Thursday, 1 March 2018 : 2nd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 16 : 19-31

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Once there was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and feasted every day. At his gate lay Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores, who longed to eat just the scraps falling from the rich man’s table. Even dogs used to come and lick his sores.”

“It happened that the poor man died, and Angels carried him to take his place with Abraham. The rich man also died, and was buried. From hell where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Abraham afar off, and with him Lazarus at rest. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me, and send Lazarus, with the tip of his finger dipped in water, to cool my tongue, for I suffer so much in this fire.'”

“Abraham replied, ‘My son, remember that in your lifetime you were well-off, while the lot of Lazarus was misfortune. Now he is in comfort, and you are in agony. But that is not all. Between your place and ours a great chasm has been fixed, so that no one can cross over from here to you, or from your side to us.'”

“The rich man implored once more, ‘Then I beg you, Father Abraham, to send Lazarus to my father’s house, where my five brothers live, let him warn them, so that they may not end up in this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.'”

“But the rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham; but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced, even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Thursday, 25 February 2016 : 2nd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 16 : 19-31

At that time, Jesus said to the people and to His disciples, “Once there was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and feasted every day. At his gate lay Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores, who longed to eat just the scraps falling from the rich man’s table. Even dogs used to come and lick his sores.”

“It happened that the poor man died, and Angels carried him to take his place with Abraham. The rich man also died, and was buried. From hell, where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Abraham afar off, and with him Lazarus at rest. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me, and send Lazarus’ with the tip of his finger dipped in water, to cool my tongue, for I suffer so much in this fire.'”

“Abraham replied, ‘My son, remember that in your lifetime you were well-off, while the lot of Lazarus was misfortune. Now he is in comfort, and you are in agony. But that is not all. Between your place and ours a great chasm has been fixed, so that no one can cross over from here to you, or from your side to us.'”

“The rich man implored once more, ‘Then I beg you, Father Abraham, to send Lazarus to my father’s house, where my five brothers live. Let him warn them, so that they may not end up in this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.'”

“But the rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham; but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced, even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Monday, 15 February 2016 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to the people and to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him, and as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your house. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.'”

“Then the good people will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : whenever you did this to these little ones who are My brothers and sisters, you did it to Me.'”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked, or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do it for Me.'”

“And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to eternal life.”

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 : Seventh Day within the Octave of Christmas, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard yet again about the incarnation of the Divine into Flesh, the assumption of the Divine Word of God of the mortal flesh of Man. In it we continue to reflect and celebrate in this blessed season of Christmas, the commemoration of the birth and entry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into this world.

The Christmas season is a time for us all to rejoice, but even more so, that we have to take a step back and realise the very reason why the Lord had done this, while He truly had no reason to do so. He is perfect in everything and He is perfectly fine by Himself, and yet He decided that He wants to share the love He has with those whom He had created in His own image, that is all of us mankind.

He came so that through what He taught His disciples, He might deliver the wisdom and truth of God unto mankind, so that, realising the truth about God and His love, they may find their way towards Him. That is because if we are not able to find our way to Him, we are likely to be lost in the darkness of the world, becoming tempted and failing to sin just as our ancestors had been tempted by Satan.

St. John in his letter which is our First Reading today warned of the presence and rise of antichrists, those whom Satan had charged with the corruption and subversion of the world and all the people of God, so that instead of following the true Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, we will follow the lies of Satan instead, spread through the wicked antichrists.

Do not think that antichrists will come only with the coming of the end times, as they are already here. We have many antichrists around us, those who pretend to speak for the truth, but instead subverting the truth into lies, while making people to believe in what they said as true. A simple and common example would be how the world, how the media perceived what the Church and its teachings mean, and how they twisted them and corrupt the people against God’s Church.

It is also similar with how the media and the people often misrepresented the Pope and his teachings, especially with our current Pope, Pope Francis. Pope Francis is an orthodox defender of the faith, who merely pushed for a more loving and meaningful application of our Faith in the world, but with no intention whatsoever to dismantle or destroy even a single iota or piece of the sacred teachings and Traditions of the Faith which we faithfully kept.

We too, brothers and sisters in Christ, are often distracted with the many lies and goodness of this world, the temptations of the evil one designed to bring us away from the salvation in God through Jesus Christ. We often find the ways of this world, and the various offers made by Satan and his agents in this world to be much more attractive than what our Lord offers us. Yet, what Satan offers us bring just temporary satisfaction and the end result in eternal death and condemnation.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important that we should help one another in the Faith, committing ourselves to help one another defending ourselves from the lies of Satan, from the traps of the antichrists, and help each other to remain firmly faithful to the teachings of the Faith. Today we also celebrate the feast of Pope St. Silvester I or Pope St. Sylvester I, the Pope who lived during the time when Christianity, our Faith had been accepted by the Roman Empire by the Emperor Constantine the Great.

Although the Faith had been accepted and was no longer persecuted then as it had been in the previous decades and centuries, but it did not mean that Pope St. Silvester I had an easy time as the Vicar of Christ. Instead, he had to deal with various heresies and false teachings of the Faith by various people trying to lead the people away from the truth of Christ and the true Faith.

Most prominent among the false prophets was Arius, who spread his teachings of Arianism, rejecting the divinity of Christ, proclaiming that Jesus was a mere Man and not God. Thus, if we look at this false prophet, it is very obvious that he was repudiating the very core of our faith, that is the belief in Jesus, the Logos or the Word of God, who is God and is with God, as the Gospel of John today proclaims, and who descended unto us, incarnate into Flesh by the means of His mother, Mary. Pope St. Silvester I and the other bishops condemned this falsehood and heresy through the now famous Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, reaffirming true Christian Faith and teachings.

Do not let Satan and his antichrists deceive us, but let us instead firmly believe in our Lord, who is the Word made Flesh, Jesus Christ, who out of His eternal love for us, was willing to descend upon us and dwell among us, so that we may be saved. God bless us all. Amen.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the words of the Holy Scriptures, which told us about when Jesus foretold the great destruction that was about to befall the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God there, because of the wickedness of the people who lived there. Then in the psalm we heard of the songs of joy and exultation which came from all of creation to praise the Lord who is to come to save His people.

And in the first reading we heard about the warning and prophecy of what is about to come in the future, at the end of times, when the Lord deems it is time for the ending of the world as we knew it. When everything is at hand, what had been said in the Scriptures, will be completely fulfilled. There are two meanings of the reaping of the earth in the first reading today from the Book of the revelations of St. John.

The first one is related to the parable of the fig tree where the Lord rebuked the fig tree for having bore no fruit, and it withered, and also to the parable of the sower, where the seeds sown in a rich and fertile soil grew to such an extent that they bore a thirtyfold, or a sixtyfold, or a hundredfold return in bountiful fruits and products. Therefore, this means that at the time, when the Lord’s chosen ones had been completed in their fullness, and in the fullness of their faith, He will come again.

The time is not known to us, and only He who knows it all, has control over it. We who have been chosen and we who chose to put our faith in Him has therefore one task for ourselves, that is to live faithfully and genuinely in our love for Him, so that through our actions, we may be filled with such goodness and grace, so that we bear the fruits of love, that is the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We are the grapes of the Lord, sown with love by our Lord Himself, the vineyard owner. The angels are His servants, who will go forth into the world to reap whatever can be reaped on the day of the harvest. If we do not bear fruit within us, then when the time of reckoning, that is the harvest time, comes, then the angels will find no fruit in us, and we will end up as useless plants.

What is our fate then if that is the case? Our fate will therefore be to share the fate of Satan and his angels, who had been the first ones to disobey the Lord and His will, bearing themselves no good fruit in them. And the same goes if the fruits we produce are rotten or no good at all in quality. No vineyard owner would like to have bad or rotten grapes as his harvest produce, and these will be thrown into the fire to be destroyed, lest they contaminate the good grapes. Hence, the same will happen to us, at the Last Judgment.

The second meaning of the reaping of the earth in the first reading today, is that the grapes when they are pressed, they produce rich liquid that if we look at the most commonly used grapes at the time, the red variant, produce a deep red grape juice, which if we look at it, does look like blood. And this is another meaning of the reaping of the earth at the end of time.

If we read in another part of the Book of the Revelation of St. John, we will see a passage on the Mother Harlot, the great Babylon, seated on the beast, which represent the evil forces and all the wickedness of this world and whoever it is that do not have faith in the Lord. The harlot was drunk with the blood of martyrs, and the anger of God was very great against the world because of that.

That means, when the wickedness of the world was such, and the persecution of the holy martyrs was such that their blood cries out to the Lord for justice, then the Lord will heed their call, and at His appointed time, come to judge and destroy all the wickedness in this world. This is therefore related to the first interpretation of the meaning of the reaping of the world by the angel. In what way is this so?

It means that, just as Jesus warned of a great tribulation would soon befall Jerusalem, its destruction and the mayhem it would cause, that would only be a precursor and a brief insight into what will happen when the Lord is about to come again, just as St. John has seen them all in his revelation. Nations will fight against nations, and many will be misled by the forces of evil, seeking to turn us away from the way of the Lord and to worship and serve the devil instead.

In this therefore, the temptation will be great for us to turn from being a good and faithful vine, producing good and sweet grapes, into one corrupted and sickened by diseases, namely the disease of sin, which cause us to produce bad and rotten fruits instead. And the persecution of those who believe in the Lord will be growing more and more, greater and greater, and at times, even our lives and our blood will be at stake.

It is therefore a reminder for us, that first, we have to be thoroughly and completely faithful to the Lord, without doubts or second thoughts. We cannot serve both the Lord and the devil, and if we are to serve the Lord, we have to take our clear stand with Him, regardless of what the world may do to us for doing so. Do not fear the world, for it can only harm our body temporarily, but they cannot touch even a single bit of our soul, which is eternal.

Then, it is also a reminder that if we follow the Lord and remain faithful to Him, everything will not be easy or happy all the time. Difficulties and challenges will surely come our way, but if we are resolute and dedicated in our faith, then be assured, brothers and sisters, that we will be well taken care of by the Lord, and our reward is very great in heaven.

Today, we remember the memory and celebrate the feast of a great martyr and saint, whose example may help us to strengthen our own faith and effort to defend it, in the face of the difficulties and challenges presented by this world. The saint of today is St. Catherine of Alexandria, a holy virgin and martyr of the faith, who died heroically defending her faith and the Lord, as well as her purity, from the corruptions of sin and the world during the last of the great persecutions of the Faith by the Roman Empire.

St. Catherine of Alexandria was born a noble lady, the daughter of the rulers or governors of Egypt, a wealthy and influential province of the Roman Empire. Her beauty, wisdom and skills were such that, many people were her suitors. However, St. Catherine, who was a convert to the faith in her youth, was to dedicate herself and her love only to One, and that One is the Lord.

St. Catherine devoted herself to perpetual and perfect virginity, maintaining her purity, by offering herself totally and completely to the Lord, as a spiritual bride of the Lord, rejecting all the offers of all those who pursued her, even though she was showered with gifts of wealth, riches, power, influence, fame and many others. Eventually, even the Emperor himself, Maxentius, who would later perish against the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, was also taken in by her beauty, but he failed to persuade her as well.

It was told that St. Catherine tried to persuade Emperor Maxentius to stop the persecution of Christians and to make him to see the errors of his ways of idol worship and to embrace the true Faith. The Emperor was not persuaded and he tried to employ several pagan philosophers to debate with her, and instead, those philosophers were persuaded and some joined the Faith.

Eventually St. Catherine of Alexandria was martyred, suffering terribly for defending her Faith and the truth, but in doing so, she had stood up for her faith, and brought witness and testimony to the truth, that inspired even others and brought others to salvation. She is our role model, brothers and sisters, as her actions in life is the example of what we should do in this life, to gain righteousness in God’s sight.

Therefore, with the intercession of St. Catherine of Alexandria, let us all renew our commitment to the Faith, strengthening our resolve to love and serve the Lord in all things, so that we may be true disciples of the Lord, rejecting all the falsehoods of Satan and his allies. Their lies and temptations are plentiful, cunning and wicked.

Remember what our Lord said in the Gospel today, that there will be lots of false prophets and false leads, and if we are not careful, we may fall into the traps of the devil. Let us therefore be courageous to live fully in the Lord, and at the same time, be vigilant and careful in all the things we do, so as to avoid committing sin and falling into damnation. God bless us all. Amen.


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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the first reading we continue through the reading of the Book of the Apocalypse according to St. John the Evangelist, who received the vision of the coming of the end of time while he was exiled at the Isle of Patmos. In that reading, we see the glory of God fully revealed, the triumphant glory of our Lord and King, He who is enthroned in heaven, Jesus the Lamb of God who had shed His blood to purchase us from the hands of death.

Such was the love and care which our Lord and God had showered us with, and we have been given so many things, just as Jesus Himself explained to the people using the parable of the talents in the Gospel today, the well-known parable where Jesus told of a master of the house and his servants, to whom the master entrusted silver talents as he left to assume the kingship in a distant country.

God gave us all many gifts in us, and each of us have different sets of this gift according to our own uniqueness and abilities. That is how unique and wonderful God’s works is. We are not meant to be perfect in all things, but we are to complement each other, and to live with one another, helping each other and showing love to one another. We cannot isolate ourselves from others around us, especially those who are in need of what God had given us.

The parable of the talents is a classic example of how Jesus showed mankind of His future coming into the world, as a triumphant King and Master of all, even though He once came in the form of a humble Human being, a mere carpenter’s son. At the end of time, as we all keep strongly the faith in our Creed, we believe that He will come again as the Great Judge of all, to judge all the living and the dead for all of their deeds in life.

The master is the Lord Jesus, who came into the world, and by His life, His suffering, death and resurrection, obtained for us all who believe in Him, the grace and gift of eternal life and salvation, a gift beyond any comparison. Thus, all of us who have been baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are truly like the servants whom the master entrusted with the silver talents.

Why is this so? That is because, indeed, we have life in us, as the basic and most fundamental gift of the Lord to us, but then, when we received the sacrament of baptism, we ourselves were welcomed into the Church and were made sons and daughters of the Lord. And as the children of God and the members of His Church, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit into us, and principal among these gifts are namely faith, hope and love.

But these gifts are dormant, brothers and sisters in Christ, and like a farmer sowing seeds in his field, if the field is not worked and tilled with hoe and effort put into the growing of the crops, then the seed will remain just that, that is as seed, and will not grow. In order for the seeds to grow into bountiful and strong plants, they need to be cared for and nourished with effort.

The same therefore applies to us all, as the gifts of God lying dormant within us are waiting for us to unleash them and release them to those around us, whom we can indeed touch and benefit with the gifts we have. We have a choice here, either to let those gifts remain dormant, because we are reluctant, or fearful, or doubtful, or simply plain lazy or selfish, that we are like the lazy and worthless servant, who hid his master’s silver talent, and in the end, the silver talent bore no profit or use.

Thus, our talents, gifts and blessings from God will be useless and worthless if we let them lie dormant in us. The other choice we have is to open up the doors of our heart, and allow these gifts to flow from us, and in the process, they will grow plenty, just like a small seed growing to such a big tree and plant, and just as the silver talent invested carefully bearing much profits and income for those who had wisely invested it.

Remember, just as in the parable, the master would return from the distant kingdom to ask all of his servants to account for the silver talents they have been entrusted with. The master who went off to a faraway kingdom, was indeed Jesus who after His resurrection, went forth to His kingdom in heaven, the everlasting kingdom, to prepare a place for all those who believe in Him. He ascended into heaven, but He will indeed come again as He had foretold.

And His return will be sudden and unannounced, so that many people will be caught unaware and unprepared. At that time, those who had lived righteously and acted according to the will of God are like the faithful and diligent servants, who worked on the silver talents and brought handsome returns with it, doubling whatever had been given to them.

These will be rewarded and blessed forever, and they will have inheritance in God’s kingdom. But for those who have failed to use whatever God had given them and blessed them with, they will suffer rejection by God and cast away into the utter darkness. The choice is ours, brothers and sisters, for it is fully in our control to utilise the gifts had given us.

May Almighty God give us the strength and courage to overcome our fears and reluctance, to put into use the various gifts, talents and abilities which He had given us, so that we may put them to good use, to benefit all those around us, our neighbours, our brothers and sisters. God bless us all. Amen.


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Friday, 14 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is again repeated and emphasized today the imminent and urgent nature of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, which may happen at any time. It was mentioned how the coming of the Day of Judgment, when God will come to take His people, is like a thief entering and breaking into a house, without the owner knowing what had happened.

Therefore, it will be the same with us all, as when the Lord comes again, as He had promised, it will be like a flash and all of us will be caught unaware and unprepared, that is if we do not take the steps necessary to prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord Jesus. The evidence and the warnings are ample, and if we regularly read the Holy Scriptures and go about in our Faith, we can realise how imminent it is to be, and how dangerous it is for us if we come unprepared.

Yet, as with the timing of His second coming, none of this are under our control. When I say that it is imminent, it does not imply that it will be today or tomorrow, but rather that it can happen any time, and therefore we should not be complacent in our Faith. Every day, every moments of our life, we must use them well to live out our faith in God to the very fullest.

And how do we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? St. John in his second letter which is our First Reading today gave us a hint, which also reaffirmed the teachings of Christ, that all of us should be righteous and walk faithfully in the ways of the Lord. And what is this way? That is to fully and genuinely fulfill His commandments, which is love.

This can be done by loving our neighbours, one another, our brothers and sisters around us without prejudice and without fear. And this love must be genuine and real, cannot be just because we want to be praised by others for our actions, but because we have the love that pours forth from our hearts like torrents of water that no dam can stop.

And indeed, with the illusion of dams, we must stop damming ourselves, and the love that is in us. We have been given the seeds of faith, hope and love within us by the Lord who gave us life through His Spirit. But if we do not act on these in our lives and instead lead a debauched and wicked lifestyle, succumbing to our desires and ignoring the plight of others, then the seeds will remain just that, seeds, with no fruits to be shown as the concrete proof of our faith.

If we allow the love in ourselves to grow, then it will grow so great that it will not be able to be contained in ourselves, and it will enrich others around us. If we love each other, believe me, that many of this world’s problems will disappear and be solved. Wars, violence, injustice and prejudice all stemmed from our inability to love one another, and instead we fall into the traps of sin, as we engulf ourselves in hatred, bias, jealousy, greed and many other vices in our lives.

And the lack of love and respect for the Lord, in those who think that they are better than others, in those who are proud and thinking only of themselves, stem from the same root of the lack of action infused with love. If we have put love ahead of ourselves, and if we practice our faith with full sincerity and genuine intention, then that is why we are not capable of recognising the generous love of God for us.

And if we are not able to recognise the love which God has for us, then that is why we grow selfish and thinking only of our own benefits. In the end, this will become our downfall. Do we all remember what did Jesus say about the Last Judgment? The Last Judgment is the time when the Lord Jesus, who is the Judge of all the living and the dead will pronounce the final judgments on the fate of all mankind.

To those who have been righteous and just, and to all those who have loved one another and loved the Lord with all of their hearts, even if they do not know it, the Lord praises them and gives them the gift of eternal life, for they have been justified by love and by their faith. He told them that whenever they do something good and show love to the least and the smallest in their society, they have done it also to Him.

In the psalm today, it was written how are the types of the people desired by the Lord, namely those who are upright and who seek the Lord in all things, and who are righteous in all of their actions and faithfully obeyed God’s commandments, by loving their fellow brothers and sisters and ultimately, to show love and devotion to God Himself, all these without fear or reservation.

If we fail to achieve these, then the Lord at the Last Judgment will cast us out to be with Satan and his angels, as we have not loved Him, and neither that we have loved our brothers and sisters in the way which He had described in His Laws and commandments. If this happens, and if we are also caught unaware and unprepared, then we have no more hope with us. It is eternal despair and suffering for us.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, the second coming of our Lord will be sudden and unexpected, and if we are not prepared, despite the numerous reminders and warnings He had given us, then it is eternal regret for us. And there is no escape, brethren, so do not wait until it is way too late for us. Let us all begin today, from now on, to know what is love and how to show genuine love.

May our Lord Jesus Christ bless us and strengthen us with His love, so that we may be proactive in our actions, to be filled with love. That we may be justified by our actions, showing our real, genuine and living faith, through which we resolve our devotion to the Lord, and be committed to Him, as our only Lord and our only God. God bless us all. Amen.


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(Usus Antiquior) Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, All Souls’ Day (Feria II Classis) – Monday, 3 November 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, following the Usus Antiquior or the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite of the Holy Mass, we celebrate the commemoration of all the faithful departed, or the celebration of All Souls’ Day. We therefore today remember all of our loved ones and indeed, all of our fellow brothers and sisters who have gone before us into the afterlife.

The souls of the dead departed from their bodies, and to many of us, death seems like to be very dreadful and vile indeed. And that is why so many people feared death, as they see it as the separation from what is dear to them in the world, from all of their loved ones and from all of their possessions, indeed, from everything that they were and from everyone they ever knew.

Or so it seems. We often mourn at death because we do not understand death, and we often do not know that what we see as death, is not an eternal separation or indeed even as something to be dreaded at all. For some of us, we cannot endure death because we fear losing what we have in this life, our possessions and our ties to the things of this world. And then for some, we see death as something evil and scary, as how it was often portrayed to us.

What is death? Death is, as mentioned, the sting of sin, and death is the consequence of sin. Death is never meant for us, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we were created by God in perfection, intended to enjoy forever the bliss of life and harmony, with the Lord in complete and unadulterated love. Instead, men chose to follow their own path, and to listen to the lies of Satan, and thus sinned.

Sin is disobedience and rebellion against God’s will, against God who is love and who is life. As He is the source of life, when we rebelled against the Lord, we have been tainted by sin and therefore being cast off from Life itself, having no life in us. Hence, even though the breath of life which God had given us is within us, but the life we have in this world is temporary, and is bound to end one day, at the Lord’s time and choosing.

Yes, we are all mere mortals, and the life within us depends on God, who gives and takes Life as He pleases. And yet, this life which we have is in fact an opportunity for us all to atone and repent from our sinfulness. And the Lord Himself has presented us with a new hope and guidance, by the sending of His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ into this world.

Why is this so? That is because our Lord Jesus Christ offers us a new life, that is life in Him, the Lord of Life. He has life in Him as given to Him by His Father, and He is the Bread of Life who came down from heaven. Why is this allusion to food, the Bread of Life? Because Christ Himself had offered His own flesh and blood to become the very food and drink that gives us new life and nourishes us.

This food and drink is the food that gives us new life, not the life that is still subjected to the power of death, but a new life that is free from the depredations of death. And Jesus offered us this Bread and this Wine, His own Body and Blood, to be part of us, when we receive them with faith, so that we who share in His gifts through the sacrifice He made on the cross, gain everlasting life through Him.

Our mortal existence in this world may come to an end, but we have been assured the final victory against death, as the Lord Himself had conquered death through His own resurrection from the dead. And that resurrection is our hope, because through it we know that there is escape from death, and it will not have the final say against us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there are three fates awaiting the souls when they depart from this earthly life. If they are wicked in life, disobeying the Lord and refusing to listen to His calling, and even refusing to repent and believe in Him, committing evil in life, then hell is their lot. Hell that is the total separation and rift from the love of God, without hope of escape and salvation. No amount of help or prayer will help souls that have been condemned to hell for their irredeemable sins.

Meanwhile, the souls of the faithful will end up either in heaven or in Purgatory, depending on what they had done in life. If their lives had been exemplary in faith, filled with all forms of goodness and righteousness, then they merit the glories and joy of heaven straight away, and these are the saints, the holy men and women who keep their lives pure and worthy in the sight of God.

How about Purgatory, then? Purgatory is the place where the souls of the faithful dead, who has been faithful and devoted to God, and were found righteous, but still have the taints of serious sins on them. As such, they were not yet worthy of the fullness of glory of heaven, as the Lord dwells there, and in the presence of God, no sin should stand.

Therefore, the souls whose sins have not been completely purified have to wait in the Purgatory, suffering the consequences of their sins, the pain and sorrow of not being able to be with the Lord their God, and at the same time, being fully aware of the wickedness of their sins and shortcomings, which made them to end up in the Purgatory at the first place. They will indeed eventually proceed to heaven, but only after their sins had been absolved completely.

Today is therefore a reminder for us, on this feast of All Souls, that we have a clear choice in this life to follow the will of God and walk in His ways, or otherwise to follow the whims of our own desire and to listen to Satan and thus to sin. If we are not careful, and if our lives are filled with wickedness, then we may end up in hell, without hope of ever escaping it.

And the souls in Purgatory and their suffering there reminds us to lead a righteous life, free from even venial and seemingly minuscule and light sins. Even these may hamper us as we make our way towards the Lord. And the souls in Purgatory needs our prayer, as they cannot pray for their own sake. If we pray for the souls in Purgatory, we may obtain for them plenary or partial indulgence for the remission and absolution of their sins, so that hopefully they will be able to end their sufferings in Purgatory and proceed to the eternal glory in heaven.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us ask the holy saints and angels of God to pray, first to pray for the souls in Purgatory, that together with their prayers, our prayers for these poor souls may rise to the presence of God, and God in His mercy and love, may forgive them their sins and bring them into heaven to be with Him, having been made pure and blameless, so that they may not need to suffer anymore.

And finally, for them to also pray for us sinners who still walk in this world in this mortal life. That we may realise our sinfulness and mortality, and of the suffering of the souls in Purgatory, so that we may change our ways, avoiding and rejecting sins, that we may eventually be found worthy in heaven and that none of us will be lost to hell. May all the souls of the faithful dead in the Lord, find rest in peace and receive the eternal glory of everlasting heaven with Him. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 October 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together to celebrate the love of God and to listen to His words as written and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. And St. Paul in his letter to the Church and the faithful in Corinth praised the people of God for their faith in God, and how the Lord Jesus affirmed the faith of all those who believed in Him, so that all of them will be justified at the end of time and not perish.

And in the Gospel, we heard about the healing of the paralytic man, that is a man who cannot move or walk due to the paralysis of the body, and Jesus healed him to show His power and authority over all things, all sins and diseases, both those of the body and those of the soul. Yes, that is why Jesus came into the world, to show the power of God by the healing of the sick, but more than just the body, as more important is the healing of the soul.

Jesus is the Lord, the God of all creations. One and only God, not created but existing and with the Father before all ages and before the beginning of the reckoning of time, and before creation. He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as a trinity of Godhead, Three separate and equal brings, but one in nature. This is our faith and this is what we believe in, in the Most Holy Trinity, Three Godhead but One in perfect unity of love, the One True God, whom the people of Israel also believed in.

And thus, He who is the Word of God, who created heaven and earth and all the creatures and creations in them, was willing to come down upon us, to be with us and to walk among us, taking in humility our humble human form, not that of a king but the lowly Son of a carpenter of Nazareth, that through Him, what God had planned for the salvation of mankind might proceed and be fulfilled completely.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that men often fall sick, suffering from the disease of the body. We know now of many diseases, both those that are contagious and non-contagious. We know of the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa, of which many thousands have died, and many thousands more suffered from the disease. And we know how many millions are affected by dengue fever, malaria, polio, smallpox and many other diseases, which many of these cause not just suffering and pain, but eventually even death.

And death comes especially when the disease is left untreated, either because the sufferers are unable to afford the fees needed to cure their respective illnesses, or that the disease itself has yet to be curable, namely no cure has yet to be found. Some disease like HIV, diabetes, cancer and others have not yet been curable, and hence what doctors can do, is mostly to reduce the suffering, or in the case of cancer, that is to excise and cut out the cancerous cells to remove them from the body, or to use chemicals to kill and destroy them.

But all these bodily diseases, illnesses and afflictions pale in comparison to the disease of our heart and soul, namely sin. Sin is indeed a disease, since it attacks us in the depth of our own beings, and not just our soul and heart can be affected, but even our body, for the body obeys the will of our heart and soul. And if sin corrupts our heart and soul, our body will likely also be corrupted by the same sin.

And sin is more dangerous and harmful than the effects of the bodily diseases that I mentioned earlier on. It does not mean that those bodily diseases are trivial, but considering their seriousness and the sufferings they can inflict on us, then we should be even more aware of the kind of harm which sin can cause to us. Remember that Jesus said, that we do not need to fear those that can bring about the destruction of the body, but we ought to worry indeed, those that can bring about the destruction of the soul.

One of the intentions of Jesus is indeed that, we should not fear the devil and his agents. We have seen how scary and destructive they may seem to look, but they have no power over us. They may strike at our body, but they cannot harm our soul. The One who can bring about the destruction of our soul is indeed God Himself, the Lord and Master of all, who has the authority over all things. We know of the Last Judgment, and how the righteous will be separated from the wicked, and while the righteous will enjoy the fruits of God’s promise and love, the wicked will suffer for eternity. What will they suffer for? For their sins indeed!

Yes, so we need to indeed be wary of sin, and how it can bring about our destruction, and how it can harm us both in this life, and the life that is to come. That is why our Lord Jesus is the One with the power and authority to forgive sins. He is the One with the power to heal us from all of our afflictions, body and soul. That is why He rebuked the Pharisees when they doubted His ability to forgive sins, and even accused Him of blasphemy.

Why so? This is because they failed to recognise Christ, when it was so clear that the prophets from all ages had spoken about the Messiah who was to come. And in Jesus all of their prophecies, and all the promises of God were fulfilled. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, and all who believe in Him will gain life eternal, and total liberation from the sins that have chained us mankind to death.

That marked the difference between the paralytic man and the Pharisees. Both of them were afflicted, with sin and darkness in their hearts. But the paralytic man listened to the Lord and allowed Him to work His wonders in him, healing him from all of His afflictions. Thus, if we follow the Lord and remain completely faithful to Him, we will gain healing through Him and be made justified through our faith, and thus eligible of eternal life.

On the other hand, if we act like the Pharisees, thinking that we are perfectly alright and have no need for healing, then the pride, greed, arrogance and wickedness in our hearts, just as they were in the hearts of the Pharisees and the scribes will be our undoing. Is this what we want for ourselves? Certainly not. Therefore, it is imperative that we take heed of what our Lord Jesus had done and what He had taught and shown us through our Faith and through the Scriptures.

May Almighty God therefore guide us, heal us from our afflictions, empower us, and grant us strength, as well as humility, so that we may have the courage and will to ask Him humbly to heal us and to make us whole again, that we sinners, filled with the sins of our ancestors and the sins of our own daily lives, may be made pure like snow, white and pure as a diamond, and be cleansed from all the diseases of our body and soul. That in the end, after excising all that is evil from our beings, and after decisively rebuking Satan, we are precious and worthy, and are welcome into the eternal life God had prepared for us all. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel (I Classis) – Monday, 29 September 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast of a great protector, our great defense against the assaults of the evil one, Satan, the prince and progenitor of all evils. We celebrate today the feast of the chief of all the angelic hosts of heaven, that is St. Michael the Archangel, prince of all the angels, and chief of the seven Archangels who served before the throne of God.

The angels were created by the Lord to be His servants, that is to be the ones who carry out His will throughout the world, to be His messengers and the bearers of His good works, to exercise His power throughout the universe He had created. He created angels of many forms and kinds, and they have various tasks and functions, depending on how they were created.

Just like men, when we were first created, the angels were initially pure and blameless, free from what is now called as sin, the impurities and imperfections that blemished the purity of creation, through disobedience against the will of God. The angels too, were granted free will just like us, so that, just as we are able to choose our path and destination in life, then they too were able to choose.

But everything was good and perfect, just as our ancestors once lived in perfect peace and harmony in the gardens of Eden, the angels were all pure and immaculate, free from all evil and taints of sin, that is until the corruption and fall of Lucifer, the greatest, brightest and the mightiest of all the angels, and unfortunately, his pride too was the greatest of all the angels, his vanity and sense of superiority over others, which proved to be his greatest undoing.

While now we speak of St. Michael the Archangel as the chief of all the heavenly hosts, he was not made such because of his greatness and his power or might, neither it was because he was the most beautiful or splendid among the angels of God. It was rather because of St. Michael’s great obedience and faith in the Lord, which made him to be the greatest defender of the Lord and His beloved people against the forces of evil.

For as mentioned, that Lucifer was once the greatest and the mightiest among the angels, but this made him proud beyond any pride, and he began to plot his rise among the angels, and eventually even boasted that he would make his throne rise above the stars of God, namely the angels, to be the ruler of them, and displacing God as the ruler over all creations.

Lucifer was proud and haughty, and he was brought down, because he was thinking too highly of himself, aspiring to be the ruler of all surpassing the Creator, while he is merely a creation, albeit a glorious and great one at that. On the contrary, St. Michael was known for his great faith and piety, and the complete trust he has for the Lord. And in addition to this, he was also told to be trembling at always before the presence of God.

This does not mean that St. Michael was fearful or weak, but rather, in doing so, he actually by himself acknowledging the superiority of God, and how great God is as compared to himself. It is his humility, courage and piety which made the Lord to choose him and honour him to be the great commander of His heavenly forces. And he courageously led the forces of the faithful against the deceiver and the evil one, the fallen Lucifer, who was struck down and cast out of heaven, to suffer for eternity the fate prepared for him.

The examples of St. Michael’s faith, piety, dedication and courage therefore should become guiding lights for us to follow, that in our actions and deeds, we may model them after what St. Michael had once done, and what he is doing now, that is leading the hosts of the Lord in a constant and regular battle for the salvation of our souls, against Satan, the fallen Lucifer, and his allies, those angels who were also ensnared in his pride and vanity, and ended up rebelling against God.

We mankind are special indeed, for we are the greatest of God’s creations, including even the angels, and we are the most beloved ones of all the things which God had created. As such, while the angels who rebelled were given no second chance to turn back to the Lord, and receive forgiveness, we mankind alone had been given this gift of forgiveness, that as long as we repent our sins and rebelliousness, and if we are willing to follow the way of the Lord, we will be saved.

That is why, even though our ancestors had disobeyed the Lord, through the instigation of the snake, the form assumed by the fallen Lucifer, who wanted mankind to also follow into his rebellion, God gave us a second chance, and by no other means than to send His very own Son, part of Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord, to assume our own form, and through what He had done, He gave up His life and through His sacrifice, gained for us a new hope and a new justification in Himself.

And we also have to note that the Lord is thoroughly concerned with us, brothers and sisters in Christ. He is truly concerned about our fate, and whether we will share the fate of the devil, that is to suffer in the hell fire, or to be reunited with Himself in perfect love and harmony, just as what He intended for us at the very beginning when He first created us.

That is why, He sent us Jesus His Son, so that through what He taught His disciples, and from them passed down to us, we may all know what we need to do in order to avoid the dark fate which awaits us if we remain in our life of sin. But we need to be aware that, what Jesus said today in the Gospels, we should not interpret or take it literally, which means that if a part of our body made us to sin, then we should not chop it off just like that.

There is indeed wisdom and thought put into that kind of decision, to cut off the part that corrupts the entire body and soul, but that also means that we can no longer do good with the same part of the body, which God had given us. This is where we need to truly understand, that what the Lord means is that, we have to really do our best to excise from ourselves any actions or parts which have been great hindrances to our salvation, beginning from within ourselves.

Sin corrupts everything it touches, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is caused by the accumulation of the negativity in our hearts, of which things such as pride, jealousy, hatred, greed and many others consist of. And it was this same thing that had corrupted even the greatest and the brightest of the angels into rebellion against God and therefore sinned against Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore let us renew our faith in the Lord, not by just mere empty words and promises, but also through real action and devotions, that is by following the examples of St. Michael the Archangel. Let us excise from our hearts, all evils and darkness, that we may truly become pure and worthy of the Lord once again. We can do this by sincere love and devotion to the Lord, and by listening to what He had said to us through Jesus.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all sharpen the edges of our humility and obedience to God, that we may always listen to Him and follow Him, obeying Him in His will for us rather than to listen to our own desires and pride, as Lucifer had done. Let us all not be enslaved by our emotions and pride, that we may truly rebuke Satan and let him to suffer alone the fate which he had earned for himself. Do not let him to drag us into hellfire, brethren!

Let us pray and ask for the help and intercession of St. Michael the Archangel and the holy angels, so that they may help us and protect us from all the harm which the evil one and his allies, the fallen angels had intended for us. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, so that by the power of God, you who are the prince and leader of all the heavenly hosts, may smite down Satan and all his lies, and all those who are working their evils in our world, seeking after the ruination of all the souls of the faithful. Amen.