Saturday, 20 June 2015 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

2 Corinthians 12 : 1-10

It is useless to boast; but if I have to, I will go on to some visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a certain Christian : fourteen years ago he was taken up to the third heaven. Whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know, God knows. But I know that this man, whether in the body or out of the body – I do not know, God knows – was taken up to Paradise where he heard words that cannot be told : things which humans cannot express.

Of that man I can indeed boast, but of myself I will not boast except of my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, it would not be foolish of me, for I would speak the truth. However, I better give up lest somebody think more of me than what is seen in me or heard from me.

Lest I become proud after so many and extraordinary revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a true messenger of Satan, to slap me in the face. Three times I prayed to the Lord that it leave me, but He answered, “My grace is enough for you; My great strength is revealed in weakness.”

Gladly, then, will I boast of my weakness that the strength of Christ may be mine. So I rejoice when I suffer infirmities, humiliations, want, persecutions : all for Christ! For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Thursday, 5 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the mission which Christ entrusted to His disciples, sending them two by two ahead of Him, in order to minister to the people of God and preach the Good News by words, deeds and actions. They were to be the extension of His hands’ works and to be the messengers of His words of truth.

Jesus came into the world with a clear message to all of us, that God welcomes all to His embrace and forgiveness. His mercy should never be too far for us to reach. He wants to make it available to all of us. And that was why He gave Himself as the Bridge that crosses the chasm between us and God our Lord and Father. Through Him, He brought us all into closer contact with our loving Father and make the truth about God known to all.

Many feared to seek the Lord because they feared His wrath and anger at their sinfulness and wickedness. But they failed to realise that while God was angry at them for their sins, He continues to love them without fail and without cease, no matter how sinful we are. It is that sin which separated us from His mercy and love, and thus a great barrier which all of us need to overcome.

And worse that many people even refused to accept the Lord who came to them, knocking at the doors of the hearts of many. They refused to receive the Lord for various reasons, but all of them stemmed from the same origin, that is our pride and our stubbornness. Yes, the same pride and stubbornness which had caused Satan to fall from grace into damnation, that same obstacle which will bring about our downfall too if we do nothing about it.

How many of us remain stubborn and unwilling to receive such rich graces of the Lord, which He poured freely upon us? He even became a willing sacrifice for all of our sake, by becoming the Lamb of sacrifice, laying down His own Body and shedding His own Blood to be the Redemption and Salvation for us all. He gave us His Body and His Blood freely, if we just would believe in Him and make Him as our Lord and Saviour.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Agatha, a holy virgin, a faithful servant and a glorious martyr of the Faith. St. Agatha was a very devoted servant of God, and since her early youth she had given herself completely to the service of God, dedicating her purity and virginity to the Lord as an offering of herself. But she was pursued and disturbed apparently by a Roman centurion, a pagan army leader of the Roman Empire.

At that time, to be a follower of Christ would mean certain death and suffering, at a time of great difficulty known as the Decian persecution, when the Roman Emperor Decius commanded a great persecution of the Church and the faithful. Many of the faithful were tortured, imprisoned, scourged and met painful death defending their Faith and by remaining true to God and His salvation which He had revealed to us through Jesus His Son.

St. Agatha also endured many torture and scourgings, in the imitation of the Lord Jesus who also endured such horrendous torture and difficulties, rejection and humiliation so that by His suffering and death, He might liberate us all from death itself and bring us into life eternal. And indeed, St. Agatha with the many other martyrs of the Faith lost their earthly lives but gained in heaven a great new and everlasting life.

We too, brothers and sisters in Christ, can share in the same glory and bliss that the saints and martyrs had received. Let us all therefore cast far away all of our pride and vanity, all of our stubbornness and reluctance to seek the Lord, so that we may truly, with full humility, seek the loving heart of our God and find His mercy, that we may be made whole once again, and receive the fullness of His reward. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about the healing which Jesus performed to the woman who had bleeding in her for twelve years, and also the resurrection of the dead daughter of a synagogue official. And both of them have a great significance for us, as they were both saved and healed because of their faith.

The woman was healed from her bleeding because she believed that Jesus had the power to free her from her afflictions, while the daughter of the official was healed because her father also showed the same faith in the power and authority of Jesus. What Jesus told the woman is important, as He said that the woman’s faith had saved her. This showed that we must have faith in the Lord in order for us to achieve salvation.

However, people tend to interpret this differently, thinking and assuming that faith alone is sufficient for us to attain salvation and liberation from all of our afflictions. Some were misled by the confusion to think that we just need to have faith and to believe in the Lord, and then all of our problem will be gone, and all of our difficulties will cease. But this is a wrong idea, an erroneous thinking and a heresy planted in our minds by Satan.

Our Lord Himself, as the first reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews had testified, is the founder of the Faith we have now, not just because He preached what He had preached, and not just because of all the words and things which He had mentioned and taught to His disciples, but even more importantly, Jesus Himself practiced and made true what He had taught and preached in His own actions.

He persevered and suffered grievously for all of our sins, and He bore that cross that is our sins, holding onto it as He ascended the hills of Calvary, and every single wounds He received is our sins that He patiently and lovingly bore upon Himself. What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? Our Lord loves us all very much, and He wants us all to be saved. He had faith in us all being able to overcome sin, but without action, everything would come to naught.

And that was why, He showed us all the example through His own action, that faith is never complete without action and deed to prove that faith, and without action based on that faith, the faith is essentially dead. The woman with bleeding believed in Jesus, but had she not taken the action to come through the numerous crowd and try her best to touch the cloak of Jesus, she would not have been healed.

It was also the same for the daughter of Jairus, the synagogue official. Had Jairus not make the effort to come down and seek the Lord Jesus, he would not have received the reward for his faith, even though he was indeed faithful to the Lord. Thus, our faith requires effort, a conscious effort and work, which is our faith made alive and real.

Indeed, we cannot profess that we are truly faithful to the Lord, if we had not done anything to show that we are indeed faithful. Therefore, let us all from now on, change our ways and be truly faithful, just as today we celebrate the feast of two saints of the Church, namely St. Blaise and St. Ansgar, the faithful servants of God, whose examples hopefully may inspire us all.

St. Blaise was renowned as the patron saint of throat diseases, and we know of him now primarily because of the custom of the blessing of the throat, also known as St. Blaise’s blessing, with two crossed candles on our throats. St. Blaise was once a physician that cured and healed diseases, but he then settled on in the greater service of God and His people and instead he became the physician of souls.

The works of St. Blaise in calling the people of God to repentance and to a holy lifestyle is a constant reminder to all of us, that we are all always afflicted with the disease of the soul, that is sin, and we have to seek remedy for this affliction, that is by seeking the Lord our God with faith, and by doing what He had commanded us to do, as doing good deeds for others around us is a panacea and medicine against the sickness of sin.

Meanwhile, St. Ansgar showed us that we have much to do as the fellow servants of God, in doing good for one another and in calling many people from the darkness of the world into the Light. St. Ansgar was truly experienced in this as he lived during the early Medieval era Europe, in the midst of the people still gripped by pagan worship and pagan gods, and he was indeed sent to those people to bring the Light of Christ upon them.

St. Ansgar tirelessly worked to bring the Good News and the truth of Christ to them. Amidst all the difficulties and challenges, he managed to convert countless souls and gained them for the Lord, for their own benefit as well. And this should inspire us all to take up the same cross, the same mission to bring more and more people to the salvation in the Lord.

May our Almighty God be with us all, guide us all in our ways that we may always be upright in His eyes and at the end of the days, may we all find salvation and justification in Him, the One who rewards all His faithful with the abundance of graces. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ, the day when the great Magi and wise men from the East, from the faraway lands came to give Him honour and pay homage to the King of kings, and through that act, He revealed Himself to all mankind, not just as a mere Man, but as a Great King beyond compare, a High Priest of all creations, and the Messiah who would suffer and die for our sake, so that we may be saved.

Epiphany comes from the Greek ‘Ephiphanein’ and the Latin ‘Epiphania’ which means a moment of revelation or realisation, which is indeed what this Feast is all about. The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ is the moment when Christ revealed Himself to all the peoples, even to the Gentiles or the non-Jews, who came from afar to visit Him and pay honour to Him. He who is a King was born in a lowly stable, unknown to others except to the shepherds that had seen and heard the angels’ proclamations, and to the animals present there.

On this day, we ought to see several very vivid and clear symbolisms in what we have heard from the Scripture and Gospel readings. The very bright star that the Magi of the East saw from their homeland was the Star of the Messiah, the true Light of the world, whose light and truth illuminates everything that lie in darkness. Those who live in the darkness have indeed seen a great Light, just as the prophet Isaiah has said.

People in the past, before the advent of the use of maps and all the satellite-based imageries we have in our possession now, used the heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon and the stars to help them to orientate themselves and find direction to their destination. Sailors used the stars to guide them on their voyage and journey, and certain star patterns and constellations were created by the people for precisely this purpose, that they may be easily recognised as the guiding lights to help the people find their way.

The Star of Bethlehem, that bright star of exceeding and unparalleled brightness is therefore also a guide, and a guide that is unparalleled and unprecedented, for it is not just a guide for the people to a physical destination, but as a guide that leads them to none other than the final destination which all the peoples should have aimed for, that is to reach out to the Lord and Messiah, and who is now finally reachable, for He has been born a Baby, a Royal Child, God incarnate into Man.

That star is often associated with the symbol of faith, and this is representing the faith of the Magi of the East, who came from faraway lands on long journeys, note that travel at that time is not like that of today, with travels done across desert and uninhabited lands, without proper roads, on the back of camels and with many months of travel before finally reaching the destination. Nevertheless, the faith which the Magi had was evident, as they persevered through all that just that they might be able to see the Lord and King whom they did not know beforehand.

And by that revelation, when the Magi discovered the Lord in that stable in Bethlehem, they saw the one True and only God who had come into being through Jesus. They saw the salvation of the world, and they were glad. They came bearing gifts fitting for the One who had come to this world to save it, and it is these gifts that we should be focused at now. These gifts are gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold is a precious metal and commodity, prized greatly for its luster and shine, its beauty and lasting properties, with pure gold showing no tarnish even after centuries and millennia, maintaining its beautiful and shiny appearance. As such it is highly valuable and often only the rich were able to afford it. Therefore, it is also a suitable gift for a king, as a king is often adorned with riches and wealth, and the gift of gold is meant to honour and adore the king to whom the gold is presented.

And therefore, the gift of gold by the Magi signifies the kingship of Christ, who as the Lord, Creator and Master of the universe, is King, the King over all kings and Lord over all lords. And therefore by the gift of gold, the Magi acknowledged the kingship of Christ, and welcomed that great King into this world. Yet we all also know that while He is King, He did not boast of His kingship or power, but instead Jesus remained humble and fully devoted to His mission.

This is because the kingship of Christ is based on leadership built upon examples. The leader and King, that is Jesus, led His beloved people by His own examples, loving one another as God had first loved them, forgiving each other of our own faults and mistakes, and to welcome those who are downtrodden, weak, ostracised and condemned by others. He did not come to lord over His people or to oppress them as kings of this world often did, but to lead His people by example.

How about frankincense then? Frankincense is the finest kind of incense reserved only for special uses. Incense are taken from the dried secretions of plants that contain different fragrant aroma depending on the type of the incense, and they had been used for many millennia across many cultures and peoples to be offered to the divine and to the supernatural spirits.

Hence, the gift of frankincense, the finest grains of incense and the ones having the sweetest aroma, by the Magi to the Child Jesus represent two dimensions and aspects of Christ. First, Jesus Christ our Lord is God, Lord of all creations, Word incarnate and made Flesh. He is God and forever is God, and therefore, is alone worthy of worship and adoration. The offering of frankincense just as gold that highlighted His kingship, highlighted His divinity.

And then it also highlighted the role that Jesus took up as He came into our world wearing the flesh of our human form, that He became the sole High Priest, the priest of all priests, offering the sacrifice for the sake of all mankind to God. And while other priests offered the sacrifice for their own sins and for the people, and having to offer sacrifices again and again, the Sacrifice of Jesus our High Priest was done once and for all, when He lay suffering and hanging from the cross on Calvary.

As the One true High Priest, Jesus Christ our Lord offered to God a worthy sacrifice in exchange for all of our sins, past, present and future, from the beginning of time to its ending, the sins and iniquities of all mankind. This is the sweetest incense offered to God, represented by the Magi’s gift of frankincense to the Child Jesus. And we all should know that this sacrifice is none other than the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, which are also shed and shared with us all who believe in Him and profess Him as our Lord and God.

Thus far, the two gifts of gold and frankincense have revealed to us and to all peoples that Christ is the King of kings, as the Lord and Almighty God, and as the High Priest of all mankind. Then how about the last gift of myrrh? Myrrh is a substance used in embalming of the bodies of the dead, as the substance used to mask the bad and foul odour of decay and also acting as a preservative agent to help keep the body intact after death and avoid decomposition.

You must be wondering and may even be bewildered. How come is it that such a gift is given to a Baby just after His birth? Is myrrh not something more suitable to be given to dead bodies or to families in sorrow after just losing their loved ones to death? Why did the Magi give such a strange gift to the Lord, after their gifts of gold and frankincense, bringing great glory and praise to God?

That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, once again I would like to stress the importance of seeing the events of the life of Jesus Christ on earth as one whole singular unity, with a clear and singular purpose, that is to save us all, the people of God from the tyranny of sin and death. And the only way to do that is for Jesus to bear our sins, as His cross, and carry all the burdens and weights of those sins, and suffering in our stead the punishment for sins, although He is without blame.

We cannot separate the celebration of Christmas from the celebration of the rest of the life of Jesus, especially the celebration of the events of the Holy Week and Easter. Why did Jesus choose to come into this world as a simple Baby? That is because He wanted to save us, and the way to do so, is through His death, on the Good Friday that we celebrate every year. And by His resurrection on Easter Sunday, He broke free our chains of sin and death, and bring to us a new hope of an eternal life.

Thus, the gift of myrrh by the Magi as the third gift is to prepare for the death of Jesus, whom many certainly was unable to predict right there and then. Nobody would expect the Messiah to suffer and die for our sake, even though indeed this had been prophesied in the book of the prophet Isaiah, but many refused to believe so. And thus, this last gift of myrrh is a testimony that reveals who Christ is to the nations, as the Lord who gave up all He had, so that by His actions, His loving sacrifice, He might deliver His people from certain destruction.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, after we have gone through all the symbolisms in this Epiphany feast’s Scripture readings, let us all first resolve to follow the examples of the Magi, who followed faithfully the star all the way from their homeland until they saw the Lord in person. Abraham once had done similarly, and in his faith, he was richly rewarded by the Lord. In this, we should learn that faith is essential for us, and we have to put our complete trust in the Lord without reservation.

And then, through the three great gifts of the Magi, let us all come to a realisation of what God had done for us, He who is all powerful and mighty, having no need for anything, and yet desiring to be with us and to rescue us from certain death. Thus, let us all repay that great love He had shown us, by loving Him back with all of our hearts, and show Him the greatest gifts He would want from us, that is our love, the love of our hearts for Him.

Therefore, let us all renew our faith and devotion to our loving God, and with all our hearts, let us turn all our attentions to Him, and praise and adore Him, our Lord who had revealed Himself to the world and to all the peoples on this great Feast of the Epiphany. Lord, reveal Yourself to all the nations that everyone may be saved in You. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-gospel-reading/

 

Epistle (Usus Antiquior) : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/05/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-i-classis-tuesday-6-january-2015-epistle/

 

Gospel (Usus Antiquior) : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/05/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-i-classis-tuesday-6-january-2015-holy-gospel/

Friday, 26 December 2014 : Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, the day after Christmas, is the feast of the protomartyr of the Faith, that is the first of those who have died for their Faith in God. He is St. Stephen, one of the seven deacons appointed to serve the people of God, sharing and giving the nourishment, and in charge of the Church’s charitable acts and works.

One might be wondering, why after the joy of Christmas, then we immediately go on to celebrate a tragedy, that is the death of a faithful and holy servant of God. But truthfully, if we have understood what Christmas is truly about, then this would not surprise us at all, and indeed, it would have fit perfectly into the order of things. Christmas joy and happiness is not about the glamour, the parties, the revelries and the things we do to make things look great, but it is truly about the Joy we have, for our God has given the perfect manifestation of His love for us and His faithfulness through Jesus.

Did Jesus come into the world to affirm His people and praise them? No, in fact, He did not mince His words, and His words are true, and filled with criticisms at those who have misinterpreted the Law, and worse still for those who even misled the faithful with their sinful ways. As such, as we all should know, Jesus did not have an easy time, and oppositions always came His way, particularly from the Pharisees and the chief priests who viewed Him as a rival to their power, influence and authority.

This is exactly what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today. He mentioned how those who believed in Him will also suffer just as He had suffered. The world had rejected Him, and all those who placed their trust in the world also rejected Him. Then, the same too would also happen to all those who walk in the way of Christ. The world will also reject them and attempt to eliminate them, just as they had tried to eliminate Christ.

It is to say and highlight that following Christ is not an easy path, and it is certainly not for those who seek to be complacent and desire acceptance by the world. As St. Stephen had shown us, as well as many other martyrs of the Faith that followed in his footsteps, being faithful to God and obedient to His will is a tough one, and often life is placed on the line, and many lost their lives refusing to abandon their Faith in God.

Christ came into our world, incarnate as the Baby Jesus that we celebrate as Christmas, but many would not want to listen to Him and what He had come to tell them, because they were misled, they were deep in the lies of Satan and they embraced to much of worldliness that prevented them from realising the truth about themselves.

That is why when Christ came into the world and bring the truth to them, many found it difficult to accept what He had told them. The Pharisees and the elders of the people refused to listen to St. Stephen as well. St. Stephen spoke at length, telling them all about God and His wondrous works throughout the ages, and he highlighted how the stubbornness of the people of God prevented them from receiving the grace of God and understanding His will.

They closed their ears and covered them, while shouting and lusting for the death of St. Stephen. They tortured him and stoned him to death. This is a clear example of how mankind often refuses to listen to the truth and instead prefer to be buoyed and bought over by the lies of the devil. We are often distracted from the truth, and when the truth comes our way, we come up with a thousand excuses and more to deny that truth.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us live in denial, and we do not recognise our sinfulness before God. We tend to shut God out of our lives, and that is why many of us do not recognise the true value and meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about the coming of the Saviour, whose truth and love would dispel all falsehoods and lies, and we have to face the truth no matter how horrible and ugly the truth is.

Therefore, as we continue to rejoice in the joy of this Christmas season, let us also heed the examples of St. Stephen and the other holy martyrs, who had given up their lives for the Lord, in defense of their faith. They did not hide the truth, but reveal the entirety of the truth they have received from Christ. Therefore, we as the disciples and followers of Christ must also not mince our words, and we must not compromise on the Faith.

Let us preach the Good News of the Lord and the fullness of faith with complete trust and confidence in God’s providence. Practice the Faith through our words, actions and deeds, just like St. Stephen, who did not become angry or hateful to those who have condemned him to death, but instead like Christ, he forgave them and begged that their sins may not be counted against them.

Thus, foremost in our concerns should be the propagation of the unadulterated and unchanged Faith in all its fullness. We cannot be witness to half faiths, or else we witness for nothing. Instead, let us persevere, even against the opposition of the world, to be the bringer of the Joy of Christmas into the world. May Christ be with us all, His peoples and disciples, give us strength and renew our courage and resolve to live our faith with full effort and sincerity. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the fourth and therefore the last Sunday of Advent in our liturgical year. Christmas is coming soon and this week is the time traditionally prescribed by the Church as the time for the final preparation for Christmas. This Sunday we continue to observe and reflect on the major aspects of Christmas, that is Love. We have previously reflected on Hope, on Peace, and finally on Joy at the Gaudete Sunday last week.

Love is the central nature of Christmas and all that we celebrate. Indeed, love is the centre of everything, of why we still live and breathe comfortably now in this world. God loves us all, for we were created special, with the very image of our God imprinted on us, and we have been given the greatest gift of all. And what is this gift? It is the Gift of all gifts, surpassing all other gifts, that is Christ our Lord Himself, the Gift of God to all mankind.

As we have often talked about and discussed throughout this Advent season, this season is a time for ardent prayer and genuine preparation, a time for us to prepare for the ‘Adventus’ or the coming of the Lord. And after going through four Sundays in which we discern the true meaning of Christmas, we should all be ready and prepared to celebrate this Christmas meaningfully.

Otherwise, if we fail to understand the true meaning of Christmas, then we will not benefit from the richness of God’s grace which He had given to us, which will benefit us most if we can appreciate what Christmas truly is. Christmas is not just about the glorious and bountiful food, not just about the festivities and the parties, and not just about the decorations and shopping that we often do to prepare for Christmas.

Christmas is truly about love, the love of God for mankind. Surely we know that the Gospel has clearly spoken about God who loves us all so much, that He gave us His only Son, so that all those who believe in Him, the Son, will not perish but gain eternal life (John 3:16). This is the essence of Christmas, the coming of the Son into the world, so that a new Hope arises for the nations and for all the peoples.

So the aspect of love that we reflect on this Sunday, reflects this Love that God had shown us, the true meaning of Christmas that I have often emphasized. Without the love of God, there can be no Christmas, and there can be no hope for us. There can no true peace in us, if we do not embrace the peace brought to us by God’s Love in Christ. There can also be no joy in us that lasts, if we do not share in the joy of God’s Love.

What is love, brothers and sisters in Christ? Is love shown by expensive gifts or romantic activities, and all the things taught and shown to us by the world? Is it like what are being advertised to us in many things, about love? No, it is not that kind of love, for that kind of love is often selfish, love that is bound to possessions and material goods, love that is conditional and once spent, then no love is left. Sadly, this is also the reason why there are so much sorrow in the world, of broken families, of abuses in the family, of infighting and jealousy, and many others.

Love, and indeed real love, is not about all these, but is the kind of love which Love Himself, Christ, had shown us. For God is Love, and He had shown us what love really is. His love is true love, genuine and pure, unconditional and gentle. His love does not have any prerequisite, nor does He demand us to give Him something for the love He had shown us. Indeed, He loved us even when we are still sinners, and even laid down His life for us.

St. Paul mentioned in his letter to the Romans, that someone may want to give their life for the just and righteous ones, but very unlikely to do so, for those who are wicked and evil. But Jesus suffered for us, bearing all of our sins, and died for us, laying down His life, even when we are still sinners and wicked (Romans 5:8). And as Jesus had said that the greatest kind of love is for someone to lay down his life for a friend (John 15:13), then we can see indeed how much greater the love God had for us when He chose to lay down His life for us, sinners and evildoers.

God does detest our sins greatly. Sin has no place in His presence, as sin is a taint and corruption, and for He who is perfectly good and pure, sin is completely disgusting. And yet, His love is even greater than His hatred for our sins. He loves us so much that He was willing to endure all those sufferings in order to rescue us from our predicament of sin.

This is the kind of love we should really have with us, and the love we should cherish. For it is through the love of God that we can enjoy a new hope, true peace and real joy which the world and others cannot provide. His love for us is unconditional, and by His coming into the world, that we celebrate in Christmas, He offered Himself, His love and mercy for all of us, so that we may be saved.

But at the same time, we have to be vigilant and be careful, for this world certainly has done much to prevent the love of God from reaching us, as Satan is the Lord of this world, and he has all in his possessions and within his means to tempt us and lead us away from the salvation and love which God freely offers us all. And today, we celebrate the feast of a great and faithful servant of God, who is a devout and courageous defender of the Faith in God.

St. Peter Canisius was a Dutch Jesuit, who lived during the time of the Protestant ‘reformation’, when many of the faithful and the members of the Church were misguided and misled by those who have been corrupted by the lies and the confusion of the evil one. They left the Church and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ as faithfully kept by the Church and chose to follow their own human desires, greed, selfishness, and other evils in them.

St. Peter Canisius joined the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit order, which is the spearhead of the Church’s effort at Counter-Reformation, which main goal is to counter the heresy of Protestantism and bring as many souls as possible back to salvation that exists only in the Church of God. He led the effort of Counter-Reformation in what is now Germany, where the effects of the Protestant heresy is at its worst. He preached the true faith, and it was told that his preaching was so effective that hundreds and more returned to the true Faith.

He preached and taught in many places, and he persuaded many to return to the Faith not by coercion or force, but by clear reason and clear understanding of the Faith, and through that clarity in the teaching of the Faith, his words of truth, the truth of God rang deep into the depths of the hearts of many, who were convinced to abandon their heresy and return to the Holy Mother Church.

St. Peter Canisius was very particular in the matter of the education of the Faith to the people, and his most well-known legacy is the three books of Catechism he had written, which are the clear source of the teachings of the Faith, used in many generations and saved countless souls from sins and heresies. That is why his name today is also identical with Catholic education and several Jesuit education institutes adopted his name after he was made saint of the Holy Church.

He was also credited for his great devotion to Mary, and he taught that the best way to the Lord is through His mother Mary, and he was the one who added the response in the Ave Maria or Hail Mary prayer, “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners.” This clearly showed the importance of Mary in the lives of the faithful, for through her intercessions and prayers for us, God our Lord His Son, is most likely to hear our pleas and petitions, and mercy shall be shown us.

Why did St. Peter Canisius do all of these, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why did he go forth and preach to the heretics and those who have been lost to the darkness of the world? That is because of none other than God’s love for us, and His desire that we be found and be gathered again, that we will be lost sheep no more but belonging once more to the one flock of Christ, that is the Church.

The love of God is such, that He, although despising our sins and repelled by our wickedness, endure all of them, and even endure all forms of humiliation and rejection, none less by His own people, the ones whom He was sent to save! And yet, He persevered, out of that eternal and infinite love which He has in Him, for He is Love, and just as He wanted to share that love with us when He created us, thus, He wanted us to be loved by Him even when we have fallen into sin.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, even as we prepare for the Christmas celebrations which will be here in less than a week’s time, and even as we prepare to rejoice together with the whole world and the whole Universal Church at the celebration of the Birth of our Lord Jesus, let us never forget that this event is there in the first place, because of God and His Love for us, that is made real and concrete through His Son Jesus, who performed the act of ultimate love for us, to die for us for our sins on the cross at Calvary.

This Christmas, shall we then ponder at the love God has for us, that He was willing to enter into our world, and indeed into our lives and dwell within us? Let us never forget that Christ is at the heart of Christmas, and at the very heart of that celebration and joy is the Love of God, the eternal and undying love Christ had shown us through the cross, the very purpose of His coming into this world, and thus to liberate us from the chains of sin.

Sin no more, repent, change our ways and be wholeheartedly devoted to God from now on, that this Christmas and the next ones will be decidedly different from the past ones, that this time, we truly understand and fully embrace the love of Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. God bless us all and may St. Peter Canisius intercede for us always with the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary our mother. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

 

Epistle (Usus Antiquior) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/usus-antiquior-fourth-sunday-of-advent-i-classis-sunday-21-december-2014-epistle/

 

Gospel (Usus Antiquior) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/usus-antiquior-fourth-sunday-of-advent-i-classis-sunday-21-december-2014-holy-gospel/

Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Romans 16 : 25-27

Glory be to God! He is able to give you strength, according to the Good News I proclaim, announcing Christ Jesus. Now is revealed the mysterious plan kept hidden for long ages in the past.

By the will of the eternal God it is brought to light, through the prophetic books, and all nations shall believe the faith proclaimed to them. Glory to God, who alone is wise, through Christ Jesus, forever! Amen.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/