Thursday, 13 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

The faith of the Syro-Phoenician woman is an example to us all, an exemplary faith that we should all have. She was adamant in her faith, and unchanging, she persisted even after refusal and supposed rejection from the Lord for her plea. She persisted and her faith in God, in Jesus was truly genuine. She did not turn left or right in seeking the Lord but straight away push at Him and persisted in her faith, and for that she was rewarded.

Contrast this, brethren, with the faith of king Solomon, the son of David, God’s faithful servant and chosen king over Israel. King Solomon was wise, wealthy, and powerful, blessed by God far beyond every other ruler that had ever existed and will ever exist in this world of ours, and yet his faith was not firm and solid, and in his old age in particular, he gave in to the temptations of the world and did things wicked in the eyes of the Lord.

In our faith to the Lord we have to be direct, and we cannot be hesitant or half-hearted, because it is in that moment of hesitation, that a weakness in our hearts can appear, and the devil can utilise that weakness to attack us and make us to fall into sin. If we hesitate or not serious about our faith, then we are inviting trouble, akin to throwing the door of our hearts wide open for the devil to enter and wreck havoc in us.

That is what happened to king Solomon, and to a much lesser extent, to king David his father. David the father of Solomon, as we had heard in the past few weeks was guilty from some sins that he had committed, and yet his faith in God was and remained very strong. He was very passionate in his faith and he did not even hesitate to lead the people in praise to God.

David did let the devil to come into his heart, when he was taken by the beauty of Bathsheba, and when he was tempted by the power and glory he had received from God in the might of his kingdom, that he committed sin before God. But he was quick to repent and reaffirm his faith strongly to the Lord, without question and without much hesitation, if any.

Solomon let himself to succumb deeper into the temptation of Satan. Unlike David, Solomon had been blessed since the start of his reign, and his reign had been largely peaceful, and Solomon himself was blessed with great power, majesty, and wealth, which surpassed any other nations of his time and ever since. It was easy for Solomon to become lax and forget about how he had obtained all those glories in the first place.

Solomon’s downfall came from his many wives and concubines, whom he had taken from the many nations he had conquered and brought as his own. He loved them and certainly took pleasure at them, as was common in any king’s harem at the time. And through that, Satan infiltrated even deeper into Solomon’s heart, and as a result, he refused to listen to the rebuke and chastisement of God, who then resolved to punish Solomon and withdrew the blessings He had given him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the contrast between the faith of David, of Solomon, and of the Syro-Phoenician woman is an important lesson for all of us, that we should not take lightly the faith we have in God. A strong faith is a potent and powerful shield to defend ourselves from the influences of the devil, and it will also help us to keep our way to the Lord straight and firm, that we will not fall as Solomon had fallen.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take this opportunity to reaffirm our faith in the Lord, and continue to trust in Him. Let us also pray that God will continue to strengthen our faith, that we may be well defended in our battles against the forces of evil trying to persuade us to turn our back to the Lord as Solomon had done.

May God keep us straight in His path and show us the way, that we may walk in faith towards Him and be reunited with Him in glory for eternity. Amen.

Thursday, 26 December 2013 : Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 10 : 17-22

Be on your guard with people, for they will hand you over to their courts, and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of Me, so you may witness to them and the pagans.

But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it is not you who will speak, but the Spirit of your Father in you.

Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of Me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Saints Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Psalm 16 : 1, 2-3, 6-7, 8b and 15

Hear a just cause, o Lord, listen to my complaint. Give heed to my prayer for there is no deceit on my lips.

Let my defense come forth from You; Your eyes see what is right. You have probed my heart, searched me at night, tested me by fire, and You have seen no wickedness in me.

Under the shadow of Your wings hide me. As for me, righteous in Your sight, I shall see Your face and, awakening, gaze my fill on Your likeness.

Thursday, 27 June 2013 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we learn from the readings, of the need to put our complete trust in the Lord and in His power and authority, instead of placing our trust in the falsehood and facade of the power of man. Not that man does not have any power, but any power that they have with them ultimately came from the Lord, and therefore no man should boast of his or her own abilities and powers, but instead should give due praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, who is the source of all power and authority in the universe.

When man begins to lose trust in the Lord and begins to put their trust in feeble man, that is when problems will rise, and even though initially not that apparent, the problems will certainly and eventually rise to the surface. Such was what happened with the case of Abraham, then Abram, who was kind of desperate of having a son to be his successor and heir to all the wealth he had in his possession.

The Lord promised Abram great wealth and affluence because of his faith and love for Him, but above all, He promised Abram that his descendants will number like the sands on the shores of the sea, and as numerous as there are stars in the sky. Such is the greatness of the descendants of Abram, so numerous that they would indeed fill up the entire earth with their presence. But Abram was growing old, and more importantly so was that his wife, Sarah, then Sarai, was also growing old, and had gone past the child bearing age.

That was when alternative methods were sought and then taken up by Abram, with the suggestion from Sarai, that he took Hagar, Sarai’s slave, to be his wife, and therefore act as a proxy to produce an heir for Abram. For in those times, slaves have little value for themselves, and therefore, the mistress, Sarai, had every right to claim the child birthed by the slave and claimed him as her own. Nonetheless, as we saw in the first reading, we can certainly note that tensions soon arose between Sarai and Hagar, as Hagar felt proud in her achievements in being able to bear a child for Abram, which her mistress could not do herself.

Pride and arrogance quickly become the order of the day if we put our trust in the powers and abilities of man, and do not give proper glory to the Lord, to whom we should give all glory to. The same had happened to Hagar, whom in her pride had brought about division and frictions within Abram’s family, and caused the diversion from the true plan of salvation that God had brought through His promised son to Abram, that is Isaac.

Abram did not wait for the promise of the Lord to reach its perfection and completion, but following the advice of Sarah and succumbed to human weakness, that is to distrust the promise and words of the Lord, and the result is the birth of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar. Later on, further conflicts between Ishmael and the newborn Isaac, the child of promise, would end up in Ishmael and her mother to be cast away from Abraham and his family. God indeed did not leave them to die, but provided for them and also made Ishmael a great nation, but it is not through him that God would make perfect His covenant with Abraham and mankind, but through Isaac and his descendants.

Today, brothers and sisters in Christ, we celebrate the feast day of St. Cyril of Alexandria, the bishop of the early Church, a Church Father and a Doctor of the Church, who fought ceaselessly against those who denied the divinity of Christ, the Nestorians, led by none other than the Patriarch of Constantinople himself, one of the most senior clergyman at the time. He chastised those who opposed the orthodox faith and those who had embraced the heresies of man.

Yes, just as the theme of today’s readings had indicated, those who rejected God in favour of man will not survive, and they will be condemned, because they did not place their trust in God. Therefore, following the example of St. Cyril of Alexandria, in his courageous defense of the faith in the Lord, let us follow him in defending our love and adoration for the Lord, and reject those who glorify themselves at the expense of the Lord.

May the Lord be with us at all times, and remind us that we belong to God, in the covenant He had made with all of us through Christ our Lord and Saviour. May He remind us that He alone is worthy of praise and glory, and that His love is everlasting and infinite. St. Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us sinners, and help to bring us closer to our Lord and God. Amen.

Monday, 17 June 2013 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

2 Corinthians 6 : 1-10

Being God’s helpers we beg you  : let it not be in vain that you received this grace of God. Scripture says : At the favourable time I listened to you, on the day of salvation I helped you. This is the favourable time, this is the day of salvation.

We are concerned  not to give anyone an occasion to stumble or criticise our mission. Instead, we prove that we are true ministers of God in every way by our endurance in so many trials, in hardships, afflictions, floggings, imprisonment, riots, fatigue, sleepless nights, and days of hunger.

People can notice in our upright the knowledge, patience and kindness, action of the Holy Spirit, sincere love, words of truth and power of God. So we fight with the weapons of justice, to attack as well as to defend.

Sometimes we are honoured, at other times insulted; we receive criticism as well as praise. We are regarded as liars although we speak the truth; as unknown though we are well known; as dead  and yet we live. Punishments come upon us but we have not, as yet, been put to death. We appear to be afflicted, yet always joyful; we seem to be poor, but we enrich many; we have nothing, but we possess everything!

Monday, 13 May 2013 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we celebrate a great feast and memorial of our Lady, that is our Lady of Fatima, who made an appearance to the three young children at Fatima in Portugal almost a century ago, and through them, she revealed to them prophecy and secret, which contains the will of God, and the desire of the Lord, conveyed through Mary, His mother, that the world be converted to Christ and be brought into God’s love and salvation.

Throughout the subsequent decades, especially after the devotion to our Lady of Fatima had been officially recognised by the Vatican, by the Pope himself, it quickly became a place of great devotion to Mary, the mother of God, the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary, is a role model to all of us, because her entire life had been dedicated to God, and had been given up for the sake of the Lord, that through her indeed, salvation of this world might spring forth, through Jesus, her Son, the Messiah.

It is her obedience and submission to the will of God that made salvation possible, and made her exalted above all women and all the peoples of God, for through her, all mankind who believe in her Son, are made perfect and whole again through the ministry and sacrifice of her Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

Many people had great misconceptions about this strong devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord, especially among those who hates these devotions because of their misinformation, lack of faith, and lack of understanding because they do not have in them the truth and the full extent of truth that the Lord passed down to us, through the Church and only in the Church.

They hated these devotions because to them apparently that these devotions border on worship and therefore they equate it with us, who believes, with the worship of Mary as some sort of mother-goddess. But they got it entirely wrong, and yet even so, the world perpetuates the falsehood and the hatred because it belongs to the evil one, and it will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from reaching the ears and hearts of many in this world.

Our devotion to Mary, the mother of God, which is represented and celebrated today in the form of Our Lady of Fatima, because Mary had made her appearance to the children at Fatima, is because through Mary, we can be more guaranteed of salvation in Christ. Mary, as the mother of the Lord, and having been righteous and obedient to God throughout her entire life, is the perfect role model for all of us, that indeed she is the greatest and queen of all saints in heaven.

By following the examples of Mary, in her words, in her actions, and in her various messages that she had delivered through her various approved appearances, had been crucial in guiding many either to the Lord or return from their wayward paths. Through our devotion to her, in which we show our love and dedication to the mother of God, and not our worship, we bring ourselves closer to God at the same time. For the mother of God is surely always close to her Son, the Lord God Most High, and therefore, she can indeed help us to be ever closer to our God.

As much as we are dedicated to Mary, the mother of God, we are devoted even more to her Son, that is our Lord Jesus. Why is this so? Because through Mary, we can understand our Lord better, we can glimpse better the purpose of the coming of our God into this world, to be man like us, and to die on the cross that we can be saved from the certainty of death due to sin.

That is how we should indeed pray, that is through Mary, to Jesus. Because Mary is our greatest intercessor, our great link between ourselves and God in Christ. Remember that in Cana, during that wedding when Christ performed His very first miracle? It was because of the intercession of Mary that the wedding could proceed well, because Mary was insistent in helping the couple that their wedding would not go awry. Our Lord being a good son listens to His mother’s wishes.

We have to be careful here to note that our Lord listens to His mother but this does not make Him subordinate to her. She is not a goddess or anything of that kind, but rather, she is the perfect example of the role of saints and why we ask for their intercession, because they intercede for us before Christ, and put forth our case and our petitions before Him. And no greater saint exists other than Mary, the Lord’s own mother.

That is why today we celebrate this feast of Our Lady of Fatima, because Mary, our Lady, had made her appearance in Fatima, and showing the miracles of God that many would end up believing in God, and through her message at Fatima, she wanted to bring the world ever closer to her Son, indeed showing that even though it had been long since Mary had been assumed to heaven in the Assumption, she still cares for us and intercedes for us at all times, and is willing to come forth and give her aid to mankind, especially to bring more souls to salvation and away from damnation of hell.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from today on, let us strive to follow the examples of the saints, particularly that of Mary, our Lady of Fatima. Let us follow her example and her faith in God, that we too can be obedient like her to the will of God and lead a righteous life like she had once led in this world and received her rewards in heaven.

Whenever someone said that we in the Church worship Mary and the saints, do not be quiet and give in to passivity, but rather, bravely defend our Lady and our God, her Son. For such accusation actually amounts to an insult for our Lady, and an insult to Mary, the mother of our Lord means also an insult to our Lord Jesus, her Son. Courageously defend our faith, not by being confrontational or hostile, but rather with patience, explaining the real truth of our true faith to those who have been blinded by the falsehood spread by the evil one.

Let us be more like Mary, and make ourselves closer to Jesus, her Son, just as our Lady of Fatima had wanted us, so that we can truly be God’s children, through our words, our actions, and our bearings, that we reflect Christ in all our dealings, and the world that sees us, will believe and will be converted to the cause of Christ. God bless us all. Mary, our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Amen.

Friday, 10 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Acts 18 : 9-18

One night, in a vision, the Lord said to Paul, “Do not be afraid, but continue speaking and do not be silent, for many people in this city are Mine. I am with you, so no one will harm you.” So Paul stayed a year and a half in that place, teaching the word of God among them.

When Gallio was governor of Achaia, the Jews made a united atack on Paul and brought him before the court. And they accused him, “This man tries to persuade us to worship God in ways that are against the Law.”

Paul was about to speak in his own defense when Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of a misdeed or vicious crime, I would have to consider your complaint. But since this is a quarrel about teachings and divine names that are proper to your own law; see to it yourselves; I refuse to judge such matters.” And he sent them out of the court.

Then the people seized Sosthenes, a leading man of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal; but Gallio paid no attention to it. Paul stayed on with the disciples in Corinth for many days; he then left them and sailed off with Priscilla and Aquila for Syria. And as he was no longer under a vow he had taken, he shaved his head before sailing from Cenchreae.

Monday, 6 May 2013 : 6th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 15 : 26 – John 16 : 4a

From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of truth. When the Helper has come from the Father, He will be My witness, and you, too, will be My witnesses, for you have been with Me from the beginning.

I tell you all this to keep you from stumbling and falling away. They will put you out of the synagogue. Still more, the hour is coming, when anyone who kills you will claim to be serving God; they will do this, because they have not known the Father or Me.

I tell you all these things now so that, when the time comes, you may remember that  I told you.

My oath of obedience to our new Pope, Pope Francis. God bless our Pope!

God, the Lord of the Universe, who through Jesus Christ Your Son, has brought salvation upon this world. Hear me now I pray, with Your holy angels and holy saints as witness before Your Holy throne in Heaven.

I promise and offer my full and unconditional obedience on Franciscus, our Pope Francis, whom through the Holy Spirit You have inspired the Cardinals to elect, as the one to continue the mission of Peter, Your Apostle, upon whom You entrusted the keys to Your Kingdom, and upon whom You built Your very own Church, that is Your Most Precious Body, in union with all who believes in You, now led by Francis, as one indivisible union, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I call upon the angels and the saints as witness on this promise, and I ask them too to pray for our Holy Father, that he will be strengthened in his new ministry, not just as the Bishop of Rome, but also the Successor of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, as the leader of the Universal Church, all over the world.

May he be strengthened in faith, hope, and love, and exercise great charity as his namesake St. Francis of Assisi had done, and at the same time, profess to defend the Sacred Tradition of the Holy Apostles, and the orthodox Catholic faith, as it is, unchanging, since the beginning, now, and ever shall be, forever and ever! Amen!

On this Holy Gospel I make solemn my oath and promise, and I hope that not only that I will remain faithful to it, but also help our dear Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his mission to evangelise the Word of God to all corners of this world, through whatever means I can, including this humble blog of mine.

Ad multos annos, Papa Franciscus! Pontifex maximus et Beati Petri Apostolorum Principis succesori, Episcopus Romanus.

Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam, et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum. Quodcumque ligaveris super terram, erit ligatum et in cælis, et quodcumque solveris super terram, erit solutum et in cælis.

(You are Peter, and on this Rock, I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against It, and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on this earth, it will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loosen on this earth, it will be loosened in heaven).

 

+Peter Canisius Michael David Kang

(Ut Omnes Unum Sint, ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam – That they all may be One, for the greater glory of God)