Wednesday, 7 January 2015 : Wednesday after the Epiphany, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented with the truth proclaimed in the Scriptures and the Gospel, that our Lord is with us and He dwells among us, even now, as He had been, and will ever be. He will always be with us, as long as we remain faithful to our love for Him. He is ever faithful, ever graceful and ever providing for us, a loving and gentle Lord who cares for every single one of His people.

In the Gospel, we heard about Jesus walking through the storm on the water while the boat that the disciples boarded was battered with the winds and the waves, threatening to sink them. They were frightened and were filled with fear, and the sight of Jesus walking on the water towards them frightened them even more, and this was because they lacked the faith, which they should have in Jesus.

The disciples of Christ were always with Him, helping Him in His works and ministry, following Him wherever He went to, and became His faithful servants and helpers in proclaiming the Good News of God. What is this Good News? It is exactly what the First Reading today from the Letter of St. John had revealed to us, that the Lord had sent His Son into the world, and by the dwelling of the Son in the form of the flesh of Man, He is with us.

For Christ is the purest and most concrete manifestation of God’s love for us, the love that has become real and tangible, which we can see and feel with our senses. He came so that He may dwell within us, and thus the love of God may also dwell in us and we would know what love truly is. True love is just as what God had shown us through Jesus, the loving sacrifice He had committed, giving up His own life in exchange for ours, and through that act, gained new life for us all.

True love does not demand returns, and it is unconditional by nature just like what Jesus had done for us. We are sinners and tainted, wicked and undeserving of life and salvation, and yet, Jesus died for us while we were still sinners, as we are still today. He did not hesitate to do so, even though He must have fully known the kind of suffering and pain He would have to go through in order to achieve our salvation and liberation from sin.

The readings of this day teach us that we have God on our backs, and He will support us and provide for us, as long as we are faithful to Him, and as long as we are faithful, we do not have to worry about anything. We worry because we start to lose our faith in God and our firm faith in Him is being undermined. By what? By our own sense of insecurities, by our insatiable desires, and by many other things that distract us from our attention and focus towards the Lord.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Raymond of Penyafort, the Master of the Dominican Order or also known as the Order of Preachers. St. Raymond of Penyafort had been very faithful and devoted to the Lord from the beginning, from his youth, and he dedicated much of his life in the service of God, to the conversion of sinners and the salvation of the lost sheep of the Lord.

St. Raymond of Penyafort led a simple but dedicated life, one that was filled with the love and concern for the people of God who were still lost to the darkness. Thus, in accordance of the part he played in the Dominican order, or the Order of Preachers, St. Raymond preached about the Faith to many people, especially those who have yet to accept Christ, Jesus our Lord, as their Lord and Saviour. Through his words, he changed their hearts and helped them to allow themselves to open their hearts to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our world today there are many people who remain blinded against the love of God, for their heart’s desires, their pride, their greed, their vanity and others often come in between them and their ability to recognise the love of God. Thus, by understanding what we had heard today in the Gospel and the Scriptures, and by witnessing the examples of St. Raymond of Penyafort and his dedications, let us all also do the same, helping one another especially those who are still lost in the world.

Therefore, let us from now on redirect our energies and efforts, that we may lead others from a life of vice and sin, not knowing the Lord and His love, into one that is firmly founded on the foundation of God’s eternal love. Let us all help each other to reach out to the Lord, and may our loving God, the Almighty Father, also guide us, help us and remain with us always. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/06/wednesday-7-january-2015-wednesday-after-the-epiphany-memorial-of-st-raymond-of-penyafort-priest-first-reading/

 

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/06/wednesday-7-january-2015-wednesday-after-the-epiphany-memorial-of-st-raymond-of-penyafort-priest-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/06/wednesday-7-january-2015-wednesday-after-the-epiphany-memorial-of-st-raymond-of-penyafort-priest-gospel-reading/

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ the King, Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (Double I Classis) – Sunday, 26 October 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast day of the Church as we come together to celebrate the kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is indeed King, and King not just any other king, but the One True King, King over all of creation, and King over all of the universe. He is the King of kings, and the fount of true power and authority, from whom all the kings and rulers of this world eventually received their authority from.

Yes, for Jesus Christ our Lord is the Lord and God, and He is the Son of God, one of the Most Holy Trinity, One True God with Three distinct Aspects. And Jesus came into the world, taking up the form of a humble Man, a simple and poor Man, the son of a carpenter, born in a manger in a dirty and poor stable, even though He is a King, and the King above every other kings and rulers of the earth.

This is to show us all, and to show the world, that the kingdom of Jesus is the kingdom of God, which encompasses everything, and yet it is not of this world. It is not the same in nature as the kingdoms of this world, as the realms and countries of this world, and His kingship is also of a different nature, unlike that of the kings and rulers of the earth. Why is this so?

This is because, as Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, during the time when He was scourged before He went on to be crucified during His Passion, He is a King and His kingdom is the kingdom of truth, that is the truth of God, with true joy and true happiness that only God can give to mankind, who are His people, and whose King, the One True King is Christ Himself.

The kings and rulers of this world lives as the world has lived, and they lived in the way that the world had expected of them on how to live their lives and on how they ought to act. Many of these kings and rulers had power of the world and their dominion is in the world. And many of them become corrupted by the power and the authority they wielded, becoming tyrants and autocrats that oppressed the people for their own benefits.

Yes, many kings and rulers have plenty of wealth and riches of the world, and they have regular sumptuous banquets and meals with his subjects, especially the powerful and rich ones of the world who could afford to dine with the kings and the rulers. They often spend their money in various lavish things and used their possessions often without restraint. The rulers of the world indeed had been corrupted by the temptations which the world had provided.

Of course it does not mean that all of them were wicked, as there were also righteous and just rulers who used their power and authority, entrusted by God responsibly and with justice. But those who lived in the world and acted in accordance with the ways of the world are eventually bound to the rules and the ways of the world, and more likely than not, they committed things wicked in the sight of God.

Jesus reminded the world that His kingdom is not of the world, and thus unlike the rulers of the world, His power and authority does not depend on how much wealth and possessions that He possessed, and neither does He answer to the world and to its ways on all the things He has done. Whatever He has done, was done in the name of truth and the faith, in bringing about the kingdom of God.

Jesus always liked to say that the kingdom of God is near, and called the people to repentance to prepare themselves for the coming of that kingdom. And this call was also echoed by the prophets who came before Him, especially St. John the Baptist, who cleared the path for Him and straightened the way for the King. That is because the kingdom of Christ is the kingdom of truth, one that is to replace all falsehoods of the world, and to replace all the authorities and powers which the Lord had delegated to mankind.

Men had been entrusted to be the stewards of creation, that is to take care of the other things and creatures which God had created in this world. However, as time would tell, many of them fell short, and many misused their power to fulfill their own ego and desires. The lies of Satan and the temptations of the world overwhelmed them and made them to persecute those who have been trusted under them. And that is why we have so much sorrow in this world.

Kings fight with kings, rulers fight with kings and other rulers for various reasons, for the people, for wealth, for possessions, for women, for pleasures of the world, and for their own personal ambitions and ego. And often that the people suffered for their injustice and their ambitions, which they put above the welfare of the people entrusted under them.

How about Jesus? First we have already known that His kingship is not based on wealth or any properties of the world, but based on the truth of God solely, and that while the kings of the earth bicker over authority and over other things, Jesus the King was solely and completely obedient to the task which He came into the world for, that is the salvation of His people, the beloved ones of God.

And He who is King over all of us is also a caring and loving King, unlike some kings and rulers who loved themselves more, and who loved their money and possessions, and their titles and palaces more than they loved their people. They were the bad and evil shepherds who did not care for their sheep, entrusted to them by the Chief Shepherd, that is Jesus, King over all kings.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who truly knows His sheep, all and every one by name. He knows them and He guides them into the right paths, that is into His truth. And He did not even spare His own life to protect them and to ensure them the salvation which He had promised them. He is indeed the true King, the servant King, who served His people and devoted His entire being to help them and to love them tenderly and graciously.

Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this great Feast of Jesus Christ the King, we do not just come to celebrate His great glory as the King of kings, but we also celebrate the love and dedication which He showed as King to all of His people, and all the works He had done with blood and sweat, suffering even death to purchase for us an eternal salvation with Him. Let us all also embrace the truth which He had brought into the world, for if we do not fully embrace that truth, that is our Faith in all of its fullness, then we cannot take part in the kingdom of Christ which is to come.

Thus, may Almighty God, our King of kings, the Master of all creations and of all the world be with us, and give us His awesome strength and power, that we may remain faithful to Him, our Good Shepherd, that we will not be led astray by the falsehoods of this world, which have brought down kings and rulers, betrayed by their own greed and ambition, and that all of us who have been entrusted with power and authority will emulate the example of the true Lord and King, Jesus Christ in all things.

Jesus our King and Lord, love us always and make us to be more like You, that the mightier one is, the humbler and the more dedicated one should become. Do not cast us away from Your kingdom, but help us when we fall, that we may be reunited with You in Your eternal kingdom and glory. Amen.

Thursday, 2 October 2014 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5, 10

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you that, unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”

“Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in My Name receives Me. See that you do not despise any of these little ones, for I tell you : their angels in heaven continually see the face of My heavenly Father.”

Wednesday, 1 October 2014 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of Missions (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you that, unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”

“Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in My Name receives Me.”

Monday, 22 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 8 : 16-18

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lampstand, so that people coming in may see the light. In the same way, there is nothing hidden that shall not be uncovered; nothing kept secret that shall not be known clearly.

“Now, pay attention and listen well, for whoever produces will be given more, but from those who do not produce, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.”

Sunday, 21 September 2014 : 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle, Catechetical Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle and the Evangelist, one of the Four Evangelists who wrote the Four Holy Gospels, together with St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. Consequently, today we also celebrate the occasion of Catechetical Sunday, which if we notice from the name, it refers to catechesis, which is the teaching of the Christian faith, of which no better source is present other than the Four Holy Gospels, one of which was written by St. Matthew.

In these occasions of celebration, we hear the words of the Holy Scriptures, from the Book of the prophet Isaiah in our first reading, where the Lord God exhorted His people through Isaiah to seek for Him and not to wait until it is too late, and in it was also an admonition for the pride and desire of mankind, who often thought of themselves as great and mighty, but they are really no more than the servants and creations of God, who should therefore obey His will and not their own selfish desires.

Then we hear the Psalms which exalted the Lord and all His goodness, and how His love and mercy will embrace all things, as well as all of us, if only that we resolve to seek Him and find Him in our lives, and as the Psalm mentioned, that the Lord’s mercy and love are upon those who call on Him. This is why mankind should stop delaying and being slothful, and begin to walk on the path of repentance to seek for God’s infinite mercy.

In the second reading, taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Philippi, he reminded the people of God, of the importance of labour and work, and the benefits one may gain if they do their labour for the sake of Christ, and for the sake of His beloved people, our own brothers and sisters in the Lord. It was also highlighted of the importance of the teaching of the Gospels and the faith to the people of God.

Then finally in the Gospel, as written by St. Matthew, we heard how Jesus taught His followers and the disciples using parables, and in today’s Gospel, the parable of the vineyard owner and the workers. In this parable, the vineyard owner employed many people who were unemployed and idle, and he brought them to work in his vineyard. And when the time comes for them to receive their pay, all of them, regardless of their working hours, they all received the same amount of pay, that is one silver coin each.

But the ones who worked for long hours complained before the owner, and they complained to the owner for unjust treatment compared to those who worked very little hours. They argued for the fact that they have been given the same pay although they worked for much longer. The owner then admonished them for their grumbling, and mentioned that they should have been thankful that they have been given the opportunity to work and receive the reward as everyone else had, regardless of the amount.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we look at it more closely and reflect more intently on the meaning of the words of the Scripture which we have heard today, it should be obvious that God wants us to know about the nature of salvation, and how we can play a part in that work of salvation, and therefore having a part in the salvation of one another, ensuring the security of all of us together in Christ.

The Gospel refers to how the Lord is truly willing to seek out those who are lost from Him, and the owner of the vineyard is Himself the Lord. The unemployed men and the idle ones represent mankind who still live in the darkness of the world and sundered from the Lord their God. The reward that the men received symbolised the promise of salvation and eternal life which God had revealed and vowed to us through Jesus.

And the time of which the men were called refers to none other than the opportunities in life for us, which are plenty, from the beginning and early days of our lives, until even the eleventh hour, and the time near the end. God is actively seeking for us, just as the vineyard owner was actively seeking for employees as he went around the city to look for the unemployed, that is those who are still lost among mankind.

And just as all mankind are equal in the sight of God, regardless of their status, wealth, influence, fame, power and all other things often attached to us, we are all the same before God without any embellishments. And this is perfectly shown in the Gospel, as the owner paid the workers equally without any consideration for the amount of work or for any virtues, and all were paid a silver coin each, just as all of us have equal part in our divine inheritance that is life eternal.

Brethren, it is in our nature to always want more and seek more, and we always think that all of our efforts are definitely ought to be paid, and the world itself had supported this, by enhancing in our minds the thought such that when we do more and put more effort, we are conditioned to demand for more and feel that it is justified for us to demand for more, in accordance to what we did.

Does this seem familiar somehow? Yes, precisely because it exists in our world, and it is indeed the force behind the economical progress and how the economy works in our world. Yes, it is the same as capitalism, in the system where supply and demand controls everything. And that is why we always desire and seek more, because in this system, when it is unbridled and uncontrolled, can lead to excessive materialism and desire for things of the world.

And these are what precisely made it so difficult for many of us to be saved, that is many among mankind, because we are so easily tempted by the goods and the wonders that are in the world, that Satan made that very good opportunity to steer us away from salvation in God. We end up doing things to satisfy our desire and greed for more goodness and pleasures of the world, as shown by the grumbling of those workers who came early to work in the owner’s vineyard. We have much to learn in terms of sharing with one another God’s love and blessing, and not to just be concerned about our own benefits.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this we should learn that our Lord loves us all without exception, even the greatest of sinners. There is always hope in the conversion of sinners, and even the greatest sinner can eventually be turned to the way of the Lord to become the greatest of the saints. Indeed, many great saints were themselves once great sinners. What matters is that they repent from their sinful ways and embrace the ways of the Lord.

St. Matthew himself was once a hated tax collector, a profession which was reviled in the society, and they were seen by their Jewish society as traitors and evil, as those who seemingly collaborated with the Roman, the masters of the world at the time, in oppressing the people with the taxes imposed on them. Yet, St. Matthew, despite the good promises of the job, and the security in life it provided him, he left everything and followed Jesus, and eventually became one of the four great Evangelists who recorded the life and works of Jesus our Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we commemorate the occasions I mentioned earlier for today, we have to always be reminded that we have our roles to play in this world today, that is to embrace, seek out and welcome those who hunger for the truth and the Good News of Christ in the Holy Gospels, and that is why we even celebrate today as the Catechetical Sunday, where we together as the Church, seek to spread the words of salvation of our Lord to all the ends of the earth.

Let us not be proud of our achievements or be greedy for more acclamations for what we had accomplished in life and in our faith. Instead, let us look with love upon those who have less or none, and especially those who have less or none of the faith. Let us not be jealous of them when the Lord offers them the same salvation He had also offered us. Let us rather help each other and together as brothers and sisters in the same Lord, equal in the eyes of God, enter the kingdom of heaven as one people, to praise and worship Him forever more.

Do not wait until the last minute to seek the Lord, too, for we do not know when the time is up for us. If we are late, then there is no more opportunity for us, and we will suffer for eternity together with Satan and his fellow fallen angels. Let us pray that this will not be our fate, and thus let none be lost in the darkness. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 August 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s readings clearly highlighted the need for all of us to have a good and proper way of prayer and living our faith, namely one that is not tainted with our personal and human desires, hubris and sins of our heart. The Pharisee prayed not with the wholeness of his heart, mind and soul, and his being is not entirely focused on the Lord as he prayed, which is truly not the way for us to communicate with our Lord and God.

For prayer is indeed a communication between us and the Lord, and it is important that in prayers, we talk with the Lord from our heart to His heart, but we must also be able to listen, and therefore we may listen to the words of the Lord speaking in our hearts. The Pharisee was engaged in a litany of self-praise and self-aggrandisment, and not only just praising his own goodness, as he also looked down on others and thinking of others as being not as good as himself. This is what we must not do.

We are all sinners, brethren, like that of the tax collector, or the publican. And he knew the full weight of his sins before him, and that was why he was so repentant and felt so unworthy before the Lord. He did not put down others, and he certainly did not boast about his achievements, but rather, he allowed God to work His wonders in him, by opening his heart, mind and soul wide open for the Lord to bring light back into his darkened self.

And the Lord had given us much to build up on during this life we have on earth. Why is this so? Because God had given us the spirit of life and that is why we are living now in this world. However, we who have believed in the Lord and have given ourselves to be baptised in the Most Holy Name of the Most Holy Trinity also received in us the gifts of the Holy Spirit, just as the disciples of Christ had received that day on the occasion of Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit, as we all know have seven cardinal features and seven types of fruits that can be born out of the Spirit in us. And the Holy Spirit also gives us various abilities and endowments, all according to our needs and to the will of the Lord in giving us those gifts and blessings. But there are those among men who claim to be able to get all the numerous gifts of the Spirit, without understanding what they are truly about.

Yes, I am talking about those common practices of ‘speaking in tongues’ practiced often by our heretical and unrepentant brethren in the so-called Evangelical and Pentecostal tradition of the Protestant ‘churches’, who often go so far as to make the practice of tongue-speaking as the mainstream of their worship. They pronounced babbling sounds as if they are speaking in tongues, mimicking the speeches of the Apostles, but this is in vain. In fact, they do not proclaim and praise the Lord in doing that, but instead invoking Satan to be present among them to tempt them.

The way to serve the Lord is not through this method, as when we do that, we have to remember the action of the Pharisee and the publican or the tax collector in their respective prayers. What is the intention of speaking in tongues? This is a dangerous practice that if done without understanding, and it is also already prevalent even among certain sections of the Church, that this will lead the faithful not towards the Lord, but towards the self-aggrandisement of the Pharisee.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I am also talking about those who in the Church, are claiming to represent the will of certain peoples, claiming that they are fighting for equality among different groups, some representing the women and some the laity as a whole themselves. Let me ask you this question, brothers and sisters in Christ, why did the Lord created us men and women in the first place? And why was there the division between the priesthood and the laity in the Church?

The answer to the first question is clear, as we are intended by the Lord to complement each other. Women were born from men, and without men, women are incomplete, and so therefore, men are incomplete without women. That is why, we can never have any equality in literal sense between the males and females in our society and in our Church, because each of us, man and woman are born with a particular purpose in life, and we have been given the specific gift, much like that of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Then regarding the priesthood and the laity, it is also similar. Those who are in the laity are those who choose to have an ordinary life, following the routines of this world that is to have a family and beget children for the love and glory of God, and those in the priesthood dedicated their whole life in devoted service both to God, their Lord, Master and Bride, as well as to the whole mankind.

We cannot stand for this kind of irresponsible movements and notions, and they are tantamount to challenging the Holy Spirit and God Himself, as if they are asking for the wholeness of the gifts that God had given mankind, which is a sign of hubris and human pride, which had once made Satan fall from his place of honour and glory, and which will also bring about our downfall if we are not careful.

Let us all reflect on this, and let us all lay down our pride, our arrogance, our human desire for fame, greatness and glory. Let us instead be like the tax collector, opening our hearts wholly and sincerely to the Lord, so that He may speak to us in the depth and in the silence of our hearts. Let us all build a culture of prayer, and not just any prayer, but prayer deeply rooted in our faith and in our desire to love both mankind and the Lord our God beyond all other things.

May Almighty God bless us and our endeavours, and strengthen the faith within us that we may all be examples for the world, becoming beacons of light in the darkness. Amen.