(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Fourth Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 54 : 5-14

For your Maker is to marry you : YHVH Sabaoth is His Name. Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called God of all the earth. For YHVH has called you back as one forsaken and grieved in spirit. Who could abandon His first beloved? says your God.

For a brief moment I have abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will gather My people. For a moment, in an outburst of anger, I hid My face from you, but with everlasting love I have had mercy on you, says YHVH, your Redeemer.

This is for Me like Noah’s waters, when I swore that they would no more flood the earth; so now I swear not to be angry with you and never again to rebuke you. The mountains may depart and the hills be moved, but never will My love depart from you, nor My covenant of peace be removed, says YHVH whose compassion is for you.

O afflicted city, lashed by storm and unconsoled, I will set your stones with turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will crown your wall with agate, make your gates crystal, and your ramparts of precious stones.

All your children will be taught by YHVH, and they will prosper greatly. Justice will be your foundation; tyranny and the fear of oppression will never come near you.

Sunday, 26 October 2014 : 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together as one family of the Church of God, and we listened to the words of the Scripture and the Gospel. And today we heard how it was shown to us the truth and the heart and core of what is the Law of God, which God had revealed to His people through Moses, His servant. The basics of this Law is the set of ten commandments we know as the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments is the basic tenets of the faith which God revealed to mankind so that they might follow in the ways which the Lord was to show them, that is the way of love. Before the revelation of the Ten Commandments, mankind did not have a standard set of rule that governed them, and as a result each one acted as it pleased them and as they liked, more often than not, not in accordance with the will of God and thus wickedness reigned over mankind.

And this Law was given through Moses to the people of God, to be a guide to them and in how they lived their lives. The Ten Commandments was written on two slabs of stone, written by God Himself, as a covenant which God renewed with the descendants of Abraham. And this covenant is a covenant of love, made upon love which God has for mankind, and as our part of the covenant, we also have to love Him back in the same way as He had loved us.

What is a covenant exactly? It is the promise and contract that is established between two parties, and it is legally and completely binding in nature. Both sides who have committed to a covenant must remain faithful to it, and as we all know, our Lord is forever ever faithful, and He never walked away from His promise. After all, He fulfilled completely His promises to His servants Abraham, David and all Israel, and the perfect fulfillment of His promises was through Jesus.

It is we mankind who often renege on our part of the covenant. God had first made His covenant with Adam, the first man and his wife Eve, the first woman. To them He gave authority and stewardship over all of the earth and over all of creations. And yet, they disobeyed despite God’s love and care for them, and they chose to put their lot with Satan and listened to their personal human desire rather than listening to God and obeying their part of the covenant between God and mankind.

And Abraham was faithful, this son of Adam who was righteous among the nations, that God renewed His covenant with men through Him, and he was blessed beyond all other men for his faithfulness and righteousness, walking faithfully in the way of the Lord. And yet, it was his descendants who yet again reneged against the Lord, committing evil after evil, with the treatment they showed to Joseph in jealousy and how they sold him into slavery out of that jealousy and hatred they had.

But God was patient, and He continued to love His people despite of their unfaithfulness and disobedience. Indeed, He wanted to show them His love, which He had shown them for generations after generations, but spurned by the people who did not listen to the Lord nor realise the extent of His love for them. He thus sent His servant Moses to liberate them, and to lead them to the promised inheritance for them, and bring them to know His Law, the Ten Commandments revealed through Moses.

But was the people faithful? No! As soon as they were freed from the land of Egypt they continued in their disobedience, complaining and disobeying God, creating idols after idols and embracing fornications after fornications of their bodies and souls. And they were indeed punished for their disobedience, for embracing the ways of the world and for worshipping false idols. But God again did not give up on the people He loved so much, and as He had done through the prophets, He revealed the final act of love He had for us.

Yes, that act is through Jesus, whom the Father sent to the world in order to save it and to bring all of us, the partakers of the covenant of God, into a new hope through the new covenant which Christ had established in His love. Yes, and that is why He explained to the Pharisees, the true meaning of the Law which is love. The love of God for men, and the desire of God to see us saved and freed from our state of sin due to our breaking of the promise of the covenant.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were puritans and extremists in the way of their faith, as they observed the Law very strictly, imposing a very strict set of rules, regulations, habits and behaviours which they forced onto the people of God. This was because the basic tenets of the faith, the Ten Commandments and the sets of laws and regulations which God had revealed through Moses had been twisted in their meaning and purpose by them, those shepherds and leaders who had been entrusted with teaching authority but misused them for their own gains.

The observations of their Law had become unmerciful in nature and they persecuted others just because they thought that those who did not adapt their puritan and extremist beliefs were unworthy and ought to be condemned. They condemned the one whom Jesus healed, the blind man from birth, just because he defended the Lord and told the truth about Him, a truth which the Pharisees and the scribes failed to see.

Remember again what the Lord told Moses and the people of Israel in the Book of Exodus in the first reading today? God made it clear to them that in the observation of the Law, one must act with the core of love in all purposes, and not anger, injustice, prejudice, and less so jealousy and other negativities which cause us to exercise the Law imprudently, just as the Pharisees had done.

Why the Ten Commandments of the Lord again? Why should it be that we should not kill, we should not steal, we should not covet others’ possessions? Why is it that we ought to honour our father and mother, loving our God and having no other gods beside Him? That is all because we all need to know love, and realise what is love all about, that is to give ourselves completely and totally to the love of God, avoiding all these actions which does not lead us to love and life, but indeed to hatred and death.

When we kill, we do not have love in us, and when we steal from someone, we do not have the love we ought to have for that brother or sister of ours, and when we covet someone else’s possession, it is impossible for us to love that person when we at the same time have any negativity towards the person. And how can we love if we cannot even love our parents, and foremost of all, if we cannot even love our God and devote ourselves entirely to Him?

We should take heed of what St. Paul had written to the Church and the faithful in Thessalonica, where he praised them for their ways and how they had changed their ways of old, of pagan worship and idol worship, of fornication and sin, into the way of the children of God, and walk righteously in the path of the Law. They obeyed the Law, not just because they have to obey it, but they understood the importance and the true meaning of the Law, that is love. We should indeed follow their examples and do the same.

Indeed, God did not give us the Law to torture us or to make our lives more difficult. The Law was intended to guide us, and guide us back from our waywardness and our rebellious tendencies, back to His loving embrace. And God also gave us a new chance through Christ, whose death and resurrection renewed for us a new covenant which He established with us. And remember that Jesus came not to destroy the Law but to perfect it, by revealing the true intention of the Law, which is indeed Love!

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, we all have a choice today. We can choose to continue our lives as usual, and we can do things as we like and as we wished it. We can also choose to live our lives following the rules and regulations as established by the Church and our Faith, following them just for the sake of following those laws and rules. But what will all these bring us? Nothing! Nothing indeed, other than harm and destruction.

So what is the other choice that we have? We can choose to understand the Law, as what we have heard and discussed here, that is to know the love in the Law of God. Indeed, the Law is very simple, as at the heart of it is love, and first, the first three commandments are all about loving God, and loving Him from the very bottom and depth of our hearts, with the whole might of our minds and with the full attention of our souls. That means we should not be partial in our faith, and we either accept the fullness of faith in God or we reject it, as we cannot believe in just parts of what we need to believe, and remember that we cannot serve God and another master.

But we must also love one another, in the same way that we have loved God and in the same way as we have loved ourselves. It is easier for us to love ourselves than to love others, and indeed we have often serve ourselves and our own purposes often at the expense of others around us. Thus, shall we learn from what God had taught us, that we need to put away our ego and begin to learn to love one another sincerely and earnestly, loving them just as we love ourselves?

Let us all pray to our Almighty God and Father, that He will continue to guide us in our lives, so that we may not lose sight on the true goal of our life, that is to reach Him and be reconciled with Him in love, through the love we show to Him and also through the love and the mercy we have shown to our brothers and sisters, following the examples of the saints of the past, and to exercise love and mercy in all of our judgments and actions. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/24/sunday-26-october-2014-30th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

Second Reading : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/24/sunday-26-october-2014-30th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-second-reading/

Gospel Reading : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/24/sunday-26-october-2014-30th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/

Friday, 16 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 26-33

Paul said, “Brothers, children and descendants of Abraham, and you also who fear God, it is to you that this message of salvation has been sent. It is a fact that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognise Jesus. Yet in condemning Him, they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath but not understood.”

“Even though they found no charge against Him that deserved death, they asked Pilate to have Him executed. And after they had carried out all that had been written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.”

“But God raised Him from the dead, and for many days thereafter He showed Himself to those who had come up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They have now become His witnesses before the people. We ourselves announce to you this Good News : All that God promised our ancestors, He has fulfilled for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus, according to what is written in the second psalm : ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.'”

Thursday, 10 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God established His first covenant with our father in faith, that is Abraham. Yes, Abraham is our father in faith, because even though we may not be descended from him by blood, but we are all his descendants by our same faith, that is in the same God, the very God who had made His contact with Abraham and made him the father of many nations because of his faith and devotion.

Abraham, once known as Abram, was not chosen because of his greatness, his wealth or his power. He was not chosen because of his abilities or talents, nor because of the number of his sheep, as shepherds with many sheep were indeed very great in his time. No, Abram was chosen not because of all of these. He was chosen because of one singular but very important reason, that is his faith and his actions that were based strongly on that faith.

Abram was faithful, and he was righteous in all of his actions. He lived closely to God’s will and followed the way of the Lord all of his life. He believed in God and he trusted completely in Him, even to the point of giving up his own long promised son, Isaac, to be sacrificed at Moria, when God supposedly asked him to do so. God tested his faith in that moment, and Abram followed through with complete faith and trust in God.

He obeyed God and he believed. And that was how he became renowned and great among many and among the nations. God made true the covenant that He had established with him, and from him came forth many nations and many peoples, uncounted and numerous indeed like the sands on the seashore as God had promised Abram, who later then known as Abraham, the one whom God was pleased with.

God fulfilled the promise He had made with His people, to Jacob that he would be great and a nation would come forth from him, Israel, the chosen people of God, from whom the descendants came the people discussed in today’s Gospel, and Jesus Christ Himself. God also fulfilled the promise He had established to Israel, that He would bring them to freedom and live in happiness in the Promised Land of milk and honey.

God also fulfilled the promises He had made with David, His faithful servant. He promised that his descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel and rule over God’s people forever. Yet, just as in the case of the covenant God established with Jacob and Abraham, it was God’s people who disobeyed the Lord and broke their part of the covenant, by abandoning God and worshipping pagan idols, and committing practices wicked in the sight of God.

The people of Israel and even the kings, among the descendants of David were disobedient, and as soon as the messengers sent by God to remind them of God’s love and promise were gone, they were quick to return to their old, debauched and wicked lifestyle. That was why God gave them to the hands of their enemies, and they were scattered, not to punish them per se, but rather to remind them yet again that without God, they are nothing.

But brethren, does that mean God also forsook His covenant with Israel? No. In fact God remained faithful to the covenants and promises that He had made. Covenant is the greatest form of promise compared to other forms of promises, and it was we and our ancestors who broke the covenant we have with God. God was always faithful and He never gave up on us, unless we ourselves gave Him up for other idols.

And God showed His commitment and love for us, through the ultimate gift that He gave to us, namely the gift of Jesus, His own Son. Through Jesus, God showed yet again, and in finality, the perfect love He has for all of us, and the total commitment He has to the covenants He had made. He fulfilled the promise He made with Abraham, Jacob and David through Jesus, the son of David who is seated at the throne of God and rules for eternity as the King of all kings.

And through Jesus, God made a new covenant, the last and greatest of them all, with us, renewing the promise He had made with mankind of many generations. And this new covenant is sealed by God with none other than by His own Precious Blood, poured out by the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus, who died for us. He died so that we may live, and such is His love for us, indeed!

Yes, brethren, that is how faithful God is to us, and how loving He is towards us. He had proven again and again His dedication and yet we always spurn His love. The people rejected Him because they preferred the devil and his pleasures rather than the true love offered by the Lord through Jesus.

Shall we then follow their examples? Or shall we remain true to the Lord? Let us no longer be rebellious and ignorant of God’s love, but instead embrace His love to the fullest and prove that we can hold our part of the new covenant He had established. May the Lord see in us the love and hope that is still in us, that He may forgive us our trespasses and bring us once again closer to Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 10 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Genesis 17 : 3-9

Abram fell face down and God said to him, “This is My covenant with you : you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer will you be called Abram, but Abraham, because I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you more and more famous; I will multiply your descendants; nations shall spring from you, kings shall be among your descendants.”

“And I will establish a covenant, an everlasting covenant between Myself and you and your descendants after you; from now on I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you, for generations to come. I will give to you and your descendants after you the land you are living in, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession and I will be the God of your race.”

God said to Abraham, “For your part, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.”

Thursday, 3 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Exodus 32 : 7-14

Then YHVH said to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a molten calf; they have bowed down before it and sacrificed to it and said : “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt.”

And YHVH said to Moses, “I see that these people are a stiff-necked people. Now just leave Me that My anger may blaze against them. I will destroy them, but of you I will make a great nation.”

But Moses calmed the anger of YHVH, his God, and said, “Why, o YHVH, should Your anger burst against Your people whom You brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with a mighty hand? Let not the Egyptians say : ‘YHVH brought them out with evil intent, for He wanted to kill them in the mountains and wipe them from the face of the earth.'”

“Turn away from the heat of Your anger and do not bring disaster on Your people. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the promise You Yourself swore : I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land I spoke about I will give to them as an everlasting inheritance.”

YHVH then changed His mind and would not yet harm His people.

 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 4 : 13, 16-18, 22

If God promised Abraham, or rather his descendants, that the world would belong to him, this was not because of his obeying the Law, but because he was just and a friend of God through faith.

For that reason, faith is the way and all is given by grace; and the promises of Abraham are fulfilled for all his descendants, not only for his children according to the Law, but also for all the others who have believed.

Abraham is the father of all of us, as it is written : I will make you father of many nations. He is our father in the eyes of Him who gives life to the dead, and calls into existence what does not yet exist, for this is the God in whom he believed.

Abraham believed and hoped against all expectation, thus becoming father of many nations, as he had been told : See how many will be your descendants. This was taken into account for him to attain righteousness.