Monday, 12 November 2018 : 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, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the important traits of God’s chief servants and the leaders and elders among the communities of the faithful, then named as overseers and elders. They were the ones who would in time become the first bishops of the Church, as those who were entrusted with the responsibility over the faithful in a certain geographical area.

In what St. Paul shared to St. Titus in his Epistle to him, he mentioned the characteristics of those who are to be chosen as bishops to lead the Church of God, to build up the foundations of the Church in the areas where at that time, it was still growing rapidly. St. Titus himself was also a bishop of the Church, one of the first among those whom the Apostles including St. Paul appointed as their successors in the government and management of the Church.

The bishops must have good qualities of the faith and also in leadership by example. They could not be those who were corrupt and wicked in their ways, or else the faith and the Church would be scandalised. They must be men of good character and showed great commitment to the Lord, which are important traits that all those who are serving the Lord ought to have in their lives and in their ministry.

These are important requirements for those who were called and chosen to be the good shepherds imitating the examples of the one, true Good Shepherd of all, Our Lord Jesus Christ. And they were given enormous responsibilities, that involves the very fate of many souls of man, which if not carefully and correctly managed, could cause those souls to be lost to God forever.

That was what the Lord Jesus mentioned when He said in the Gospel that, those who caused scandal for the faith, the Church and the faithful by their actions were truly not deserving of the Lord and His grace, for by their actions, deeds and maybe words, they have caused others, especially the vulnerable ones like children and others, to fall away from the faith, or to suffer the consequences of the former’s actions.

And sadly, this is what has happened in our Church throughout its long history, and even to this very day. There are scandals facing the Church, its priests, even bishops and the leaders that caused discomfort, pain and suffering among the members of the Church and the faithful, and this has caused some among the faithful to lose faith in God and His Church, and left the true faith behind.

Today, we ought to pray for the Church, for us all the faithful who believe in God, the members of His Church, and especially also for all those who have been called and chosen to become the shepherds of the faithful, that is the priests and bishops. Let us all pray for them, that they may remain faithful and committed to the service of God, and not to be tempted by Satan, the great enemy, who no doubt is trying to destroy the Church and us by attacking and tempting the holy priests and bishops.

We pray that they may have the courage to live up to their faith and calling, and following in the examples of the holy Apostles and martyrs, and especially today we celebrate the feast of a holy servant of God and courageous martyr of the faith, St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, who was an Eastern Catholic bishop living during the contentious time when the foundations for the Eastern Catholic churches were made, at the time when some of the prelates from the breakaway Eastern Orthodox Church wanted to restore communion and unity with Rome and the Pope.

Thus, historically, through the Union of Brest in the year of Our Lord 1596, some of the Eastern prelates and priests declared their obedience to the Roman Catholic Church, the true Church of the Apostles and the Church of God, together with a number of the faithful. But tensions and problems did not end there, and in fact, they began to foster and create difficulties for those who have decided to reunite with the Roman Pontiff.

St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was counted among these courageous prelates who as the bishop and Archeparch in the Ruthenian area of the church, among which there were still many who refused to accept the reunion with the Roman church, and hence, it gave St. Josaphat a lot of problems and difficulties, each of which he took upon patiently and with great faith. In the end, he faced martyrdom in the hands of angry mob who refused to believe in the truth of God.

But his courage and perseverance should be an inspiration to each and every one of us, and especially for those who have been called and chosen to the holy orders. Therefore, let us all pray together as one Church, calling upon God to be with His Church, to protect us and to guide us in our journey, that we will remain faithful and strong despite the challenges we may encounter on our way. May the Lord be with us always, and may He bless us all in our endeavours. Amen.

Monday, 12 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 17 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Scandals will necessarily come and cause people to fall; but woe to the one who brings them about. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck. Truly, this would be better for that person, than to cause one of these little ones to fall.”

“Listen carefully : if your brother offends you, tell him, and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he offends you seven times in one day, but seven times he says to you, ‘I am sorry,’ forgive him.”

The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” And the Lord said, “If you have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree, ‘Be uprooted, and plant yourself in the sea!’ and it will obey you.”

Monday, 12 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 23 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it. He has founded it upon the ocean and set it firmly upon the waters.

Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who desire not what is vain.

They will receive blessings from the Lord, a reward from God, their Saviour. Such are the people who seek Him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God.

Monday, 12 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Titus 1 : 1-9

From Paul, servant of God, Apostle of Christ Jesus, at the service of God’s chosen people, so that they may believe and reach the knowledge of truth and godliness. The eternal life we are waiting for was promised from the very beginning by God Who never lies, and as the appointed time had come, He made it known through the message entrusted to me by a command of God, our Saviour.

Greetings to you, Titus, my true son in the faith we share. May grace and peace be with you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I left you in Crete because I wanted you to put right what was defective and appoint elders in every town, following my instructions. They must be blameless, married only once, whose children are believers and not open to the charge of being immoral and rebellious.

Since the overseer (or bishop) is the steward of God’s house, he must be beyond reproach : not proud, hot-headed, over-fond of wine, quarrelsome or greedy for gain. On the contrary he must be hospitable, a lover of what is good, wise, upright, devout and self-controlled. He must hold to the message of faith just as it was taught, so that, in his turn, he may teach sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

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.


First Reading :

Psalm :

Gospel Reading :

Thursday, 24 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Sharbel Makhluf, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear the admonition, almost to the point of lamentation, on why the people of God, whom God had loved so much, did not appreciate that love and refused to budge and listen to the kind words of the Lord, offering hope and comfort. God had done so much for men, as we all may testify and witness in how He cared for His people throughout the Scriptures, and yet they rejected His love.

But the Lord is not someone who would just leave sinners like that once His approach had been spurned. In fact, He tried many times and sent reminders after reminders to tell mankind, both how much He loves us, and also how He gave us chance after chance, which we either ignored or cast aside in our pursuit for the goodness of the world. We have tasted the corruptions of this world, and into sin, where we have fallen into.

Our hearts and minds are corrupted with the darkness of sin, and our beings are filled with darkness that prevents us from seeing the light and living in the light. We are truly the creatures of darkness, unlike the children of the light we all ought to become. And precisely as it had been written in the Scripture reading today, how we trust rather in the leaking faucet and pipes, that is our own flawed strength and feeble foundations, over the strength of the everlasting spring of God’s power.

We are easily tempted, and too easily bribed by Satan who offered the sweetest of his treacherous lies and temptations. He has all of his forces arrayed against us, tempting us daily that we may eventually falter along our path towards salvation, and be dragged together with him into the hellfire. That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must be vigilant and be solid in our faith, that we have a strong defense against whatever it is that the devil is using against us.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Sharbel Makhluf or St. Charbel Makhluf, a renowned Maronite saint, who lived just over a hundred years ago in today’s Lebanon. St. Sharbel Makhluf is a holy man and a deeply devoted person to God, who was born to a devout Christian Maronite family, a group of Christians that has dwelled for a very long time in Lebanon area since the days of the early Church, and which remained loyal to the authority of the Apostles even though many others had apostasized.

St. Sharbel Makhluf joined the religious life and devoted his life entirely to God. He was truly a role model for the faithful, and his life was an example for all to see. His life might have been relatively uneventful, and he dedicated all of his time to God. However, upon his passing from this world to the heavens to be with God, miracles came abound from his body and his grave. This is a mark of favour by God, showing how much He blessed those who are with Him and who devoted themselves to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, should we not follow the examples of this great and yet humble saint of God? In his life, St. Sharbel Makhluf had shown us that it is perfectly possible for us all to be faithful servants of our God, provided that we set our sights, our attention and our hearts on Him alone. If we do these things, certainly God will bless us just as He had once blessed St. Sharbel Makhluf.

Let us all therefore seek God in this life, and devote ourselves ever more to our loving God. God wants nothing other than our love and devotion, just as He Himself had first been devoted to us. Let us no longer spurn His love, but with great humility, ask Him for His grace and forgiveness, that we may once again enjoy the fullness of His love. God be with us all. Amen.

Official Schedule of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land (24-26 May 2014)

Here is the official schedule of Pope Francis’ planned visit to the Holy Land, which will take place from Saturday, 24 May 2014 to Monday, 26 May 2014.


Saturday, 24 May 2014
08:15 Departure from Rome Fiumicino Airport for Amman
13:00 Arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman
13:45 Arrival ceremony and welcome for Pope Francis in the al-Husseini Royal Palace in Amman. Pope Francis will also pay a courtesy visit to the King and Queen of Jordan in the Royal Palace.
14:20 Pope Francis is scheduled to meet the officials and authorities of the Kingdom of Jordan.
16:00 Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Mass at the International Stadium in Amman.
19:00 Pope Francis will pay a visit to the Baptismal Site at Bethany beyond the Jordan
19:15 Pope Francis will meet with refugees and disabled youths in the Latin church at Bethany beyond the Jordan.

Sunday, 25 May 2014
8:15 Pope Francis departs from Jordan at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, heading towards Bethlehem
8:30 Departure by helicopter from the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman for Bethlehem
9:20 Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive at the helicopter port of Bethlehem
9:30 Arrival ceremony and welcome for Pope Francis at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem. Pope Francis will pay a courtesy visit to the President of the State of Palestine.
10:00 Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with the officials and authorities of the State of Palestine.
11:00 Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem. This will be followed by Regina Caeli/Coeli.
13:30 Pope Francis will host a lunch with Palestinian families in the Franciscan convent of Casa Nova in Bethlehem
15:00 Pope Francis will pay a private visit to the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
15:20 Pope Francis will greet children from the Deheisheh, Aida and Beit Jibrin refugee camps at the Phoenix Center of the Deheisheh Refugee Camp
15:45 Pope Francis will depart from the State of Palestine at the helicopter port of Bethlehem
16:00 Departure by helicopter from the helicopter port of Bethlehem for Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv
16:30 Arrival ceremony and welcome for Pope Francis at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
17:15 Transfer by helicopter to Jerusalem
17:45 Arrival at the helicopter port of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus
18:15 Pope Francis will have a private meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem. They will sign of a joint declaration together.
19.00 Ecumenical Meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
20:15 Dinner with the Patriarchs and Bishops and the Papal suite at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem

Monday, 26 May 2014
8:15 Pope Francis will visit the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the building of the Great Council on the Esplanade of the Mosques.
9:10 Pope Francis is scheduled to pay a visit t0 the Western Wall in Jerusalem
9:45 Pope Francis will lay a wreath at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem
10.00 Pope Francis will visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
10:45 Pope Francis will pay a courtesy visit to two chief rabbi at Heichal Shlomo Center in Jerusalem, next to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.
11:45 Pope Francis will pay a courtesy visit to the President of Israel at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem.
13:00 Pope Francis will have a private audience with the Prime Minister of Israel at Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
13:30 Lunch with the Papal suite at Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem
15:30 Pope Francis will have a private visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople at the building next to the Orthodox church of Viri Galileai on the Mount of Olives
16:00 Pope Francis will meet with priests, religious brothers and sisters and also seminarians in the church of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
17:20 Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Mass with the ordinaries (Patriarchs and bishops) of the Holy Land and the Papal Suite (Papal entourage) in the room of the Cenacle in Jerusalem.
19:30 Transfer by helicopter from the helicopter port on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv
20:00 Farewell and departure from Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
20:15 Departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv for Ciampino Airport in Rome.
23:00 Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive back at Ciampino Airport in Rome.

New Secretary of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Pietro Parolin


Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the longtime veteran of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, and a skilled and veteran diplomat in his current role as the Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, as the trusted aide to Pope Benedict XVI (now Pope Emeritus), had been appointed on Saturday, 31 August 2013 as the new Secretary of State, the top position of the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Church.

In addition, as positions tied to the post of Secretary of State, Archbishop Parolin also automatically become the new President of Interdicasterial Commission on Particular Churches (which task is managing the Eastern Catholic Churches), President of Interdicasterial Commission for the Church in Eastern Europe, and the Protector of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.


Archbishop Pietro Parolin will replace the outgoing Cardinal Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., who is also the Chamberlain (Camerlengo) of the Church, effective on 15 October 2013 as per the decree of Pope Francis released today.


Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is then the Secretary of State Emeritus effective on the state mentioned in the paragraph above (15 October), when Archbishop Pietro Parolin officially takes over as the new Secretary of State. The position of the Secretary of State is the top in the Roman Curia, below only the Pope in the hierarchy of the Church. Cardinal Bertone will however remain as the Camerlengo of the Church.

We thank Cardinal Bertone for all his hard work and contributions to the Church, many of which were unknown to many, and all the labours he had done in great humility and dedication in his position as the servant of the Holy Church.

As the Secretary of State position is the top official post of the entire Church and the Roman Curia save for the Pope himself, it is expected that the 58 years old Archbishop Pietro Parolin will be made a Cardinal in the next Consistory of Cardinals (possibly early 2014 or late 2014).