Wednesday, 12 August 2015 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Matthew 18 : 15-20

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “If your brother has sinned against you, go and point out the fault, when the two of you are in private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. If he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

“And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the Church, then regard such a one as a pagan, or a publican. I say to you : whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound.”

“In like manner, I say to you : If, on earth, two of you are united in asking for anything, it will be granted to you by My heavenly Father; for where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them.”

Monday, 10 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today it is mentioned to us in the readings from the Holy Scriptures, of a very important role and position in the hierarchy of the Church, which all of us indeed have to be aware of, and have to adhere to. St. Paul in his letter to Titus, his friend and fellow servant of God, while he was in captivity in Rome, mentioned of the criteria which should be strictly observed when the overseers of God’s faithful ones are chosen.

And in the Gospel reading, Jesus warned His disciples against creating scandals in the faith, and as such, they should avoid creating scandal among the faithful and in the Church. Such scandals are harmful when it causes damage both physical and spiritual to the faithful and to the Church as a whole, and Jesus condemned those who have brought others into damnation because of their actions that brought about scandal and therefore not in accordance to what Jesus had taught His disciples.

How are the readings today link to each other? The bishops are very important building blocks of the Church, as the key figures that link the laity and the priests, to the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, who leads all the faithful, in union with the love of God, the true Head of the Church. The bishops, from the Latin term of their title, episcopus which means literally overseers, are truly the overseers of the faithful in their faith.

It is important that the candidates of bishops are first scrutinised thoroughly before one of them, who is found worthy and good, is selected as the bishop of a diocese. That is because the growth of the spiritual life and the well-being of the faithful ones of the Lord, depend on the state of the spiritual life of the shepherd of the flock, that is the bishop, who is the shepherd entrusted with the care of the people of God, the flock of Christ, in his diocese to be under his protection and care.

Jesus often mentioned in His teachings that we should not be hypocrites who merely show an external aspect of our faith and devotion to God, for others to see us, or even worse, for them to praise us because of what we have done. If our faith is like this, and if we pretend to be faithful for such purposes, then we may be held accountable for these actions.

It is precisely like the actions of the Pharisees, as well as the teachers of the Law, who proudly present the way they lived their faith to the people, and basked in their praise. In turn, they also misled the people by not practicing the Law with the whole of their hearts, and instead they served their own glory and purposes rather than serving the greater purpose of God.

They were bad shepherds, whose actions in opposing the Lord Jesus at every turn and opportunity were truly scandal in the faith. Their way of living and their way of seeing the world around them were also scandals of the faith, such that they were truly worthy of being rebuked endlessly by the Lord, who revealed the truth about their wickedness to the people of God, so that they may be wary of them and therefore also do their best to avoid doing the same as those wicked elders had done.

It was in particular mentioned that those who misled the little children of God are in particular to be blamed for their wickedness and evil. And indeed, those children are truly born pure and blameless, a blank and clean slate upon which, true and genuine teaching of the faith would have brought much goodness. A proper upbringing in faith for these, through proper catechism and role modelling in the faith.

If someone is to corrupt the faith by not doing what he is supposed to do, and worse still, if this person is the appointed shepherd of the people, as bishop and overseer, then it will bring much damnation to those sheep that had been entrusted to the aforementioned bishop. And in the end, the entire Church and the body of the faithful suffer, because of the wickedness and corruption this improperly elected bishop had done for his flock.

Therefore, this is why in our present time today, as it had been for quite a long time, bishops are carefully selected from among the priests, through a careful and extensive process of selection, from a shortlist produced by the diocese, to list down at first, the most worthy, holy, devoted and dedicated among the priests, to be made the bishop.

The final decision is to be done by the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, who through his representatives to the dioceses, the Apostolic nuncios and the delegates, keep in close contact with the various dioceses. Thus, it is why the responsibility and the role of the Pope is so important, as he is the Head of the entire Universal Church, and the ultimate and greatest guardian of the true and orthodox Faith.

That means, the Pope is charged with the final decision on who is truly worthy and who is truly best for the position and role of bishop for the dioceses. It is so that the Church may avoid scandal or any risk of problems that may likely arise if an unworthy individual became who they should not have become. If this happens, then the risk to the faithful sheep of the Lord is truly very, very great.

Thus, in consideration of the roles of the bishops and the Pope, even the position of the Pope, who is also the Bishop of Rome, is very, very carefully chosen, through the conclave, where the Cardinals, carefully selected members of the Church who then elect the most worthy amongst them to be the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Universal Church.

And today, we celebrate the memory of a great Pope, whose feast we celebrate today, the very first Pope to be accorded with the title of ‘the Great’, in recognition of his great role and fundamental role in the development of the Faith and the Church. He is Pope St. Leo the Great, who lived and reigned during the waning years of the Roman Empire in the West.

Pope St. Leo the Great led the Church at the time when the civil authority and order of the Roman Empire is crumbling, especially in its western regions, including the city of Rome, and the society as it was known then, was under great threat from barbarian attacks. It was for this that Pope St. Leo the Great was mostly known for, that is in his role in stopping the great conqueror, Attila the Hun, from ransacking the Eternal City, or Rome, the Holy City of the Apostles.

When the great conqueror came, and when everyone else, including the Roman Emperor and the civil authorities all hid in fear, this holy servant of God, and the shepherd of the flocks of Christ went forth without fear and with zeal, to meet with the Hunnic king, and by the grace of God, persuaded him to retreat. Such was the courage and faith of this great Pope, that he managed to protect and prevent his flock from suffering.

However, what was less well known is the role which Pope St. Leo the Great played in the Church, and in the combatting of heresies and wickedness among the members of the Church at the time. Ever since the beginnings of the Church, there had been some among the faithful who did not remain true to the teachings of the true Faith, as they syncretised their faith, and they followed their own fancy and heretical ways of the Faith.

Therefore, many Ecumenical Councils were held in the early Church to standardise the true and orthodox teachings of the faith, and to condemn and anathemise all heresies and falsehoods in the teachings of the faith, including the errant and unfaithful bishops who misled many of their faithful, the precise scandal of the Faith mentioned earlier.

Pope St. Leo the Great was instrumental in his role in guiding the Church to keep the orthodox faith against those forces of men, who tried to subvert the teachings of the Faith to suit their own desires, their own purposes and their own wickedness. The teachings of Pope St. Leo the Great, his writings and works remain until even today, a very defining standard of the faith, which even this generation today look up to, in order to maintain the orthodox and true faith.

Therefore, on this special and sacred occasion, let us all come together and pray, pray for our bishops, our priests, and also our Pope, so that all of them will keep strongly the faith entrusted to them. So that they will keep without reservation the sound doctrine of the faith, without bending to the demands and temptations of the flesh and the world.

May Almighty God bless our Church, that day by day, our faith may grow stronger and stronger. That our Church may grow ever more faithful in the Lord. May the bishops, the shepherds of faith remain strong in their faith so that they will lead the faithful, following the examples of Pope St. Leo the Great, and abandoning all forms of fornications and evils, so that no scandal may arise, and the faithful may all benefit greatly from their care and love. God bless us all. Amen.


First Reading :

Psalm :

Gospel Reading :

Sunday, 7 September 2014 : 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we come together to be with the Lord on this holy day of His, we are called together as the members of the Church of God to be responsible, loving and caring for one another, so that each one of us may help one another in our effort to seek our Lord and God, and so that all of us may be saved and be freed from the tyranny of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Scripture readings of this day called us to ponder and reflect on the attitude we adopt in this life, and in how we live our faith in this life. Mankind are by nature a social creature, and we often need others around us as we live and as we face the daily challenges and opportunities presented before us, and how we behave would certainly be greatly affected by who we interacted with and what we did together with others around us.

That is why today in the readings, the main theme that we heard is in fact on the nature of the Church, and on how the Church should work together to ensure the salvation of all of its members, that means all of us gathered here this day, and also many others who have fallen along the way. The Church here does not refer to just the buildings and the institution of the Church as we know it. The Church of God as a whole, is the assembly and the gathering of all the faithful ones in Christ, united to His Body, as a member of the same Body by which we are made one, and made righteous in the Blood of the Lamb of God.

That is why in the Church, the whole Church refers to the entire body of the faithful, all over the world, from the greatest to the least, from the Pope to the common layman, from the ordained ministers and the religious brothers and sisters to all common faithful ones like us, and from the youngest ones to the oldest, and both the newly baptised and those who had been long counted among the faithful.

Following the tradition and teachings established by Jesus as we read in the Gospel today, the Church indeed rightly should be concerned on the fate of the faithful and the salvation of their souls. Why is this so? This is because mankind are by nature disobedient, restless and easily manipulated, and we are also easily tempted by our own personal ego, pride and other emotions, which in many cases likely resulted in us drifting away further and further from God and into damnation.

That was why over the course of the past two millenia, since the establishment of the Church and the faith, countless peoples have tried to subvert the faith and to corrupt it to suit their own purposes. And worse still, they did so not just for themselves, but they also spread their false ideas and teachings to many others around them and thus condemning and risking not just themselves, but also many others who are around them and even those entrusted to their care.

Among these could be counted the ranks of princes, kings, lords, even priests, bishops and the top hierarchy of the Church at times, and also among the laity, the educated, the rich and the poor. What they have thought about, spoke about and taught about were incompatible to the faith and what Jesus had taught to His disciples. In time, the Church came up with varieties of words to describe their actions, that is anathema, heresy and many others.

Those who studied the history of the Church and the faith must have been surprised by the staggering number of times the punishment and measure known best as excommunication, had been used. And in fact, excommunication remains to be used this day to correct the behaviour and awaken the spirit of repentance of those whose ideas and teachings are in direct or indirect contradiction to the faith and to the teachings of the Church.

Many detractors of this measure had argued and even became violently opposed to the actions of the Church both in the past and in the present, so that they criticised the use of excommunications as a tool to remove opposition to the Church and to gain more influence for itself. And some even alleged that the Church used them to silence the voice of those who wanted for reform or change in the Church.

Yes, it is true indeed that sometimes, excommunication had been used inappropriately, but in most cases, they have been intended not to punish, but to awaken the spirit of repentance and genuine desire to seek forgiveness from the Lord, which is that desire to admit their errors and return to the full embrace of the loving God through His Church.

We have to first understand the history of how excommunication come about, using what we know from the Scriptures and from what we heard today in the readings, especially from what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today. In the past, during the time of the people of Israel, after the Exodus, God gave them His laws, commandments and precepts through Moses.

In that Law, some dealt with how certain people should be treated. Those who were found to have the disease of leprosy were obliged to leave their houses and the community of the faithful, and they have to wander outside the community, in the barrens and the desert until they are healed or cured. And when this was so, they had to show themselves to the priests who would certify them to return once more to the society.

Indeed, it was inevitable that those who contracted leprosy at that time to be ostracised and intimidated against by the rest of the society. They were considered to be uncleaned and as leprosy can spread from one person to another, this helped the exclusion and the bad treatment of the leprosy patients, even after they had been cured from their afflictions. But God did not intend for this to happen.

And in a similar spirit, the Lord Jesus told us through His disciples precisely how to deal with those among us in the Church who had contracted the same ‘leprosy’. This leprosy no longer refers to the physical disease that affects the body, but in fact refers to the leprosy of the soul, that is the degeneration of the state of our faith and soul to the point that we become defiant and unwilling to listen and to obey the teachings of the Church and the fundamentals of our faith.

We have many peoples such as these, and what I am going to mention to you are not the only ones there are out there. The Gnostics of the second century after the birth of Christ mixed the teachings of the faith with the contemporary pagan religions, idols and philosophical pursuits that ended up as a syncretic movement and faith totally incompatible with our true faith.

Then came the Arians, the Donatists, the Monophysites and others who taught doctrines incompatible against the faith, and who tried to subvert the faithful to their cause, telling them lies and inaccurate statements about the faith, on the nature of Jesus our Lord Himself, so that the people who were confused were easy to lure into their corrupting hold. As such, many were led away from salvation in God and into damnation, despite the best efforts by those in the Church to resist and fight back against their corrupting influences.

Then we have many others like the the Albigensians or the Cathars, the Hussians, the Bogomils, Paulicians, Iconoclasts who taught numerous lies and confused theology to the faithful, ending up in corrupting the people in the same way, pulling them away from salvation in the Church into damnation and eternal suffering in hellfire. Those people were misguided by many who thought that their human wisdom were better than the teachings of the Lord preserved in the traditions of the Church and the faith.

Then lastly came the great heresy of the Protestant ‘reformation’, where many of the faithful came to take it on themselves to rebel against the authority of the Church and by willingly splitting themselves from the Church, a rebellion which continues even to this day. Yes, we have so many Protestant denominations, to the point that it may not be wrong to say that there are as many denominations, or splinter groups as there are heads.

People like King Henry VIII, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Zwingli and many other prominent persona of the Protestant ‘reformations’ like many others before them, Arian, Jan Hus, and others were truly the one mentioned by Jesus as the brethren who refused to listen to reason and chose to break away from the Church. They walked their own path, in open rebellion against God and the Church, leading and guiding many people into their rebellion and thus condemned countless souls to damnation.

The effects of their actions can still be felt today. Many remained separate from the Church and thus from the grace of God, and the lies perpetuated by those leaders mentioned earlier and their successors continued to poison their thoughts and that is why many remained with great contempt to the Church and all it represented.

The Church excommunicated them as well as many of the earlier members of the Church, who even included high ranking nobles and clergymen, and even kings, as they have erred in their path. However, as I have mentioned earlier, the purpose of this move was not to punish those afflicted, but rather to make them realise of the gravity of their errors, so that they may come to understand how their actions had caused grief wounds on the fabric of the Church and the faithful.

And thus, many of those who had been excommunicated had returned to the Church in penitence and seeking God’s forgiveness. A famous example would be that of the excommunication of Emperor Theodosius I of the Roman Empire, who was cut off from the communion of the Church by the famous St. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, for the Emperor’s implicit and direct role in a massacre of the city of Thessalonica, where thousands of the faithful were ruthlessly murdered and the city ransacked.

The meaning of excommunication itself was to exclude the person afflicted from the Communion of the Church, and if this word sounds familiar, that is indeed what we receive in the Holy Communion, which is none other than the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Real Presence of the Most Holy Eucharist. All of us in the Church belongs to the Church, that is the Body of Christ precisely because all of us received the same Eucharist and thus are united to each other through our unity with the Lord.

And when a person is excommunicated, like that of the Emperor Theodosius and many others, they were severed from this unity and communion, and thus they were not able to receive the Eucharist, as they were also in a state of sin, and they were not able to exercise anything pertinent to the faith. Thus, that was why Jesus mentioned that those ought to be treated like a pagan or a publican, that means outside the Church, just like the lepers of old.

However, once again, the focus here is on mercy, and on the desire to see these people attaining forgiveness and justification, becoming once again a member of the Church and thus capable of attaining salvation once again. And to wrap up the story on the Emperor Theodosius, the Emperor went on to make a public display of humility and penance, wearing sackcloth to the Church and was once again welcomed into the Church by Bishop St. Ambrose.

That is, brothers and sisters in Christ, the purpose and intention of excommunication. Not as a punishment, but as a means through which the wayward ones and the staunchly rebellious among us may find our way back to God through the Church, through sincere repentance and penitence. Sadly, of course, many of those names and groups mentioned earlier never repented their sins and continued in their rebellions, some of which continued even today.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on these readings of today, let us recall the words of God to the prophet Ezekiel, how the faithful are tasked with the guardianship of the faith of one another, which means that we should be ready to intervene whenever we see around us there are those who begin to veer away from the path of the Lord.

It is only then if the person persisted in their rebelliousness, then we should refer it to the Church as a whole, and if he or she continued to persist to disobey the Lord, only then they should be cast out of the assembly of the faithful, in what we know as the excommunication, hoping that the person may in that time that remains for him or her, found his or her way back to the Lord and repent.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore work together to maintain the unity and the faith in the Church. May Almighty God guide us in our endeavours and help us to keep this faith alive and well. Let us all renew our commitment to the Lord and awaken in one another the love we truly should have for God, casting away all impurities and unworthiness. Let us all not reject and condemn those who have sinned and erred, and those who had been excommunicated, for indeed, many saints too were once sinners and excommunicants, who returned to the Lord and be reconciled with the Church. May God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 7 September 2014 : 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 18 : 15-20

Jesus said, “If your brother has sinned against you, go and point out the fault, when two of you are in private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. If he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

“And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the Church, then regard such a one as a pagan, or a publican.”

“I say to you : whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound. In like manner, I say to you : if, on earth, two of you are united in asking for anything, it will be granted to you by My heavenly Father; for where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them.”

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pontian, Pope and Martyr, and St. Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear of the saving power of God, and what He intended to do with mankind, with those who follow Him and walk in His way, as well as with those who rejected Him and sought the comforts and lies of Satan rather than the truth and love of God. He wants mankind to be saved and to be reunited to Himself, and that was why He sent us Jesus to be the One who is our hope and our salvation.

But Jesus also wants to let us know that there are always the proper way of doing things, that we have to adhere closely to the teachings of the Church and avoid any forms of heresy and behaviours that are against the way of the Lord. And in this He made evident the authority of the Church, as the Body of the assembly of the faithful in keeping the faith and obedience to the true faith in God.

For the Church as we know it today is the exact same one as the one which Jesus had mentioned in the Gospel today. The Church refers not just to any buildings or hierarchy, but in fact the Church refers to all of us, who together we make the assembly of the faithful, as one united Body in Christ, that is the Church, and there will always be the Church.

It cannot be ignored, the fact that the Church had been the faithful custodians of the faith, keeping the flames of faith alive despite the various challenges and even persecutions that faced both the Church and the faithful. The Church kept the faith pure and true through various attempts by men to corrupt the purity of the faith, which resulted in many heresies and evils.

One thing we need to always remember is that, God knows those who are His own, and this is highlighted in the first reading today, when God mentioned to the prophet Ezekiel, how He instructed His angels to go through the Holy City and mark those faithful ones with the sign of the cross, that is the sign of our salvation and the sign of the promise of eternal and everlasting glory.

Our Church has had an effective way to deal with those who are not in line with the teachings of the faith. This is through constant and repeated help and assistance offered through the priests and the other servants of the Church, and if this is not successful, then the last resort was to cast the person out of the Church, on what is called excommunication, where the person was in a state of what is called anathema and in a state of sin.

This had been practiced by the Church since the beginning of times, and this was directly linked to what Jesus had said in today’s Gospel, that those who blatantly and constantly refused to listen to the Lord and to the words of His servants. Excommunication is truly a last resort measure, and truly it was not aimed to punish, but in fact more such that the one who erred may see the errors of his or her ways, and be repentant.

Today we celebrate the feast of two saints, namely that of Pope St. Pontian, successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome and head of the Church, and St. Hippolytus, a priest who once came into conflict with the leadership of the Church and was once elected to head a rival faction in the Church, as the first known antipope of the Church. One of the Popes whom St. Hippolytus had stood against was none other than Pope St. Pontian.

The rivalry between the Papal claimants and the attacks between both sides hurt the Church and the faithful much, dividing the faithful among the two camps. On top of all that, the persecutions against the faithful by the pagan Roman Empire and the Emperors continued unabated. Many died in martyrdom in the defense of their faith.

Both Pope St. Pontian and St. Hippolytus were faithful servants of the Lord, and before their conflict and squabble, they had worked hard for the good of the people of God, leading them in their struggle for the faith and against the persecution of the world. Their hard work earned much good for the Church, but their squabbles and infightings also led to much pain for the Church.

They excommunicated each other and attacked each other, but yet, the Lord worked in His mysterious ways. In the intensifying persecution against the faithful by the Emperor Alexander Severus of Rome, both of these future saints were arrested and eventually was exiled together to the area of Pontus in what is today northern Turkey or southern Ukraine.

Both of them were reconciled to each other before their death, and the division of the Church over, they together became the symbols of the faith, through their martyrdom, and hence through their deaths in the defense of their faith. Hence, the Lord achieved His aim of bringing the people together, through tireless and ceaseless works of the servants of God and through the prayers of the saints, bringing back wayward children of Go back into the fold of the Church.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, we all ought to do our best, to lead one another to the Lord, bringing the love and warmth of the Lord to our brethren, especially those who are in darkness, and those who rejected the Lord and rejected His Church, or even caused divisions among the faithful and brought more people into darkness like themselves.

We have to do our part to help these brethren of ours, that they may be together with us be brought together into the loving embrace of our Lord, as one body in the Lord in His Church. May Almighty God be with us all and guide us fogether on our way. Amen.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pontian, Pope and Martyr, and St. Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 18 : 15-20

If your brother has sinned against you, go and point out the fault, when the two of you are in private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. If he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the Church, then regard such a one as a pagan, or a publican.

I say to you : whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound. In like manner, I say to you : if, on earth, two of you are united in asking for anything, it will be granted to you by My heavenly Father; for where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them.

Sunday, 22 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the day of Corpus Christi, or also known as the Solemnity of the Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we receive regularly into ourselves through the Holy Eucharist, by consuming the bread and wine which had been changed completely into that of the essence of our Lord Himself.

Today we celebrate this great reality of our faith, which is indeed the central tenet and focus of our faith in God. For we believe in God who out of His great and infinite love for us, dedicated for us none other than His own Son, Jesus Christ, that through Him and His giving of Himself, we mankind who suffer from the consequences of our sins, may be free.

It is essential and most imperative that we all believe in the gift of our Lord’s own flesh and blood, which He had repeatedly uttered to His disciples, and which He offered on the Last Supper and through the cross of suffering. And it is also imperative that we believe, as instituted on the Last Supper by Jesus Himself, He had passed down the same authority He had, unto the disciples, so that all of us the faithful may also receive the same Body and Blood that nourishes and saves.

There are many those who deny this fundamental truth of our faith, because they were misguided and misled by the lies and the powers of the evil one. He tricked them into thinking that among many others, how the Lord Jesus could not have possibly offered Himself again and again every time we celebrate the Eucharist in the Mass, and yet others said that the Mass and the Eucharist are merely memorials of what happened on the Last Supper. All these are lies, brethren, the lies of the devil designed to trap us and fool us.

First of all, the Lord did not repeat again and again His ultimate sacrifice on the cross every time the priests celebrate the Holy Mass and change the bread and wine into the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord. He did not die again and again for our sake every time we have the Mass and every time the memorial of His death is read in the Eucharistic Prayer.

Those who deny the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist have the exact same arguments, but they lack a fundamental and most important piece, that is, each and every Mass said by the priest, the offering of the bread and wine, are all mystically and perfectly united to the one, singular and ultimate act of love which Christ had done on the cross for us.

Yes, brethren, the Mass which our priests, bishops and all those ordained celebrate validly and with the fullness of faith are all part of that same sacrifice which Jesus made on the cross that day, on the hill of Golgotha, suffering all of our sins and wickedness so that we may live and be saved from ultimate and eternal death in sin.

That is why, as Jesus Himself had given the authority to His Apostles, and from them our priests today, the Eucharist that we celebrate in the Mass, in the form of bread and wine, are truly transformed completely in form and substance into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon the words of consecration by the priest, ‘This is My Body… and this is My Blood…’ The bread is no longer bread but the Body of our Lord, and the wine is no longer wine but the Blood of our Lord.

This is the truth that many conveniently had forgotten or had chosen to forget, thinking that in relying on their human wisdom and intellect they know it better than the Lord Himself and those whom He had appointed to be His ministers. Indeed, scientifically and in a passing glance, it is hard to believe that the plain bread of the communion host and the wine in the chalice had turned into the Real Presence of our Lord, but they do, and they were transformed completely and without doubt.

God gave the ancestors of Israel, food and drink to consume while they were journeying in the desert for forty years. He gave them even food from heaven, the honey-like manna, whom they ate regularly each day of their journey. However, they do not live and die, because these bread, heavenly as they were, they were not the living bread, of which there is only one, that is Jesus Christ, the Living Bread that brings life.

The Bread of life gave of Himself that we may live, and the Wine of salvation gave of Himself so that we may be cleansed of our sins and corruptions that separated us away from God our Father. This is the truth about our faith, and the reality that we all need to reflect on, and always keep in mind. Jesus did not joke or lie when He said that those who receive His Body and Blood will live eternally, for those who receive these, such as us, has been given the grace of having the Lord Himself present within us through our reception of the Holy Eucharist.

In our world today, and even in the Church, it is sad how so many people had lapsed in their reverence for the Real Presence in the Eucharist. While this may be contributed by different factors and reasons, the lack of reverence and understanding of the faith and the Lord’s intentions, but the drop in our respect and adoration for the Real Presence in the recent years and decades had been truly unacceptable.

Why, brothers and sisters? Because the Real Presence in the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Communion we receive is the concrete and real proof of the love of God for us. That He cared so much for us and devoted Himself so greatly for our sake, that He gave us no less than His own Son, to be our Saviour, and through the giving of His own Body and Blood, He made us His own and at the same time, we make Him ours as well.

And note the term Communion that we use, when we receive the Lord in the Eucharist into ourselves. This is because through the reception of the Body and Blood of our Lord, we are made one Body and one Spirit in Christ, that is all of us who believe and who worthily receive Him into ourselves, we have been united as one Body, by the common presence of the Lord in each and all of us.

The Holy Communion is not something to be taken lightly, brothers and sisters in Christ. Just recently we know that certain so and so tried to push for the restoration of Communion to the divorced and many other cases of improper behaviour of the faith. Yet, these people, who are still fighting for their cause, even those high in position within our Church, have truly misunderstood and lacked the knowledge of the importance of the Real Presence to us.

We cannot be a people lacking in love and grace indeed, but we must be caring and at the same time, we have to highlight the importance of this tenet of the transubstantiation, that is the real conversion of the bread and wine into the essence of our Lord, as something not just a memorial or an enactment, but as part of that same sacrifice on Golgotha, which the Lord had done out of His love for us, so that we may be saved.

From now on, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take the Eucharist seriously, and let us begin to return the proper exaltation and adoration that we have to give to our Lord, in the Real Presence. Let us believe in Him and put our trust in Him, so that we may not be lost, but be saved in His infinite mercy and love. Let us help to remind one another, that because it is the Lord and really the Lord who we receive into ourselves, that we make ourselves worthy of Him as we receive Him, lest we suffer the terrible consequences of our lack of repentance and adoration.

May God in the Most Holy Eucharist, who gave us His own Body and Blood so that we may live, strengthen our faith by dwelling within us, and also turn those who had committed sin and things wicked in His eyes, that they may always long for Him and strive to repent from their sinfulness, and once again be reunited to us as one Body and one Spirit in Christ. Amen.