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

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 14 : 15 – Exodus 15 : 1

YHVH said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. You will raise your staff and stretch your hand over the sea and divide it to let the Israelites go dryfoot through the sea. I will so harden the minds of the Egyptians that they will follow you. And I will have glory at the expense of Pharaoh, his army, his chariots and horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am YHVH when I gain glory for Myself at the cost of Pharaoh and his army!”

The Angel of God who had gone ahead of the Israelites now placed Himself behind them. The pillar of cloud changed its position from the front to the rear, between the camps of the Israelites and the Egyptians. For one army the cloud provided light, for the other darkness so that throughout the night the armies drew no closer to each other. Moses stretched his hand over the sea and YHVH made a strong east wind blow all night and dry up the sea.

The waters divided and the sons of Israel went on dry ground through the middle of the sea, with the waters forming a wall to their right and to their left. The Egyptians followed them and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and horsemen moved forward in the middle of the sea.

It happened that in the morning watch, YHVH in the pillar of cloud and fire, looked towards the Egyptian camp and threw it into confusion. He so clogged their chariot wheels that they could hardly move. Then the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites for YHVH is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then YHVH said to Moses, “Stretch your hand over the sea and let the waters come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea.

At daybreak the sea returned to its place. As the Egyptians tried to flee, YHVH swept them into the sea. The waters flowed back and engulfed the chariots and horsemen of the whole army of Pharaoh that had followed Israel into the sea. Not one of them escaped. As for the Israelites they went forward on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the waters forming a wall on their right and their left.

On that day YHVH delivered Israel from the power of the Egyptians and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore. They understood what wonders YHVH had done for them against Egypt, and the people feared YHVH. They believed in YHVH and in Moses, His servant.

Then Moses and the people sang this song to YHVH : I will sing to YHVH, the glorious One, horse and rider He has thrown into the sea.

Sunday, 8 June 2014 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Acts 2 : 1-11

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. And suddenly out of the sky came a sound like a strong rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared tongues as if of fire which parted and came to rest upon each one of them.

All were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. Staying in Jerusalem were religious Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered, all excited because each heard them speaking in his own language.

Full of amazement and wonder, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it that we hear them in our own native language? Here are Parthians, Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and foreigners who accept Jewish beliefs, Cretians and Arabians; and all of us hear them proclaiming in our own language what God, the Saviour, does.”

Sunday, 23 March 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Exodus 17 : 3-7

But the people thirsted for water there and grumbled against Moses, “Why did you make us leave Egypt to have us die of thirst with our children and our cattle?”

So Moses cried to YHVH, “What shall I do with the people? They are almost ready to stone me!” YHVH said to Moses, “Go ahead of the people and take with you the elders of Israel. Take with you the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.”

“I will stand there before you on the rock at Horeb. You will strike the rock and water will flow from it and the people will drink.” Moses did this in the presence of the elders of Israel.

The place was called Massah and Meribah because of the complaints of the Israelites, who tested YHVH saying, “Is YHVH with us or not?”

Friday, 21 March 2014 : 2nd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Genesis 37 : 3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other children, for he was the son of his old age and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. His brothers who saw that their father loved him more than he loved them, hated him and could no longer speak to him in a friendly way.

His brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing the flock at Shechem; come along, I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went off after his brothers and found them at Dothan. They saw him in the distance and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes the specialist in dreams! Now is the time! Let us kill him and throw him into a well. We will say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what his dreams were all about!”

But Reuben heard this and tried to save him from their hands saying, “Let us not kill him; shed no blood! Throw him in this well in the wilderness, but do him no violence.” This he said to save Joseph from them and take him back to his father.

So as soon as Joseph arrived, they stripped him of his long-sleeved coat that he wore and then took him and threw him in the well. Now the well was empty, without water.

They were sitting for a meal when they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with spices, balm and myrrh, which they were taking down to Egypt. Judah then said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and hiding his blood? Come! We will sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother and our own flesh!” His brothers agreed to this.

So when the Midianite merchants came along they pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the well. For twenty pieces of silver they sold Joseph to the Midianites, who took him with them to Egypt.

Saturday, 15 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Psalm 105 : 6-7a, 19-20, 21-22

We have sinned like our ancestors; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When they were in Egypt, our ancestors had no regard for Your wondrous deeds.

They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped the molten image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of a bull that eats grass.

They forgot their Saviour God, who had done great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Sea of Reeds.

 

Monday, 23 December 2013 : 4th Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John of Kanty, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Priests)

Brethren, today we heard again about the one who was to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming, on the coming of St. John the Baptist, the messenger and proclaimer of the coming of God’s kingdom, as its herald. And as we approach Christmas, we come together again to remember what Christmas is truly about. Again I would like to reiterate that Christmas is really about Christ.

In Christmas we are all called to remember again what our faith is truly about, and what Christ had done for us, for the sake of all of us in this world, past, present, and the future. Christ the divine made Himself incarnate into humble man, and that was the true essence of Christmas and the true essence of our faith. For we are all Christians, and with Christ as part of our name, He is inseparable from all the aspects of our faith, as well as our lives.

St. John the Baptist, whose birth was told in the Gospel we read today, is the messenger of God proclaiming the coming of God’s salvation upon mankind. He proclaimed the coming of Jesus our Lord, who came as the Son of Man, born of the Virgin. Yet, despite his proclamations, his revelations, his hard and pious works, as well as the prophecies proclaimed by the numerous prophets of bygone ages, many refused to believe when the Lord came into this world in order to save it.

Just an example, when the Lord Himself was about to be born in Bethlehem, the City of David, how many inns must be there in that city, and yet none of them offered space for the Lord of all creations, who came in the form of the baby of a carpenter. Poor as he looked like, His was the kingdom of the entire universe, destined to be His, as the king of kings.

Yet, rejected Jesus was, and He had no other place to lay His head on, other than an animal’s stable, to be born among the animals in a small and dirty place not fit for human habitation. And yet, there He was born, and the Saviour of this world came. The prophecies of the past, and the calls of the prophets were fulfilled in perfection, and redemption finally came unto the world. And yet, He was rejected and cast out.

Many hardened their hearts against the Lord, just as their ancestors once hardened their hearts against Him during their journey in the desert. They constantly complained about the hardships they went through as they walked through the deserts of Sinai. The same too happened to them, and to us, brothers and sisters!

For this life, this life of ours as we journeyed through this world, is also a desert. And we are all walking this same journey, towards the Lord and His eternal glory, just as the people of Israel once marched through the desert towards the Promised Land of Canaan. Yet we, just like the Israelites, complained that life was easier back in the place of our slavery. The slavery of Israel in Egypt, and for us all, the slavery under sin and the power of death.

We may profess the Lord and profess our faith in Him, but in our dealings and our actions in this world, we actually prefer to deal with the forces of this world, with Satan! Yes, Satan instead of the Lord. We are often no different from those innkeepers who rejected the Lord in Bethlehem, and we are often like those Pharisees and Sadducees who mocked and ridiculed John the Baptist, as well as Lord Jesus Himself throughout their respective ministries.

Today, we celebrate the life of a saint, that is St. John of Kanty, who was a Polish priest living at the time of the early Renaissance Europe. St. John of Kanty was a devoted man, totally devoted to the Lord in great and deep humility and spirituality, and showing his dedication through his actions, by his teachings and his charitable works in the society where he worked at.

St. John of Kanty was also known for his great intellect and learning, and he established many works of faith in his writings, helping many to find their way to the Lord. He truly practiced his faith, and did not let the evils of this world to affect him. To him, only the Lord truly matters, and only the Lord deserved full and undivided attention.

It is often that we all are distracted by the numerous, and indeed, increasingly more and more numerous tempting offers from this world. Yes, all the goods and the amenities, the pleasures and joys that this world can give. What better example can be given than what we experience every Christmas? With evert gadgets and items, all the sales and discounted sales, all the advertisements and promotions. All these merely fuel our distractions, that indeed, Christmas is often no longer Christ-centred. And sadly, it is often that our lives too, as Christians, are also no longer Christ-centred.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we honour St. John of Kanty today, are we able to follow in his footsteps? In committing ourselves wholly and without reservations to the Lord? Are we able to say no to the distractions of this world, and stay truly faithful to God who came to us to save us? Remember that, He loved us so much that He gave us Jesus His own Son, that we may have life and new hope through Him.

May the Lord therefore renew and strengthen our faith, that we too may walk the same path and act in the same way as St. John of Kanty had done. May He guide us on our way, that we will be able to remain faithful to Him and stay on His paths. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 12 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Joel 4 : 12-21

Rise up, o peoples, and come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, nations. Bring a sickle for the harvest is ripe; come and tread for the winepress is full and the vats overflow, so great is their wickedness!

Multitudes and more multitudes in the Valley of Verdict! The day of YHVH is near in the Valley of Verdict! The sun and the moon become dark, the stars lose their radiance. YHVH roars from Zion and raises His voice from Jerusalem; heaven and earth are shaken. Indeed YHVH is a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the Israelites.

You will know that I am YHVH, your God, dwelling on Zion, My holy mountain. Jerusalem will be a holy place, and foreigners will never pass through there again. On that day the mountains shall drip wine and the hills flow with milk; all the streams of Judah will run with water and a fountain will spring from the House of YHVH, and water the valley of Shittim.

On the other hand, Egypt will be devastated and Edom will become a deserted wasteland because they committed violence against Judah, and shed innocent blood in their country. But Judah will be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem through all generations. And I shall avenge their blood and not leave it unpunished, for YHVH dwells in Zion.