Sunday, 20 November 2016 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Christ the King and Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the last Sunday of this current liturgical year, which the Church has crowned as the great Solemnity of our Lord Jesus, Christ the King, King and Master of all the Universe. On this solemn feast day, we commemorate our Lord Who is the past, present and future, as He was, is and will always be King of all kings, Ruler and Master over all.

All other kings and rulers gain their authority from the Lord, and no ruler has true power or authority unless it has been devolved upon them in one way or another from the Lord, on Whom all authority and power belong. But His Kingship is different from the kingships of the world, and the nature of His kingdom is different from the kingdoms and countries of this world.

Let us all look at the examples of the kings and rulers of this world. The kings and rulers of this world like to dress in the finest clothes and wear the best accessories, have the best vehicles, the nicest looking ones, and in our modern world many even have their own private jets and planes, helicopters and all the gimmicks and luxury of our world today. Many dwell in sumptuous and large palaces and residences, all designed to bring awe to all others who look upon them and witness their power.

And what do all of these bring these rulers and kings of this world, brethren? Many of them did so in order to garner more prestige, honour, praise, fame and wealth for themselves, trying to awe all those who view and witness their majesty. Many even tried to extort and made others to provide for more in order to do these. Yet, the reality behind all of these is that, they felt insecure because they did not have real and genuine power and authority with them.

And our Lord Jesus, Who is the One True King did not need to do all of them, for His authority came from Himself. In fact, He chose to lower Himself and empty Himself of all of His power and glory, becoming one of us as a Man, becoming one of His lowly creations, for one singular purpose in mind, and that is love. Yes, God Who is our King loves all of us without exception, each and every one of us are always foremost in His mind.

And that, brethren, is true kingship. A king and a ruler must always have his people first in mind, and not himself. When kings and rulers abandon this important tenet, that is when tyrants were born, those who oppressed the people and acted in ways that brought about benefits, glory and other goods for themselves at the expense of those over whom they are ruling and governing.

Jesus our Lord showed that by His own examples, going about to care for His people, all of them without exception. He went forth seeking those who had been lost to Him through sin, and that was why He went to seek for the lowest of the lowest in the society, those who have been rejected and ostracised because of their sins, the prostitutes and tax collectors. The Pharisees and the tax collectors failed to see and understand this, the reason why Jesus wanted to be with these people, who they themselves had condemned and cast out of the society.

The Pharisees, the elders and the teachers of the Law represented the elites of the Jewish society at that time, those with power, authority and influence, who were highly jealous of those whom they considered as rivals to their power, and that included Jesus, His followers and His teachings which are often against the ways of these leaders. That is because they have corrupted and twisted the laws to serve their own purpose and not the purpose of God.

But Jesus showed them all, all of the people, and us, His true kingship, as a King truly devoted to His people, and as One Who really show by example of what a ruler should do for the good of his people. He showed us that He is a King Who is also the Good Shepherd, ready to lie down His life for His beloved sheep, so that the sheep, His flock, may be safe amidst the danger around them.

The Kingship of Christ is the Kingship of love, mercy and compassion, and not of pride, hubris or ambition, unlike the kings of this world. His Kingship is the Kingship of truth and justice, as He proclaimed before Pontius Pilate just before He was condemned to die on the cross. He came to proclaim the truth before all His people, the truth about His love and the truth about how we can be reconciled with Him, but truth is not always pleasant to be heard and understood.

Many of us mankind profess to believe in the Lord, and yet, in our actions, we would rather have Satan, the devil as our king. To many of us, we put our human needs and desires often ahead of our responsibilities and duties as Christians, as those who ought to obey the Lord. And yet in how we carry out our lives and our actions, we do not resemble those who are called children and people of our God, our King.

Let us reflect and think of our own actions, and what we have witnessed in this world resulting from our actions, the actions of man. As I have related to you earlier on in this discourse, many rulers and kings of this world act in ways contrary to how the Lord had acted, because they shirked the responsibilities they had over their people, they served themselves and their needs first.

Wars and conflicts raged on in this world to serve the purposes of people’s greed and desires, the futile pursuit of worldly glory, wealth and human fame and praise. For the sake of a piece of land, or for wealth and properties, or even for the sake of hubris, ambition and human pride, mankind and particularly their rules have waged wars and conflicts that brought about pain, sorrow and destruction for many. And this is the sad reality of our human actions, of how flawed our humanity is now.

And today, therefore, as we rejoice and celebrate together this great solemnity and feast of Christ our King, there is that urgent need for us to really devote ourselves anew to our King, no longer with just mere words or paper proclamations alone, but rather with actions and real deeds. We must be truly devoted to Him in our ways and deeds, or else we are not being faithful to Him, and we will face the consequences in the end.

Rather, let us all be like the repentant thief at the side of Jesus, who acknowledged his sins before Him, and how he deserved to die while Jesus Who was innocent did not. Yet, Christ our King willingly laid down His life for our sake, even forgiving and dying for His betrayers and enemies. This is our One and True King, Who has shown us the way forward by His own actions and examples, through which He made known to us His infinite love and mercy.

Now it is the time for us to choose, shall we side with the king of this world, that is Satan? If we treasure and value the goods and pleasures of this world a lot, and spending our time so much on these things, even to the detriment of others around us, then we are siding with the devil. Or shall we instead side with the true King of all, Christ the Lord, Who is Lord even over the devil and all of his fellow rebel angels?

As Christians, we are all called to follow the examples of Christ. Therefore, just as He has shown us how to love, and how to forgive one another our sins and mistakes, we too should do the same. Let us all be good servants and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, our King, the one and only King we have, Whose ways is our ways, and Whose laws is our delight.

May through our works and actions, the Name of our Lord and King will be glorified, and by our own examples, may we reflect His Glory and His truth, that we may be able to find our way to Him, with many others who will be inspired by our examples. O Lord, our Eternal and Almighty King, be with us always and never abandon us. Amen.

Sunday, 20 November 2016 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Christ the King and Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 23 : 35-43

At that time, the people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Jesus, 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 an 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.”

Sunday, 20 November 2016 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Christ the King and Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Colossians 1 : 12-20

Constantly give thanks to the Father Who has empowered us to receive our share in the inheritance of the saints in His kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In Him we are redeemed and forgiven.

He is the Image of the unseen God, and for all creation He is the Firstborn, for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible : thrones, rulers, authorities, powers… All was made through Him and for Him. He is before all and all things hold together in Him.

And He is the Head of the Body, that is the Church, for He is the first, the first raised from the dead that He may be the first in everything, for God was pleased to let fullness dwell in Him. Through Him God willed to reconcile all things to Himself, and through Him, through His Blood shed on the cross, God establishes peace, on earth as in heaven.

Sunday, 20 November 2016 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Christ the King and Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 121 : 1-2, 4-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stands the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Sunday, 20 November 2016 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Christ the King and Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
2 Samuel 5 : 1-3

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your bone and flesh. In the past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel. And YHVH said to you, ‘You shall be the shepherd of My people Israel and you shall be commander over Israel.'”

Before YHVH, King David made an agreement with the elders of Israel who came to him at Hebron, and they anointed him king of Israel.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate a great feast day of the Church, that is of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast of the Immaculate Conception refers to the moment not when Jesus our Lord was conceived in the womb of His mother, but instead, the moment when Mary herself was conceived without any taint of sin, or immaculate.

Yes, the meaning of the feast of the Immaculate Conception is that Mary, the mother of our Lord and God was specially prepared by God to be a special person, a special being and the special one amongst all of creations, to be free from any taints of sin, pure and free from the darkness of the original sins of men. And the purpose of this is so that as a pure being, she would be worthy to be the vessel to contain the Lord, the Ark of the New Covenant.

Mary was conceived without the taints of original sin, that as a pure vessel, blameless and immaculate, she is worthy to bear the Lord Who came into this world through her, and for nine months, she bore the Lord God of all the Universe inside her, within her womb. For God had been incarnate into flesh, and taking up the flesh of man, He had willingly come upon this world in order to save it.

And to be born into the world, He needs the intermediary of a mother, who is Mary, who bore Him until the time when He was born into the world. And this is why Mary is so special in our faith, not because she is great by her own power or majesty, but because it was through her, her purity and most importantly, her willingness to cooperate with the will of God and her obedience to Him that allowed the works of God’s salvation to be able to reach out to us mankind.

Indeed, Mary had been prepared well beforehand, as an exception, to be created pure and blameless without sin, but nevertheless, as all men are, all of us are still susceptible to sin, and it was the temptations of sin that had made so many people in the past and in the present to fall. But Mary led a worthy and devoted life, and in all of her dealings, in all of her actions, she kept herself immaculate and pure, devoted at all times and obeying the commandments of the Lord in her own life.

And when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and revealed to her the part that she would play in the grand plan of God’s salvation of mankind, indeed a very pivotal and crucial role, she entrusted all of herself and all of her thoughts to God, despite the uncertainties, fears and all the doubts that were in her heart. She surrendered it all to God, by her very own words, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me as He has said.’

This is something that we really should take note of, so that today as as rejoice and celebrate together this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we too may imitate Mary, the mother of our Lord, in all of her actions, in how she lived her life, in complete devotion and commitment to God, and therefore, enable ourselves to examples for one another in leading a righteous life pleasing to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we have to realise that just as Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant, for she bore Christ who is the Master and Lord, Bringer of the new Covenant of God with men, all of us also have our own roles to play as each and every one of us are also bearers of God’s covenant within us. How is this so? Let us all remember that all of us have partaken worthily of God’s own Precious Body and Blood into ourselves.

And as we should heed the words of St. Paul to the faithful, where he spoke of our bodies as the Temples of the Holy Spirit, let us all realise that because God has willed Himself to dwell within us, inside us, each and every one of us, and by the power of His Body and His Blood, becoming united with all of us who share in the Most Holy Eucharist, we have this great grace given to us, and not just great grace, but also great responsibility that will come with it.

Yes, just as we have talked a great length about Mary’s being conceived without any taint of sin, pure and immaculate, and how it is necessary as she was tasked with the great honour of bearing our Lord Himself in flesh and blood inside her womb, as the bearer of the Lord, therefore, all of us, who have the Lord dwelling inside us through the Eucharist, should also keep ourselves pure, holy and immaculate.

Why is this necessary? That is because our Lord Who is all good, perfect and without blemish, should not be made to dwell in a place that is filthy, filled with wickedness and evil, as is when our bodies, our minds, hearts and souls are not filled with love and true faith in the Lord. And when we live a life of wickedness and disobedience against God, then we are inviting trouble for ourselves, as the Lord will not take it lightly against all those who profaned His holy Temple.

Therefore, let us all today make the effort to follow the examples of our blessed mother Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that by following her examples, in her piety and dedication to her Son, and in how she led a life in total commitment and obedience to the will of God, we too may make ourselves worthy to be the Temples of His holy Presence on earth, by abandoning all forms of sin and committing ourselves to do what the Lord wants us all to do.

Let us all renew our commitment to God on this day, and let us ask the intercession of Mary, His mother, so that through her prayers for our sake, sinners like us, God will move His hand to touch our hearts, so that we may be more courageous and dedicated in defending and standing up for our faith and committing ourselves to a life in dedication to Him at all times. May God bless us in all of our endeavours and may His blessed mother Mary pray for us always, especially at the hour of our demise. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

At that time, in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. 

But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.