Sunday, 23 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Holy and Most Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, a great day and occasion dedicated to one of the most important central tenets of our Christian faith, in our belief and firm conviction that God Himself has given us His own Precious Body and His own Precious Blood to be partaken.

We believe that in the celebration of the Holy Mass, or more appropriately, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest minister as the representation of Christ Himself, acting in persona Christi, unites the offerings of the bread and wine made at the Offertory with the offerings that Christ Himself had made to His heavenly Father as our one and true Eternal High Priest from the Altar of His Cross at Calvary.

The bread and wine themselves have been completely and fundamentally transformed into the essence and material of the Lord’s Body and Blood Himself, in what is known as the Transubstantiation. Therefore, while the bread and the wine themselves still appear to be the appearance and texture of bread and wine, but the moment they are consecrated by the priest they become completely and truly the matter and the essence of the Lord’s own Body and Blood.

There are those who doubted the veracity and truth behind this seemingly mysterious and otherworldly transformation, as by our eyes and senses, by the appearance and by the taste and texture, the bread and wine seemingly remain unchanged as they were. However, this is where our faith is essential and necessary, because we truly believe that each and every one of our priests, moulded and ordained in the same order of priesthood as Christ is, and representing Christ Himself, has truly been given the power and authority to turn the bread and wine into Our Lord’s Body and Blood.

The Lord Himself made it clear in one occasion as He taught the people about Himself as the Bread of Life, the Living Bread Who has come down from heaven to the midst of His people, to give them the true Bread by which all of those who partake in this Bread will never hunger again and will have a share in the eternal life promised to all those who have received this Bread worthily and with faith.

He was not just mentioning this Bread of Life randomly at that occasion without reason. In fact, He was referring to His very own Flesh and Body, His own Blood as He made that teaching to the people. The Lord speaks only the truth, and therefore, how can the Lord bluff or lie to the people about His own Body when He spoke of it then? He spoke of His own Body as real Food, to be partaken by His people, His faithful ones.

And in today’s Gospel passage, we heard yet another occasion in the Gospel, when the Lord miraculously provided for the need of His people, in feeding the five thousand men and countless other women and children when they were hungry and without food, giving them bread and fishes to eat, out of merely five loaves of bread and two fishes that were available. This occasion was in fact a prefigurement and premonition of what was to come in the Sacrifice of the Cross, though the people then did not know it as yet.

As the Lord offered the bread and the fishes and giving thanks to His heavenly Father, He was representing His own upcoming sacrifice, in which He offered Himself instead as the perfect offering for the oblation and atonement of all of our sins. In the olden days, lambs and other animals were used in sacrifices according to the Jewish laws and customs to be the sin offerings to atone temporarily for one’s sins.

And in the time of the Passover, if we remember, the people chose a young, unblemished lamb to be slaughtered and as a sign of God’s providence and salvation, with the blood of the lamb being smeared and placed on the doorposts of the houses of the people of Israel, as sign for God’s Angels to ‘pass over’ them as they scourged the whole land of Egypt for the firstborn sons of the Egyptians.

Therefore, at the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross, we mark our new Christian Passover, in which a new Covenant had been made by God to be binding between Him and all of us. He offered not the imperfect offerings of lambs and animals of this world, but His own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, as He was ‘slaughtered’ on the Cross for the crimes that His enemies had charged on Him.

He laid down Himself and offered His Body and Blood as the perfect sacrifice and offering before God, on the Cross which is His Altar. He is our Paschal Lamb by Whose Blood we have been marked as those who are faithful and worthy to be saved from eternal damnation and destruction because of our sins. By His Most Precious Blood, if we refer to the Book of the Revelations of St. John, the holy martyrs have been washed and made clean in their own outpouring of their blood, and thus, we too are made clean by His Blood.

The Lord Himself has given His all for our sake, laying down His own life and giving His own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood for us all to partake, in that same Sacrifice at Calvary, to which each and every celebrations of our Holy Mass are united to, not as separate and different sacrifices as some would have misunderstood it, thinking that the Lord is being sacrificed and offered again and again, but in fact, the truth is every time the Eucharist is celebrated, it is the same Sacrifice of Our Lord at Calvary again.

And this is what we truly believe, that God Himself has truly become present in our midst, in the form of His own Most Precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist, and therefore, He is truly and really present in that Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist we receive and partake, a Holy Communion that each and every one of us members of the Church share with one another, and that is why we become the part of the Church, the Body of Christ.

If God Himself has come into our midst and entered into our bodies as we receive Him, then it is of the utmost importance that we understand what this means for us, and how we live our lives from now on, or else we scandalise our own faith and God by our unworthiness and by our own actions that are against His ways. What do I mean by this? I mean that if we believe that the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist then we will do our very best to make sure that we are properly prepared and worthy to receive Him.

Of course this must be understood also in the context that the Lord also seeks to gather all those who have been lost to Him, in extending His mercy and forgiveness to those who have sinned, and the Eucharist is one way that this reconciliation has been made in full. Yet, if one is to receive the Eucharist, the Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord in a state of continuing sin, then it is also a scandal to our faith.

We have to be properly predisposed and be prepared to receive Him into ourselves. And we do not have to look far but see how in the liturgical celebrations, we do our very best in everything, to make use of the finest and greatest materials to contain the most Precious matter of God’s Body and Blood, using only precious and incorruptible materials such as gold and silver for the chalices and ciborium used to contain the Sacred Host and Blood of the Lord.

And the Tabernacle housing the Lord’s Presence in that same Eucharist is also made using the finest materials, in a way comparable to that of the Temple of God in Jerusalem at the time of Solomon, where everything that is finest and good were used to adorn the whole Temple, with the Ark of the Covenant being the most precious of all, made using gold and finest materials, and so holy that no one was allowed to touch it.

Then, we know of an even better Tabernacle, the one who had contained the Lord Himself for nine months in her womb, and she is none other than Mary, Our Lord’s own Mother, who had borne our Lord and Saviour in her, and for this very purpose, the Lord made her, as the finest Tabernacle, not crafted by human hands unlike our chalices, ciborium, Tabernacles or the Temple of God in Jerusalem, but the perfect and unblemished human being, not tainted by the corruption of original sin, Mary, conceived and born without sin.

God did so much to prepare His own Mother to bear His holy and most sacred Presence in her, to show that when God is truly present in our midst, there can be nothing less than doing our best just as He has done His best, to bear His Presence, for nothing evil and wicked can truly exist in His Presence and survive. In the same way therefore, do we realise that when we receive the Lord into ourselves through the Eucharist, we too have become the Tabernacles and Temples of God’s own Presence?

St. Paul spoke of this, how by receiving the Lord into ourselves we have made ourselves into Living Temples, the Temples of His Presence and the Temples of the Holy Spirit. And if we sully the sanctity of this Holy Temple, that is our body, heart, mind and soul with the corruption of sin, it is indeed a great sin and wickedness we have committed against God Himself. That is why, as Christians, we are called to be worthy and to be ready to welcome the Lord’s Holy Presence into ourselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where and when we are called to recommit ourselves in our faith, to live in accordance with our faith again if we have fallen away and went astray from the true faith. We are called to turn towards God, Who is ever loving and merciful towards us. We only need to ask, and He will forgive us our sins, and that is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for, readily available through our priests.

Let us all from now on truly show it in our lives, in our every actions, in how we consciously and actively participate in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in how we reverently receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist, to show everyone that truly, the bread and wine which we brought to Him in offering, has become nothing less than God’s own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, which He offers to us generously for the sake of our salvation.

May the Lord, Who is ever present in us, and Who is our Bread of Life continue to be with us, and guide us in our journey of life, so that each and every one of us who have worthily received Him into ourselves, may be transformed by His Presence into beings truly worthy to be called God’s own beloved people and God’s own beloved children. May God be with each and every one of us, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 20 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Holy and Most Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, a great day and occasion dedicated to one of the most important central tenets of our Christian faith, in our belief and firm conviction that God Himself has given us His own Precious Body and His own Precious Blood to be partaken.

We believe that in the celebration of the Holy Mass, or more appropriately, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest minister as the representation of Christ Himself, acting in persona Christi, unites the offerings of the bread and wine made at the Offertory with the offerings that Christ Himself had made to His heavenly Father as our one and true Eternal High Priest from the Altar of His Cross at Calvary.

The bread and wine themselves have been completely and fundamentally transformed into the essence and material of the Lord’s Body and Blood Himself, in what is known as the Transubstantiation. Therefore, while the bread and the wine themselves still appear to be the appearance and texture of bread and wine, but the moment they are consecrated by the priest they become completely and truly the matter and the essence of the Lord’s own Body and Blood.

There are those who doubted the veracity and truth behind this seemingly mysterious and otherworldly transformation, as by our eyes and senses, by the appearance and by the taste and texture, the bread and wine seemingly remain unchanged as they were. However, this is where our faith is essential and necessary, because we truly believe that each and every one of our priests, moulded and ordained in the same order of priesthood as Christ is, and representing Christ Himself, has truly been given the power and authority to turn the bread and wine into Our Lord’s Body and Blood.

The Lord Himself made it clear in one occasion as He taught the people about Himself as the Bread of Life, the Living Bread Who has come down from heaven to the midst of His people, to give them the true Bread by which all of those who partake in this Bread will never hunger again and will have a share in the eternal life promised to all those who have received this Bread worthily and with faith.

He was not just mentioning this Bread of Life randomly at that occasion without reason. In fact, He was referring to His very own Flesh and Body, His own Blood as He made that teaching to the people. The Lord speaks only the truth, and therefore, how can the Lord bluff or lie to the people about His own Body when He spoke of it then? He spoke of His own Body as real Food, to be partaken by His people, His faithful ones.

And in today’s Gospel passage, we heard yet another occasion in the Gospel, when the Lord miraculously provided for the need of His people, in feeding the five thousand men and countless other women and children when they were hungry and without food, giving them bread and fishes to eat, out of merely five loaves of bread and two fishes that were available. This occasion was in fact a prefigurement and premonition of what was to come in the Sacrifice of the Cross, though the people then did not know it as yet.

As the Lord offered the bread and the fishes and giving thanks to His heavenly Father, He was representing His own upcoming sacrifice, in which He offered Himself instead as the perfect offering for the oblation and atonement of all of our sins. In the olden days, lambs and other animals were used in sacrifices according to the Jewish laws and customs to be the sin offerings to atone temporarily for one’s sins.

And in the time of the Passover, if we remember, the people chose a young, unblemished lamb to be slaughtered and as a sign of God’s providence and salvation, with the blood of the lamb being smeared and placed on the doorposts of the houses of the people of Israel, as sign for God’s Angels to ‘pass over’ them as they scourged the whole land of Egypt for the firstborn sons of the Egyptians.

Therefore, at the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross, we mark our new Christian Passover, in which a new Covenant had been made by God to be binding between Him and all of us. He offered not the imperfect offerings of lambs and animals of this world, but His own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, as He was ‘slaughtered’ on the Cross for the crimes that His enemies had charged on Him.

He laid down Himself and offered His Body and Blood as the perfect sacrifice and offering before God, on the Cross which is His Altar. He is our Paschal Lamb by Whose Blood we have been marked as those who are faithful and worthy to be saved from eternal damnation and destruction because of our sins. By His Most Precious Blood, if we refer to the Book of the Revelations of St. John, the holy martyrs have been washed and made clean in their own outpouring of their blood, and thus, we too are made clean by His Blood.

The Lord Himself has given His all for our sake, laying down His own life and giving His own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood for us all to partake, in that same Sacrifice at Calvary, to which each and every celebrations of our Holy Mass are united to, not as separate and different sacrifices as some would have misunderstood it, thinking that the Lord is being sacrificed and offered again and again, but in fact, the truth is every time the Eucharist is celebrated, it is the same Sacrifice of Our Lord at Calvary again.

And this is what we truly believe, that God Himself has truly become present in our midst, in the form of His own Most Precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist, and therefore, He is truly and really present in that Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist we receive and partake, a Holy Communion that each and every one of us members of the Church share with one another, and that is why we become the part of the Church, the Body of Christ.

If God Himself has come into our midst and entered into our bodies as we receive Him, then it is of the utmost importance that we understand what this means for us, and how we live our lives from now on, or else we scandalise our own faith and God by our unworthiness and by our own actions that are against His ways. What do I mean by this? I mean that if we believe that the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist then we will do our very best to make sure that we are properly prepared and worthy to receive Him.

Of course this must be understood also in the context that the Lord also seeks to gather all those who have been lost to Him, in extending His mercy and forgiveness to those who have sinned, and the Eucharist is one way that this reconciliation has been made in full. Yet, if one is to receive the Eucharist, the Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord in a state of continuing sin, then it is also a scandal to our faith.

We have to be properly predisposed and be prepared to receive Him into ourselves. And we do not have to look far but see how in the liturgical celebrations, we do our very best in everything, to make use of the finest and greatest materials to contain the most Precious matter of God’s Body and Blood, using only precious and incorruptible materials such as gold and silver for the chalices and ciborium used to contain the Sacred Host and Blood of the Lord.

And the Tabernacle housing the Lord’s Presence in that same Eucharist is also made using the finest materials, in a way comparable to that of the Temple of God in Jerusalem at the time of Solomon, where everything that is finest and good were used to adorn the whole Temple, with the Ark of the Covenant being the most precious of all, made using gold and finest materials, and so holy that no one was allowed to touch it.

Then, we know of an even better Tabernacle, the one who had contained the Lord Himself for nine months in her womb, and she is none other than Mary, Our Lord’s own Mother, who had borne our Lord and Saviour in her, and for this very purpose, the Lord made her, as the finest Tabernacle, not crafted by human hands unlike our chalices, ciborium, Tabernacles or the Temple of God in Jerusalem, but the perfect and unblemished human being, not tainted by the corruption of original sin, Mary, conceived and born without sin.

God did so much to prepare His own Mother to bear His holy and most sacred Presence in her, to show that when God is truly present in our midst, there can be nothing less than doing our best just as He has done His best, to bear His Presence, for nothing evil and wicked can truly exist in His Presence and survive. In the same way therefore, do we realise that when we receive the Lord into ourselves through the Eucharist, we too have become the Tabernacles and Temples of God’s own Presence?

St. Paul spoke of this, how by receiving the Lord into ourselves we have made ourselves into Living Temples, the Temples of His Presence and the Temples of the Holy Spirit. And if we sully the sanctity of this Holy Temple, that is our body, heart, mind and soul with the corruption of sin, it is indeed a great sin and wickedness we have committed against God Himself. That is why, as Christians, we are called to be worthy and to be ready to welcome the Lord’s Holy Presence into ourselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where and when we are called to recommit ourselves in our faith, to live in accordance with our faith again if we have fallen away and went astray from the true faith. We are called to turn towards God, Who is ever loving and merciful towards us. We only need to ask, and He will forgive us our sins, and that is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for, readily available through our priests.

Let us all from now on truly show it in our lives, in our every actions, in how we consciously and actively participate in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in how we reverently receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist, to show everyone that truly, the bread and wine which we brought to Him in offering, has become nothing less than God’s own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, which He offers to us generously for the sake of our salvation.

May the Lord, Who is ever present in us, and Who is our Bread of Life continue to be with us, and guide us in our journey of life, so that each and every one of us who have worthily received Him into ourselves, may be transformed by His Presence into beings truly worthy to be called God’s own beloved people and God’s own beloved children. May God be with each and every one of us, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 3 June 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi. On this day, we celebrate the very important aspect of our Christian faith, and especially the faith as preserved in our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, as we believe that the Lord Jesus, Our God and Saviour, has given us His own Body and His own Blood, for the sake of our salvation.

The roots of this exist in the Old Testament, from the time of the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt, when the Lord had mercy on His people, stranded and suffering in Egypt under the tyranny of the Pharaoh and the Egyptians who enslaved them and attempted to exterminate them at occasions. At that time, God sent them Moses, to be their deliverer, through whom He performed ten great plagues that struck at the Egyptians.

The last of the ten plagues was the greatest of all of them. The Lord decreed that all firstborn child of the Egyptians shall be destroyed, because of their Pharaoh’s stubbornness and his refusal to let the people of Israel go free. The Lord sent His Angels of death to scour the whole land of Egypt, and many of the children of the Egyptians, right down to their animals perished on that night.

However, the children of the Israelites were saved and spared from death, as the Lord instructed Moses to tell them to prepare an unblemished lamb for each household, and slaughter it, to prepare and celebrate a Passover worthy of Him, the very first Passover celebrated by the people of God. The lamb’s blood was applied on the doorposts and the lintels of the doors, marking the household as those belonging to God’s people.

Seeing the blood of the lamb splashed across the doorposts, the Angels of death bypassed over their houses, and spared them from death. Ever since, the offering and sacrifice of blood of animals became associated with the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God. In fact, since the very beginning, from the time of Cain and Abel, and from the time of Abraham, the people of God have offered animal sacrifices to God. But it was then in the Book of Leviticus that God prescribed the rules regarding sacrifices, that the priests belonging to the tribe of Levi would offer regular sacrifices for the people of God.

Moses slaughtered and offered the blood of animals when he sealed the Covenant which God made with His people, and the blood was sprinkled onto the Israelites, as a sign of the Covenant sealed by the blood of the lamb and the animals. But that Covenant was broken many times by the people, who were unfaithful, and did not remain true to the Covenant which God had made with them. Instead, they worshipped pagan gods and idols, such as the golden calf, and committed what were wicked in God’s eyes.

Thus, they should have deserved death and destruction, as the punishment for sin is death. Ever since the beginning, when mankind first sinned against God, we should have deserved to be annihilated, for Adam and Eve, our ancestors, have disobeyed God and refused to listen to Him. Instead, they chose to follow and listen to the words of Satan, tempting them to sin. However, the truth is that God loves each and every one of us so much that He was willing to give us a second chance.

That is why, He had mercy on the Israelites when they sinned and disobeyed Him. If we read through the Book of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, as well as the subsequent history of the Israelites in the Book of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings and the Prophets, we can see just how frequent that the people of God disobeyed Him and rebelled against Him. Yet, God Who punished them also showed them mercy and forgiveness.

The priests of the Lord offered daily and regular sacrifices for the sake of the people, with the animal sacrifices and the blood as prescribed in the Book of the Leviticus, and the same laws and regulations, the practices and the sacrifices were passed down for many years and centuries throughout the history of Israel, right down to the time of the New Testament, that is the time when the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world, finally came into the world.

And St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews, our second reading today, mentioned how the Lord Jesus is the new and the true High Priest, Who came into the world as the perfect fulfilment of God’s long promised salvation, as the Messiah of the whole race of man. And why did St. Paul refer to the Lord Jesus as the one and true High Priest? That is because the Lord did just exactly as what the priests of old had done, offering sacrifices to God for our sake.

But the Lord Jesus did not just act like any other priests, offering the blood of lambs and other animals. Instead, He offered Himself, as the perfect sacrifice, as the One, the only One through Whom the whole race of man could be saved. He alone is worthy, and His Blood alone is good enough to redeem all of us mankind, something that no blood of animals or lambs could have done.

Unfortunately, there are many of those among us who have doubted the Lord, and they doubted that the Lord gave us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. There are those among us, who think and argue that the Lord was merely giving us a representation or a symbol of His Body and Blood, instead of the Real and true Body and the true Blood. But Jesus Himself had made it clear in the Gospel of St. John, that unless someone eats of the Body and drinks the Blood of the Son of Man, that is Jesus, they would not have eternal life.

And again, He added that, His Body is real food, and His Blood is real drink. This means that, in the Eucharist, the central focus of our faith, is found the Real Presence of Our Lord Himself, in the bread and wine, transformed in essence and reality into the essence and reality of the Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, respectively. They are not just mere symbols or representations. This is the Lamb of God Himself, the One through Whom God had saved the world.

Through the giving of Himself, Christ has given us all a new hope, one that nothing else in this world can give to us. By dying on the cross and by the outpouring of His Blood, spilled at His crucifixion, He has marked for Himself a people, those who have been called and set aside for God’s purpose, all those who believe in Him and are therefore called as Christians. We believe in Christ Who died on the cross for us, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice to reconcile us to God, on the Altar of Calvary.

Then, if we look deeper into it, this is why all of us believe that when the priests celebrate the Holy Mass, they are in fact reenacting the same sacrifice performed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The same sacrifice happens on the Altar, that is exactly the very same sacrifice on the cross of Christ at Calvary. It is not a repeat, or a mere memorial, or merely a celebration, but in fact, by the authority and power that Christ gave to His priests, through their consecrated hands, He has made them ‘Alter Christus’, that is representation of Christ Himself.

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass therefore, the same singular event of the crucifixion, when the Lamb of God was slaughtered and offered for the sake of our salvation, happened, at every single celebrations of the Mass, and through that, the Body and Blood of the Lord are given to us, a new Covenant which He made with us and sealed with His Blood, and a new Hope that He has granted to us.

Thus, what we see at the Holy Mass, is that the bread and the wine which are brought up and offered by the priests, are transformed, just as the Lord at the Last Supper spoke to His disciples as He passed the bread and wine to them, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”. The Body and the Blood of Christ has come unto us, and we receive Christ into ourselves, by the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist, that is Christ’s Body and Blood.

However, let us all now ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us ask ourselves, just how much we truly believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. How many of us lack the proper respect and honour due to the Eucharist, knowing that God Himself is truly present? How many of us receive the Eucharist unworthily while in the state of sin, or receiving Him in the way that we are merely going through the motion?

There are accounts of how people who did not believe in the Real Presence, said that they refused or failed to believe simply because, they saw many of us Christians, who did not believe in the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. Our words may show that we believe, but our actions show otherwise. How can we then expect others to believe when we ourselves do not truly believe and genuinely believe in the Lord’s Real Presence, in His Most Holy Body and Blood?

What do I mean by all these? Many of us casually went up to receive the Eucharist, without proper honour for the Lord, Who has made Himself so small so as to be present in the bread transformed into His Body. By that action, God wanted us to be saved, through the worthy reception of the Eucharist. However, many of us receive the Lord in a state of sin and as unrepentant sinners.

And thus, there are also many of us who blatantly do not believe that God can be present in the bread and wine transformed into His Body and Blood. Our ignorance and apathy is no different from those who did not believe in the Real Presence. Liturgical abuses and the many abuses of the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist happened, and it scandalised our faith and our belief.

Many of those whose account I mentioned earlier refused to believe in the Real Presence, because they said that if that is truly the Lord present in the bread and wine, they would have prostrated themselves and trembled in fear before the Lord’s presence. That is why our apathy and lack of faith caused many others to lose faith too. And what then, can be done in order to resolve this matter?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi, let us all make a new resolution and commit ourselves to a much greater reverence to the Lord truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist. Let us endeavour to lead a holier and more worthy life, worthy of God, by turning ourselves from sin and embracing what God has shown us and taught us.

Let us all be exemplary in our actions, that by our faith and our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has given us His own Body and Blood, for the sake of our salvation, we may be saved from certain destruction, because of our sins. Let us all draw closer to the Lord, and remember that, because we have receive the Lord Himself, physically and really present in the bread and wine, transformed into the substance and reality of His Body and Blood, we have become the Temple of God’s Holy Presence.

And ultimately, each and every one of us as Christians are part of the Church of God, which He Himself has said to be His Body. The Church is the Body of Christ, made from all of us, who are in Communion with one another. The meaning of Holy Communion itself, therefore stemmed from the fact that all of us who worthily receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, are in Communion with each other and are part of the one Body of Christ.

May God therefore be with us all, and may He give us the strength to live worthily of Him, that we may always keep in mind that we have the Lord Himself dwelling in us, in our bodies, in our whole being. May all of us be ever more faithful, day after day, and indeed, united together as one people, in God’s one Church, become one Body, one Spirit in Christ. Amen.

Thursday, 31 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi. On this day, we celebrate the very important aspect of our Christian faith, and especially the faith as preserved in our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, as we believe that the Lord Jesus, Our God and Saviour, has given us His own Body and His own Blood, for the sake of our salvation.

The roots of this exist in the Old Testament, from the time of the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt, when the Lord had mercy on His people, stranded and suffering in Egypt under the tyranny of the Pharaoh and the Egyptians who enslaved them and attempted to exterminate them at occasions. At that time, God sent them Moses, to be their deliverer, through whom He performed ten great plagues that struck at the Egyptians.

The last of the ten plagues was the greatest of all of them. The Lord decreed that all firstborn child of the Egyptians shall be destroyed, because of their Pharaoh’s stubbornness and his refusal to let the people of Israel go free. The Lord sent His Angels of death to scour the whole land of Egypt, and many of the children of the Egyptians, right down to their animals perished on that night.

However, the children of the Israelites were saved and spared from death, as the Lord instructed Moses to tell them to prepare an unblemished lamb for each household, and slaughter it, to prepare and celebrate a Passover worthy of Him, the very first Passover celebrated by the people of God. The lamb’s blood was applied on the doorposts and the lintels of the doors, marking the household as those belonging to God’s people.

Seeing the blood of the lamb splashed across the doorposts, the Angels of death bypassed over their houses, and spared them from death. Ever since, the offering and sacrifice of blood of animals became associated with the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God. In fact, since the very beginning, from the time of Cain and Abel, and from the time of Abraham, the people of God have offered animal sacrifices to God. But it was then in the Book of Leviticus that God prescribed the rules regarding sacrifices, that the priests belonging to the tribe of Levi would offer regular sacrifices for the people of God.

Moses slaughtered and offered the blood of animals when he sealed the Covenant which God made with His people, and the blood was sprinkled onto the Israelites, as a sign of the Covenant sealed by the blood of the lamb and the animals. But that Covenant was broken many times by the people, who were unfaithful, and did not remain true to the Covenant which God had made with them. Instead, they worshipped pagan gods and idols, such as the golden calf, and committed what were wicked in God’s eyes.

Thus, they should have deserved death and destruction, as the punishment for sin is death. Ever since the beginning, when mankind first sinned against God, we should have deserved to be annihilated, for Adam and Eve, our ancestors, have disobeyed God and refused to listen to Him. Instead, they chose to follow and listen to the words of Satan, tempting them to sin. However, the truth is that God loves each and every one of us so much that He was willing to give us a second chance.

That is why, He had mercy on the Israelites when they sinned and disobeyed Him. If we read through the Book of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, as well as the subsequent history of the Israelites in the Book of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings and the Prophets, we can see just how frequent that the people of God disobeyed Him and rebelled against Him. Yet, God Who punished them also showed them mercy and forgiveness.

The priests of the Lord offered daily and regular sacrifices for the sake of the people, with the animal sacrifices and the blood as prescribed in the Book of the Leviticus, and the same laws and regulations, the practices and the sacrifices were passed down for many years and centuries throughout the history of Israel, right down to the time of the New Testament, that is the time when the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world, finally came into the world.

And St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews, our second reading today, mentioned how the Lord Jesus is the new and the true High Priest, Who came into the world as the perfect fulfilment of God’s long promised salvation, as the Messiah of the whole race of man. And why did St. Paul refer to the Lord Jesus as the one and true High Priest? That is because the Lord did just exactly as what the priests of old had done, offering sacrifices to God for our sake.

But the Lord Jesus did not just act like any other priests, offering the blood of lambs and other animals. Instead, He offered Himself, as the perfect sacrifice, as the One, the only One through Whom the whole race of man could be saved. He alone is worthy, and His Blood alone is good enough to redeem all of us mankind, something that no blood of animals or lambs could have done.

Unfortunately, there are many of those among us who have doubted the Lord, and they doubted that the Lord gave us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. There are those among us, who think and argue that the Lord was merely giving us a representation or a symbol of His Body and Blood, instead of the Real and true Body and the true Blood. But Jesus Himself had made it clear in the Gospel of St. John, that unless someone eats of the Body and drinks the Blood of the Son of Man, that is Jesus, they would not have eternal life.

And again, He added that, His Body is real food, and His Blood is real drink. This means that, in the Eucharist, the central focus of our faith, is found the Real Presence of Our Lord Himself, in the bread and wine, transformed in essence and reality into the essence and reality of the Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, respectively. They are not just mere symbols or representations. This is the Lamb of God Himself, the One through Whom God had saved the world.

Through the giving of Himself, Christ has given us all a new hope, one that nothing else in this world can give to us. By dying on the cross and by the outpouring of His Blood, spilled at His crucifixion, He has marked for Himself a people, those who have been called and set aside for God’s purpose, all those who believe in Him and are therefore called as Christians. We believe in Christ Who died on the cross for us, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice to reconcile us to God, on the Altar of Calvary.

Then, if we look deeper into it, this is why all of us believe that when the priests celebrate the Holy Mass, they are in fact reenacting the same sacrifice performed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The same sacrifice happens on the Altar, that is exactly the very same sacrifice on the cross of Christ at Calvary. It is not a repeat, or a mere memorial, or merely a celebration, but in fact, by the authority and power that Christ gave to His priests, through their consecrated hands, He has made them ‘Alter Christus’, that is representation of Christ Himself.

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass therefore, the same singular event of the crucifixion, when the Lamb of God was slaughtered and offered for the sake of our salvation, happened, at every single celebrations of the Mass, and through that, the Body and Blood of the Lord are given to us, a new Covenant which He made with us and sealed with His Blood, and a new Hope that He has granted to us.

Thus, what we see at the Holy Mass, is that the bread and the wine which are brought up and offered by the priests, are transformed, just as the Lord at the Last Supper spoke to His disciples as He passed the bread and wine to them, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”. The Body and the Blood of Christ has come unto us, and we receive Christ into ourselves, by the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist, that is Christ’s Body and Blood.

However, let us all now ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us ask ourselves, just how much we truly believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. How many of us lack the proper respect and honour due to the Eucharist, knowing that God Himself is truly present? How many of us receive the Eucharist unworthily while in the state of sin, or receiving Him in the way that we are merely going through the motion?

There are accounts of how people who did not believe in the Real Presence, said that they refused or failed to believe simply because, they saw many of us Christians, who did not believe in the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. Our words may show that we believe, but our actions show otherwise. How can we then expect others to believe when we ourselves do not truly believe and genuinely believe in the Lord’s Real Presence, in His Most Holy Body and Blood?

What do I mean by all these? Many of us casually went up to receive the Eucharist, without proper honour for the Lord, Who has made Himself so small so as to be present in the bread transformed into His Body. By that action, God wanted us to be saved, through the worthy reception of the Eucharist. However, many of us receive the Lord in a state of sin and as unrepentant sinners.

And thus, there are also many of us who blatantly do not believe that God can be present in the bread and wine transformed into His Body and Blood. Our ignorance and apathy is no different from those who did not believe in the Real Presence. Liturgical abuses and the many abuses of the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist happened, and it scandalised our faith and our belief.

Many of those whose account I mentioned earlier refused to believe in the Real Presence, because they said that if that is truly the Lord present in the bread and wine, they would have prostrated themselves and trembled in fear before the Lord’s presence. That is why our apathy and lack of faith caused many others to lose faith too. And what then, can be done in order to resolve this matter?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi, let us all make a new resolution and commit ourselves to a much greater reverence to the Lord truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist. Let us endeavour to lead a holier and more worthy life, worthy of God, by turning ourselves from sin and embracing what God has shown us and taught us.

Let us all be exemplary in our actions, that by our faith and our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has given us His own Body and Blood, for the sake of our salvation, we may be saved from certain destruction, because of our sins. Let us all draw closer to the Lord, and remember that, because we have receive the Lord Himself, physically and really present in the bread and wine, transformed into the substance and reality of His Body and Blood, we have become the Temple of God’s Holy Presence.

And ultimately, each and every one of us as Christians are part of the Church of God, which He Himself has said to be His Body. The Church is the Body of Christ, made from all of us, who are in Communion with one another. The meaning of Holy Communion itself, therefore stemmed from the fact that all of us who worthily receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, are in Communion with each other and are part of the one Body of Christ.

May God therefore be with us all, and may He give us the strength to live worthily of Him, that we may always keep in mind that we have the Lord Himself dwelling in us, in our bodies, in our whole being. May all of us be ever more faithful, day after day, and indeed, united together as one people, in God’s one Church, become one Body, one Spirit in Christ. Amen.

Sunday, 18 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord, or the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, in which we remember and rejoice in one of the most important tenets and indeed the very core of our faith in the Lord. It is our belief that the Lord has given us His very own Body and His very own Blood for us all His faithful ones, as real food and real drink in the Eucharist.

This is what all of us believe, all of us who believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, that the bread and wine which we use in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been thoroughly and completely transformed, or as the term says it: transubstantiation, into the very essence, and real material of the Body, the Flesh, and the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, presence really in His Body, Soul and Divinity.

This is what we, who adhere to the true Christian faith, as well as our brethren in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches believe in, as separated and distinguished from those who had fallen into the heresy and falsehood of believing that the Lord’s sacrifice in the Mass is merely a symbolic gesture or a remembrance without real meaning and without the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

That is why, all of us believe that the Holy Mass is the highest form of worship, far greater and higher than all of our other participations in the acts of divine worship, for it is in the Holy Mass, more appropriately the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that the priests or the bishops, having been given the same authority by the Lord through His Apostles, acting in persona Christi, united with Christ Himself, offer the same offering of His Body and Blood, as the one He offered as He laid dying on the cross on Good Friday.

What we receive, and what we eat, is no longer a bread, or a chalice of wine, as even though we see the bread and the wine in appearance and in taste, but that is how our human senses perceive them as such. That is because in reality, transcending all senses and realities, the bread we receive and eat, and the wine we drink in some special occasions, have been completely transformed to the full Presence of our Lord, as Jesus Himself had mentioned in the Gospel today.

At that time, Jesus spoke the truth to the people of Israel and to His disciples, that He came into the world, bearing the true and living Bread of heaven. It was not the same with the bread from heaven which came at the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Lord fed His people with manna in the desert for forty years. He gave them food in the form of manna to sustain them, but that food, even if they are the bread of Angels, gave no real and complete sustenance unlike the One which Jesus our Lord gave them and all of us.

Jesus Himself said plainly and clearly, that He is the Living Bread Who came from heaven, and all those who do not eat His Body or drink His Blood, has no share of life in Him. And at the Last Supper, at the time when Jesus our Lord according to the tradition of our faith, instituted the Holy Eucharist, which we now celebrate during every celebration of the Holy Mass, also said the same thing, that as He blessed and passed around the bread He broke, He said that the bread is His Body. And He said the same with the chalice of wine, which He said that the wine is His Blood.

Did the Lord say that the bread is merely a ‘symbol’ or ‘representation’ of His Body? Did He say that the wine is merely an ‘image’ or ‘illusion’ of His Blood? No, He did not, brothers and sisters in Christ, and He really meant what He had said. That is why all of us in the Church believe that He is really, truly and completely present, in Body, Soul and Divinity, the wholeness of God in the bread and in the wine in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Indeed, there are those who refused to believe in this truth, but remember, brethren, that the very same response can be seen in the Gospel passage today, as we heard how many of the followers of Jesus left Him because of what He had said about the giving of His Body and Blood to them. The very same doubt that we encounter today has been expressed by the people at that time, ‘How can He give us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink?’.

Those people refused to listen to the truth because it seemed to be unimaginable and disgusting to them that someone had said something of the sort. In fact, the same falsehood was spread by those who would try to bring down the Church in its early years, as misinformations, be it deliberate or unintentional led the Roman authorities to believe that Christians were a group of dangerous sect, not just because they refused to worship the pagan gods and the Emperor, but they were also a cult of cannibals who eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Jesus.

Yet, that is what we believe, and indeed, while doubt will arise, as even the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were dismayed and doubtful at what He had said, by saying, ‘Lord, this truth is hard to be accepted, who can believe and accept such truth?’, but we must not be swayed by doubt, and we must truly redouble our faith and devotion to the Lord, Who is truly and really present in the Eucharist.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why it is important that I bring you to attention to the reality in our Church today. Unlike in the past, when all the faithful ought to receive the Eucharist worthily and properly, when they are not in a state of sin and disgrace, and by kneeling and showing proper respect before Him in the Eucharist, and by receiving Him in the tongue only and not on the hands, nowadays, with the rampant abuse of the option to allow the faithful to receive Him on the hands, and the lack of proper catechism, we end up seeing many of the faithful not treating the Lord with respect, and go through receiving the Eucharist as if going through some regular motion without real meaning and understanding.

Brethren, this is a great scandal of our faith! This is what we need to stop from continuing to happen. We must really restore what is right and proper in this centre tenet of our faith. We can no longer be careless in our adoration and belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Every single particle of the bread of the host, and every single drop of the wine in the chalice, even to the smallest particle, is the Real Presence of Our Lord Himself, present fully in Body, Soul and Divinity.

But nowadays, we treat the Lord in the Eucharist and queueing to receive Him as if we are queueing for free food in a fast food joint, and we do not even receive Him with proper respect while doing so. We want to go through it as quickly as possible, and even get angry when the queue is getting very slow. We are impatient because it ends up making the Holy Mass to get longer, and we cannot wait to return to our daily activities outside the Mass.

That is simply unacceptable, brothers and sisters in Christ, and in reality, it scandalises our faith, in that, there had been a few people, who refused to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, who commented that they did refuse to believe because they had seen that even us, Catholics, did not seem to believe in this through our actions and the way we come to Him and receive Him at the celebration of the Holy Mass.

How can we expect others to believe in the Lord Who is really present in the Eucharist, if we ourselves treat Him with disdain and lack of respect? How can we expect others to believe in the Real Presence when we do not bow down, kneel and feel unworthy to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, when we approach Him, and when we receive Him improperly while we are still in a state of grievous sin without confession?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we commemorate this great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us all rediscover our understanding and respect for the Lord Who has given us His own Body and Blood, and for what is that? It is for our salvation, that by eating His Body and Blood, we may share in the life He has brought upon us, by His sacrifice on the cross, and become united to Him in body and soul, and one day may come to share in His divinity, in the glory of His majesty forevermore.

Let us all start from ourselves, by striving to participate more actively and solemnly in the celebration of the Holy Mass, and by properly revering Him in the Eucharist, preferably by receiving Him only on the tongue and not on the hands, so that no particle of the Lord’s Body end up falling to the ground and get trampled on our feet. And also by properly preparing ourselves before receiving Him, knowing that we have sinned through our life’s actions, and how unworthy we are to receive Him, Who has come to us in Body, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.

Let us all do this, starting from ourselves, and thus by showing our own examples to others, we may create the great ripple effect, leading many, many more people, from our families, to our relatives, to our friends, throughout our communities and societies, that eventually, the whole Church, priests and laity alike, will return to the true reverence and faith in the Lord Jesus, in His Real Presence in the Eucharist, and reject all forms of abuse that had happened in the recent years and decades.

May the Lord, Who is present in the Eucharist, continue to sustain us through the giving of His Body and Blood, that we, who receive Him worthily into our being, may be strengthened by His Presence, and may all of us grow ever more faithful and ever more devoted, that we, the Temple of His Holy Presence, will be deemed worthy of eternal glory with Him forever. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 15 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord, or the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, in which we remember and rejoice in one of the most important tenets and indeed the very core of our faith in the Lord. It is our belief that the Lord has given us His very own Body and His very own Blood for us all His faithful ones, as real food and real drink in the Eucharist.

This is what all of us believe, all of us who believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, that the bread and wine which we use in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been thoroughly and completely transformed, or as the term says it: transubstantiation, into the very essence, and real material of the Body, the Flesh, and the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, presence really in His Body, Soul and Divinity.

This is what we, who adhere to the true Christian faith, as well as our brethren in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches believe in, as separated and distinguished from those who had fallen into the heresy and falsehood of believing that the Lord’s sacrifice in the Mass is merely a symbolic gesture or a remembrance without real meaning and without the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

That is why, all of us believe that the Holy Mass is the highest form of worship, far greater and higher than all of our other participations in the acts of divine worship, for it is in the Holy Mass, more appropriately the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that the priests or the bishops, having been given the same authority by the Lord through His Apostles, acting in persona Christi, united with Christ Himself, offer the same offering of His Body and Blood, as the one He offered as He laid dying on the cross on Good Friday.

What we receive, and what we eat, is no longer a bread, or a chalice of wine, as even though we see the bread and the wine in appearance and in taste, but that is how our human senses perceive them as such. That is because in reality, transcending all senses and realities, the bread we receive and eat, and the wine we drink in some special occasions, have been completely transformed to the full Presence of our Lord, as Jesus Himself had mentioned in the Gospel today.

At that time, Jesus spoke the truth to the people of Israel and to His disciples, that He came into the world, bearing the true and living Bread of heaven. It was not the same with the bread from heaven which came at the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Lord fed His people with manna in the desert for forty years. He gave them food in the form of manna to sustain them, but that food, even if they are the bread of Angels, gave no real and complete sustenance unlike the One which Jesus our Lord gave them and all of us.

Jesus Himself said plainly and clearly, that He is the Living Bread Who came from heaven, and all those who do not eat His Body or drink His Blood, has no share of life in Him. And at the Last Supper, at the time when Jesus our Lord according to the tradition of our faith, instituted the Holy Eucharist, which we now celebrate during every celebration of the Holy Mass, also said the same thing, that as He blessed and passed around the bread He broke, He said that the bread is His Body. And He said the same with the chalice of wine, which He said that the wine is His Blood.

Did the Lord say that the bread is merely a ‘symbol’ or ‘representation’ of His Body? Did He say that the wine is merely an ‘image’ or ‘illusion’ of His Blood? No, He did not, brothers and sisters in Christ, and He really meant what He had said. That is why all of us in the Church believe that He is really, truly and completely present, in Body, Soul and Divinity, the wholeness of God in the bread and in the wine in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Indeed, there are those who refused to believe in this truth, but remember, brethren, that the very same response can be seen in the Gospel passage today, as we heard how many of the followers of Jesus left Him because of what He had said about the giving of His Body and Blood to them. The very same doubt that we encounter today has been expressed by the people at that time, ‘How can He give us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink?’.

Those people refused to listen to the truth because it seemed to be unimaginable and disgusting to them that someone had said something of the sort. In fact, the same falsehood was spread by those who would try to bring down the Church in its early years, as misinformations, be it deliberate or unintentional led the Roman authorities to believe that Christians were a group of dangerous sect, not just because they refused to worship the pagan gods and the Emperor, but they were also a cult of cannibals who eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Jesus.

Yet, that is what we believe, and indeed, while doubt will arise, as even the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were dismayed and doubtful at what He had said, by saying, ‘Lord, this truth is hard to be accepted, who can believe and accept such truth?’, but we must not be swayed by doubt, and we must truly redouble our faith and devotion to the Lord, Who is truly and really present in the Eucharist. It is really the hard truth, and which we have to accept fully, as Jesus our Lord really did not mince His words when He said it.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why it is important that I bring you to attention to the reality in our Church today. Unlike in the past, when all the faithful ought to receive the Eucharist worthily and properly, when they are not in a state of sin and disgrace, and by kneeling and showing proper respect before Him in the Eucharist, and by receiving Him in the tongue only and not on the hands, nowadays, with the rampant abuse of the option to allow the faithful to receive Him on the hands, and the lack of proper catechism, we end up seeing many of the faithful not treating the Lord with respect, and go through receiving the Eucharist as if going through some regular motion without real meaning and understanding.

Brethren, this is a great scandal of our faith! This is what we need to stop from continuing to happen. We must really restore what is right and proper in this centre tenet of our faith. We can no longer be careless in our adoration and belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Every single particle of the bread of the host, and every single drop of the wine in the chalice, even to the smallest particle, is the Real Presence of Our Lord Himself, present fully in Body, Soul and Divinity.

But nowadays, we treat the Lord in the Eucharist and queueing to receive Him as if we are queueing for free food in a fast food joint, and we do not even receive Him with proper respect while doing so. We want to go through it as quickly as possible, and even get angry when the queue is getting very slow. We are impatient because it ends up making the Holy Mass to get longer, and we cannot wait to return to our daily activities outside the Mass.

That is simply unacceptable, brothers and sisters in Christ, and in reality, it scandalises our faith, in that, there had been a few people, who refused to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, who commented that they did refuse to believe because they had seen that even us, Catholics, did not seem to believe in this through our actions and the way we come to Him and receive Him at the celebration of the Holy Mass.

How can we expect others to believe in the Lord Who is really present in the Eucharist, if we ourselves treat Him with disdain and lack of respect? How can we expect others to believe in the Real Presence when we do not bow down, kneel and feel unworthy to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, when we approach Him, and when we receive Him improperly while we are still in a state of grievous sin without confession?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we commemorate this great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us all rediscover our understanding and respect for the Lord Who has given us His own Body and Blood, and for what is that? It is for our salvation, that by eating His Body and Blood, we may share in the life He has brought upon us, by His sacrifice on the cross, and become united to Him in body and soul, and one day may come to share in His divinity, in the glory of His majesty forevermore.

Let us all start from ourselves, by striving to participate more actively and solemnly in the celebration of the Holy Mass, and by properly revering Him in the Eucharist, preferably by receiving Him only on the tongue and not on the hands, so that no particle of the Lord’s Body end up falling to the ground and get trampled on our feet. And also by properly preparing ourselves before receiving Him, knowing that we have sinned through our life’s actions, and how unworthy we are to receive Him, Who has come to us in Body, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.

Let us all do this, starting from ourselves, and thus by showing our own examples to others, we may create the great ripple effect, leading many, many more people, from our families, to our relatives, to our friends, throughout our communities and societies, that eventually, the whole Church, priests and laity alike, will return to the true reverence and faith in the Lord Jesus, in His Real Presence in the Eucharist, and reject all forms of abuse that had happened in the recent years and decades.

May the Lord, Who is present in the Eucharist, continue to sustain us through the giving of His Body and Blood, that we, who receive Him worthily into our being, may be strengthened by His Presence, and may all of us grow ever more faithful and ever more devoted, that we, the Temple of His Holy Presence, will be deemed worthy of eternal glory with Him forever. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 29 May 2016 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we commemorate the great Solemnity of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi or Corpus Domini. On this great solemnity, which is traditionally also celebrated on the previous week Thursday, we celebrate the very centre of the mysteries of our faith, namely the fact that our Lord and God, had given Himself to us, through the offering of bread and wine which He transformed into the very essence and matter of His own Body and Blood.

And this perfectly summarises our faith in the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist, which we believe to be the complete and real transformation of those elements of bread and wine into God Himself, and not just some mere symbolic representations or memorial of what the Lord had done at the Last Supper. At every celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest did what Jesus Himself had done at that moment, when He gave His own Body and Blood for the salvation of all those who share in them.

But lest we misunderstand or think wrongly of it, we should look on the common misconception about the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Firstly, indeed the bread and wine which the priests offer in the same manner as the High Priest of God, Melchizedek had offered them, had been transformed completely in matter and substance to that of God Himself, and yet at the same time, visually they remain as bread and wine, and by taste, they still taste like that of bread and wine.

We tend to link and relate what our senses have received and felt with our understanding and comprehension on things that are around us. And that is why, indeed, it is not easy for us to understand and accept that the mere bread and wine is the very same as the Lord, Master and King of all the universe, including that all of us, and how the wholeness of that great Divine being is contained in His entirety, within that small piece of bread or within that small volume of wine.

But it is the same, with how the same Lord and God has become a humble and mere Man, the Lord and Master of all the universe becomes like one of His own creations. It is part of the great mysteries that is our faith, and requires all of us to overcome our doubts and our reluctance to believe in what our Lord has taught us, the truth which He brings us all.

If we read the Gospel today, what Jesus had done there, the famous miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves and two fish, where Jesus multiplied them to fill the stomachs of five thousand men and countless thousands other women and children, and yet still managing to gather twelve basketful of leftover bread, all of these are beyond our normal human comprehension, and yet it shows once again the reality of God, Who He is, and what He is going to do to us and show to us through His love.

By feeding the people, Jesus is showing Himself as a Shepherd, as a loving Father and Lover of us all, that He intends to give us good things and bless us, and through the same love, He established a new and everlasting covenant with us all, not with the blood of animals, goats, lambs or doves, but with the very Blood and essence of His own, the Precious Body and Blood of the Lamb of God, offered and given for us all for our salvation.

In the past, God has established His covenant with mankind many times, and renewed them many times, by the sealing of the covenant with the offering of the fats and blood of lambs and goats on the holy and blessed altars, just as what He had established with Adam, with Noah, with Abraham, Moses and all the other figures we knew from the history of our faith, but all these were imperfect offerings and serve only temporarily.

Indeed, as the Epistle to the Hebrews and in the other sources mentioned, when the priests offered the sin offerings of goats and lambs on the altar, they were offering these for themselves, as well as for the sins of the people who had been entrusted to their care. And no amount of animal blood offering and sacrifices can erase the great entirety of the sins and wickedness of all mankind. Only One can do so.

And that one source from where salvation came, was the Lord, and is the Lord our God Himself, Who by His own will and power, came to share in our own humanity, taking up the form of our own flesh and blood, so that by uniting us to Himself in spirit and in the essence of our creation, He may gather us all and bring us to share with Him the glory of His salvation, and the eternal life He brought with Him.

After all, what is more precious than the very Blood of the Lamb of God, Who is flawless and perfect, without blame and holy? It is the only one that can heal us all and free us all from our sins, from all of our faults and iniquities for all eternity. The saints and martyrs as represented in the vision of St. John in the Book of Revelations wore white robes that has been cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb, because they worthily share in the Body and Blood of our Lord, and have been tested, and their faith has been found true and worthy of God.

Thus, it is a reminder to all of us as well. Have we been faithful to God, and have we shared worthily in the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord? When we welcome the Lord Himself through the Eucharist into ourselves, in reality, the Lord Himself has come to dwell in us, and we become the Temple and House of our God. And if God dwells in us, certainly, we should make sure that this Temple, that is our body, our mind, heart and soul are clear from filth and fornication.

Henceforth, shall we all reevaluate our lives, all of our actions and deeds? Shall we all remember the things which we have done all these while? Have we kept our Temple of the Lord’s Presence that is our body, mind, heart and soul worthy and in good condition? If we truly believe that Jesus our Lord is truly present in the bread and wine which have been transformed into the very substance and essence of our Lord, should we not think many times before we even contemplate sinning before God?

And if any of us are to doubt Him because we think that in every sacrifice of the Mass, Christ is being made to repeat again and again the sacrifice for the salvation of our souls, as some of those who refused to believe has accused the Church of God, then we ought to know and understand that, the priests, whom God had called and chosen from among us, are all His representatives, who lead all the faithful to offer their prayers and offerings to God, and to unite it with the sacrifice made by our Lord at the Altar of Calvary.

This means that the Holy Mass and the Eucharist we celebrate there is the same sacrifice which Jesus our Lord made at Calvary, when on that day, He laid Himself to be hung on the cross between the heavens and the earth, that by that singular and ultimate offering, God may deliver us all from our sins and from our fate of damnation and annihilation into eternal life.

Therefore, from now on, let us all rejuvenate our devotion to our Lord in the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Eucharist. Let us redouble our efforts in committing ourselves to He Who has given His all, even shedding His Blood for our sake. He has not even hesitated to lay down His life for us, so that we may live.

Let us all devote ourselves to Him and His cause, and from now on, do only things that are in accordance with His will and His ways, that our bodies and hearts, minds and souls may be free from sin and be a worthy House and dwelling place for our God, that we may find place in His salvation. God bless us all. Amen.