Sunday, 28 February 2021 : Second Sunday of Lent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Romans 8 : 31b-34

If God is with us, who shall be against us? If He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not give us all things with Him? Who shall accuse those chosen by God : He takes away their guilt? Who will dare to condemn them?

Christ, Who died, and better still, rose, and is seated at the right hand of God, interceding for us?

Sunday, 7 February 2021 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 9 : 16-19, 22-23

Because I cannot boast of announcing the Gospel : I am bound to do it. Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel! If I preached voluntarily, I could expect my reward, but I have been trusted with this office, against my will. How can I, then, deserve my reward? In announcing the Gospel, I will do it freely, without making use of the rights given to me by the Gospel.

So, feeling free with everybody, I have become everybody’s slave, in order to gain a greater number. To the weak, I made myself weak, to win the weak. So, I made myself all things to all people, in order to save, by all possible means, some of them. This, I do, for the Gospel, so that I, too, have a share of it.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we heard of the works of the Lord, in ministering to us, His beloved ones, as described in the Epistle to the Hebrews as well as in our Gospel passage today. We heard of all the tangible works that the Lord had done in our midst, as Our Lord and Saviour, showing the genuine love of God to each and every one of us.

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in our first reading today clearly and plainly described the works that the Lord had done, in coming down upon us and in taking up our human nature. By His sharing with us in His humanity, in the real and tangible existence in flesh and blood, the Lord has gathered us all in and embraced us with love, and led us into the new path towards His salvation.

He came to heal us from our sins, from all the afflictions that had been affecting us, all these while. In the Gospel today we heard how the Lord had laboured to touch all those who had been afflicted with various diseases and conditions, and possessed by evil spirits. The Lord healed them all and showed His love for them generously, but He did not stay on in just one place.

When His disciples asked Him why He disappeared as many more were waiting on Him, He told the disciples that He was also needed elsewhere, as there were still many others who had not yet heard of the truth and seen the love that He was to bring unto their midst. Thus, the Lord continued to show the love and mercy of God to all of us, the children of God, wherever He could, and sent His disciples before Him to help in His works.

But, His ultimate design came to be revealed in what He had willingly accepted at the end of His ministry in this world, as He accepted the burden of the Cross, as our High Priest and Mediator with God, as described and explained by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in our first reading today. As our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ became the Mediator between us and God, His heavenly Father, being the Bridge between us and Him.

While the priests of the Old Testament offered sacrifices of animals and their spilt blood upon the Altar, the Lord offered nothing less than Himself, as He is indeed both the High Priest as well as the perfect and unblemished Lamb of God, though sinless and without fault, willingly shouldered upon Himself the whole burden and weight of our multitudes of sins and faults. He offered for our sake the perfect sacrifice worthy of the forgiveness of our sins.

The Lord accepted this burden and role out of His amazing love for us, in enduring all the sufferings, humiliation and trials for our sake. He has humbled Himself and emptied Himself of all glory and majesty to bring us back to Himself, to embrace us and to love us all once again as He had always intended to. Due to sin, we have been separated from the love of God, and we should have suffered death and destruction. Yet, it was by God’s grace that we have been spared such a fate.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we all know of just how great the Lord has loved us, all these while, then let us all appreciate and love the Lord with all of our strength. And perhaps we should be inspired by the examples set by St. Hilary of Poitiers, whose feast day we celebrate today, and whose contributions and great commitment to the Lord and the Church we ought to remember this day.

St. Hilary of Poitiers was one of the most renowned early Church fathers and leader as the Bishop of Poitiers and defender of the true faith amidst the many challenges, heresies and divisions facing the Church during his time. At that time, there were numerous heresies misleading the faithful with false teachings, particularly that of the Arian heresy, which was widespread and supported even by powerful members of the community.

St. Hilary of Poitiers himself was not born as a Christian, but turned to the faith together with his family after he began delving into the study of the Christian Scriptures, their texts and faith. And the people saw the greatness and piety in St. Hilary of Poitiers, who was so well-respected by the faithful that they all unanimously elected him as their bishop, as the Bishop of Poitiers.

At that time, the Arian heresy was spreading rapidly, and as the heretics attempted to overcome the Church and even persecute the believers of the true faith, St. Hilary of Poitiers dedicated himself to struggle against the efforts of the Arians, and laboured hard in order to regain the faithful from the clutches of the false teachers and leaders. He encountered plenty of challenges and difficulties, having to endure even exile for his steadfastness in opposing the heresies and falsehoods.

But through his tireless efforts, his many writings and contributions, eventually, not only that St. Hilary of Poitiers managed to return to his See, but together with many others who upheld the true, orthodox Christian faith, he also began to stem the tide of heresy and lies that eventually saw the triumph of the true and orthodox Christian faith as upheld by the Ecumenical Councils and passed down authentically from the Apostles.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us have heard of the commitment and the efforts put by St. Hilary of Poitiers, who dedicated himself to the service of God with all of his strength. Having known of God’s love ourselves, can we follow in St. Hilary’s footsteps, brothers and sisters? Let us all seek to serve the Lord and glorify His Name at every possible opportunities, from now on. May God bless us and be our Guide in our journey towards Him. Amen.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Mark 1 : 29-39

At that time, on leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew with James and John. As Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with fever, they immediately told Him about her. Jesus went to her and, taking her by the hand, raised her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening at sundown, people brought to Jesus all the sick and those who had evil spirits : the whole town was pressing around the door. Jesus healed many who had various diseases, and drove out many demons; but He did not let them speak, for they knew Who He was.

Very early in the morning, before daylight, Jesus went off to a lonely place where He prayed. Simon and the others went out also, searching for Him; and when they found Him, they said, “Everyone is looking for You.” Then Jesus answered, “Let us go to the nearby villages so that I may preach there too; for that is why I came.”

So Jesus set out to preach in all the synagogues throughout Galilee; He also cast out demons.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Hebrews 2 : 14-18

And because all those children share one same nature of flesh and blood, Jesus, likewise, had to share this nature. This is why His death destroyed the one holding the power of death, that is the devil, and freed those who remained in bondage all their lifetime, because of the fear of death.

Jesus came, to take by the hand, not the Angels but the human race. So, He had to be like His brothers and sisters, in every respect, in order to be the High Priest, faithful to God and merciful to them, a Priest, able to ask pardon, and atone for their sins. Having been tested through suffering, He is able to help those who are tested.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 2-3a, 5-6

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. 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.

Sunday, 3 January 2021 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 2-3a, 5-6

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. 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.

Sunday, 3 January 2021 : Second Sunday after Christmas (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 1 : 3-14

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, Who in Christ has blessed us from heaven with every spiritual blessing. God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and without sin in His presence. From eternity He destined us in love to be His adopted sons and daughters through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling His free and generous will.

This goal suited Him : that His loving-kindness which He granted us in His Beloved might finally receive all glory and praise. For, in Christ, we obtain freedom, sealed by His Blood, and have the forgiveness of sins. In this, appears the greatness of His grace, which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and understanding, God has made known to us His mysterious design, in accordance with His loving kindness, in Christ.

In Him, and under Him, God wanted to unite, when the fullness of time had come, everything in heaven and on earth. By a decree of Him Who disposes all things according to His own plan and decision, we, the Jews, have been chosen and called and we were awaiting the Messiah, for the praise of His glory.

You, on hearing the word of truth, the Gospel that saves you, have believed in Him. And, as promised, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit, the first pledge of what we shall receive, on the way to our deliverance, as a people of God, for the praise of His glory.

Saturday, 2 January 2021 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all called to proclaim the truth of God and to hold fast to the same truth that the Lord has passed down onto us through His Church. We should not be easily swayed by the temptations and the lies of Satan, and all that he has used in trying to lead us astray down the wrong path.

In our first reading today we heard from the Epistle of the Apostle St. John on the matter of the presence of antichrists, false prophets and the false leaders and teachers of the faithful who had and would, and indeed, in the future to come, will misguide the people of God into the path of ruin and sin against God. St. John reminded all the faithful to keep and to stay steadfast to what they had received from the very beginning.

He reminded us all of everything that the Lord had done for our sake, all that He had committed to us, by giving us His Son for our salvation and liberation from the bondage and enslavement to sin, as well as the tyranny of death. Through His Incarnation and birth into this world, and then by the truth and the salvation He brought to us by His sacrifice on the Cross, the Lord has saved us all, and this is what we all believe in as Christians.

In our Gospel passage today we heard of the faithful servant of God and the Herald of the Messiah, St. John the Baptist, who was calling the people to repent from their sinful ways, and who was baptising them with water in the River Jordan just before the Lord Himself was to begin His own ministry. He was confronted by many of the chief priests, Pharisees and all those who refused to believe in him and his works.

And we heard how St. John the Baptist courageously answered them all for their doubts and queries, and speaking of God’s works done through him. And when he was asked if he was the Messiah that was promised by God, St. John the Baptist resolutely and humbly spoke that he was not the One, and that he was not even worthy to untie the strip of His sandals. This was truly a great statement of faith and also a profound display of true humility that all of us Christians should be inspired by.

We have to contrast this to the behaviour of the many false teachers and leaders who had appeared and led the people astray throughout the history of the Church and man, those who claimed that they were the Messiah and profess to have the better knowledge of the truth when what they had were in fact falsehoods, utter nonsense and even came from the devil himself. They acted with pride and greed, selfishly focusing on themselves and their desires rather than serving God.

That is why today we should look upon the examples set by St. John the Baptist, as well as the many other devout and holy servants of God, particularly St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, whose feast day we celebrate today. And quite fittingly, these two saints worked hard against the falsehoods of the heretics and all those who had led the people astray from God.

St. Basil the Great was the Bishop of Caesarea in Asia Minor, while St. Gregory Nazianzen, also known as St. Gregory of Nazianzus was the Archbishop of Constantinople, contemporaries who were the courageous and important leaders of the Church in the struggle against the heresies prevalent at that time, particularly the heresy of Arianism that bitterly divided many of the members of the faithful, clergy and the laity alike, and which was supported by powerful members of the nobles and the government.

St. Basil the Great rallied hard against the Arians and their teachings, resolutely refusing to let their perversion of the true faith to continue, rejecting their false ideas that the Lord Jesus as the Son was not equal to the Father, and that He was created rather than Co-Eternal with Him. He also worked hard against other heresies like Apollinarism that conflicted the understanding of the nature of Christ.

St. Gregory Nazianzen similarly also worked hard in combatting the same heresies in his See of Constantinople and beyond, and helped to strengthen the theological discourse and teachings of the true faith together with St. Basil and other holy fathers of the Church. They laboured hard against those false prophets and leaders, and following in the footsteps of the Apostles, continued to strengthen the foundations of the Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have received the same truth of God through the Church, and we are all therefore called to continue the good works that were started by those holy fathers, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen in particular. Let us all do our very best, in whatever capacity we have, to devote and dedicate our time and effort, in our daily lives in whatever little ways and things we do, to glorify God and to proclaim the truth of God in our communities, and lead more souls to the truth.

May God bless us all in our good endeavours and efforts, and may Holy Fathers, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen always intercede for us all. Amen.