(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Sixth Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Baruch 3 : 9-15, 32 – Baruch 4 : 4

Listen, Israel, to the commands of life, give ear so as to learn prudence. Why, Israel! Why are you in the land of your foes? Why are you growing old in a foreign country, contaminated by pagans, counted among those who go to the pit?

You have abandoned the source of Wisdom. If you had walked in the way of God, peace would be your dwelling place forever. Learn where is Wisdom, where is Strength and Understanding, that you may know, at the same time, where are length of days and life, light of the eyes and Peace.

Who will find Wisdom’s dwelling? Who will enter her storage rooms? But He who knows everything recognises her. He has found her in His own intellect. He who created the earth, for all time, and has filled it with four-footed beings.

He who sends the light, and it goes, who recalls it, and trembling it obeys. The stars shine, full of joy, to keep their night watches. He calls them and they answer, “Here we are.” They shine with joy for their Creator.

It is He who is our God, no other can be compared with Him. He has found the way of understanding and has given her to Jacob His servant and to Israel His well-beloved.

Then Wisdom was seen on earth and lived among humans. She herself is the book of the commands of God, the law which endures forever. All who hold fast to her will have life, but those who abandon her will die.

Come back, Jacob, and embrace her, walk towards brightness under her light. Do not give up what is your glory or sell your privileges to any strange nation. We are fortunate, o Israel, for we know what pleases the Lord!

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after Third Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 15 : 1-6, 17-18

I will sing to YHVH, the glorious One, horse and rider He has thrown into the sea. YHVH is my strength and my song and He is my salvation. He is my God and I will praise Him; the God of my father, I will extol Him.

YHVH is a warrior, YHVH is His Name. The chariots of Pharaoh and his army, He has hurled into the sea; his chosen officers were drowned in the Red Sea.

The deep covers them; they went down like a stone. Your hand, o YHVH, glorious and powerful, Your right hand, o YHVH, shatters the enemy.

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of Your inheritance, the place You chose to dwell in, o YHVH, the sanctuary prepared by Your hands. YHVH will reign forever!

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 15 : 5, 8-11

O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.

I keep the Lord always before me, for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.

Thursday, 14 August 2014 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 131 : 6-7, 9-10, 13-14

Then came the news, “The Ark is in Ephrathah, we found it in the fields of Jaar.” Let us go to where He dwells and worship at His footstool!

May Your priests be arrayed in glorious mantle; may Your faithful ones shout in gladness. For the sake of Your servant, David, do not turn away the face of Your anointed.

For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling. “This is My resting place forever; I prefer, here will I dwell.”

Saturday, 12 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

God desires the love of mankind, and He loves them very much. That is why He gave us all of His attention and focus, and He offered Himself to them to open for them the pathway to salvation. In a sense, He had granted them great favour, only for them to refuse Him and reject Him, and even reject the salvation which He had freely offered them.

In today’s first reading God promised His beloved people that He will love them and care for them, freeing them from the grip of death and sin, and will provide for them once again as He had once had. We can see indeed how great is God’s love for us, that He gave us chance after chance, and opportunity after opportunity. He gave us hope even when we are in the greatest darkness.

Yet mankind were selfish, and are still indeed selfish even today. We thought only for ourselves and for our own benefits and we complain when things do not go our way. That is our nature, and we often succumb to it. The Pharisees rejected Jesus because of His teachings and ways that oppose their own authority and positions of privilege and honour within the society.

How about the people then? They also rejected Christ because they were reluctant to abandon their former way of life and follow what Christ taught them, and they were also easily swayed by the offer of money and goods of the world, that we can easily see in tomorrow’s Palm Sunday Gospel and Passion readings, how the same people who cheered for Jesus as King when He proceeded into Jerusalem, within less than one week would be condemned to death by the same people. Yes, the same people who acclaimed Jesus as King also cried out for His death.

And it is a fault that we have as we tend to blame the Jews on what happened to Jesus, in how they condemned Him to death and rejected Him and His offer of salvation, because it is always convenient and easy to blame someone else. We think of the Jews to be the ones to blame for the death of Christ, but we conveniently forgot that Jesus Himself was and is a Jew, born son of David, the heir of David and the descendant of Abraham.

And Jesus when He suffered and died on the cross, He did so for all of us, and also including the Jews, both those who had no part in His death and those who had hated Him and condemned Him. He Himself remembered them even in His suffering, asking the Father to forgive them and overlook their sins for their ignorance and lack of knowledge of who He truly was.

God Himself had forgiven them, and He had forgiven us. So for those among us who thought to blame the Jews, the very people the Lord had chosen to be born into, and to those of us who like to put the blame on others, let us from now on reflect on our own actions first. Before we even judge or condemn others, have we been sufficiently pure and worthy in our own actions that we will not be judged? We often forget that when we judge others, we therefore also open the door for us to be judged ourselves.

God did not wish to punish anyone, as indeed, He wanted all of us to be reunited with Him in love. He wishes for us to be perfected in love, that we may leave behind our past sinfulness and wicked behaviour, and become more like Him and be more loving as He is. That was why He sent Jesus to be with us, to be both our Saviour, to break the chains of sin and death, and at the same time also show us how to love, like God has loved us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we approach the pinnacle of our preparation, as we proceed towards the holiest week of all our celebrations, the Holy Week of Jesus’ Passion, let us resolve to be more like God, in becoming more loving and forgiving, in being more inclusive and compassionate, helping one another to approach the Lord rather than condemning or judging each other. Let us reserve no place for Satan in our hearts! For it is in a darkened heart that Satan is happy to dwell in. Let the light of God instead be within us, that He may also guide our ways, that our ways will always be pleasing to God.

May the Lord forgive us our sins and show us how to love Him just as He had loved us first. Let us never be separated again from You, o Lord our God. Be with us always, till the end of time. Amen.

Friday, 4 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the people of God did not accept the Lord Himself who came down from on high to be with us. They thought of themselves as being better and greater than God, doubting Him and did not believe in Him when He came and rejecting His teachings, preferring to trust in their own beliefs.

They closed their hearts and themselves from the Lord because they allowed their fear and human emotions and desires to manipulate them, change them, and sequester them from the love of God. As a result, they see the coming of the Christ, that is Jesus, as a rival, challenge, and danger that must be removed at any cost, rather than as an opportunity to herald the coming of God’s kingdom into the world.

And this concerns in fact not just the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Jesus’s time, but also all of us, brothers and sisters in Christ. We ourselves have often placed ourselves as obstacles in the way of the Lord and His salvation, not just for ourselves but also for those around us. We have often followed our own desires, our own ego and will rather than listening to God and obeying His will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us use this opportunity to reflect on our own life and on our own course of action. Have we been like those who plotted against the Lord just because He came to them and spoke the truth? Or have we accepted Him and listened to Him because of that truth? The truth is often not beautiful or appealing to us, simply because and plainly because we are sinners, and we have committed things that are wicked in the eyes of God and men.

We usually do not like it when things do not go our way or follow what we desired. We complain, we grumble, and we throw tantrum when this happens because we think only about ourselves, and we are only concerned about ourselves. That is why, we in our pride and our arrogance think that we are the masters of the things that we do, and we will never give in, to achieve what we want.

Today we commemorate the feast of St. Isidore, a bishop of late Roman era Hispania, modern day Spain, in Seville. As the bishop and influential leader of the people, both secular and religious, he emphasized on the spiritual renewal of the people and the casting away of the ways of the old, that is the way of wickedness. He worked hard to preach the Gospel and the Good News of the Lord with truth.

St. Isidore helped to convert the people and the kings of his land, the Visigothic kings of Spain, to the true way of the Lord, leaving their heathen and mistaken path of the Arians, who rejected the Lord and His fullness for human ideas and human glories. St. Isidore guided them towards the way of the Lord and guided them to be true followers of God’s will.

The example of St. Isidore showed us how mankind are still often trapped in their own sense of self-righteousness and glory, that they refuse to listen to and look up towards the truth, especially the truth that is in the Lord. Mankind prefer to stay on their pride and refuse to budge even against the Lord and His urging. He sent us Jesus to remind us of the truth, and to take off the veil of pride that covers our eyes.

We have to learn to listen and trust in the Lord, for He knows better than us, and He knows the way to salvation, which we cannot reach on our own, less still by our own power alone. That is why we really should cast away our pride and sharpen the edge of our humility, that we may truly become loving children and followers of the Lord in our actions and our deeds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we all have a choice to make. We can choose to follow the path of pride, that is to give in to our emotions and fears, to be like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, or to cast away that pride and arrogance, and follow the Lord with all of our hearts, just as St. Isidore and many other great saints had done in the past.

The choice is ours, brethren, and let us therefore today pray, that the Lord may guide us all, and help us to walk together in His light, that we may dwell no longer in the darkness of our pride and stubbornness, but in the light of God’s presence. God be with us all. Amen.

 

Monday, 31 March 2014 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 65 : 17-21

I now create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind again. Be glad forever and rejoice in what I create; for I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in My people.

The sound of distress and the voice of weeping will not be heard in it any more. You will no longer know of dead children or of adults who do not live out a lifetime. One who reaches a hundred years will have died a mere youth, but one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant crops and eat their fruit.