Saturday, 31 March 2018 : Easter Vigil Mass of the Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 1 : 1 – Genesis 2 : 2

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered in one place and let dry land appear. And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’, and the waters gathered together he called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruit trees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well. God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.

God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth under the ceiling of the sky.” God created the great monsters of the sea and all living animals, those that teem in the waters, according to their kind, and every winged bird, according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds increase on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning : the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living animals according to their kind : cattle, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals according to their kind. So it was. God created the wild animals according to their kind, and everything that creeps along the ground according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.” God said, “I have given you every seed bearing plants which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day. That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Genesis 1 : 1, 26-31a

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth.

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.” God said, “I have given you every seed bearing plants which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 1 : 1 – Genesis 2 : 2

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day; and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered together in one place and let dry land appear.” And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’ , and the waters gathered together He called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruittrees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days, and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well. God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.

God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth under the ceiling of the sky.” God created the great monsters of the sea and all living animals, those that teem in the waters, according to their kind, and every winged bird, according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds increase on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning : the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living animals according to their kind : cattle, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals according to their kind.” So it was. God created the wild animals according to their kind, and everything that creeps along the ground according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God said, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day.

That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done.

Saturday, 7 June 2014 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Pentecost (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Romans 8 : 22-27

We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth. Not creation alone, but even ourselves, although the Spirit was given to us as a foretaste of what we are to receive, we groan in our innermost being, eagerly awaiting the day when God will give us full rights and rescue our bodies as well.

In hope we already have salvation. But if we saw what we hoped for, there would no longer be hope : how can you hope for what is already seen? So we hope for what we do not see and we will receive it through patient hope.

We are weak, but the Spirit comes to help us. How to ask? And what shall we ask for? We do not know, but the Spirit intercedes for us without words, as if with groans. And He who sees inner secrets knows the desires of the Spirit, for He asks for the holy ones what is pleasing to God.

Saturday, 7 June 2014 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Pentecost (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 103 : 1-2a, 24 and 35c, 27-28, 29bc-30

Bless the Lord, my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; o Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. Bless the Lord, my soul!

They all look to You for their food in due time. You give it to them, and they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.

You take away their breath, they expire and return to dust. When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and the face of the earth is renewed.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s readings emphasizes on unity, that is the unity of our faith with the Lord, and in keeping a true, orthodox and living faith. Jesus our Lord symbolised this with the likeness and parallel of the vine and its branches. Jesus spoke in this way so that His message can get through to the people, who were mostly farmers and shepherds in that time.

Jesus liked to speak in parables because He used them to help bring across His teachings, and yet some people still did not get it. Jesus as the vine is the source of all life and all things, and we are the branches. All the creations of God are the branches. If we imagine the relationship as that of a plant, God is the Creator of all, and He is like the root.

Yes, God is the root of all things, and just as a plant cannot live and survive without their roots, we cannot survive without God either, for He is the source of our lives. Remember that we were made from dust, from the earth. God breathed life into us, and His Spirit came into us and we received life and therefore we are now counted among the living.

God did these things together as One, the Holy Trinity. The Father created and willed all things into creation, and the Holy Spirit is the source of all life. But without the Son, who is the Word of God, creation would not have taken place. If we remember in the Book of Genesis, God spoke His words and things came to be. As such, it is through the Son, who is Word, that is Christ, that we were all created by the Lord.

Therefore, Christ is the vine through which the Father channels His works, power and authority to us. In this also we can see an important tenet of our faith. We believe that the Father sent the Holy Spirit through His Son, Jesus Christ, just as He said that the Father will send, through Him, the Helper or the Advocate, who is the Holy Spirit to His disciples and therefore to all mankind.

Without this connection to the vine, that is Christ, we are not connected to the Father and therefore do not receive the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. If we are separated from the Lord, we will not be able to survive, and we will eventually perish. He is the One from whom all blessings and graces flow from. We have to keep this connection to the Lord at all times.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to make sure that we keep the unity in the Church, both in love and purpose. All that we do should ultimately be aligned with that of the Lord and His precepts. We should see the example shown in the first reading to be our guide in all things. The disciples in Antioch argued on the need to follow and adhere to the complex set of laws instituted by Moses and which was greatly expanded on by the elders of Israel over many generations.

The Jews who believed in Christ, or the Jewish Christians kept all the observations of the Law as they had done before they believed in Christ. They added to their faith, the belief in Christ as the Lord and Saviour, and therefore, in a way it can be understood why they link salvation of mankind with the Law and precepts of Moses that they had kept and observed so well.

But among the Christians, in the growing faith, there are increasingly more and more those who were not of Jewish origins who followed the Lord and changed their ways to that of the Way of God. There are those who were of Greek and Roman origins, or the Gentiles, according to the Jews, who became the believers of Christ. They genuinely sought the Lord and sought to listen to God’s will, which He had revealed through Jesus, and from Him, to them through the Apostles.

The Jewish laws, if you are not familiar with it, consists of numerous rules and regulations, that apparently total about six hundred and thirteen commandments and rules, which covered very meticulously many aspects of Jewish culture and way of life. These were very distinct and different from the cultures and the habits possessed by the Romans and the Greeks.

As such, if they were to be asked to follow the way of the Jews, it would indeed bring them great troubles and difficulties, having to adjust to the incredibly different way of life, and not to point out that some of the Jewish customs were abhorred and looked down upon by the Greek-Roman civilisation at that time, especially regarding circumcision.

Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why the Apostles took the fateful decision that is both wise and prudent, that what is important, as Jesus had often mentioned, is not the purity of the exterior, which most of the Jewish laws are dealing on, but instead on the purity of our interior, that is our heart and soul, which is the essence and the heart of the Law, often forgotten by those who were so set on fulfilling the laws and the rigorous enforcement of its regulations, that they forgot the true meaning of the Law.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Christopher Magallanes and his companions, who were martyrs of the faith. He was a priest in Mexico, who was very involved in missionary and evangelising work among the people, and working hard to minister to the people of God and evangelise the Good News to many native and indigenous populations, in many areas of the country. He was also a holy and dedicated parish priest.

St. Christopher Magallanes preached against rebellion and armed insurgency against the military government and dictatorship at the time, as Mexico in the early years of the twentieth century was in great turmoil and conflict between the government and its people, resulting in numerous rebellions and uprisings. However, the government mistakenly accused St. Christopher Magallanes and some other priests and people of God of inciting and supporting the rebellion.

As a result, St. Christopher Magallanes was martyred with his companions, and they together represented the beginning of difficult times for the Church in Mexico, as anti-clergy and anti-Church opinions and attitudes in the government expanded to reach a boiling point. They were raised to the altar and now venerated as saints for their preaching of the truth of God and dedication to that truth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we all have to follow in their examples, as they put their trust in God and draw their strength from Him, just like branches that are attached firmly to the stem and to the roots. They also did not discriminate between peoples, and as St. Christopher Magallanes had done, he persevered to bring the Good News and the word of God to the indigenous peoples of Mexico yet untouched by the light of Christ.

Therefore, let us all pray, that we may ever be strong in faith and never be separated from Christ, and may our actions, words and deeds are all according to the Lord and His way, and let us never divide or judge, but instead helping each other to reach closer to God, supporting one another as equal children of God, same before the eyes of the Lord. Amen.

Friday, 25 April 2014 : Friday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1-2 and 4, 22-24, 25-27a

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it. This is the day the Lord has made; so let us rejoice and be glad.

Save us, o Lord, deliver us, o Lord! Blessed is He who comes in the Lord’s Name! We bless You from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God; may His light shine upon us.

Saturday, 19 April 2014 : Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection, Easter Triduum (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 1 : 1 – Genesis 2 : 2

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered together in one place and let dry land appear.” And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’, and the waters gathered together He called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruit trees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well.

God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.

God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth under the ceiling of the sky.” God created the great monsters of the sea and all living animals, those that teem in the waters, according to their kind, and every winged bird, according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds increase on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning : the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living animals according to their kind : cattle, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals according to their kind.” So it was. God created the wild animals according to their kind, and everything that creeps along the ground according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God said, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day.

That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done.

 

Alternative Reading (shorter version)

 

Genesis 1 : 1, 26-31a

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth,

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God said, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made and it was very good.