Friday, 14 August 2015 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 15 : 54b-57

When our mortal being puts on immortality, the word of Scripture will be fulfilled : ‘Death has been swallowed up by victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’ Sin is the sting of death to kill, and the Law is what gives force to sin.

But give thanks to God who gives us the victory through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Request of Prayer for the People of the Philippines asking for the Lord’s protection from Typhoon Hagupit

Dear brothers and sisters, just as November last year brought the Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) to the Philippines, which devastated many regions in Central Philippines and causing numerous death, displacement and sufferings, this month of December, we witness yet another Super Typhoon, Hagupit, on the same path as Haiyan and it has the potential to wreck even more damage and suffering to those who are still suffering from the effects of the last year Super Typhoon.

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The above prayer is a prayer for deliverance from the calamities, especially from the typhoon as given by His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila. Let us all pray together as one people and one Church of God, that the Lord may show His mercy and love on His beloved people, those suffering, in the Philippines and also in the other parts of the world.

Pray, brethren, pray and devote our wishes to the Lord!

Saturday, 6 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 144 : 17-18, 19-20, 21

Righteous is the Lord in all His ways, His mercy shows in all His deeds. He is near those who call on Him, who call trustfully upon His Name.

He fulfills the wish of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them. For those who love Him, the Lord has compassion, but the wicked, He will destroy.

Let my mouth speak in praise of the Lord, let every creature bless His holy Name, for ever and ever.

Sunday, 31 August 2014 : 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Jeremiah 20 : 7-9

YHVH, You have seduced me and I let myself be seduced. You have taken me by force and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; they all make fun of me, for every time I speak I have to shout, “Violence! Devastation!”

YHVH’s word has brought me insult and derision all day long. So I decided to forget about Him and speak no more in His Name. But His word in my heart becomes like a fire burning deep within my bones. I try so hard to hold it in, but I cannot do it.

Dedication and Prayer for those who had passed away in various circumstances

St. Augustine of Hippo once said, “He who sings prays twice.” Thus, with the limitations and the resources I have, I would like to dedicate these in prayer for the sake of those who had gone before us in various circumstances.

I would like in particular to commend someone who was known to me and who just passed away due to accident a few days ago, and I also would like to commend in prayer those who have perished and suffered from various persecutions and torture throughout the Middle East conflict, as well as any victims of injustice and violence throughout the world. And lastly, all others who had also passed away before us, and who now keep us in their prayers before God.

May God hear our prayers and guide their souls into His presence and kingdom in heaven, that they may receive eternal rest and glory at His side. And pray for us, brethren! Pray for us sinners who are still walking about in this world.

 

In paradisum (translation: “Into paradise”)

Lyric:

In paradisum deducant te Angeli;

May the angels lead you to paradise;

 

in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres,

upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you,

 

et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.

and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.

 

Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,

May the ranks of angels receive you,

 

et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.

and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest.

 

 

Amazing Grace

Lyric:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Eudes, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s readings are the continuation of the messages of the Scripture from yesterday, and we continue to talk about how worldly possessions may hinder us from truly reaching out to the Lord. The difficulty for the rich which Jesus mentioned, for them to enter the kingdom of heaven, is itself not because of the rich status or the fault of the wealth or material possessions, but in fact because of our innate weakness and proneness to the tempting power of those possessions.

Essentially, those possessions keep us away from the Lord because they rob the focus of our hearts, hijacking our hearts and minds which should really be thinking and focusing on the Lord and all of His goodness, and instead we think more and more of our wealth and possession, to the point that we eventually worry more and more about them, on how we can gain more of them and how we can safeguard them.

We mankind are easy to be tempted if we do not take the steps to actively prevent this temptation. Ever since the days of Adam and Eve, when they were tempted with knowledge and greatness by the lies of Satan, we mankind had been exposed to the works of evil in this world, which threaten to pull us deep into the pit of damnation just as our ancestors had been trapped in those lies of Satan that brought us away from our divine inheritance.

The first reading today talked about how God proclaimed His judgment and prediction on the fate of Tyre, which was a great city of the land of Sidon, of the Phoenicians, a great seafaring nation, which built colonies far and wide, and the progenitor of the later Carthaginian Empire. Tyre is the mother city of the Phoenicians who were great navigators, traders and merchants who built their cities strong with wealth, and Tyre the foremost among them. The rich purple dye of the rulers and Emperors of Rome were named Tyrian purple after the wealth of the city in which this dye originally came from.

Tyre had all reasons to be overconfident, as it had a great influence, mighty and powerful over the seas. In addition to that, the city was built on a nature island off the coast of what is today Lebanon, and therefore is naturally protected against any enemies and forces arrayed against it. Nevertheless, it is in this arrogance and power that ended up in their downfall.

What the Lord spoke of, became true when the Greek King, Alexander the Great conquered the city of Tyre after a long siege, and the city never regained its power, prominence and glory. Therefore, it had been cast down and its power was broken, never to recover. And therefore the same will also eventually happen to us, if we depend on our human power, as well as on our desire for wealth, glory and fame.

It is important for us to realise that wealth, possession, fame, achievement in life and greatness are often not the answers for our lives, and they are neither the solutions for which we can live our lives in a better and more meaningful way. It is too often that mankind had been destroyed by all these, as they are unable to resist their greed and desire and end up destroying themselves.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. John Eudes, a priest of the Lord who founded a religious congregation, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary. He took a vow of chastity at a young age, and then proceeded to join the religious life fully dedicated to the Lord. Under his actions, numerous good works had been done for the sake of the Lord by St. John Eudes himself, who worked hard to serve the people of God and spread the Word of God to many people around him.

St. John Eudes was especially intrigued by those around him who lived in sin and in the darkness of the world, particularly prostitutes who were common in that age. Therefore, St. John Eudes worked hard to help those who were destitute and weak in faith, and through his religious congregation, he endeavoured to advance the preparation and education of priests and all those who devoted themselves to the Lord, that they may do better works for the sake of God and His people.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, people like St. John Eudes and many others who had given up everything, all glory, wealth and fame that they may be true servants of the Lord are our role models. They have resisted the temptations of the flesh and that of the world, so that they are no longer governed by the whim of their desire, but instead by the will of God speaking inside them, guiding them in life to bear much fruits of their good works in the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, is it not right indeed, that we should truly follow in their footsteps? We should all use these opportunities given to us, so that we may free ourselves from the unending pull of desires and human greed, and instead begin to live wholly and completely in the grace and love of God. Let us all ask St. John Eudes for his prayers and intercession, that we too may serve God and His people just as he had once done.

May Almighty God be with us all, in our lives, that we may do good works for the sake of all those around us, particularly those who are weak, destitute and downtrodden. 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.