.”

“I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I shall put My Spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be your God.”

Friday, 15 March 2019 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Ezekiel 18 : 21-28

If the sinner turns from his sin, observes My decrees and practices what is right and just, he will live, he will not die. None of the sins he committed will be charged against him, he will live as a consequence of his righteous deeds. Do I want the death of the sinner? – word of YHVH. Do I not rather want him to turn from his ways and live?

But if the righteous man turns away from what is good and commits sins as the wicked do, will he live? His righteous deeds will no longer be credited to him, but he will die because of his infidelity and his sins. But you say : YHVH’s way is not just! Why, Israel! Is My position wrong? Is it not rather that yours is wrong?”

“If the righteous man dies after turning from his righteous deeds and sinning, he dies because of his sins. And if the wicked man does what is good and right, after turning from the sins he committed, he will save his life. He will live and not die, because he has opened his eyes and turned from the sins he had committed.”

Friday, 25 January 2019 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, remembering the moment when an unbelievable and amazing transformation of a person, who had once been a great enemy of the Church and the communities of the faithful, turned into a great defender and zealous champion of the Lord. And all of these happened to show us that no matter how great a sinner we are, God’s call is for everyone, and to those who heed to His call, He will grant the grace to be His beloved children.

St. Paul, as Saul prior to his conversion, was indeed the most unlikely person to have been called upon by the Lord, as not only that he was an enemy of the faithful, as a young member of the Pharisees, but he also led and initiated such a brutal and terrible persecution of the early Church and its members, that no one would have predicted or expected that such a complete and total turnaround of a person’s life would have been possible. But indeed, for the Lord, everything is possible.

St. Paul encountered the Lord on the way to Damascus, in the midst of his zealous persecution of Christians. He met the Lord Who showed him the truth about Who He was, and the mistakes and wrong path that he had taken all those while. St. Paul thereafter made a total turnaround in his life and became a believer of the Lord, gave himself to be baptised and the Holy Spirit came down on him, and thus, we saw how magnificent was the extent of his great conversion.

To the Apostles and the disciples, the Lord had commanded them, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, to go forth to the nations and proclaim His Good News to those people, that they too may be turned into the path of the Lord, repent from their sins and therefore, be like what St. Paul the Apostle had shown us in his conversion to the faith. In all of these, we must see just how great and wonderful is God’s love for each and every one of us, that His last and great commandment for His Church, is about our salvation.

His commandment to His Church, to go forth to the nations and to proclaim His salvation, was meant clearly to extend the grace of this salvation which He has brought into this world, to all of mankind, and not just to limit it within the nation and the people of Israel as what some among the early Christians would have thought to be the case. And St. Paul was among the most important of those whom God had chosen to be the instrument to bear witness to the truth and the salvation of God.

God called this murderous and fanatically anti-Christian Pharisee, in order to become His own disciple, and St. Paul accepted the part that he has been called into, to be God’s witness and a zealous defender of the true Christian faith, despite all the wickedness he had committed earlier in life, because of the false ways he had once followed. Through this, we can see how God is always ever merciful, even to the worst of sinners, and is calling on every one of us to repent from our sins.

But God’s works among us His people is made concrete and evident through the means of His Church, by the courageous efforts put in place by the servants and followers who had dedicated their lives and listened to His truth, as shown by the faith that St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples, as well as those who succeeded them, through many generations and many ages, in proclaiming the Good News and bringing more and more people to the salvation in God.

Now, all of us as Christians are reminded today, of two important facts that each and every one of us must realise, in order to know better the significance of our faith, that first of all, God is ever loving and ever merciful towards us, and if He Himself has shown His mercy towards someone who had sinned so greatly and so much as St. Paul had, giving him the opportunity to serve Him anew, and to walk once again in His righteous path.

And then, secondly, each and every one of us must be aware that all of us are truly the successors of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, making up His Church in this world in the present day and time. And whatever works and missions that the Lord had granted and entrusted to His Church, thus the same works and missions are ours to bear, as members of His same Church, the same Church to which St. Paul and the other holy and faithful servants of the Lord had belonged to.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all called to follow the Lord and to walk in His path, following in the footsteps of St. Paul, to go forth proclaiming the Good News to all peoples of all the nations. We are called to continue the works that the holy Apostles of the Lord had begun, and the best way for us to do it, is to truly bear witness to the Lord by our own exemplary life, grounded and filled with faith in God.

This means that, in everything we say and do, and in every moments of our life, we must show our faith through our way of life, by showing love for God, the love for His laws and teachings, and also, the love for our fellow men and women, who are our fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord. Let us all renew this conviction and commitment to live from now on, in accordance with our faith, and do the best we can in order to bring His truth and His salvation into this world.

May the Lord bless us and guide us, and may He continue to love us, each and every single days of our life as He has always done, and may He be with us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 25 January 2019 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 15-18

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptised will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

“Signs like these will accompany those who have believed : in My Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

Friday, 25 January 2019 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

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

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

Friday, 25 January 2019 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 22 : 3-16

Paul spoke to the Jews in Jerusalem, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up here, in this city, where I was educated in the school of Gamaliel, according to the strict observance of our law. And I was dedicated to God’s service, as are all of you today. As for this Way, I persecuted it to the point of death and arrested its followers, both men and women, throwing them into prison.”

“The High Priest and the whole Council of elders can bear witness to this. From them, I received letters for the Jewish brothers in Damascus; and I set out to arrest those who were there, and bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. But, as I was travelling along, nearing Damascus, at about noon, a great light from the sky suddenly flashed about me.”

“I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me : ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’ I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me : ‘I am Jesus, the Nazorean, Whom you persecute.’ The men who were with me saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of the One Who was speaking to me. I asked : ‘What shall I do, Lord?’”

“And the Lord replied : ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there, you will be told all that you are destined to do.’ Yet, the brightness of that light had blinded me; and so, I was led by the hand into Damascus by my companions. There, a certain Ananias came to me. He was a devout observer of the law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who were living there.”

“As he stood by me, he said : ‘Brother Saul, recover your sight.’ At that moment, I could see; and I looked at him. He, then, said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will, to see the Just One, and to hear the words from His mouth. From now on, you shall be His witness before all the pagan people, and tell them all that you have seen and heard.’”

“‘And now, why delay? Get up and be baptised, and have your sins washed away, by calling upon His Name.’”

Alternative reading

Acts 9 : 1-22

Meanwhile, Saul considered nothing but violence and death for the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus that would authorise him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem, anyone he might find, man or woman, belonging to the Way.

As he travelled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute Me?” And he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus, Whom you persecute. Now, get up, and go into the city; there, you will be told what you are to do.”

The men who were travelling with him stood there speechless : they had heard the sound, but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground and, opening his eyes, he could not see. They took him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. He was blind; and he did not eat or drink for three days.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, to whom the Lord called in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord!” Then the Lord said to him, “Go, at once, to Straight Street and ask, at the house of Judas, for a man of Tarsus named Saul. You will find him praying, for he has just seen in a vision that a man named Ananias has come in and placed his hands upon him, to restore his sight.”

Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem; and now, he is here, with authority from the High Priest, to arrest all who call upon Your Name.”

But the Lord said to him, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument, to bring My Name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I, Myself, will show him how much he will have to suffer for My Name.”

So Ananias left and went to the house. He laid his hands upon Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you, so that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptised. Then he took food and was strengthened.

For several days Saul stayed with the disciples at Damascus, and he soon began to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God. All who heard were astonished and said, “Is this not the one who cast out, in Jerusalem, all those calling upon this Name? Did he not come here, to bring them bound before the chief priests?”

But Saul grew more and more powerful; and he confounded the Jews living in Damascus when he proved that Jesus was the Messiah.

Saturday, 10 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 16 : 9-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “And so I tell you : use filthy money to make friends for yourselves, so that, when it fails, these people may welcome you into the eternal homes. Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted in great ones; whoever is dishonest in slight matters will also be dishonest in greater ones.”

“So if you have been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth? And if you have been dishonest with things that are not really yours, who will give you that wealth which is truly your own? No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to Money.”

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and sneered at Jesus. He said to them, “You do your best to be considered righteous by people. But God knows the heart, and what is highly esteemed by human beings is loathed by God.”