Monday, 25 January 2016 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

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

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

Saturday, 2 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop and St. Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (First Reading)

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

Jeremiah 26 : 11-16, 24

Then the priests and the prophets said to the leaders of the people : “This man must die for he has spoken against the city as you have heard with your own ears!”

Jeremiah replied, “I have been sent by YHVH to prophesy against this House and this city all that you have heard. Hence, reform your ways and your deeds and obey YHVH your God that He may change His mind and not bring upon you the destruction He had intended.”

“As for me I am in your hands; do with me whatever you consider just and right. But know that I am innocent and if you take my life you commit a crime that is a curse on yourselves, on the city and the people. In truth it was YHVH who sent me to say all that I said in your hearing.”

Then the leaders, backed by the people, said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve death; he spoke to us in the Name of YHVH.” As for Jeremiah he was befriended by Ahikam, son of Shaphan, and was not handed over to those who wanted him put to death.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear once again, as we had heard on last Sunday’s Gospel, on the kingdom of heaven being a treasure, which is highly sought after, and the one who found it sell everything he had and buy the place where the treasure is found. And in the first reading today, we heard how when Jeremiah complained and cursed for his unfortunate fate and oppressed state, the Lord came and reassured him with His words and vow that He will stay faithful to men who also put their trust in Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is always with us, no matter how difficult life is. Yet we often like to curse God and be angry with Him when things seem to not go the way that we wanted it. We do not like it when things go difficult for us, and it is in our nature to complain or to be angry with someone, and to vent our dissatisfactions that we may get some sort of relief and even pleasure from doing so.

But the Lord is patient and forgiving, and as temperamental and as bad as our tantrum is, He will always be patient and send us encouragements after encouragements and reassurances after reassurances. We often get lost on our path towards God, and God sent us encouragement and guidance through various means to ensure that we end up at the correct path and goal in the end.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Peter Chrysologus, a bishop and a Doctor of the Church who lived during the time of the late Roman Empire, during the fall of the Empire in the West, as the Bishop of the Roman Capital of Ravenna. St. Peter Chrysologus got his name and title ‘Chrysologus’ which literally means ‘golden-worded’ precisely because of his excellent oratory skills, in his sharp and yet touching homilies and teachings which drive through the teachings of the Church strongly into the hearts of many of the faithful.

St. Peter Chrysologus taught to the people the meaning of being a follower of the Lord, condemning heresies and falsehoods that brought the people away from the truth in the Lord. He brought them new hope and strength through his words and teachings, just as the Lord Himself had done as we heard how He encouraged Jeremiah to be strong and to put his trust in Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect and ponder on the Gospel’s message for today, as well as the message the Lord wanted to tell us through His interactions with the prophet Jeremiah, and as well as the life of St. Peter Chrysologus, let us all realise that we are all called to be children of God, that means to be children of the light, to be children of faith, hope and love.

We have to be the bearers of hope for one another, and in our actions, words and deeds we should affirm each other’s faith, and by loving one another we show love to this world that lacks the warmth of love. Let us awaken in one another the love for God, and the desire to seek God, who is the true desire and the true treasure we should seek with all of our strengths.

May Almighty God be with us and guide us to this treasure, that we may be ever closer to Him and remain forever always in His love and grace. Let us all work together to seek our desired treasure in life, namely to seek and live together with our God. Let us do our best and ask St. Peter Chrysologus for his kind intercession. Amen.

Thursday, 17 July 2014 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about the infinite goodness of the Lord, and His infinite love and grace which He had shown us since ages past. Mankind sadly however do not recognise this great love which had been shown them, and we often tend to disregard and disrespect the care and the blessings which God had showered us with.

Jesus offered us a lighter burden to bear, not in a sense that the burden that we have to bear if we follow Him will be lighter, but we have to understand it from the perspective and the whole picture of the Lord’s intentions for us. While the Lord is loving and forgiving, the world and Satan is definitely not so. If we choose to follow the path of the world, the path may seem to be easier and the burden may seem to be lighter than if we follow the Lord, but at the end of the road, there is nothing but despair, hopelessness and darkness.

And if we have chosen our lot in the world, that means we have put our trust and our bet on Satan and his followers. Then that means we will have no part in the Lord and His salvation, and we will be excluded from all the blessings and graces He had intended for us since the beginning of time. The truth about the heavy and excruciating burden that we are to bear will not be evident until it has come too late for us.

The burden that is given by our Lord to us may seem to be heavy, but at the end of all that, is the relief beyond all relief, and liberation from all forms of bonds and chains that burdened us, when we come to meet our Lord once again at the end of our lives. It is this liberation that we seek for, and which we ought to aim for in our lives, and not to seek the easy way out through the falsehoods and lies of Satan.

God has promised us that He will bring us to a new and eternal life in His Kingdom, and we know that God always speaks the truth, and He never lies to us. It is we who have often lied to the Lord, speaking on one side that we love our God and worship Him, but in our hearts and actions, we do not reflect the same kind of attitude expected from us. Instead we act and profess our faith in the ways of the evil one, Satan.

It is truly amazing how great is the love that God has for all of us, that even after centuries, millenia and countless ages of rebelliousness and our constant lack of faith, we have been constantly forgiven and accepted back all the time to the loving embrace of our God. He certainly did not hesitate at all to forgive us, if our repentance is genuine and true. However, many of us continue to persist in our sinful ways, preferring the burden of Satan rather than the burden of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is time for us to awaken from our slumber. Let us all cast away all the lies and the falsehoods of Satan, which he had cleverly and cunningly done in order to conceal the truths about his path to destruction. Many of us are currently walking in the same path as Satan, that is towards eternal damnation and destruction. Satan makes it seem easier for us to follow suit with the world’s ways and customs, and purposely makes it difficult for us if we are to follow the way of the Lord.

But this is exactly why we have to awaken to our faith and be removed from our passive and inaction in our lives. We have to make the great choice between following our God or following the evil one. We have been too long lulled by the easy weight of the burden of this world, and we always like to shun the burden God gives us just because it seems to be difficult and heavy.

Let us no longer be complacent in our lives, throwing away all the laziness and inaction, and from now on, let us all truly be faithful and loving children of our God, and in our actions and deeds, let us all be truly worthy of being called and counted among His children and servants. Let us all say confidently to the Lord, come Lord, come and save Your servants, and give us the promised everlasting life You have promised us, no matter what difficulties and challenges the world may present to us.

May Almighty God continue to bless us, guide us and empower us, so that we may all remain faithful to Him and continue our good works for the good of all of our fellow brethren, helping each other to reach out to the Lord and towards the promise of eternal life in God. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are given a clear warning, one that is really true and genuine by our Lord Himself, who is thoroughly concerned with our safety and well-being. He did not lightly condemn the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum and the other cities of Israel and Galilee, but He did so because of the constant opposition and rebelliousness which the people showed Him.

These people, particularly represented by the factions of the Pharisees and the Scribes, or the religious, as well as the Sadducees or the ones in power, constantly and viciously were always following Jesus to try to disturb and disrupt His works, in particular the former group. They persuaded and bribed the people to act against Jesus and His disciples, and for all these rebelliousness, Jesus rebuked them as we heard in the readings today.

The Lord truly meant good for His beloved people, and He did not curse without reason. For in the first reading, God gave His reassurance to the people beleaguered and attacked from all sides without hope, and delivered them from the way of harm into salvation. God meant good for all of them, but they often did not appreciate or show gratitude for such love which God had shown them, and instead they betrayed Him and His love by worshipping other gods, pagan gods and idols.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is easy for us to think that because we live in an age and time where paganism is no longer prevalent or existent then we are safe from this problem. As a matter of fact, even in this day, this kind of disobedience still exists in our world and in our society. When the pagan gods of the natural elements, stone and gold went away, come the gods and idols of wealth and possessions, such as money, career and consumeristic behaviour.

Our world today is filled with them, and its people filled with endless desires and greed for these, and they are never satisfied, their desires and wants ever growing. These are the new idols of this world, which feeds on the desire of mankind, and grow on mankind’s endless desire and quest to gain more and more happiness in this world, even though the happiness that they seek is nothing more than really the pleasures of the flesh.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Bonaventure, a great saint and thinker in the Church, whose works were so numerous and amazing that he was given the title of the ‘Seraphic Doctor’. He was once also a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Chyrch, chosen for his intellect and great leadership qualities, which he showed clearly in his life. He was of the Franciscan religious order and his numerous works, together with that of St. Thomas Aquinas, his contemporary, had helped to develop the teachings of the faith enormously.

St. Bonaventure was truly brilliant in his writings and works, and through his writings many aspects of the faith become clearer to us today. But he was not just merely an intelligent and excellent writer of the faith, as he was also a contemplative thinker and a faithful servant of the Lord, whose thoughts are always aimed and focused on the Lord alone. He was a champion of maintaining a balance and relations between reason and faith, showing how reason can complement faith, and how faith can truly be a guidance to men.

St. Bonaventure also shows how the ways of this world is not always necessarily evil, provided that we take precautions and be careful in our life. If we stay unceasingly and solidly obedient to our Lord and God, definitely there will be no difficulty in doing this. Challenges and difficulties will still be on our way, but nothing will be impossible if we stay close to the Lord, as St. Bonaventure had once done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we from now onwards reject Satan and all of his false promises? Shall we turn away from the rebelliousness of our ancestors and turn to God alone? Let us pray to St. Bonaventure, asking for his intercession, that he may ask the Lord to strengthen the faith in us, that our faith will be a strong and vibrant one, and will not be easily affected or corrupted by this world and the evil one’s influences.

May God bless us all, and continue to guide us in our works, that we may serve Him to the best of our abilities. Amen!

Sunday, 13 July 2014 : 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 55 : 10-11

As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My Word that goes forth out of My mouth : It will not return to Me idle, but It shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.

Sunday, 6 July 2014 : 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has entrusted this world to His Son, Jesus Christ, including all of us who live in this world. And in Him He bore salvation to us all, and remade us anew in light. As the possessions of Christ we have been liberated from this world and the darkness that is in it. We have been made anew in Christ and we ought to be grateful for it.

God lifted us up from the despair and hopelessness caused by sin, and bringing new hope into our hearts, with the coming and the life and death of Jesus Christ, who had knocked down the gates of hell and broken the chains that enslaved us to sin and death. He gave us a burden, yes, that is a burden to be the disciples and followers of Christ, but this burden is a temporary one, and one far better than the eternal burden we are to bear if we choose to forsake God and His ways.

As the Lord had said, that we ought to cast away our old ways, the ways and the pleasures of the flesh which corrupts us and makes us unclean before the Lord. We ought to be rid of our corrupted habits and lack of control over ourselves, and instead following the way of the Lord and resolve in our hearts that we will be faithful forever to the Lord who made all things possible, and who awakened in us a new hope and gave us a new life.

If we rely on the power of men and the power of this world, we are at risk brethren, for the power of men is limited and flawed, while the power of God is never exhausted and never fails to satisfy. The way of the Lord is not an easy one, but it is better than the path that seems to be easy, that is the path of Satan, but which leads to eternal damnation and destruction to all who are caught in his snares.

This world has always been against us and all the Lord’s creation, since it belongs to the evil one and lays in the dominion of the evil one, ever since mankind tainted the world by their rebellion against God’s will. It is founded on evil and therefore evil is strong in the world, but that does not mean that we are hopeless under the dominion of the evil one. Instead, as we all know, our Lord had liberated us through Jesus Christ His Son, whom He had sent into this world in order to save it.

And it is through Jesus, His life, His teachings and His works, and ultimately through His death, that God gave hope and life to mankind, and brought us a way to escape the bonds and chains of death and sin. But this is only if we repent and change our sinful ways, and follow the Lord with all of our hearts and with complete and total devotion. That means we must no longer rely solely on ourselves but on the divine providence and love of our God.

Do you all remember the parable which Jesus told His disciples? The one comparing those who built their houses on sand and those who built their houses on solid rock? This is a clear reminder to us by our Lord, how we cannot rely on our own strengths and powers in life, for it will be indeed like building up our houses on sand, which will not last against the forces of evil arrayed against us.

Instead, depending on God is indeed like those who built their house on solid rock. Remember, brothers and sisters! Even our Church is built on the foundation of the solid rock of faith, on the faith of Peter, whose name was given by Jesus, and which means ‘rock’. We all know that Peter’s own faith was not perfect, and he fumbled a few times during his time of following Jesus, culminating in his three-times denial of the Lord during His Passion.

It was not in his own human power and greatness that Peter eventually depended on, and it was not for the sake of human praise and worldly glory that he sought to do in the world. Rather, he surrendered himself completely to the Lord, just as all the other Apostles had done, and in that way, allowing the Lord to use him to do great things in the world and strengthening the faith of many others.

Therefore, our Church was founded by our Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, who founded it on the faith of Peter, His disciple, whom himself depended on the Lord as his foundation, and thus, we all in the Church draw our strength from God, who had entrusted it all in His Son, Jesus Christ. Those who placed their trust and faith in Him will not be disappointed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as mentioned, the path of following the Lord is not an easy one. Satan, the evil one, is bound to do all within his ability and cunning mind in order to draw us away from the Lord, the source of all our salvation and strength. And as mentioned, we know that this world does not match us, and we stand out in contrast to the ways of the world if we choose to follow Jesus our Lord. However, does this mean that we should conform to the world and follow its decadent ways at the price of our very own soul? It is not worth it. Truly.

We have to be more proactive in our faith from now on, brethren, that is to truly proclaim the Lord as our Guide and our Saviour in all of our words, actions and deeds from now on. If we believe, we should not hesitate, and we must indeed be courageous no matter how things will turn up for us. Let us begin to put our trust in Jesus and follow Him all the days of our life.

If live turns difficult and problems spring up along the way, then it is best for us to help one another and be there for one another, just as Christ Himself is always with us to guide us and protect us. And it is very important as always, for us to pray and pray fervently, that we may always be close to our Lord and remain always in His love. May the love of our Lord Jesus Christ enfold us and bring us to His eternal peace and happiness. God bless us all. Amen.