Thursday, 13 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the importance for us to be truly faithful in our lives, in how we carry on with our lives and actions, in everything that we say and do, so that we truly show our faith not just in words, but in our every actions, in every parts of our beings, that everyone who see us, will see God being present in our lives.

As what St. Paul wrote to the Church and the faithful in Corinth in our first reading passage today, all of us reflect the glory of God and the truth of God has been revealed to us, His faithful ones, like light shining in the darkness, illuminating everything by the wonders of God’s light. And through us, God’s wonderful love and truth is reflected unto the world, just as He has done so through His saints, all those holy men and women who had been obedient to God and lived their lives virtuously.

In conjunction with this, I would like to compare all these to the stained glasses in our churches and parishes, where we see the stained glasses beautifully adorned and arranged with the imageries of the life of Our Lord and the imageries of the saints and martyrs, the lives of all those who have given themselves to the service of God. And all these stained glasses are truly the epitome of what we have been discussing so far today, as stained glasses gain their beauty not from themselves but from the light that illuminates them.

Without light, the stained glass will remain dark and invisible, as the stained glass does not produce light on its own. Similarly, the saints did not glorify their own power and greatness, they did not proclaim their own wisdom or understanding, or their own ways and paths, but instead, they glorified the Lord by their lives, devoting their whole lives and their whole entire being to be the hands, the feet, the living examples of the Lord’s glory and good works among His people.

That is what the saints had done, making use of their examples and their whole lives to bring glory to God, and by all their actions, their dedications, their tireless giving of their time and effort, everyone who have seen them, witnessed their good works, listened to them and followed them came to know of God and His truth, His love and care for each and every one of them. Truly, like the beautiful stained glass illuminated by the light, the Light of Christ illuminates His saints like wonderful beacons for us all to see.

Today, we celebrate the feast of one of those saints, namely St. Anthony of Padua, a renowned saint whose life is truly an example for each and every one of us. St. Anthony of Padua was born into a wealthy Portuguese family who entered into the priesthood and eventually became one of the Franciscans. He wanted to be a missionary but a serious sickness changed the course of his life. Instead, he worked and preached among the people.

St. Anthony of Padua made wonderful speeches and preached eloquently, teaching numerous people about the faith. And many were moved and inspired by his sermons, as well as his generous and caring nature, in how he spent many hours and days taking care of them and also the younger members of his own Franciscan community. The people of God came to be inspired by the life of this saint, whose life has become an embodiment of God’s glory.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we inspired by the good examples of St. Anthony of Padua? Are we capable of devoting our lives in the same way as St. Anthony had done with his? Let us all therefore from now on strive to be good reflections of God’s truth and love, by our own exemplary and faithful actions in life. Let us devote our whole effort and time from now on, for the greater glory of God. May the Lord bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 13 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 5 : 20-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you, if your sense of right and wrong is not keener than that of the Lawyers and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

“You have heard, that it was said to our people in the past : Do not commit murder; anyone who murders will have to face trial. But now I tell you : whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister is liable, to be brought before the council. Whoever calls a brother or sister ‘Fool!’ is liable, of being thrown into the fire of hell.”

“So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there, in front of the altar; go at once, and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.”

“Do not forget this : be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There, you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.”

Thursday, 13 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 84 : 9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14

Would, that I hear God’s proclamation, that He promise peace to His people, His saints. Yet, His salvation is near to those who fear Him, and His glory will dwell in our land.

Love and faithfulness have met; righteousness and peace have embraced. Faithfulness will reach up from the earth while justice bends down from heaven.

YHVH will give what is good, and our land will yield its fruit. Justice will go before Him, and peace will follow along His path.

Thursday, 13 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Corinthians 3 : 15 – 2 Corinthians 4 : 1, 3-6

Up to this very day, whenever they read Moses, the veil remains over their understanding but, for whoever turns to the Lord, the veil shall be removed. The Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

So, with unveiled faces, we all reflect the glory of the Lord, while we are transformed into His likeness, and experience His glory, more and more by the action of the Lord, Who is Spirit.

Since this is our ministry, mercifully given to us, we do not weaken. In fact, if the Gospel we proclaim remains obscure, it is obscure only for those who go to their own destruction. The God of this world has blinded the minds of these unbelievers, lest they see the radiance of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is God’s Image.

It is not ourselves we preach, but Christ Jesus, as Lord; and, for Jesus’ sake, we are your servants. God, Who said, ‘Let the light shine out of darkness’, has also made the light shine in our hearts, to radiate, and to make known the glory of God, as it shines in the face of Christ.

Thursday, 2 May 2019 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us of the responsibility which each and every one of us as Christians have, that is to be witnesses and defenders of our faith before all the people, to be walking in the footsteps of the Apostles and all those who have given themselves wholly in the service of God, as we have ourselves heard in our Scripture passages today.

In the first reading today, we listened to the persistence and perseverance of the Apostles in the face of harsh persecution and opposition, as they were faced with fierce opposition from the influential members of the Jewish High Council, the Sanhedrin, who wanted the Apostles to stop preaching, teaching and doing works in the Name of the Lord Jesus, by Whose Name they have performed miracles, healing and called the people of God to believe in the Saviour Who had died for them.

But the Apostles stood by their faith in God and refused to abandon the mission which the Lord has entrusted to them, just as St. John the Baptist in our Gospel passage today testified before the people and before all those who opposed him, that he obeyed the will of God and he preached the truth and the salvation that God has revealed through His own Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Saviour of all the world.

St. John the Baptist also faced a lot of opposition and challenges, from the same influential members of the community who felt threatened by the influence, charisma and the message which both St. John the Baptist and the Apostles had brought with them and which they preached and taught among the people. That is because God’s truth has come to dispel the falsehoods and the corrupted truths which the enemies and opponents of the Lord had championed.

And in today’s occasion, aptly and most appropriately, we also celebrate the feast day of one of the great servants of God, whose life has also been filled with plenty of challenges and difficulties, and how this holy servant stood by his faith courageously, and became known as the staunch defender of the true, orthodox Christian faith. He is St. Athanasius the Great, Holy Doctor of the Church and great Defender of the Faith.

St. Athanasius was the Patriarch of Alexandria, one of the most important dioceses of the Church, and a great leader of the faithful at a time when the Church and the community of Christendom were bitterly divided between the many heresies and false teachings by false teachers and preachers who spread untruths and heresies that took hold many among the faithful, dividing even bishops against bishops, priests against priests, the Church against each other.

St. Athanasius defended the true faith in particular against the heresy of Arianism, which denied the equality of Jesus Christ, the Son of God with His heavenly Father, and for such, he was known also for his now famous Athanasian Creed, a very comprehensive version of the Christian Creed that is filled with the centre tenets of the faith, especially in the truth of the Holy Trinity, the distinctiveness, equality and yet perfect unity between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which is something that many of the heresies including Arianism tried to undermine and corrupt.

For his courageous and relentless defence of the true faith, St. Athanasius had to endure much difficulty and sufferings, having endured several exiles and persecutions by his enemies, who sometimes enjoyed the support of the Roman Empire and its institutions. Yet, St. Athanasius did not give up and continued to defend the faith till the end of his life, and he was remembered for his courage and faithfulness, as the true faith eventually triumphed.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians are also called and expected to stand up for our faith, not through confrontation or violence, but through our courageous and committed desire to live our whole lives being dedicated to God, just as the Apostles, St. John the Baptist and St. Athanasius the Great had done. Let us all be truly faithful, that the love of God will be the centre of our every actions, words and deeds, that we may find true justification in God. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 2 May 2019 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 31-36

At that time, John the Baptist said, “He Who comes from above is above all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He Who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.”

“The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.”

Thursday, 2 May 2019 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. Oh, see and taste the goodness of the Lord! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.