Sunday, 12 August 2018 : Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

John 6 : 41-51

At that time, the Jews murmured because Jesus had said, “I am the Bread Which comes from heaven.” And they said, “This Man is the Son of Joseph, is He not? We know His father and mother. How can He say that He has come from heaven?”

Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless he is drawn by the Father Who sent Me; and I will raise him up on the last day. It has been written in the Prophets : They shall all be taught by God. So whoever listens and learns from the Father comes to Me. For no one has seen the Father except the One Who comes from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”

“I am the Bread of Life. Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. But here you have the Bread from heaven, so that you may eat of It, and not die. I am the living Bread from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The Bread I shall give is My Flesh, and I will give It for the life of the world.”

Sunday, 20 March 2016 : Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Holy Week (Passion Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 22 : 14 – Luke 23 : 56 (Palm Sunday Year C)

When the hour came, Jesus took His place at the table and the Apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I was eager to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

Then they passed Him a cup, and when He had given thanks, He said, “Take this, and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that, from now on, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Jesus also took bread, and after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

And after the supper, He did the same with the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant, sealed in My Blood, which is poured out for you. Yet the hand of the traitor is with Me on the table. Know that the Son of Man is going the way marked out for Him. But alas for that one who betrays Him!”

They began to ask one another which of them could do such a thing. They also began to argue among themselves which of them should be considered the most important. And Jesus said, “The kings of the pagan nations rule over them as lords, and the most hard-hearted rulers claim the title, ‘Gracious Lord.'”

“But not so with you; let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is the greatest, he who sits at the table or he who serves? He who is seated, isn’t it? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”

“You are the ones who have been with Me, and stood by Me, through My troubles; because of this, just as the kingship has been given to Me by My Father, so I give it to you. You will eat and drink at My table at My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones and govern the twelve tribes of Israel.”

“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you like grain, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have recovered, you shall strengthen your brothers.” Then Peter said, “Lord, with You I am ready to go even to prison and death.” But Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day before you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Jesus also said to them, “When I sent you without purse or bag or sandals, were you short of anything?” They answered, “No.” And Jesus said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and a bag as well. And if anyone is without a sword, let hm sell his cloak to buy one. For Scripture says : ‘He was numbered among criminals.’ These words have to be fulfilled in Me, and now everything written about Me is taking place.”

Then they said, “See, Lord, here are two swords!” But He answered, “That is enough.”

After this, Jesus left to go as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. When He came to the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not be put to the test.” Then He went a little further, about a stone’s throw, and kneeling down He prayed, “Father, if it is You will, remove this cup from Me; however, not My will but Yours be done.” And an angel from heaven appeared to give Him strength.

As He was in agony, He prayed even more earnestly, and great drops of blood formed like sweat and fell to the ground. When He rose from prayer, He went to His disciples, but found them worn out with grief, and asleep. And He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Get up and pray, so that you may not be put to the test.”

Jesus was still speaking when a group appeared, and the man named Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him, and Jesus said to him, “Judas, with a kiss do you betray the Son of Man?”

Those with Jesus, seeing what would happen, said to Him, “Master, shall we use the sword?” And one of them struck the HIgh Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus stopped him, “No more of this!” He touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus spoke to those coming against Him, the chief priests, officers of the Temple and elders; and He said to them, “Did you really set out against a robber? Do you need swords and clubs to arrest Me? Day after day I was among you, teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest Me. But this is the hour of the power of darkness; this is your hour.”

Then they seized Him and took Him away, bringing Him to the High Priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance. A fire was kindled in the middle of the courtyard, where people were gathered, and Peter sat among them. A maidservant noticed him. Looking at him intently in the light if the fire, she exclaimed, “This man also was with Him!” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”

A little later, someone who saw Him said, “You are also one of them!” Peter replied, “My friend, I am not!” After about an hour another asserted, “Surely this man was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”

Again Peter denied, “My friend, I don’t know what you are talking about.” He had not finished saying this, when a cock crowed. The Lord turned around and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word that the Lord had spoken, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter went outside, weeping bitterly.

And the guards, who had arrested Jesus, mocked and beat Him. They blindfolded Him, struck Him, and then asked, “Who hit You? Tell us, prophet!” And they hurled many other insulting words at him.

At daybreak, the council of the elders of the people, among whom were the chief priests and the scribes, assembled again. Then they had Jesus brought before them, and they began questioning Him, “Tell us, are You the Christ?” Jesus replied, “You will not believe, if I tell you, and neither will you answer, if I ask you. Yet from now on, the Son of Man will have His seat at the right hand of the MIghty God.”

In chorus they asked, “So you are the Son of God?” And Jesus said to them, “You are right, I am.” Then they said, “What need have we of witnesses? We have heard it from His own lips.

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

It was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph, from the Judean town of Arimathea. He had not agreed with the decision and action of his fellow members, and he lived uprightly in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God. Joseph went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. He then took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a yet unused tomb, cut out of a rock.

It was Preparation Day, and the star which marks the beginning of the Sabbath was shining. So the women, who had come with Jesus from Galilee, followed Joseph to see the tomb, and how His body was laid. And returning home, they prepared perfumes and ointments. And on the Sabbath day, they rested, as the Law required.

 

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 23 : 1-49

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

It was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Sunday, 9 November 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

1 Paralipomenon (Chronicles) 29 : 17, 18

Domine Deus, in simplicitate cordis mei laetus obtuli universa; et populum Tuum, qui repertus est, vidi cum ingenti gaudio : Deus Israel, custodi hanc voluntatem, Alleluja.

English translation

O Lord God, in the simplicity of my heart, I have joyfully offered all these things; and I have seen with great joy Your people, which are present. O God of Israel, keep this will, Alleluia.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Secret (only to be used in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran itself)

Annue, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris : (ut, quicumque intra templi hujus, cujus anniversarium dedicationis diem celebramus, ambitum continemur, plena tibi atque perfecta corporis et animae devotione placeamus) ut, dum haec vota praesentia reddimus, ad aeterna praemia, te adjuvante, pervenire mereamur. Per Dominum…

English translation

Bow down to our prayers, o Lord, we beseech You (that all of us who are within the precincts of this temple, the anniversary of whose dedication we celebrate, may please You with full and perfect devotion of body and soul) that, while we pay our vows here below, we may, by Your assistance, be worthy to attain unto everlasting rewards. Through our Lord…

Secret (Commemoration of Dedication)

Deus, qui sacrandorum tibi auctor es munerum, effunde super hanc orationis domum benedictionem Tuam : ut ab omnibus, in ea invocantibus Nomen Tuum, defensionis Tuae auxilium se nitatur. Per Dominum…

English translation

O God, You who are the author of the gifts that are to be consecrated to You, pour forth Your blessing upon this house of prayer, that the help of Your defense may be felt by all who here invoke Your Name. Through our Lord…

Secret (Commemoration of St. Theodore)

Suscipe, Domine, fidelium preces cum oblationibus hostiarum : et, intercedente Beato Theodoro Martyre Tuo, per haec piae devotionis officia ad caelestem gloriam transeamus. Per Dominum…

English translation

Receive, o Lord, the prayers of the faithful with offerings of sacrifices, and, by the intercession of Blessed Theodore, Your martyr, may we pass through these offices of pious devotion to heavenly glory. Through our Lord…

Communion

Matthew 21 : 13

Domus mea domus orationis vocabitur, dicit Dominus : in ea omnis, qui petii, accipit; et qui quaerit, invenit; et pulsanti aperietur.

English translation

My house shall be called the house of prayer, says the Lord. Every one who asks therein will receive, and he who seeks, shall find, and to him who knocks, it shall be opened to him.

Post-Communion Prayer

Post-Communion (Commemoration of Dedication of Basilica of St. John Lateran)

Deus, qui de vivis et electis lapidibus aeternum majestati Tuae praeparas habitaculum : auxiliare populo Tuo supplicanti; ut, quod Ecclesiae Tuae corporalibus proficit spatiis, spiritualibus amplificetur augmentis. Per Dominum…

English translation

O God, who from living and chosen stones had prepared for Your majesty an eternal dwelling, help Your people who call upon You, so that what is profitable to Your Church in material growth may be accompanied with an increase of that which is of the Spirit. Through our Lord…

Post-Communion (Commemoration of St. Theodore)

Praesta nobis, quaesumus, Domine : intercedente Beato Theodoro Martyre Tuo; ut, quod ore contingimus, pura mente capiamus. Per Dominum…

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o Lord, by the intercession of Blessed Theodore, Your martyr, that what we touch with our lips we may receive with pure hearts. Through our Lord…

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 2 November 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

Job 1

Vir erat in terra Hus, nomine Job : simplex et rectus ac timens Deum : quem Satan petiit ut tentaret : et data est ei potestas a Domino in facultates et in carnem ejus : perdiditque omnem substantiam ipsius et filios : carnem quoque ejus gravi ulcere vulneravit.

English translation

There was a man in the land of Hus, whose name was Job, simple, and upright, and fearing God, whom Satan besought that he might them. And power was given to him from the Lord over his possessions and his flesh; and he destroyed all his substance and his children, and also wounded his flesh with a grievous ulcer.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Suscipe, Domine, propitius hostias : quibus et Te placari voluisti, et nobis salutem potenti pietate restitui. Per Dominum…

English translation

Graciously receive, o Lord, the sacrifices with which You had willed that You should be appeased and our salvation, by Your mighty love, restored. Through our Lord…

Communion

Psalm 118 : 81, 84, 86

In salutari Tuo anima mea, et in verbum Tuum speravi : quando facies de persequentibus me judicium? Iniqui persecuti sunt me, adjuva me, Domine, Deus meus.

English translation

My soul is in Your salvation, and in Your word I have hoped when You will execute judgment on them that persecute me? The wicked have persecuted me, help me, o Lord my God.

Post-Communion Prayer

Immortalitatis alimoniam consecuti, quaesumus, Domine : ut, quod ore percepimus, pura mente sectemur. Per Dominum…

English translation

Having obtained the nourishment of immortality, we beseech You, o Lord, that what has passed our lips we may embrace with a pure mind. Through our Lord…

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of All Saints (Double I Classis) – Saturday, 1 November 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

Wisdom 3 : 1, 2, 3

Justorum animae in manu Dei sunt, et non tanget illos tormentum malitiae visi sunt oculis insipientium mori : illi autem sunt in pace. Alleluja.

English translation

The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of malice shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, but they are in peace. Alleluia.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Munera Tibi, Domine, nostrae devotionis offerimus : quae et pro cunctorum Tibi grata sint honore Justorum, et nobis salutaria, Te miserante, reddantur. Per Dominum…

English translation

We offer to You, o Lord, the gifts of our devotion. May they be pleasing to You in honour of all Your saints; and of Your mercy let them avail for our salvation. Through our Lord…

Communion

Matthew 5 : 8-10

Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt; beati pacifici, quoniam filii Dei vocabuntur : beati, qui persecutionem patiuntur propter justitiam, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum.

English translation

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Post-Communion Prayer

Da, quaesumus, Domine, fidelibus populis omnium Sanctorum semper veneratione laetari : et eorum perpetua supplicatione muniri. Per Dominum…

English translation

May the outpouring of the Holy Spirit purify our hearts, o Lord, and by the inward sprinkling of His heavenly dew may they be made fruitful. Through our Lord…

Thursday, 10 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God established His first covenant with our father in faith, that is Abraham. Yes, Abraham is our father in faith, because even though we may not be descended from him by blood, but we are all his descendants by our same faith, that is in the same God, the very God who had made His contact with Abraham and made him the father of many nations because of his faith and devotion.

Abraham, once known as Abram, was not chosen because of his greatness, his wealth or his power. He was not chosen because of his abilities or talents, nor because of the number of his sheep, as shepherds with many sheep were indeed very great in his time. No, Abram was chosen not because of all of these. He was chosen because of one singular but very important reason, that is his faith and his actions that were based strongly on that faith.

Abram was faithful, and he was righteous in all of his actions. He lived closely to God’s will and followed the way of the Lord all of his life. He believed in God and he trusted completely in Him, even to the point of giving up his own long promised son, Isaac, to be sacrificed at Moria, when God supposedly asked him to do so. God tested his faith in that moment, and Abram followed through with complete faith and trust in God.

He obeyed God and he believed. And that was how he became renowned and great among many and among the nations. God made true the covenant that He had established with him, and from him came forth many nations and many peoples, uncounted and numerous indeed like the sands on the seashore as God had promised Abram, who later then known as Abraham, the one whom God was pleased with.

God fulfilled the promise He had made with His people, to Jacob that he would be great and a nation would come forth from him, Israel, the chosen people of God, from whom the descendants came the people discussed in today’s Gospel, and Jesus Christ Himself. God also fulfilled the promise He had established to Israel, that He would bring them to freedom and live in happiness in the Promised Land of milk and honey.

God also fulfilled the promises He had made with David, His faithful servant. He promised that his descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel and rule over God’s people forever. Yet, just as in the case of the covenant God established with Jacob and Abraham, it was God’s people who disobeyed the Lord and broke their part of the covenant, by abandoning God and worshipping pagan idols, and committing practices wicked in the sight of God.

The people of Israel and even the kings, among the descendants of David were disobedient, and as soon as the messengers sent by God to remind them of God’s love and promise were gone, they were quick to return to their old, debauched and wicked lifestyle. That was why God gave them to the hands of their enemies, and they were scattered, not to punish them per se, but rather to remind them yet again that without God, they are nothing.

But brethren, does that mean God also forsook His covenant with Israel? No. In fact God remained faithful to the covenants and promises that He had made. Covenant is the greatest form of promise compared to other forms of promises, and it was we and our ancestors who broke the covenant we have with God. God was always faithful and He never gave up on us, unless we ourselves gave Him up for other idols.

And God showed His commitment and love for us, through the ultimate gift that He gave to us, namely the gift of Jesus, His own Son. Through Jesus, God showed yet again, and in finality, the perfect love He has for all of us, and the total commitment He has to the covenants He had made. He fulfilled the promise He made with Abraham, Jacob and David through Jesus, the son of David who is seated at the throne of God and rules for eternity as the King of all kings.

And through Jesus, God made a new covenant, the last and greatest of them all, with us, renewing the promise He had made with mankind of many generations. And this new covenant is sealed by God with none other than by His own Precious Blood, poured out by the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus, who died for us. He died so that we may live, and such is His love for us, indeed!

Yes, brethren, that is how faithful God is to us, and how loving He is towards us. He had proven again and again His dedication and yet we always spurn His love. The people rejected Him because they preferred the devil and his pleasures rather than the true love offered by the Lord through Jesus.

Shall we then follow their examples? Or shall we remain true to the Lord? Let us no longer be rebellious and ignorant of God’s love, but instead embrace His love to the fullest and prove that we can hold our part of the new covenant He had established. May the Lord see in us the love and hope that is still in us, that He may forgive us our trespasses and bring us once again closer to Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius X, Pope (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we listen to the fairness of our God, the upright nature of His words, and the love He showed upon all of us through His constant help throughout time. He showed His love and mercy upon us, and He is just to all of His children. We who have been marred by sin and evil, and the ones who should have been cast with the devil into the eternal fire of hell, had been brought from the domain of death, back into the land of the living, just as the owner of the vineyard had brought those who are unemployed on the streets to work on his field.

Indeed, He has brought us from our oppressors, that is the devil and his angels, at a great price, a price that He paid with nothing other than His own Most Precious Blood, that redeemed all of us, from the price of sin that had been placed on us ever since we first sinned against God and disobeyed against His will and His commandments. He paid for all of us with that Most Precious Body and Blood of His, that we will not die, but live eternal with Him, He who loves us and He who wants to forgive us from our sins and impurities.

He had called us all from the darkness to come into the light, to come for the salvation that He had prepared for us. He made a promise, a covenant with all of us, that we will be rewarded with life eternal in Him, as we enter into our new life in Him, just as the labourers were taken out of their joblessness and life in the streets, into the new life in the service of the Lord in His field, His vineyard. Each of us, brothers and sisters, given a new chance of life, that we may truly receive a reward of eternity at the end of our labours and journey in this world.

Yes, and just like what we heard in the First Reading today, we are like the trees that goes around seeking a tree to be king over all of us, to be that source of leadership and guidance in our respective lives, to be the light guiding us through the darkness of this world. And indeed, while all the regal and great trees, well beloved and renowned, like the fig tree and the vine, did not want to abandon all that they have for the trees’ sake, Jesus is indeed like the bramble vine, who would want to lower Himself to be our king.

Why so? It is because becoming our king is not an easy thing for Jesus, as His ministry in this world would have shown. Many people opposed Him, and many paid a deaf ear to His messages and His teachings, and many openly defied Him and questioned Him, not least of all the leaders of the people, the chief priests and the Pharisees. He stripped everything off Himself to be our King, the king of slaves and the king of the oppressed and the abandoned ones.

That such that even He went through so much, as our leader and our King, and our Master, being crowned with the painful crown of thorns, to indeed signify that He is our king, and not just like any earthly kings, but a true king, one with His people always forefront in His heart and in all His concerns. He loves us, brothers and sisters, and His love for all of us, without exception, is so much that He was willing to endure all our sufferings and supposed punishments, and drink the cup of suffering that had been prepared for Him.

He did not shirk from the huge and burdensome task that awaited Him, and instead He went on, being led like a lamb brought to its slaughterhouse, and although He is innocent, He wanted to endure all those that were intended for all of us. For what, brothers and sisters in Christ? None other than the salvation and the rescue of our souls from the eternal damnation in hell! None other than the eternal separation that we would have to endure for all times, for all eternity, away from our Lord and God who loves us so much.

Yes, Jesus our Lord and God wants us to be with Him, instead of being in the fires and suffering of hell. He cares for us, He showered us with His love and mercy, especially through no other act greater than the surrendering of His own life, as the perfect and unblemished sacrifice for our sins, in His death on the cross. That was why He gave us the one and only means to salvation, that is none other than His own flesh and blood, which He gave to all of us and offered to all of us, at the Last Supper He had with His disciples.

That was exactly what Pope St. Pius X, the great early twentieth century Pope whose feast we are celebrating today, championed, on the emphasis on the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Most Holy Eucharist through which He had given us the means to salvation. Pope St. Pius X was born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, and he became a priest in his home diocese of mantua, eventually rising up the ranks to be bishop, and then the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice. He was elected as Pope Pius X, the 257th Pope and the 256th successor of St. Peter in 1903.

Pope St. Pius X was truly a great and holy Pope determined to reform the Holy Church and all its practices to better reflect its task as the bearer and medium of God’s salvation to all of us, the member of that One Body of Christ in the Church. Most important of all, He reformed the rules of the Holy Communion, such that then even small children would be able to receive the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ our Lord. Previously, only full fledged adults were able to receive Holy Communion, but with the reform spearheaded by Pope St. Pius X, those children were opened the way of salvation through the receiving of the Holy Eucharist.

To Pope St. Pius X, there is no better path and way to salvation, and there is no better gate to salvation than that of the Most Precious Body and Blood offered to us, from the Last Supper, down to us through the Holy Mass that we celebrate regularly. In them, we find the fullness and completeness of the Lord’s promise and dedication to us, in suffering the blows meant for us, that we will not die but live a life eternal in the bliss of heaven. For his hard work for the sake of the Lord, through the promotion of the early reception of the Eucharist, and also the regular reception of the Holy Eucharist, he was known as the Pope of the Eucharist.

Pope St. Pius X also reformed much aspect of the Church, ensuring that the Church can reflect better the ways through which it can persevere in the ever-changing and increasingly hostile world, to spread the words of the Lord’s Gospel to all mankind. He reformed the Church music by greatly promoting and reviving the usage of the Gregorian Chant, which beauty for the worship of the Lord, we can still enjoy today. He truly had dedicated his life and work for the sake of God, His Church, and His people, and he is indeed an example that all of us should try to emulate in our own lives.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, reminding ourselves most importantly of the love and attention God had for us, and the blessings He had given us, through His Son, Jesus, who had shed His own flesh and blood, and His life for us, let us resolve to love Him more and more, let us revere Him in the Most Holy Eucharist by attending the Mass regularly and reverently, and accepting Him into ourselves as we eat His Body and His Blood in the Holy Communion. Pray for us, Pope St. Pius X, that we will grow to love the Lord ever more in the Most Holy Eucharist. May the Lord in the Eucharist remain with us and bless us always. Amen.