Saturday, 16 October 2021 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious or Holy Virgins or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called to entrust ourselves to the Lord just in the way that Abraham, our father in faith and the ancestor of many nations have been faithful to God, in following Him and giving himself and dedicating his whole race and his entire descendants to God. Abraham was that most faithful paragon of faith that we should look up to, and we should model our faith based on how he has been and remained faithful to God.

In our first reading today from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome, we heard how the Apostle spoke about Abraham and the faith that he had in the Lord, the faith and commitment he had in the Lord, despite the challenges he had, and despite not knowing at the beginning how everything would turn out for him and his family. Through his faith, Abraham became the father of numerous nations, and not only that, he became the spiritual father of so many other peoples and nations that were not directly descended from him.

Abraham was one of the descendants of Adam and Noah, who dwelled in the land of Ur, in what is today Mesopotamia and Iraq. It was there then that the Lord called Abraham to follow Him to the land that He would give to him and his descendants. Abraham was a rich man with vast amounts of wealth, a family and his properties in his ancestral homeland. He had no reason to follow the Lord to an unknown land, leaving everything that was familiar to him. However, Abraham did so, and entrusted himself to the Lord.

That was how he became a most faithful servant of God, and God made a Covenant with Abraham and his descendants, promising him that he would become the father of so many nations. At that time, Abraham did not even have a son yet, and his wife was barren after many years, and they were already old back then. Yet, Abraham still believed in God and trusted in Him and the Covenant which He had made with him. As such, God bestowed on Abraham the son he had been promised with, and blessed him and his descendants.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the faith of Abraham is what all of us ought to have as Christians, to be courageous in following God and to proclaim His truth, to entrust ourselves to Him wholeheartedly as we should, and dedicating our time and effort to His cause. Abraham had that faith and allowed the Lord to guide his path because he was not afraid of whatever the world could trouble him as he knew that the Lord was always by his side, and he could trust in His providence. Whatever he would lose, he would regain back in the Lord’s favour and grace.

Today, all of us are called to reflect on whether we have truly been faithful to God, and whether we have followed Him in the way that we should have done, in obeying the laws and commandments of God and in being exemplary in our every deeds and actions in the way that our father in faith Abraham had done. We are all called to think of how we can be better and more committed Christians in our way of life. And we can look upon the good examples set by our holy and dedicated predecessors in faith, namely that of St. Hedwig and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the two saints whose feast we celebrate today.

St. Hedwig was also known as St. Hedwig of Silesia, a renowned Duchess Consort of Silesia during the High Middle Ages who was famous for her holiness and her charitable actions to her people when she was the consort of the ruler. She spent a lot of effort to help the poor and the sick, establishing hospitals and care houses for them, and together with her husband, they were remembered as very pious and caring rulers. And after she was widowed, St. Hedwig decided to enter religious life and spent the rest of her life in serving God through prayer and charity, devoting herself wholly to His cause.

Meanwhile, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was the famous mystic and visionary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, remembered for her visions of the Lord’s Most Sacred Heart, whose writings and experiences came to be the inspiration behind the now very popular Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque gave herself to God, and she received many visions of the Lord’s great love for His people, in His sufferings out of love for them, and from there, as she shared her mystical visions, it became the impetus for the popular Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Hedwig and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque were both pious and faithful in their own way, living their lives in commitment and total surrender to God. They loved the Lord as well as their neighbours, their fellow brothers and sisters, and this is what all of us are called to do as Christians. If we call ourselves as Christians and yet we have not done what our forefathers and holy predecessors had done, then are we not better than hypocrites of the past, who claimed to be faithful and yet had a mostly empty and meaningless faith?

Let us all discern carefully our path going forward in life, and let us do our very best from now on to follow the Lord ever more devoutly, and commit ourselves to His cause. May the Lord be our strength and guide, and may He empower each and every one of us to walk in His path each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us all, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 16 October 2021 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious or Holy Virgins or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 12 : 8-12

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before people, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the Angels of God. But the one who denies Me before others will be denied before the Angels of God. There will be pardon for the one who criticises the Son of Man, but there will be no pardon for the one who slanders the Holy Spirit.”

“When you are brought before the synagogues, and before governors and rulers, do not worry about how you will defend yourself, or what to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you have to say.”

Saturday, 16 October 2021 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious or Holy Virgins or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 104 : 6-7, 8-9, 42-43

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is YHVH our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His Covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the Covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

For He remembered His promise to Abraham, His servant. So He led forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with singing.

Saturday, 16 October 2021 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious or Holy Virgins or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Romans 4 : 13, 16-18

If God promised Abraham, or rather his descendants, that the world would belong to him, this was not because of his obeying the Law, but because he was just, and a friend of God, through faith.

For that reason, faith is the way, and all is given, by grace; and the promises of Abraham are fulfilled for all his descendants, not only for his children according to the Law, but, also, for all the others, who have believed. Abraham is the father of all of us, as it is written : I will make you the father of many nations. He is our father, in the eyes of Him, Who gives life to the dead, and calls into existence, what does not yet exist, for this is the God in Whom he believed.

Abraham believed, and hoped against all expectation, thus, becoming the father of many nations, as he had been told : See how many will be your descendants.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrating the most wonderful love that God has shown to all of us, to each and every one of us from His Most Sacred Heart, the heart being the representative of one’s love and emotions, feelings and thoughts. Thus, we remember today the great love that God has for each and every one of us, the love that comes outpouring from His most loving heart.

In our first reading today, we heard of the passage from the Book of the prophet Hosea, in which we heard the Lord speaking to His people through Hosea, referring to Ephraim as the son whom God had brought up and led out of Egypt. This was a reference to the Israelites in the northern kingdom of Israel, which capital of Samaria is in the land of the tribe of Ephraim. The prophet Hosea has been sent to the people of the northern kingdom, to remind them of God and to repent from their wicked ways.

However, the people of the northern kingdom continued to sin against God as they had done multiple times previously, and this is what was referred by the prophet Hosea as ‘Ephraim’ having forgotten about God Who had done so much wonders for them and Who had cared for them all those while. And yet, God would not destroy them, as He truly loved them more than He despised their sins and wickedness. He still loved them, and the fact that He sent them the prophet Hosea, it was proof that He still wanted them to be saved.

God loves every single one of us, and He created us all because He loves us all and wants us to share in this love. Unfortunately, due to our disobedience we fell into sin, as we listened to the falsehood and lies of the devil rather than to trust in the Lord. The Lord could have annihilated us and crushed us there and then, willing us out of existence just as easily as He willed creation into being. Yet, He did not do that, and why? That is because He loves us, from His heart.

It is this same love that St. Paul referred to in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, our second reading today, how God has revealed to all of us, His most generous and wonderful love. And He revealed this love in the person of Jesus Christ, His own Beloved Son, sent into this world to reveal before all of us the full extent of that love, and it was that same love which St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples had preached about, and testified, for all the wonderful love He has shown to everyone.

They themselves had witnessed and seen the Lord’s ultimate expression of true love for each and every one of us, as He picked up His Cross and bore it upon His own shoulders, bearing upon them all of the punishments and the sufferings that are due for our sins and disobedience. He willingly laid down His own life, and was tortured and suffered for us that all of us may live. This action of Our Lord’s Most Holy Passion reminds us all that His love for us is truly vast and boundless, and enduring even despite our constant disobedience and refusal to believe in Him.

God’s most loving Heart continue to ache because of all of us being distanced from Him, separated by the chasm of sin. He wants to reach out to us and to embrace us with His mercy and compassion. However, unless we embrace that same mercy and compassion, by turning wholeheartedly towards Him, then we will still remain sundered from Him. That is why, He has always sent us reminders and His servants to call us to embrace Him and His loving Heart, to repent from our faults and sins, and to be forgiven from those sins.

As He lay dying on the Cross, He showed us all the most compassionate and loving face of God, a reminder of just how blessed and fortunate each and every one of us are. Through Him, we have received the assurance of eternal life and true joy, and we are all called to devote ourselves to this most loving aspect of Our Lord, His love being outpoured from His wounded and bleeding Heart, a vision seen by one of the most famous visionaries of the Church, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque saw a vision of the Lord and His Most Sacred Heart, calling on all mankind to turn towards Him and to seek Him, to be forgiven their sins and to find refuge in Him. Through this, the Lord wants us all to know just how wonderful His love for us is, and how blessed we are to be so beloved in such a manner by the Lord, Who generously showered us with His love and kindness despite us having betrayed Him, abandoned Him and refused to listen to Him and obey Him all these while.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we still going to be stubborn and refuse to believe in Him, although He has shown us all of His love? Do not forget that He has died for all of us, the testimony of which has been made by the pouring of blood and water from His pierced heart at the moment of His death, as mentioned in our Gospel passage today. Scientifically and medically, that is the sign that someone has truly died, and hence, the soldier who pierced the side of the Lord showed that the Lord died, on the Cross, all for our sake.

And through His Precious Blood, we have been washed clean from the taints of our sins and evils. We have been cleansed and purified from those wickedness and impurities that tainted our hearts, the taints of our sins. Yet, many of us remain in the stranglehold of sin, because we still allow sin reign over us, and we allow ourselves to be swayed by its many temptations. This is why we are all called to put our trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, to come to Him and to open our own hearts, and to find Him that we may enjoy the fullness of His love and mercy.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we also celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. As all of our priests have been called to be in the person of Christ ‘Alter Christus – in persona Christi’ in the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacraments, they have been called to model themselves after the one Eternal High Priest, Christ Himself. We therefore pray that just as we all trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, they too shall always trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and model themselves and their hearts after Him.

We pray for holy and dedicated priests, who is as enthusiastic and passionate in reaching out to the people of God as the Lord has tirelessly sought each and every one of us for such a very long time. We pray that they will all be as patient and loving as the Lord has been patient and loving towards us. And last of all, we pray that we ourselves may be ever more faithful to the Lord and that we may be ever closer to His Most Holy and Sacred Heart, to be forgiven by Him and to be filled with His love and grace.

May God be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us to live faithfully in love, and may He empower all of us to remain faithful despite the challenges and trials we may encounter in life. May God bless us all in each and every one of our good endeavours, in our every good works and efforts, for the love of His Most Sacred Heart. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Amen.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 31-37

At that time, as it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away.

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.

The one who saw that, has testified to it, and his testimony is true; he knows he speaks the truth, so that you also might believe. All this happened to fulfil the words of Scripture : Not one of His bones shall be broken. Another text says : They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 8-12, 14-19

This grace, was given to me, the least, among all the holy ones : to announce to the pagan nations, the immeasurable riches of Christ, and to make clear to all, how the mystery, hidden from the beginning, in God, the Creator of all things, is to be fulfilled.

Even the heavenly forces and powers will now discover, through the Church, the wisdom of God in its manifold expression, as the plan is being fulfilled, which God designed from the beginning, in Christ Jesus, Our Lord. In Him, we receive boldness and confidence to approach God.

And, now, I kneel in the presence of the Father, from Whom, every family in heaven and on earth has received its name. May He strengthen in you, the inner self, through His Spirit, according to the riches of His glory; may Christ dwell in your hearts, through faith; may you be rooted and founded in love.

All of this, so that you may understand, with all the holy ones, the width, the length, the height and the depth – in a word, that you may know the love of Christ, that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled, and reach the fullness of God.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid, YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me.

You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation. Then you will say : “Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.”

“Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hosea 11 : 1, 3-4, 8c-9

I loved Israel when he was a child; out of Egypt I called My Son. Yet, it was I Who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; yet, little did they realise that it was I Who cared for them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with leading strings of love, and I became for them as One Who eases the yoke upon their neck and stoops down to feed them.

My heart is troubled within Me and I am moved with compassion. I will not give vent to My great anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not human. I am the Holy One in your midst: and I do not want to come to you in anger.

Friday, 16 October 2020 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scripture, we heard how God has sealed us with His grace, which is through baptism that He has claimed us all and renewed us, liberating us all from the hold of original sin and death, and we have all been made and adopted to be children of God. God has called us all to be His disciples, His followers, and made us all to be His children.

God has loved us all so much, from the depth of His heart. His love is poured on us bountifully, and it was because of His infinite, patient and enduring love for each and every one of us that we have been saved. He has been patient in dealing with us, even when we have sinned and disobeyed Him again and again. He has always extended His mercy and the desire to forgive us at all times. Unfortunately, we often ignored and disregarded His love, because we were too busy with many things, and tempted by many distractions.

This is what the Lord also referred to in our Gospel passage today when He spoke of the ‘yeast of the Pharisees’, after a series of the past few days when we heard all the criticism and curses the Lord spoke of the Pharisees. And He plainly mentioned how the great sin of the Pharisees as being their hypocrisy and lack of genuine faith in God. Although outwardly pious, but their hearts were not fully attuned to the Lord.

God knows full well what is in our hearts, as He said in our Gospel today, that nothing hidden that will not be uncovered, nothing that is beyond God’s ability to know. He knows all of our intentions and everything about us, and therefore, if we have been faithful even in little things, we will be assured of the Lord’s favour and providence. Similarly, if we have not been faithful and wayward, then all these will be held against us too.

We must take heed of these reminders from the Lord through these readings, not to be easily tempted by worldly temptations, or by concerns and fears that we may be having. In that same passage we heard of the Lord reassuring us that we are all precious to Him, that we are all beloved by Him and will be provided and taken care of. Most often we find reasons for those who strayed from the Lord is that because they were preoccupied with securing themselves and gaining their worldly satisfactions or achievements.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be genuinely faithful to God, and knowing that God has loved us so much, then we really should spend the same effort and time to love the Lord with equal intensity and commitment. If God has loved us so much, then why is it that we cannot even try to love Him, even in little matter and things. The Lord is always willing to reach out to us, to embrace us, and He is waiting for us to respond to Him and His love. Are we willing to embrace that love, brothers and sisters?

Today, all of us ought to look upon the examples and inspirations of the saints, our holy predecessors. St. Hedwig of Silesia and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque are those whose lives and inspirations that we need to follow and be inspired from. St. Hedwig of Silesia was the Duchess consort of Silesia who joined religious life after she was widowed, while St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was the renowned visionary of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

St. Hedwig of Silesia was born into the noble family, and was married to the Duke of Silesia, and she was renowned for her piety and dedication even during those years. She was always remembered for her commitment to God, her charity and love for the poor. But most memorably, after her husband passed away early on, having settled and taken care of her children, St. Hedwig of Silesia joined the religious life and committed herself to God. Her piety was so great that even her own son, the Duke of Silesia also led a pious life.

And as mentioned, St. Hedwig of Silesia also cared for the poor, the sick and widows as well as orphans, showing them care and concern, extending the love of God to them all. And she also definitely loved the Lord very much, as she spent a lot of quality time with Him. This is exactly the same as what the other saint, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who was also very devout and committed in her service to God.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had a rough early life, as misfortune befell her family, but this did not stop her from being pious in her life, even from her youth. After joining the religious life, this continues on, which St. Margaret Mary Alacoque carried on faithfully as she served the Lord through prayer and service. She experienced miraculous visions of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, from which the now popular devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus stemmed forth.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque shared what she had received in her visions, the words that the Lord, in His Most Sacred Heart spoke to her, calling for the repentance of sinners and to entrust themselves in His Most Sacred Heart. And it is a kind reminder that us of the generous love of God we discussed earlier, in how He loved us with His heart and dedicated everything to us, even to the point of the sacrifice He made on the Cross.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore follow in the footsteps of the saints, our holy predecessors, especially that of St. Hedwig of Silesia and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to serve the Lord faithfully. May the Lord bless us all in all of our every good endeavours and efforts, all for His greater glory. Amen.