Monday, 29 December 2014 : Fifth Day within the Octave of Christmas, Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 2 : 3-11

How can we know that we know Him? If we fulfill His commands. If you say, “I know Him,” but do not fulfill His commands, you are a liar and the truth is not in you. But if you keep His word, God’s love is made complete in you. This is how we know that we are in Him : he who claims to live in Him must live as He lived.

My dear friends, I am not writing you a new commandment, but reminding you of an old one, one you had from the beginning. This old commandment is the word you have heard. But, in a way, I give it as a new commandment that is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light already shines.

If you claim to be in the Light but hate your brother, you are still in darkness. If you love your brothers and sisters, you remain in the Light and nothing in you will make you fall. But if you hate your brother, you are in the dark and walk in darkness without knowing where you go, for the darkness has blinded you.

Homily and Reflection :
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/28/monday-29-december-2014-fifth-day-within-the-octave-of-christmas-memorial-of-st-thomas-becket-bishop-and-martyr-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Thursday, 4 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come and listen to the words of the Scriptures, as we heard how Jesus our Lord met and recruited the disciples to His cause, calling them from their former worldly professions into their new work and vocation for the sake of mankind and for the greater glory of God. They left behind their possessions so that they gained a greater reward in God, that is a possession that lasts forever.

Today we heard about how those humble fishermen of the lake of Galilee, Peter and Andrew his brother, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, were called, from their boats and nets, that they would no longer just catch fishes in the lake to be sold in the market and to feed themselves, but instead they would become the fishers of men, to bring mankind back to the Lord their God.

And we have to take note how the Lord did not call the great and powerful, nor the righteous and holy ones to be His disciples, as He could easily have done so, and His works would have been so much easier. No, the Lord did not do that. Instead, He called on the sinners and the weak, those who have low standing in the society, such as fishermen, a simple and menial job, as well as others, including tax collectors such as Levi, later known as Matthew.

The idea here is clearly stated in the first reading, where St. Paul in his letter to the faithful in Corinth rebuked those who assumed that they were wise and great, and he therefore those who immersed themselves in their pride, thinking only about themselves and their achievements, and thinking that because of their wisdom, influence or other abilities and deeds, they were rightful in gloating over others’ supposed inferiority. This, as St. Paul said, would bring about their doom.

Yes, indeed, the Lord called sinners and simple people to be His disciples, not only because He truly came into this world to save the sinners and those whose souls were sick, but He also knew that those who were not burdened with the many concerns of the world and the taint of power and glory, would have been much better disciples and servants of the will of God, as they are likely to have less ego and pride than those who are powerful and great in the world.

God desires not our death and destruction, but in fact He seeks for our redemption from sin. And this is by delivering His Good News and the truth about Himself to mankind, and this is akin to the net being cast out from the ship to catch the various fishes in the sea. And like the net, those who listen to the word of God will be ensnared in that net, and thus, they would be able to continue to listen to the word of God and hence be saved.

The ship itself represents the Church of God, which God had established Himself in this world, to bring His people to safety and towards His kingdom which is to come. And the Apostles whom Jesus had called from among the people are indeed like the fishermen, who steered the ship that is the Church of God, in order to ensure that the Church can sail safely amidst any storms in the sea. Those storms represent the challenges and the oppositions which Satan and his allies, the forces of sin and darkness, which often bar our path and prevent us from truly seeking God.

Yet, with the guidance of the Apostles and the disciples, whose successors continue to do the good works of steering the Church of God, namely through the successor of St. Peter, the fisherman, who is our Pope now, the Church remains a great destination for many of the people lost in the darkness, and it becomes a beacon of light for them to find their way to God. And the fishermen, the successors of the Apostles and disciples of Christ, our priests and bishops worked to bring the people of God back to Him, as the fishers of men.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, however we cannot be idle ourselves, as our priests and bishops cannot possibly do everything on their own without our help and support. If they are the fishers of men, the ones on the ship who handle the net and the fish, then we are like those helpers and workers who keep the ship steady and strong even when it is battered by a strong wind and gale, as well as strong waves of the sea.

And God also challenged us all to do more, by saying to His disciples, ‘Duc in Altum’, which is the phrase translated to Latin, and then to our language today as ‘To go into the deep’. And this highlighted to us all the very fact that fishes mostly lie far into the sea and deep within the ocean waters, and many live far from the surface. Therefore, in order to get more fish, the fishers have to go to deeper waters and cast their nets to deeper waters.

This means that, we cannot just lie in our comfort zone and wait for the people of God to come to us in repentance. The many tricks and ways of the devil to confound mankind are simply able to prevent many souls from ever reaching the Lord through the Church, because the lies and the machinations of Satan would be able to close their hearts and their senses from ever being opened to receive the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore let us all think about what had happened in our own lives. Have we done our part as the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ? Have we been proactive in our faith, taking the initiative to seek our lost brothers and sisters who are still engulfed in the darkness of the world and languished under the tyranny and power of Satan?

Therefore, let us all ‘go into the deep’, and work hard to help one another, especially those who truly need it, so that more and more souls, the ‘fishes’ of the Lord may be saved and that mankind may all come to the Lord and praise Him together as one people lifted up from sin and darkness into the light. May Almighty God guide us in our works and in our endeavours, and protect us so that we may continue to do our best to help each other in seeking the Lord. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 30 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Matthew 25 : 14-30

Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each according to his ability; and he went away.

He who received five talents went at once to do business with the money, and gained another five. The one who received two talents did the same, and gained another two. But the one who received one talent dug a hole, and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents, saying, “Lord, you entrusted me with five talents, but see, I have gained five more.” The master answered, “Very well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

Then the one who had received two talents came and said, “Lord, you entrusted me with two talents; with them I have gained two more.” The master said, “Well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said, “Master, I know that you are a hard man. You reap what you have not sown, and gather what you have not scattered. I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours!”

But his master replied, “Wicked and worthless servant, you know that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered; so you should have deposited my money in the bank, and on my return you would have given it back to me with interest.”

“Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who are unproductive, even what they have will be taken from them. As for that useless servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Friday, 11 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen about how God cares for us, and indeed, how He takes very good care of us, even after we have sinned and rebelled against Him. And even though this life we have in this world may be difficult and filled with challenges, He will not abandon us or let us walk alone in the darkness.

And today we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, a well-known saint and monk, who was also known by the name of St. Benedict of Nursia, who founded the Benedictine religious order, and was well-known for his strict rule for his religious order, which entails a strict regimen of prayerful life and life lived in perfect harmony with one another and with God.

But this rule also shows the great values of love, faith, and hope that is instilled in generations of monks and religious, not only in St. Benedict’s religious order, but also many other orders who drew their inspiration from St. Benedict and his works. From this we can see, how this saint was truly a great saint, and how his works had laid a strong foundation of faith for many throughout history.

St. Benedict and many other holy men and women, and many religious and workers of the Lord were truly as what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, that is to be like sheep among the wolves, to walk in the path of God amid a worldful worth of sin, temptation and difficulties which Satan placed in our way, to prevent us from reaching salvation in God.

St. Benedict and the many others who came before and after him were all truly faithful and good disciples of the Lord. Not only that they remained faithful amidst all the cunning tricks and lies of the devil in order to subvert all mankind into his cause, but they also worked hard, for the good of all God’s people, and spreading the Good News to the whole world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must follow in the examples of St. Benedict of Nursia, that in our faith we must be truly dedicated to Christ our Lord. We cannot be half-hearted in our faith. Instead, we must ensure that every actions and deeds that we do is in tune with the Lord and His will. We must have a good prayer life and time dedicated for the Lord in our lives. We cannot excuse ourselves of having no time for God.

For if we do not open ourselves to the Lord and allow Him to work His wonders in us, then we risk endangering ourselves by bringing ourselves closer to the corruptions of this world, and yet without God as our anchor for us to hold onto, so that we may not be lost in the torrents and streams of this world. Many of mankind had failed and had fallen on their way to the Lord, all trapped and fell along the way as they got distracted from their true goal in life, that is God.

In this life, mankind are always tempted, every day of their lives. We cannot escape from the allures of the world, and all the good things that Satan used in order to detract us and pull us away from our way towards the Lord, and therefore into damnation. It is easy for us to follow our desires and our needs, and therefore forget about what our Lord had taught us. And this is truly dangerous, brothers and sisters, for we have to remember that, we have just this one chance, and only this chance in life to be freed from the ensnarement of sin.

We need to have a discipline in this life, to control our actions and deeds, so that we may temper our desires, so that we may not be enslaved by them, and therefore will not easily succumb to the temptations of Satan. Therefore, let us follow the example set by St. Benedict and many other holy men who followed after him, and also many those who came before him. We must have a heart shaped and dedicated for love, one that will not bend in the face of evil and its temptations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a new life in Christ, one that is founded on light and not on darkness, one that is founded on love and not hatred, and one that is founded on life and not death. Let us all work together, so that we may begin anew in Christ, and live worthily from now on, if we have not done so. May Almighty God guide us and bless us on our way. St. Benedict of Nursia, pray for us as well, that we may be more like you in faith. Amen.

Monday, 2 June 2014 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, Martyrs (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we indeed believe in God and we put our trust in Him. However, as we all witnessed in our own lives, and in today’s Scripture readings, we know that things are not always good and nice to us all the time. There will be moments of difficulties and challenges that we will need to overcome, and opposition and resistance will always be a part and parcel of our lives.

Today we celebrate the feasts of two saints and martyrs of the faith, who are truly renowned in the Church, that of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, both of whom received their martyrdom in the early fourth century, three hundred years after the birth of Christ. They went through one of the most intense period of persecution of the faithful, done by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, the last of the systematic and thorough persecution of the faithful people of God.

Although not much informations from their era remained to tell us greater and more about their tales and life stories, but through the Church, which preserved the knowledge about them, the two saints and martyrs were faithful servants of God, as both a preacher and for the case of St. Peter, an exorcist who cast out demons and evil spirits. They went around proclaiming the Good News through words, deeds and actions.

However, at that time, the Roman Empire had not yet accepted Christianity, and to live as a Christian at that time, and in many of the preceding years, decades and centuries, it was best to keep it secret and well-hidden the fact that someone was a Christian, or else from various quarters, persecutions and oppositions against them, often ending in violent deaths, would happen.

These martyrs lived at a time when the most infamous and destructive of the persecutions happened, the Diocletian persecution, when Christians were literally hunted throughout the Empire for maintaining their faith. These persecutions occurred in waves of intensive and efficient hunt for the faithful, destroying their Scriptures wherever they can be found.

That was indeed a tough and trying time to be faithful and to be identified as such, but St. Marcellinus and St. Peter remained true to their calling, and continued to serve the people of God despite the obvious threats to their lives. They did not fear death or persecution, because they know that God is with them and ultimately that their lives belong to God.

They did not fear death or evil, also because the Lord through His Holy Spirit is in them. They received the Holy Spirit through baptism and the laying of the hands on their heads by the successors of the Apostles of Christ, and this empowered them to go on with their arduous and challenging ministry. Yet they did not give up because the Spirit gave them strength.

We too, brothers and sisters in Christ, have received the Holy Spirit and the grace of God through our baptism and our confirmation in the faith, and we therefore have been similarly empowered to be ministers of the Gospel and His servants in this world much like St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, who had ministered without fear and doubt, even when faced with persecution and certain death.

Brethren, the devil hates us all, and he will certainly do everything within his power to strike at us, just as he had once done to the holy martyrs both in Rome and in other places where the faithful faced grievous persecutions. Let us all be strong and be inspired by the examples of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, who had courageously defended their faith before God and before His people.

May God strengthen us, guide us, and be with us always, that we may bring glory to Him and save many souls from the darkness of the evil one in this world and together reach out to salvation in the Lord. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the resurrection of Jesus is a fact of our faith, and it is true, despite the attempt by many people trying to disprove or ridicule the concept of the resurrection, or even that Christ is the Son of God, or even more so, the existence of the Almighty God Himself.

Mankind doubted God and His love, and they often rejected His undying love for mankind themselves, and as Peter rightly pointed out in the first reading today, that mankind likely did so because of their ignorance, or meaning the veil of darkness that covers their eyes, which prevented them from seeing the truth of God, and therefore resulting in the ignorance that mankind has pertaining God and His actions.

Yet for all of us who believe in God, we know that the Lord had indeed died for us on the cross, and He indeed rose from the dead and showed Himself to His disciples, which many had testified to its truth. We know this because we have that crucial faith in us, as well as the ability to love, that is to appreciate and comprehend the love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to treasure this faith we have in God, as it is due to this faith that we are all able to understand God’s love and therefore understand His mission and dealings in this world. After all, who could comprehend God’s actions in coming down into this decadent and wicked world if He is perfect and all-powerful just to die for us sinners and unworthy rebels against His will? How can we understand His actions therefore, without first understanding His eternal love for all of us?

This Easter we again commemorate the resurrection of Christ, but indeed, not just His resurrection, but indeed the entire life and happenings in Jesus’ earthly sojourn, to His death and resurrection, and what He proclaimed after He was risen. This Easter is a celebration of life, that all who were once condemned to death was saved and brought to a new hope, where a new dawn has risen with Christ, to be our beacon towards eternal redemption and joy.

Indeed, the truth is sadly that we have often neglected this spirit of Easter, and we have grown decadent and lax in our lives, that we end up forgetting our true aim in life, that is to bring glory to God and follow the Lord and His ways in our lives. We have grown to worry and care only about ourselves. And we grow to be selfish and self-serving in our actions and deeds.

We often care only about the desires that we have, the wants and the concerns of the world that frequently occupy our minds. This Easter we are called to rediscover ourselves and seek the Lord once again. This is the perfect opportunity for us to make a genuine change in our lives. Let us not waste this opportunity, and as we celebrate the joy of Easter, let us also make the concrete and concerted effort to seek the Lord once again in our lives, that we no longer have any doubt about the love of God, but just complete faith in God.

May Almighty God bless us with a fruitful Easter season, strengthen our faith and guide us to be ever more faithful and loving servants of His, that our actions may ever always reflect the nature of God, and our nature as God’s children. Keep the spirit of Easter alive! Amen.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we continue to proceed through the celebration of the Easter Octave, let us all continue to remind ourselves that we who have been baptised in the Name of our Lord, have a great duty on our shoulders, as I have mentioned, that is to be the bearer of the Good News and proclaim the news of salvation in our God to all the peoples of all nations.

That Good News is that Jesus, who is Lord, has died for all of us, so that our sins may be cleansed from us and we all be redeemed in holiness, but that is not all, as Mary Magdalene herself witnessed, that the Lord who was dead and buried in a tomb, had risen in glory and majesty, to be the first of all to rise from the dead, and therefore broke the dominion of death over all of us.

Just as the people who believed in Peter’s testimony had allowed themselves to be baptised in the Name of the Lord and hence were welcomed into the family of God, being accepted as children of the same God, we too had done the same and we now share with them the gift of faith and salvation in the Lord through the sacred waters of baptism.

Baptism had given us all a new slate, that is a fresh beginning of a new life. This life is one that is no longer tainted with sin and darkness, and instead what we have is a new opportunity for us to glorify and honour God with our lives and actions. We have been made anew through the death and resurrection of Christ, and we are called to be like Peter and the Apostles, who courageously gave their testimony on the Risen Lord.

Many of us were like Mary Magdalene, who wept in sorrow thinking that the Lord had died and gone forever, and thus shorn of all hope. And even more of us these days act as if we do not even care what the Lord had done for us, being entirely apathetic to His great love. This is because in our hearts we do not have the firmness and courage of faith that we need, if we are to be truly faithful in God.

In today’s world, where everything is presented as facts and hard truths, and in consideration of the knowledge that is freely flowing around from people to people through various means, chiefly through the ubiquitous internet, it is increasingly harder for many and many people to believe in the presence of God, much less His resurrection from the dead. Many nowadays even have the courage to dismiss our faith in God as mere fairy tale and lies.

This, is nothing different from the lies and the scheming of the chief priests and the elders of Israel of Jesus’ time. Despite the truth that was presented to them, with all of the undeniable and concrete evidence, they still rejected the Lord and in their jealousy, they hindered the good works of the Lord for, ironically, their own salvation. They refused to see the truth, and worse, they persecuted those who worked hard to spread the truth of God.

The same thing is occurring today, as those who refused to believe in the Lord and in His marvellous works often ridiculed our faith and even in some instances, persecute those of us who resolved to keep our faith alive, strong and real. That is why, in this world full of confusion and darkness, it is ever more important for us to keep our faith strong in God, that we will be firm in our faith and be shining lights for others to see and follow.

We have been called this Easter, to spread the light of the Risen Christ to all the peoples of all nations. Let us all become modern day apostles and disciples of the Lord, and be faithful messengers of His words and will. Let us not be discouraged by all the oppositions and the ridicule that we will certainly face for standing up for Christ and His truth.

May this Easter be a blessed one for each one of us, as we continue to proclaim His Good News and preach the Risen Lord to all who may hear it and be saved. God be with us all, always, now and forever. Amen.