Friday, 28 August 2015 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Thessalonians 4 : 1-8

For the rest, brothers, we ask you in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, and we urge you to live in a way that pleases God, just as you have learnt from us. This you do, but try to do still more. You know the instructions we gave you on behalf of the Lord Jesus : the will of God for you is to become holy and not to have unlawful sex.

Let each of you behave towards his wife as a holy and respectful husband, rather than being led by lust, as are pagans who do not know God. In this matter, let no one offend or wrong a brother. The Lord will do justice in all these things, as we have warned and shown you. God have called us to live, not in impurity but in holiness, and those who do not heed this instruction disobey, not a human, but God Himself who gives you His Holy Spirit.

Monday, 4 May 2015 : 5th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 21-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, he will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love him and show Myself clearly to him.”

Judas – not Judas Iscariot – asked Jesus, “Lord, how can it be that You will show Yourself clearly to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, He will keep My word and My Father will love him; and We will come to him and make a room in his home. But if anyone does not love Me, he will not keep My words; and these words that you hear are not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

“I told you all this while I was still with you. From now on, the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you.”

Monday, 4 May 2015 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 113B : 1-2, 3-4, 15-16

Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, for the sake of Your love and faithfulness. Why should the pagans say, “Where is their God?”

There in heaven is our God; whatever He wishes, He does. Not so the handmade idols, crafted in silver and gold.

May you be blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans.

Friday, 27 February 2015 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 129 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8

Out of the depths I cry to You, o Lord. O Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears pay attention to the voice of my supplication.

If You should mark our evil, o Lord, who could stand? But with You is forgiveness, and for that You are revered.

I waited for the Lord, my soul waits, and I put my hope in His word. O Israel, hope in the Lord.

For with Him is unfailing love and with Him full deliverance. He will deliver Israel from all its sins.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Revelations 14 : 14-19

Then I had this vision. I saw a white cloud and the One sitting on it like a Son of Man, wearing a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. An angel came out of the sanctuary, calling loudly to the One sitting on the cloud, “Put in Your sickle and reap, for harvest time has come and the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

He who was sitting on the cloud swung His sickle at the earth and reaped the harvest. Then another angel, who also had a sharp sickle, came out of the heavenly sanctuary. Still another angel, the one who has charge of the altar fire, emerged and shouted to the first who held the sharp sickle, “Swing your sharp sickle and reap the bunches of the vine of the earth for they are fully ripe.”

So the angel swung his sickle and gathered in the vintage, throwing all the grapes into the great winepress of the anger of God.


Homily and Reflection :

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Peter and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Dedication of the Basilicas)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together with the whole universal Church, the feast of the dedication of two of the four greatest churches in the whole world. These four churches are the primary church buildings of the entire Christendom, and they are the Papal Basilicas, each of which was dedicated to important patron saints of the Church.

The first, head and mother of all the churches of Rome and the whole world is dedicated to our Lord Himself, the Most Holy Saviour of all, and also to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, the Lateran Archbasilica, which feast we had just celebrated a few days ago. It is the Cathedral of the Pope, and the centre and heart of the whole Christendom.

And then after that, in importance and primacy, we have the greatest church in Christendom, the Papal Basilica of St. Peter, which is probably the most well known church in the whole world, as not only that it is the most elaborate but also because the Pope celebrates the majority of his celebrations in that great basilica. St. Peter himself was martyred at the site of the great basilica, the former Vatican hills, and his bones can be found there in its necropolis.

And then we also have the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, or also known as the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major, dedicated to the Mother of our Lord and the Protector of the city and people of Rome. And lastly, we have the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, or San Paulo fuori le mura, named as such because it was located outside the historical walls of the city of Rome, dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, who was beheaded in Rome in holy martyrdom.

Today we celebrate the day of the consecration and dedication of two of these four great basilicas, dedicated to none other than St. Peter the Apostle, the Prince of the Apostles, Vicar of Christ and the leader of the Universal Church, and St. Paul the Apostle, the Apostle to the Gentiles and the writer of the many holy Epistles. Both of these greatest two pillars of the Church died in martyrdom in the Holy city of Rome, made holy because of their blood shed in that city, and the two basilicas were built over their respective tombs.

Most importantly, on this day, by looking at the life and examples set by these two saints, St. Peter and St. Paul, all of us are also called to share in their experiences and to emulate them in their actions. They too were once sinners and weak human beings, but through the Lord and their own faith, they changed themselves to be truly faithful and devoted servants of God.

God did not call the perfect and those who are already awesomely good in life to be His disciples, as they are likely to be already saved and secure in their lives in the world to come. Instead, He empowers those who are weak and fragile, and also calls those who are sinners and unworthy, who by His grace and power, are transformed to be holy tools and servants of His will.

Indeed, is it not better that those who were sinners and unworthy, by the works and graces of God be made to be worthy and just? And that was exactly God had done, wit two of His principal Apostles, the two greatest pillars of the Faith and the Church. St. Peter was a simple, poor fisherman, whose faith was often weak and he often trembled in doubt, while St. Paul was an overzealous and extreme Pharisee, who was hell bent on destroying the Church and the faithful.

St. Peter was called by Jesus from the shores of the lake of Galilee, together with his brother, St. Andrew, who was the first to be called among the Twelve Apostles. St. Peter was a humble and simple fisherman who made his living by catching fishes from the lake. Jesus called him to be a fisher of men instead, and he left behind his net and boat, and followed Him.

Yet during his period of service to God, St. Peter often encountered many difficult moments. Today we heard in the Gospel, of the moment when he and the other Apostles were in the middle of the lake going through a great storm, and the Lord came to them walking on the water. St. Peter was the one who offered to test the Lord to find out if it was truly Him on the water, and when the Lord asked him to come towards Him, he went forth.

But for his lack of a solid faith without doubt, seeing the power of the storm and the waves, he began to falter and sink. Thus, the Lord rebuked him for his doubts after He helped him. And we know of how Peter denied Jesus three times during His Passion. It was also because of the same doubt and uncertainty, which led to fear of the retribution of the world and its powers, which led to Peter to do such things.

But the quality of Peter comes in that, he was courageous and brave, ready to take the initiative, as we know that out of all the Apostles, he was the only one in the boat to seek to walk towards the Lord, even proposing that if He is indeed the Lore, he, Peter would be able to walk on the water. Such an act, does require an incredible amount of courage and faith. Indeed, that faith was to be shaken, but it was there indeed.

And Peter eventually made the thrice profession of faith, after Jesus had risen from the dead, and when He asked him, whether he loved Him more than anyone else. In that profession of faith and love, Peter knew that he was forgiven for his denial of Jesus, and in that also, we can see the kind of faith and love which he had for the Lord, and that was why, he was made to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, and the leader of the entire Universal Church.

Meanwhile, St. Paul was once known as Saul, as a great enemy of the Church and the faithful, as some sort of an executioner, who belonged to the caste of the Pharisees, young and overly zealous, that he was blinded by his rage and youthful pursuits, seeking to destroy the Church and kill as many believers as possible. Thus, he brought the Church and the Lord much sorrow and sadness.

Yet, he was transformed from such a sinner and great enemy, into the greatest champion of the Faith, and into a figure so important and crucial to the growth of the Church and the spreading of the Good News in the early years of the Church. St. Paul as Saul encountered the Lord speaking directly to him and rebuking him for his actions on the way to Damascus, and ever since then, he repented and was converted to the Faith.

St. Paul thereafter became a great evangeliser, who went on many journeys to different cities and places to spread the Good News, and for his works and efforts to spread the Faith to the Gentiles, he was then appropriately titled as the Apostle to the Gentiles. And together with St. Peter, they went on to Rome, the capital city of the Empire, and there they were martyred for their faith. The locations where they were martyred and buried then became the two great Basilicas we know today.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s celebration of the dedication of the Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul is a reminder to all of us, that God seeks our salvation, and He calls us all to return to Him, all of us sinners that we may be, like St. Peter and St. Paul before us, turn from our sinfulness and path of darkness, into the light and become holy servants following the examples of the two great saints whose memory we remember today.

May Almighty God therefore, with the intercession of St. Peter and St. Paul, be hearkened to strengthen our zeal and faith, so that we may become ever faithful and loving in our lives, that eventually, at the end of the days, when He comes again, He may congratulate us for our dedication and welcome us into His eternal kingdom. God bless us all. Amen.


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Gospel Reading :

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today it is highlighted to us another virtue in our faith life, that is the value of humility and gratitude in our lives, and how important these are in shaping our lives. For the Lord our God, who loves us so much, had decided to forgive us our sins and show His mercy to us sinners, even though more often than not, our sins were such that they should have been unforgivable as they were so wicked in nature.

As mentioned in the first reading today, taken from the letter of St. Paul written to Titus, while he was in captivity in Rome, mankind were once foolish and misguided, and we were once wholly submissive to our desires and our human needs, that we always seek to better ourselves and find what is good for ourselves, even at the expense of others.

It is difficult for us to obey others, and already it is difficult for us to obey the earthly authorities who made their presence and authority felt, and thus not to say about the authority of our Lord, whom many of us failed to notice in our lives. We are fearless and not repentant of our rebelliousness, because we did not recognise the Lord who is around us and within us, and who is watching everything that we do in this life.

It is therefore difficult for us in our nature to look beyond ourselves, and for many of us, pride and arrogance has walled us in, into ourselves as our desire feeds our pride and that pride further feeds our desire, in a vicious cycle that never ends, and eventually uncontrolled, it will lead to a great danger for us. We will not be able to do the will of God if we continue to remain and linger within this darkness within ourselves.

The Gospel today shows how Jesus healed ten lepers, who sought for His help, and He told them to show themselves to the priests, as was written in the Law, on how they ought to show their purity to the priests before they could be admitted back into the society. God’s power worked along the way, and they were healed while on the way to the priests.

Yet, this was where the behaviour of the one Samaritan who was healed, differed greatly from the other nine, who was also healed. The nine lepers was healed, and they joyfully realised that fact, and gladfully went on their way, presumably and most likely, to return to their old lives, and resumed whatever it was that they had lost. Meanwhile, the Samaritan also realised that he was healed in body, but unlike the other nine, he turned back, knowing who it was that had made him clean once again.

The Samaritan turned back and returned to the Lord Jesus, who praised Him for His faith, and said how his faith had made him whole once again. It is because of his faith that he recognised how Jesus has the power to make him clean, and he had placed his full trust in God, and not in himself. This is the attitude many of us had to adopt and emulate, and we have to abandon our ways, which are more often than not, like the other nine who rejoiced and did not give thanks to God.

How many of us in our lives, and in our daily actions forget to give thanks to those who helped us in various ways? And how many of us in fact, in total lack of gratitude and appreciation even caused pain to those who have helped us, or asked even more from them to satisfy our ever-growing desires? It is difficult indeed for mankind to resist such temptation, as we always try to grab at things beyond our means, and we complain when we cannot obtain them.

It is often that we need the grace of humility, temperance and satisfaction, at what God had given and provided us with His love. In the psalm today, the famous and renowned psalm on the Good Shepherd, we are shown how the Lord is our Good Shepherd, who leads us away from danger and darkness, and providing for us in all that we need, so that all of us who believe in Him, will not be disappointed, but gain eternal life and happiness.

He guides us on our way, so that we may not lose our path and fall into darkness. This very life we have, and all the goodness we have in it, are all the blessings of the Lord, and we ought to be grateful and thankful for that love. Yet, do we realise how often it is that we complain against the Lord, when things seemingly did not go our way? How often is it that we are angry at the Lord for seemingly not fulfilling what we have asked for?

We have to therefore, learn from the faithful Samaritan, the people who were often marginalised and ostracised by the Jews as being pagans and unbelievers, as barbarians unworthy of salvation. And yet, it was the Samaritan who humbly sought Jesus to give Him thanks for having healed him from his leprosy. The Jews, just as the other nine lepers, failed to do so.

We should emulate the example of the Samaritan, seeking God’s love and mercy at all times, and realising the love which He has for us, our Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep. And today, we have the example of another shepherd, a holy saint, martyr and bishop whose example we should indeed follow. This is St. Josaphat the martyr, also known as St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, a Bishop who lived in the early modern time Lithuania during the sixteenth and seventeenth century.

St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was a bishop whose see was reunited with the leadership of the Roman Pontiff, the Pope, after it had been separated for many hundreds of years due to the Great Schism between the Western and Eastern Christianity. As such, St. Josaphat had a very difficult time in managing his flock, as many of them remained loyal to the old and rebellious ways, and refuse to follow their bishop and shepherd in obedience to the Vicar of Christ.

Nevertheless, St. Josaphat remained faithful and devoted, working tirelessly to serve God’s people, even serving those who were openly in rebellion against him. He preached to them the word of God and urged them to remain faithful, and also to follow the teachings of the true Faith. In the end, however, those who were opposed to St. Josaphat rose up and murdered him in cold blood, throwing his body in a river.

The body of St. Josaphat was recovered and brought with honour to Rome, where it received the honour of being buried at the hallowed ground of the Basilica of St. Peter. Later on, with the intercession of St. Josaphat himself, his archenemy, a rival bishop who set up his position in direct opposition to St. Josaphat, repented his sins and was reunited with Rome.

Today, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych the martyr and faithful bishop, let us all work together as one people, one Church of God. Let us help one another, in union with our bishops and those whom the Lord had placed over us, as representatives of His authority, so that we may learn of humility and obedience to God’s will.

Let us all pray to the Lord, that He will grant us grace, to diminish in our pride and desires, and grow stronger in our humility and desire to seek the Lord. Let us learn to obey fully the will of God and seek the fullness of His eternal love and mercy, like the Samaritan leper who was healed from his afflictions, giving thanks to God for that love shown to him, and was praised by the Lord for his faith. God bless us all. Amen.


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