Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we celebrate the last Sunday in our current liturgical year, and therefore, we celebrate with joy the great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We remember today, Our Lord Who is Our God and Saviour, and also Our King, Who will come at the end of time, at the time of His own choosing, to judge all of the people, from past, our current present time and the future to come.

In the Scripture readings today, we heard how Our Lord is King, Who is to be glorified and adored, obeyed and listened to, but He is also our Shepherd, Who is responsible for us, Who cares for us and loves each and every one of us without exception, from the smallest and least among us to the greatest. He is our Good Shepherd, the One Who leads all the faithful people towards Himself, that all may find rest in Him. He shows us all the face of true kingship, one that leads by example.

He is the One True King, from Whom all authority came from, and from Whom all power rests. All our earthly rulers, leaders, kings, presidents and all those who wield power are merely entrusted with the authority, and entrusted with the care over the people, over whom they ruled. Yet, as we have seen throughout the history of mankind, many leaders and rulers have abused the power and authority granted to them, and became intoxicated with them, losing sight of what they ought to be doing as kings and rulers.

Many worldly kings and rulers ended up becoming corrupted by power, and also tempted by wealth, fame, glory and many other forms of worldly possessions. That was how tyrants and dictators were born and created. Indeed, the saying was true, that ‘power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. It was because of our inability to resist the temptations of worldly things, that led us to corrupt the purpose of power and authority which have been entrusted to us by our True King, Jesus Christ.

Had they taken the examples from the True King, they would not have fallen into such a state. Jesus is the King Who leads by example, Who loves and cares for His people, and is committed to bring improvement and happiness to those Who have been placed under His care, that is by God His Father, Who in the Scriptures have given all power and dominion to Him, that He may rule over all creatures and beings, indeed, over the entire universe.

And while many kings and rulers of this world seek to be served and to be pleased by those who are around him, and become angry and displeased when their will is not fulfilled, or when they did not get what they wanted in terms of service by their servants, the Lord Jesus took off His outer garment, wore a garment in the manner of servants at the time of the Last Supper, and one by one, washing His disciples’ feet without hesitation, as a sign of true Kingship, the Kingship of service and love.

He showed the face of true Christian kingship, where the king does not come to be served but to serve, which in essence is also true leadership. A true leader must show by example and action, and not to be idle, not to be complacent, and not to be haughty or proud. And Jesus showed it all again during the time of His Passion, when He was arrested by the chief priests and the elders, when He did not resist, and even said to His disciples, that if He wanted to, He could have asked God His Father for man legions of Angels to deliver Him, and He did not do so.

He was also tempted by the devil in the desert as He fasted for forty days to prepare for His ministry, and yet He remained true to His mission. He was tempted by hunger, as the devil asked Him to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger, and then, He was tempted with pride and ego, when the devil brought Him up to the top of the Temple and asked Him to jump, that all might see Him and believe in Him.

And lastly, He was tempted with worldly power and riches, which Satan would give Him if only He was to worship him as god and master. Jesus rebuked Satan for all these, and reminded him that God alone is worthy of glory, honour, praise and worship. In all of these examples, we can see how Our Lord Jesus Christ has shown us the qualities of a True King, the One and only One King which we should follow.

But this does not mean that we as Christians must disobey civil and worldly authorities, rulers, kings and all. In fact, as I have mentioned earlier, these leaders have been entrusted with power and authority by the Lord, that they should execute them with justice and righteousness, following after the example of the True King, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Thus, we should be obedient citizens and lawful people, who obeyed the laws of this world, but at the same time, even more so, obey God’s will and commandments.

That is why for each and every one of us as Christians, all of us must pray for our leaders and rulers, that they may follow the example of Christ in all things, and put the people that they have been entrusted with, first in their minds and attention, and not their own selfish desires and wishes. We pray that power and authority will not corrupt them as they had for the many previous rulers and kings, and that they will become responsible stewards of God’s justice and love.

That said, all of these problems I have mentioned, which corrupted our leaders and rulers, also affect all of us as well. Many of us are often affected by greed and desire, and we seek to have more power, more wealth, more renown, more fame, more recognition and worldly glory, and thus, we spent a lot of time trying to gather for ourselves more and more of those things, and often, we cause hurt and suffering to others while we try to satisfy our own selfishness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, why is this so? That is because we mankind have not truly made Christ the King of our hearts, minds, our bodies and our whole being. We have not allowed Him the honour, glory and praise that He deserves. Instead, the devil is the king of our hearts and minds. We let him to enter our beings, allowing him to tempt us and to turn us away from the path of the Lord.

Therefore, today, as we rejoice and celebrate together in this great Solemnity of Christ the King, let us renew our commitment to Our Lord, King and Master of all of our lives, and reject the devil and all of his temptations. Let us all devote ourselves, our time and attention, to truly show that we are the servants of Our Lord and King. Let us make Christ the King of our lives and our hearts. Let us enthrone Him in the deepest, most intimate and honourable part of our beings.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Sovereign King, always be the King of our entire lives, so that as His servants, we will always follow His examples in our lives, and be thoroughly devoted to Him, loving Him and serving one another, just as He has shown us. Let us all become true disciples of Our Lord and King, and be ever faithful in our hearts. Amen.

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 15 : 20-26, 28

But no, Christ has been raised from the dead, and He comes before all those who have fallen asleep. A human being brought death; a Human Being also brings resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all die, so, in Christ, all will be made alive. However, each one in his own time : first Christ, then Christ’s people, when He comes.

Then, the end will come, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, after having destroyed every rule, authority and power. For He must reign and put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. When the Father has subjected everything to Him, the Son will place Himself under the One Who subjected everything to Him. From then on, God will be all in all.

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 22 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 5-6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul. He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing. Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Sunday, 26 November 2017 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 34 : 11-12, 15-17

Indeed YHVH says this : I, Myself, will care for My sheep and watch over them. As the shepherd looks after his flock when he finds them scattered, so will I watch over My sheep; and gather them from all the places where they were scattered in a time of cloud and fog.

I, Myself, will tend My sheep and let them rest, word of YHVH. I will search for the lost and lead back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak; but the fat and strong will be eliminated. I will shepherd My flock with justice.

As for you, My flock – says YHVH – I will distinguish between one sheep and another, and set apart rams and goats.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Wisdom 6 : 1-11

Listen, o kings, and understand; rulers of the most distant lands, take warning. Pay attention, you who rule multitudes and boast of the numerous subjects in your pagan nations.

For authority was given you by the Lord, your kingship is from the Most High Who will examine your works and scrutinise your intentions. If, as officials of His kingdom, you have not judged justly or observed His Law or walked the way God pointed out, He will oppose you swiftly and terribly; His sentence strikes the mighty suddenly.

For the lowly there may be excuses and pardon, but the great will be severely punished. For the Lord of all makes no distinction, nor does He take account of greatness. Both great and lowly are His work and He watches over all, but the powerful are to be judged more strictly.

It is to you then, sovereigns, that I speak, that you may learn Wisdom and not stumble. For those who keep the holy laws in a holy way will be acknowledged holy, and those who accept the teaching will find in it their defence. Welcome my words, desire them and they will instruct you.

Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ, the day when the great Magi and wise men from the East, from the faraway lands came to give Him honour and pay homage to the King of kings, and through that act, He revealed Himself to all mankind, not just as a mere Man, but as a Great King beyond compare, a High Priest of all creations, and the Messiah who would suffer and die for our sake, so that we may be saved.

Epiphany comes from the Greek ‘Ephiphanein’ and the Latin ‘Epiphania’ which means a moment of revelation or realisation, which is indeed what this Feast is all about. The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ is the moment when Christ revealed Himself to all the peoples, even to the Gentiles or the non-Jews, who came from afar to visit Him and pay honour to Him. He who is a King was born in a lowly stable, unknown to others except to the shepherds that had seen and heard the angels’ proclamations, and to the animals present there.

On this day, we ought to see several very vivid and clear symbolisms in what we have heard from the Scripture and Gospel readings. The very bright star that the Magi of the East saw from their homeland was the Star of the Messiah, the true Light of the world, whose light and truth illuminates everything that lie in darkness. Those who live in the darkness have indeed seen a great Light, just as the prophet Isaiah has said.

People in the past, before the advent of the use of maps and all the satellite-based imageries we have in our possession now, used the heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon and the stars to help them to orientate themselves and find direction to their destination. Sailors used the stars to guide them on their voyage and journey, and certain star patterns and constellations were created by the people for precisely this purpose, that they may be easily recognised as the guiding lights to help the people find their way.

The Star of Bethlehem, that bright star of exceeding and unparalleled brightness is therefore also a guide, and a guide that is unparalleled and unprecedented, for it is not just a guide for the people to a physical destination, but as a guide that leads them to none other than the final destination which all the peoples should have aimed for, that is to reach out to the Lord and Messiah, and who is now finally reachable, for He has been born a Baby, a Royal Child, God incarnate into Man.

That star is often associated with the symbol of faith, and this is representing the faith of the Magi of the East, who came from faraway lands on long journeys, note that travel at that time is not like that of today, with travels done across desert and uninhabited lands, without proper roads, on the back of camels and with many months of travel before finally reaching the destination. Nevertheless, the faith which the Magi had was evident, as they persevered through all that just that they might be able to see the Lord and King whom they did not know beforehand.

And by that revelation, when the Magi discovered the Lord in that stable in Bethlehem, they saw the one True and only God who had come into being through Jesus. They saw the salvation of the world, and they were glad. They came bearing gifts fitting for the One who had come to this world to save it, and it is these gifts that we should be focused at now. These gifts are gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold is a precious metal and commodity, prized greatly for its luster and shine, its beauty and lasting properties, with pure gold showing no tarnish even after centuries and millennia, maintaining its beautiful and shiny appearance. As such it is highly valuable and often only the rich were able to afford it. Therefore, it is also a suitable gift for a king, as a king is often adorned with riches and wealth, and the gift of gold is meant to honour and adore the king to whom the gold is presented.

And therefore, the gift of gold by the Magi signifies the kingship of Christ, who as the Lord, Creator and Master of the universe, is King, the King over all kings and Lord over all lords. And therefore by the gift of gold, the Magi acknowledged the kingship of Christ, and welcomed that great King into this world. Yet we all also know that while He is King, He did not boast of His kingship or power, but instead Jesus remained humble and fully devoted to His mission.

This is because the kingship of Christ is based on leadership built upon examples. The leader and King, that is Jesus, led His beloved people by His own examples, loving one another as God had first loved them, forgiving each other of our own faults and mistakes, and to welcome those who are downtrodden, weak, ostracised and condemned by others. He did not come to lord over His people or to oppress them as kings of this world often did, but to lead His people by example.

How about frankincense then? Frankincense is the finest kind of incense reserved only for special uses. Incense are taken from the dried secretions of plants that contain different fragrant aroma depending on the type of the incense, and they had been used for many millennia across many cultures and peoples to be offered to the divine and to the supernatural spirits.

Hence, the gift of frankincense, the finest grains of incense and the ones having the sweetest aroma, by the Magi to the Child Jesus represent two dimensions and aspects of Christ. First, Jesus Christ our Lord is God, Lord of all creations, Word incarnate and made Flesh. He is God and forever is God, and therefore, is alone worthy of worship and adoration. The offering of frankincense just as gold that highlighted His kingship, highlighted His divinity.

And then it also highlighted the role that Jesus took up as He came into our world wearing the flesh of our human form, that He became the sole High Priest, the priest of all priests, offering the sacrifice for the sake of all mankind to God. And while other priests offered the sacrifice for their own sins and for the people, and having to offer sacrifices again and again, the Sacrifice of Jesus our High Priest was done once and for all, when He lay suffering and hanging from the cross on Calvary.

As the One true High Priest, Jesus Christ our Lord offered to God a worthy sacrifice in exchange for all of our sins, past, present and future, from the beginning of time to its ending, the sins and iniquities of all mankind. This is the sweetest incense offered to God, represented by the Magi’s gift of frankincense to the Child Jesus. And we all should know that this sacrifice is none other than the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, which are also shed and shared with us all who believe in Him and profess Him as our Lord and God.

Thus far, the two gifts of gold and frankincense have revealed to us and to all peoples that Christ is the King of kings, as the Lord and Almighty God, and as the High Priest of all mankind. Then how about the last gift of myrrh? Myrrh is a substance used in embalming of the bodies of the dead, as the substance used to mask the bad and foul odour of decay and also acting as a preservative agent to help keep the body intact after death and avoid decomposition.

You must be wondering and may even be bewildered. How come is it that such a gift is given to a Baby just after His birth? Is myrrh not something more suitable to be given to dead bodies or to families in sorrow after just losing their loved ones to death? Why did the Magi give such a strange gift to the Lord, after their gifts of gold and frankincense, bringing great glory and praise to God?

That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, once again I would like to stress the importance of seeing the events of the life of Jesus Christ on earth as one whole singular unity, with a clear and singular purpose, that is to save us all, the people of God from the tyranny of sin and death. And the only way to do that is for Jesus to bear our sins, as His cross, and carry all the burdens and weights of those sins, and suffering in our stead the punishment for sins, although He is without blame.

We cannot separate the celebration of Christmas from the celebration of the rest of the life of Jesus, especially the celebration of the events of the Holy Week and Easter. Why did Jesus choose to come into this world as a simple Baby? That is because He wanted to save us, and the way to do so, is through His death, on the Good Friday that we celebrate every year. And by His resurrection on Easter Sunday, He broke free our chains of sin and death, and bring to us a new hope of an eternal life.

Thus, the gift of myrrh by the Magi as the third gift is to prepare for the death of Jesus, whom many certainly was unable to predict right there and then. Nobody would expect the Messiah to suffer and die for our sake, even though indeed this had been prophesied in the book of the prophet Isaiah, but many refused to believe so. And thus, this last gift of myrrh is a testimony that reveals who Christ is to the nations, as the Lord who gave up all He had, so that by His actions, His loving sacrifice, He might deliver His people from certain destruction.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, after we have gone through all the symbolisms in this Epiphany feast’s Scripture readings, let us all first resolve to follow the examples of the Magi, who followed faithfully the star all the way from their homeland until they saw the Lord in person. Abraham once had done similarly, and in his faith, he was richly rewarded by the Lord. In this, we should learn that faith is essential for us, and we have to put our complete trust in the Lord without reservation.

And then, through the three great gifts of the Magi, let us all come to a realisation of what God had done for us, He who is all powerful and mighty, having no need for anything, and yet desiring to be with us and to rescue us from certain death. Thus, let us all repay that great love He had shown us, by loving Him back with all of our hearts, and show Him the greatest gifts He would want from us, that is our love, the love of our hearts for Him.

Therefore, let us all renew our faith and devotion to our loving God, and with all our hearts, let us turn all our attentions to Him, and praise and adore Him, our Lord who had revealed Himself to the world and to all the peoples on this great Feast of the Epiphany. Lord, reveal Yourself to all the nations that everyone may be saved in You. Amen.


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Epistle (Usus Antiquior) :


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