(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 3 : 1-4

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things.

For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.


Alternative reading

1 Corinthians 5 : 6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast makes the whole mass of dough rise? Throw out, then, the old yeast and be new dough. If Christ became our Passover, you should be unleavened bread.

Let us celebrate, therefore, the Passover, no longer with old yeast, which is sin and perversity; let us have unleavened bread, that is purity and sincerity.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Martyrs)

Mark 6 : 1-6

Leaving that place, Jesus returned to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and most of those who heard Him were astonished.

But they said, “How did this come to Him? What kind of wisdom has been given to Him, that He also performs such miracles? Who is He but the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here among us?” So they took offense at Him.

And Jesus said to them, “Prophets are despised only in their own country, among their relatives, and in their own family.” And He could work no miracles there, but only healed a few sick people, by laying His hands on them. Jesus Himself was astounded at their unbelief.

Jesus then went around the villages, teaching.

My Prayer Intention for 7 and 8 August 2013

1. To all of us the people of God. That we will learn to obey our Lord and God, and does not harden our hearts against His love. Let us not be like the people of Israel when they were in the desert, complaining against God when they have been given enough and plenty, and therefore suffered the punishment of the Lord. May we put our full trust and faith in God at all times, obeying His will, and most importantly, love Him more than any other things, even ourselves.

2. For religious harmony and peace in the world. May the Lord plant the seeds of love in the hearts of men, that they will learn to respect the differences between them, and also strive to achieve peace and harmony in all the things that they do. That all men and women may live together in harmony and peace, filled with love for one another, despite their differences, and learn to put aside their differences for the greater glory of God, and to help serve others who are in need, for our love and for our support instead of fighting with one another.

3. For all people working and involved with legal careers and justice system. May the Lord put the love for His Law and the law of justice in their hearts. May He remind them that their first priority is to make sure that justice is upheld and ensure that those who are wrong be punished, and those who are right be absolved from any false accusations. May He instill in them the love for justice and the love for both God and His people at all times.

Let us bring forth these prayers we have, and all the things we keep in secret in our hearts, to the Lord with great humility and with a contrite heart. May He forgive us our sins and listen to our prayers, and comes to make His power manifest in this world, for our sake and for His love for us. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 28 July 2013 : 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Luke 11 : 1-13

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say this :

Father, may Your Name be held holy,

May Your kingdom come;

give us each day the kind of bread we need,

and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive all who do us wrong;

and do not bring us to the test.”

Jesus said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to his house in the middle of the night and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine who is travelling has just arrived, and I have nothing to offer him.’

Maybe your friend will answer from inside, ‘Do not bother me now; the door is locked, and my children and I are in bed, so I cannot get up and give you anything.’ But I tell you, even though he will not get up and attend to you because you are a friend, yet he will get up because you are a brother to him, and he will give you all you need.

And so I say to you, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.

If your child asks for a fish, will you give him a snake instead? And if your child asks for an egg, will you give him a scorpion? If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”

Friday, 26 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Ten Commandments given by our Lord to His people, the people of Israel, through Moses, His servant, written on the two stones that would bear the very writings of the Lord, the Commandments that He wanted His people to follow for all eternity. The Ten Commandments carry the basic tenets of what being the people and children of God is all about, that is indeed summarised by Christ as the commandments of love.

For the commandments in the Ten Commandments, when looked deeper into, would show that mankind need to love God with all their attention, their hearts, minds, and soul, and with all their strength, that they will obey and worship no other god but the Lord God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. Automatically too, they should honour the Holy Name of their God, YHVH, the God who AM, and whose Name has also been revealed to us, Jesus, the Name above every other name, and the Name upon which all knees will bend, be it on earth, in heaven, or in hell.

Loving God with all our hearts and our strength is important, but that is just one half of the entire law and commandment. That is because as Christ had taught His disciples and which we read in the Gospels, we must also love our brothers and sisters, all our neighbours, fellow mankind, just as we have loved our God and ourselves, in the same way, giving to them our love, care, and compassion. That is the other half of the commandments, that will make perfect our observation of God’s laws and commandments.

To love our brethren and our fellow men means to give unconditional love to others, especially to those who are starved of love, to those who hunger for love and compassion, and those who are in the midst of suffering and persecution. But this is not all that love is about, because love is about giving ourselves not just to those whom we love, or just to those who we think need our love, but to love is also to embrace our enemies, those who hate us, those who persecute us, and those who did evil things to us. Love means to be able to forgive them from their faults to us, and to embrace them as our fellow brothers and sisters of the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

That is why the Ten Commandments also included commands such as not to kill nor to covet one another’s goods and properties, as these are likely to be borne out of animosity that arose between two parties in the first place. Hatred leads to animosity, and then it may result in something that hurt one or both parties, or even kill, in the case of murder. The Lord wants all of us to respect one another and let go of our hatred and our animosity, replacing them instead with love, the kind of love that Jesus Christ had shown us, on the cross at Calvary.

For Jesus Himself had forgiven His enemies, the Pharisees and the chief priests, as well as the people who cried for His death. He embraced them from the cross, and His Blood is poured down the cross to wash the sins of all mankind, because He redeemed all men, without any exceptions. He also embraced His enemy, Saul, the reaper of early Christians, who hunted many people who believed in Christ and tortured them. Christ embraced Saul with His love, and made him into the greatest instrument of His works in this world, from an enemy into the most valiant defender of the faith.

We have to nurture love, not hatred; peace, not violence; hope, not despair; light, not darkness; and faith in God; not in Satan and his devices and temptations. We have to plant the seeds of love, hope, and faith in our youths, in our own families, within our circle of friends, and within our respective societies. For actions not done in love, and life lived without love is empty, and neither does any actions or life that are not bound by hope and faith. To be loving is key to achieving salvation.

Today we commemorate the feast day of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our God, that is St. Joachim and St. Anne, the grandparents of Jesus Christ our Lord. They are role models for all families, Christian families in particular, in how to bring God’s love into our homes. They brought up the mother of our Lord from her infancy to be the blessed person our mother Mary came to be. They cared for her since her Immaculate Conception inside her mother’s womb, the womb of St. Anne.

The care and love that St. Joachim and St. Anne had shown to Mary, the mother of our Lord, is replicated in her care for Jesus, whom Mary cared since His humble birth at the stables in Bethlehem, protecting Him from King Herod and those who would wish to harm Him. She accompanied Him through His childhood and teenage years, being revealed that Jesus is truly the Son of God when He was left behind in the Temple at the age of twelve. Mary accompanied Christ through His ministries and eventually until His death, and resurrection.

All these are made possible by the tender love and care given to Mary herself by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne, who showed her the meaning of love, compassion, and faith in God, that she herself become role models for all of us, the mother of God, and the greatest among all saints and apostles of Christ. St. Joachim and St. Anne are truly role models for us, and we should indeed follow in their footsteps, as well as the footsteps of Mary, the mother of our Lord, towards Christ, who longs to welcome us back into His embrace.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us renew our commitment to our Lord today, and also to renew our commitment to love, that is to love everyone, without exception, even to those who hate us the most and those who wished for our misfortune and death. Let us be gracious and courageous to forgive and to embrace those who do not have love in them, that in doing so, we will obey the commandments of the Lord, as once given to Moses, His servant so that the people of Israel will know the Lord’s laws, and so may we too, obey the same law, that is the law of love.

May the Lord bless us all with abundance of graces and blessings, and plant the seeds of love, hope, and faith within us, that they may blossom, and through our words, actions, and deeds, may we spread love, joy, and hope to all mankind, bringing everyone closer to God who is our Lord and Father. St. Joachim and St. Anne, pray for us too. Amen.

Friday, 26 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Matthew 13 : 18-23

Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath.

The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up.

The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word, but then the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word, and it does not bear fruit.

As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.

Friday, 26 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 11

The law of the Lord is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of the Lord is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of the Lord are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, all of them just and right.

They are more precious than gold – pure gold of a jeweller; they are much sweeter than honey which drops from the honeycomb.

Friday, 26 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Exodus 20 : 1-17

God spoke all these words. He said, “I am YHVH your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Do not have other gods before Me.

Do not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, YHVH your God, am a jealous God; for the sin of the fathers, when they rebel against Me, I punish the sons, the grandsons and the great-grandsons; but I show steadfast love until the thousandth generation for those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Do not take the Name of YHVH your God in vain for YHVH will not leave unpunished anyone who takes His Name in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days, you will labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for YHVH your God. Do not work that day, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals, nor the stranger who is staying with you. For in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, but on the seventh day He rested; that is why YHVH has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Honour your father and your mother that you may have a long life in the land that YHVH has given you.

Do not kill.

Do not commit adultery.

Do not steal.

Do not give false witness against your neighbour.

Do not covet your neighbour’s house. Do not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.”

Sunday, 7 July 2013 : 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 65 : 1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a, 16 and 20

Shout with joy to God, all you on earth; sing to the glory of His Name; proclaim His glorious praise. Say to God, “How great are Your deeds!”

All the earth bows down to You, making music in praise of You, singing in honour of Your Name. Come and see God’s wonders, His deeds awesome for humans.

He has turned the sea into dry land, and the river was crossed on foot. Let us, therefore, rejoice in Him. He rules by His might forever.

All you who fear God, come and listen; let me tell you what He has done. May God be blessed! He has not rejected my prayer; nor withheld His love from me.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Romuald, Abbot (Gospel Reading)

Matthew 6 : 1-6, 16-18

Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be seen in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.

If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.

When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you.

When you fast, do not put a miserable face as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see they are fasting. I tell you this : they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances.

And your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.