Sunday, 12 January 2020 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 3 : 13-17

At that time, Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan, to be baptised by Him. But John tried to prevent Him, and said, “How is it, You come to me? I should be baptised by You!”

But Jesus answered him, “Let it be like that for now; so that we may fulfil the right order.” John agreed.

As soon as He was baptised, Jesus came up out of the water. All at once, the heavens opened and He saw the Spirit of God come down, like a Dove, and rest upon Him. At the same time, a voice from heaven was heard, “This is My Son, the Beloved; He is My Chosen One.”

Tuesday, 6 August 2019 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white, as snow, His hair, white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.

Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Alternative reading

2 Peter 1 : 16-19

Indeed, what we taught you about the power, and the return of Christ Jesus our Lord, was not drawn from myths or formulated theories. We, ourselves, were eyewitnesses of His majesty, when He received glory and honour from God, the Father, when, from the magnificent glory, this most extraordinary word came upon Him : “This is My beloved Son, this is My Chosen One.”

We, ourselves, heard this voice from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. Therefore, we believe most firmly in the message of the prophets, which you should consider rightly, as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the break of day, when the Morning Star shines in your hearts.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Revelations 3 : 1-6, 14-22

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Sardis, “Thus says He Who holds the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars : ‘I know your worth : you think you live but you are dead. Wake up and strengthen that which is not already dead. For I have found your works to be imperfect in the sight of My God.”

“‘Remember what you were taught; keep it and change your ways. If you do not repent I will come upon you like a thief at an hour you least expect. Yet, there are some left in Sardis who have not soiled their robes; these will come with Me, dressed in white, since they deserve it. The victor will be dressed in white and I will never erase his name from the book of life; instead, I will acknowledge it before My Father and His Angels.'”

“‘Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Laodicea, “Thus says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation : ‘I know your works : you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! You are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold so I will spit you out of My mouth.'”

“‘You think you are rich and have piled up so much that you need nothing, but you do not realise that you are wretched and to be pitied, poor, blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold that has been tested by fire, so that you may be rich, and white clothes to wear so that your nakedness may not shame you, and ointment for your eyes that you may see. I reprimand and correct all those I love. Be earnest and change your ways.'”

“‘Look, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My call and open the door, I will come in to you and have supper with you, and you with Me. I will let the victor sit with Me on My throne just as I was victorious and took My place with My Father on His throne. Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Revelations 1 : 1-4 and Revelations 2 : 1-5a

The Revelation of Jesus Christ. God gave it to Him to let His servants know what is soon to take place. He sent His Angel to make it known to His servant, John, who reports everything he saw, for this is the word of God and the declaration of Jesus Christ.

Happy is the one who reads aloud these prophetic words, and happy those who hear them and treasure everything written here, for the time is near. From John to the seven Churches of Asia : receive grace and peace from Him Who is, Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits of God which are before His throne.

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Ephesus, “Thus says the One Who holds the seven stars in His right hand and Who walks among the seven golden lampstands : ‘I know your works, your difficulties and your patient suffering. I know you cannot tolerate evildoers but have tested those who call themselves Apostles and have proved them to be liars. You have persevered and have suffered for My Name without losing heart.”

“Nevertheless, I have this complaint against you : you have lost your first love. Remember from where you have fallen and repent.”

Saturday, 29 September 2018 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 47-51

At that time, when Jesus sae Nathanael coming, He said to him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.” Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?”

And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.” Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that.”

“Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Monday, 26 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Timothy 1 : 1-8

From Paul, Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of His promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus, to my dear son Timothy. May grace, mercy and peace be with you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I give thanks to God whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my ancestors did, as I remember you constantly, day and night, in my prayers. I recall your tears and I long to see you that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, so like the faith of your grandmother Lois and of your mother Eunice, which I am sure you have inherited.

For this reason I invite you to fan into a flame the gift of God you received through the laying on of my hands. For God did not confer on us a spirit of bashfulness, but of strength, love and good judgment. Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord, nor of seeing me in chains. On the contrary, do your share in labouring for the Gospel with the strength of God.

Alternative reading

Titus 1 : 1-5

From Paul, servant of God, Apostle of Christ Jesus, at the service of God’s chosen people, so that they may believe and reach the knowledge of truth and godliness. The eternal life we are waiting for was promised from the very beginning by God who never lies, and as the appointed time had come, He made it known through the message entrusted to me by a command of God, our Saviour.

Greetings to you, Titus, my true son in the faith we share. May grace and peace be with you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I left you in Crete because I wanted you to put right what was defective and appoint elders in every town, following my instructions.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Ephesians 3 : 2-12

You may have heard of the graces God bestowed on me for your sake. By a revelation He gave me the knowledge of His mysterious design, as I have explained in a few words. On reading them you will have some idea of how I understand the mystery of Christ.

This mystery was not made known to past generations but only now, through revelations given to holy Apostles and prophets. Now the non-Jewish people share the inheritance; in Christ Jesus the non-Jews are incorporated and are to enjoy the Promise.

This is the Good News of which I have become minister by a gift of God, a grace He gave me, when His power worked in me. 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.

 

Alternative reading (Mass for Popes)

Isaiah 52 : 7-10

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who herald peace and happiness, who proclaim salvation and announce to Zion : “Your God is King!”

Together your watchmen raise their voices in praise and song; they see YHVH face to face returning to Zion. Break into shouts of joy, o ruins of Jerusalem, for YHVH consoles His people and redeems Jerusalem.

YHVH has bared His holy arm in the eyes of the nations; all the ends of the earth, in alarm, will witness God’s salvation.

Saturday, 4 October 2014 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of the famous and renowned saint of our Church, that is St. Francis of Assisi, the epitome and model of our faith, and the faithful servant of God, through whose works and legacies, he had brought countless souls into salvation in God, and through whose dedications and works he had become an example for countless more who followed and walked in his path.

He was the founder of the Franciscan order, or the Order of the Friars Minor, renowned for their brown coloured habit and dedication to simple life and poverty, entrusting everything to the Lord, giving it all to the Lord and abandoning all worldly possessions. He was also contributed to the founding of several other religious orders, and his works and dedications had truly profound effect on the Church and the faith as a whole, even until today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Francis of Assisi was himself once like us all, an ordinary man, the son of a wealthy and influential merchant, named Pietro di Bernardone at his birth, as the heir of his father’s fortune and business. He was educated and prepared for a life of glory and happiness, being well versed in the ways of the world and in all matters of finances.

However, St. Francis of Assisi, then known as Pietro, always had that emptiness in his heart, which he could not satisfy with what he had gained in the happy life he had, and in the privileged life he had been given by his father. And therefore, there began the new life journey of who would eventually become the holy man of Assisi, one of the greatest saints of the Universal Church.

He was praying in a rather dilapidated church building, when he heard a voice, from the Lord, saying to him to repair and rebuild His Church. The young Pietro Bernardone mistook this for the order to rebuild the dilapidated church building where he was praying in, and where he had heard the voice of God. As his father was a wealthy merchant dealing in precious goods such as silk trading, he took some of his father’s stock of silk, sold it and used the proceeds to pay for the repair work of the church.

The word of this action came to the knowledge of Pietro’s father, the rich merchant, who then confronted him on his actions. At this time, Pietro, having heard the call of the Lord had decided that the path of his life was not through what he had always been prepared to be, and he sought refuge at the local bishop’s residence at his cathedral.

The father of Pietro, the future St. Francis of Assisi, confronted the bishop and his son, contending and made noises over the amount of money and preparation he had given to his son and heir, and the supposedly humiliating action of his son, stealing and selling his goods and donating them to the Church. In response, St. Francis of Assisi took off all his clothes and possessions, and stood naked in front of the bishop, who then immediately covered him and protected him with his voluminous cope.

In that way therefore, Pietro Bernardone rejected the temptations of wealth and the world, giving up everything to follow the Lord, and began his journey of faith and suffering, to be who we know now as the holy St. Francis of Assisi, the great servant of God, and went to truly rebuild and strengthen the Church of God as God had once called him. He went from place to place, preaching about the Lord and growing ever stronger in faith, and in various occasions, he experienced various experiences of faith that further strengthened his devotion to the Lord.

St. Francis of Assisi also championed the faithful living of abandoning all forms of worldly attachments, and living in joyful poverty, in a life where everything he has belongs to the Lord, and where there is no need for worry, as everything will be taken care of by the Lord. St. Francis of Assisi thus established a new religious orders, now known famously as the Franciscans, after their founder, as a body to accommodate those who also desired to follow the Lord after the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

Like St. Pius of Pietrelcina, another famous Franciscan monk and priest, who had received the five wounds of Jesus, called the stigmata, St. Francis also received the holy wounds of Christ through the moment of euphoria and holy vision, where he received the honour to bear the five wounds that were also once on the feet and hands of the crucified Lord Jesus Christ. These wounds would bring him great suffering but also great joy until the end of his life just a few years later.

St. Francis of Assisi was known to be a holy and pious servant of God, and he was also exemplary in his life, loving all the people of God and he held great sincerity seeking to find a way to help bring the salvation of souls to as many souls as possible. St. Francis of Assisi was renowned for his prayer for peace, also known as the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, where he extolled the values blessed by the Lord in the Beatitudes, on those who championed peace and who are devoted to the Lord with all of their hearts.

And therefore, St. Francis of Assisi is truly a great role model which we can follow in this life, that in all of his actions and deeds, we hope that we may also follow in his footsteps and therefore, we may also share in the justification which he had attained. And we should also follow in the loving ways of St. Francis, whose love for all the creations of God, mankind and animals alike, that we truly can become epitome of love as he had indeed become.

And referring to the readings of the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels today, it is quite clear that God will reward all those who had believed in Him and remained true to Him in faith. To Job who remained faithful in his humility and obedience, He granted him great graces and blessings which He had bestowed once before, and then gave him even greater things, to the point that what Job had after his suffering was far greater than what he once had.

And Jesus also gave thanks to the Lord His Father for the faith and the good works which His disciples had on Him and which they had done in His Name. And He revealed the truth about Himself, and how blessed they were indeed, for the righteous and the faithful had indeed seen the Lord Himself in action. And thus, all of us here who are also faithful and true to our faith will be blessed with greatness and riches beyond all things.

Thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, following the example of St. Francis of Assisi and the other holy saints of God, let us all from now on excise from ourselves, from our hearts, our minds and our souls, the darkness and evils of this world, committing ourselves in the same manner as St. Francis of Assisi had done. It is not necessary that we ought to all abandon everything of possession and goodness as he had done, but what is important is that we try to imitate him in his actions and deeds, which reflected his standing as a pious servant of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith in the Lord, not just through empty words or superficial application of faith, but through a dedicated and real devotion reflected in our actions and deeds, so that we may indeed be generous with our love, be caring for one another, especially those who are poor, sick and weak. Let us be peacemakers in this world, abandoning the ways of violence and hatred, and instead follow the path of love and justice.

May Almighty God help and guide us in this endeavour, that in all the things we do we may become ever more and more faithful and devoted to the ways of the Lord in the same way as St. Francis of Assisi had done. May He guide us all, that we may become justified through our loving actions, filled with faith, hope and love. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 3 August 2014 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the story of the feeding of the multitudes by Jesus is the often repeated and heard story in our faith life. We always heard how Jesus out of His great pity and love for His people, fed them with bread and fish that He multiplied with His power. He did not want them to be hungry and physically affected after having followed Him for so long to listen to His words.

This story is something that we often know and remember, but we fail to realise the true significance and importance behind this story. This historical memorial of Jesus and His wonderful miracles often lull us on His greatness and wonders, but we fail to know that we are in truly the same position as those people that day who were seated on the open fields with Jesus, hungry and weak.

And Jesus took pity on us, because He loves us very dearly. It is not just to those whom Jesus had ministered to and performed miracles on, that He gave them His love, but even all of us this day also receive the fullness of His bountiful love and grace. And His disciples whom He asked to minister to the people, have their successors in our world today, and they are our priests and bishops who continue to minister to us in the Name of the Lord.

Today, in the second reading, in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, St. Paul spoke of how nothing can ever separate mankind from God and His love, and no power be it on earth, in heaven or hell is capable of such a feat. Yes, that is except God Himself. He loves us very much and very dearly, and yet we are the ones who continue to elude Him, and continue to reject and spurn His love, preferring the love of Satan and the things of this world to His love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is merciful and loving, but He also hates sin and disobedience of sin to the very core. Sin has no place in His presence and sinners has no place either in His place. That is why, while He gives us many, many opportunities, again and again to repent and change our ways, there is a limit to what He can allow us. Eventually, if we continue to reject Him, and our time is due, we will be sundered forever from His mercy and love, and as a result, we will be condemned for eternity.

In the first reading today, from the prophet Isaiah, we heard how generous God is, and how we have no need to fear at all when we are dealing with God. He knows everything we need, and He will provide for us all of them. Yet, mankind had no faith in Him and did not trust in Him, and rather trusting in their own strength and intellect which failed them.

God knows our needs, and as those people lay hungry in the field, their biological needs dictates that they have the physical need to be satisfied, or otherwise, the spiritual needs will not be optimally addressed. Yes, I refer to how men and women, that is all of us, will find it hard to listen and adhere to the word of God if our stomachs are growling within us, and the pain of hunger gets the better part of our minds.

That is why Jesus fed the people with the bread, and through His own might He turned those bread into a feast for all the faithful. He fed them until satisfied with the physical bread, that they may witness and see for themselves, what He had fed them in the spiritual food of the Word of God. Jesus who is the Son of God is the Word of God made flesh, incarnate into a human being. Thus, every word that Jesus said is truly indeed the Word of God, which is our spiritual food. Remember what Jesus said when He rebuked Satan of asking Him to turn stones into bread.

In the same way, therefore, the Lord will provide for us, and in no better form than the perfect and the best of all foods. He gave nothing else other than His own Body and His own Blood. Yes, this is the Most Holy Eucharist, the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, which we receive every time we celebrate the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.

Through this bread and through the wine we drink, we receive into ourselves not just physical food, but also spiritual food, for we take in the Lord Himself into us, the Word who had become flesh, and then offered that flesh to us, that we who partake them may become one with Him and be saved. The Lord shows us His love by the giving of Himself, which He made concrete through His sacrifice on the cross, out of love for all of us sinners and desiring nothing else than our redemption.

Let us all today use this opportunity to ponder and realise how great is the love that God has for us, and how many opportunities we have been given, that we may appreciate how fortunate we are of having such a loving God to care for us. We should not think of the feeding of the five thousand multitudes as something separate from us, but instead, find in it the love which God shows to men, and therefore come to a greater realisation of our part in God’s plan for salvation.

We all should revere our Lord more in the Eucharist, and come to the point where we come to the Holy Mass, fully prepared and expecting to receive the Lord with fully prepared body, mind, heart and soul. Let us follow the example of those five thousand men and many other women and children with them, who came all the way just to follow Jesus and listen to Him intently. We too should also make the same effort to be closer to our God and follow Him.

May we all come ever closer to God through His most Precious Body and Blood, which we receive in the Holy Eucharist, that He may dwell in us, and we dwell in Him. May Almighty God guide us on this journey of life, providing us as always with His grace and love along the way. And may we persevere in our own journey as well, helping each other to reach our ultimate goal in life, that is God. Amen.

Monday, 28 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear yet again how Christ taught the people and His disciples using parables, or stories with meaning hidden in the story. Jesus did this with a purpose, namely to make it easy for them to understand the concepts about God, His kingdom and His plans by using the stories related to their daily life experiences.

In the first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah from the Old Testament, God also showed Jeremiah His intentions using a similar method, using the linen belt and use it, as well as burying it until it is destroyed, in order to bring about His intentions for His people. This, together with the parables which Christ told His people today, all have the same central idea and lesson, that is, we have good in us, and all of us have the power to make a difference in both our own lives and in the lives of others. But if we remain dormant, then we are useless and will be cast away.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters? Surely some will think that God is kind of harsh, is He not? But if we truly understand His intentions, we will know that He meant good for us. He wants us to be awakened from our deep slumber and from our inaction, as well as from any wickedness that we have committed in this life which separated us from our loving God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have to realise that if a mustard seed is not planted on the ground, or if no concrete effort and hard work are done on it when we plant it, then the mustard seed will forever remain as a seed, and it will die instead of sprouting and growing to be such a large tree as Jesus had mentioned. The same is also for yeast and bread, for if the yeast is kept separate from the bread, or if the yeast and bread mixture is not given the optimum condition, then the bread that is hard and not delicious will just remain as that.

We all know that when we make bread, in order to make the bread fluffy and having a nice texture, as well as being delicious, we need to add yeast into it, and not just that, but we have to seal the bread to allow the yeast to work. If we do everything correctly, and give the correct conditions for the bread, then it will rise and a delicious bread will come out as a result. Similarly, if we give the correct and best conditions for the mustard seed, it will grow big and healthy as a large and bountiful mustard tree.

What we can learn from these parables that Christ told us is that, if we put in our best effort in order to make the seeds of faith, hope and love that are in us to be able to grow, then they will grow optimally and they will produce wonderful and plentiful fruits of faith, of hope and of love. Then our Lord who sees that we bear much fruits and products, will love us and be gracious to us, and He will care for us for ever and ever.

If we have not done so, and if we have not bore any fruits or products, or having no good or concrete outcome from our lives, then we need to realise that we still have a chance. God is a loving and merciful God, and He likes to give us another chance every time whenever we sin and whenever we go against His will and follow Satan instead. But this is not without limit, and in the end, if we persist in our rebelliousness, we will be cast away to suffer for eternity with Satan and his angels in the endless sea of fire.

What God told Jeremiah using the example of the linen belt is no different, for a belt has its purpose, to keep our shirt and garments tied carefully to our bodies, but if it is kept in places unfavourable, then it will be destroyed and be of no use to anyone, and therefore it will be kept away and cast into the fire. It is important therefore to realise that we have been given much abilities and gifts in our respective lives from God, but we have often not realised this or even use them for the sake of evil, or for hurting and for the disadvantage of others.

We have much potential, brothers and sisters in Christ, both for good and for evil. Ultimately, it is up to us, whether we choose good over evil, or vice versa. Let us all not be those who choose evil over good, choosing to fulfill our own selfish desires and keep all the goods and seeds that God had planted in us and allow them to wither and perish. Instead, let us go forth and give the best possible condition for those seeds to grow, that all who look at us will know, that we come from God and that we belong to Him because we walk in His path.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all work together, that we may grow stronger in our faith, and turn our dormant lives into one that is filled with the graces and love of God, and in our actions, may we all be courageous to bring love and happiness to one another, that we may truly be called children of our loving God, and be saved at the end of all things. Amen.