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

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 41 : 3, 5 and Psalm 42 : 3, 4

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I go and see the face of God?

Now as I pour out my soul, I remember all this – how I used to lead the faithful in procession to the house of God, amid shouts of joy and thanksgiving, among the feasting throng.

Send forth your light and your truth; let them be my guide, let them take me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You reside.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my gladness and delight. I will praise You with the lyre and harp, o God, my God.

 

Alternative Psalm (If there is baptism)

Psalm 50 : 12-15, 18, 19

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers Your ways and sinners will return to You.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it.

O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to cast away wickedness and sin from our lives. We have to get rid of pride, sloth, greed and all the other evil emotions from our hearts and minds. We must not follow the wickedness of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, whose sins had brought the rest of the people of God into sin as well.

Today’s catechesis and readings are continuation from that of yesterday, when we discuss about the law of vengeance or do ut des, and the sin of Ahab in arranging for the death of Naboth in order to gain possession of the vineyard for himself. The wickedness of Ahab and his family is truly an important case for us to learn from, that we should not walk the same path as they have walked.

Jesus taught His disciples today the true meaning and purpose of the Law of God, which is indeed love. Love is at the heart of the Law, and God did indeed intend for the Law to help His people to love each other. But mankind had often forgotten this fundamental truth and they grew distant from God’s love. We also failed to realise the need for love, especially genuine love.

What is genuine love? It is when we can love in the way that Jesus had described in the Gospel today. Yes, to be able to love those who hated us, those who considered us their enemies, and those who despised us, without feeling hatred at them, and being able to forgive them, and indeed forgive one another, which are the essences of a true, pure and noble love.

It is indeed easy to love just those who love us and cared for us, and it is also indeed easy, in fact even easier, for us to hate those who hated us and disliked us. The challenge is for us to love and forgive those who considered us as their enemies and hated us, and how we continue to show that love amidst the repeated hostility and enmity.

If we are able to do this, then we have been truly great in the eyes of God. Yes, that is because if we do this, we overcome the temptations of evil and not only just that, as we will also open the door towards the light of Christ that the light may enter into the hearts of men, especially those who hated and disliked us, and it is hoped that they may see the truth and repent, and change their ways for the better.

Yes, brethren, we can even become role models for those who were in darkness through our own actions. This is why it is so important for us to implement and do what the Lord told us, and not merely paying lip service to our faith. We have to have a living and strong faith, based in love. It is from this love, that our faith will eventually blossom and prosper.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to love one another, and love tenderly. We are also called to throw away our old lives, to cleanse ourselves from the leaven of hatred and jealousy, so that we may truly be loving and faithful servants of our Lord, as those who are truly faithful and obedient to the will of God who is love. Let us do our best, to hate no more, and to forgive others who had brought much pain unto us.

Let us be faithful, be loving and help one another to seek God, our Lord and Father through love. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against them. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him for dead. But when his disciples gathered around him, he stood up and returned to the town. And the next day he left for Derbe with Barnabas.

After proclaiming the Gospel in that town and making many disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and on to Antioch. They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.”

In each church they appointed elders and, after praying and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had placed their faith. Then they travelled through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. They preached the Word in Perga and went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commanded to God’s grace for the task they had now completed.”

“On their arrival they gathered the Church together and told them all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the non-Jews. They spent a fairly long time there with the disciples.”

Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this Holy Mass we celebrate the occasion of the Chrism Mass, during which the holy oils used for baptism, confirmation, and the anointing of the sick are blessed. This oil is called chrism, and is the reason why this Mass is called Chrismal Mass.

On this occasion, priests and those who dedicated themselves to God in holy orders renew their vows and devotions to God, and united with the bishop, the shepherd, renew their commitment to the service of God and to the service of His people.

They have been called to be the holy priests of God, the ministers of the Lord Most High as the anointed and ordained ones of God. Through the laying of the hand and the anointing with the holy oils blessed today, the priests share in the same ministry as the priests of Israel of old, and also ultimately in the High Priesthood of Jesus.

Through the ministry of the priests, the ministry of Jesus in this world is continued, just as the Apostles had been charged to carry on the works of Christ and spread the Good News to all the ends of the earth. Hence, the bishops, priests and other servants of the Lord also continue this good work of the Lord.

Much had been entrusted to the servants of the Lord and much had been granted to them. The same that had been given to Christ as the Saviour and Redeemer indeed, as written in the Book of the prophet Isaiah. The authority to forgive sins and to heal the sick and their infirmities, and the authority over spirits has been given to them and they are empowered to be the shepherds of God’s peoples.

But remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we too have been anointed with oil of the chrism on the day of our baptism, and also after we have been confirmed in the faith through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Therefore, we too take part in and share in the same mission that God had appointed His disciples for, to bring renewal and the light of Christ to all mankind.

Brethren, today therefore, as we celebrate the blessing of the chrism, we have to remember that we too have our calling and our mission entrusted by God to us, that is to help guide one another and reach out to those who are lost and away from the salvation in God. This is our mission, which had been given to us since the day of our baptism, when God claimed us as His own.

We do not have to do great things in order to fulfill this mission. What we have to do is simple steps, and things that we can indeed make a difference of, in the life of those around us. Who are these if not for our own families and friends, and all those dear and known to us? Our mission is to bring them to the light of God if they have wandered off into the darkness.

Hence, in order to do that, we have to first be aware of our actions and our deeds, that in whatever we do, we will always do the will of God and remain always in His grace. May the Lord guide us and our acts, that we will be ever faithful and committed to God. Amen.

Friday, 11 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we often like to presume many things, even those that we have no right to. We like to think that we know it all and refuse to believe if we face any kind of criticism or feedback from others. We especially do not like if we are questioned on our way of doing things. We resist and make complaints when things do not go our way.

That is, brethren, what happened to the people of Israel, the Jewish people of Jesus’ time. They had forsaken the truth of the Lord for human conveniences, and had rejected the Lord in favour of the devil and his worldly pleasures and temptations. They refused to see the truth that came with Jesus, and obstinately kept to their wicked ways.

They failed to understand the Christ and the purpose of His coming, as they did not understand God’s ways or the Scriptures in the first place. They put their trust in their human ways and observances, rather than seeking to know more about God and what He had intended for them. They failed to see how Jesus is the Messiah, the very One who would liberate them from the grip of sin and death.

Why so? That is because they have grown complacent and accustomed to the ways of the world, that they end up rejecting any attempts to make them change their ways. But again, as we see from the readings today, not all of them were such as that. Not all of the people of God were set in their wicked and rebellious ways, as there were indeed those who would listen to God and repent their sinful ways.

Those who refused to listen to Jesus and His words likely came from those who stood to lose the most by following Jesus and abandoning their wicked ways. These were the people in positions of power and influence, and they committed evil deeds through their positions and occupancies, leading many others to follow them into sin.

That was why the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the teachers of the Law were the ones who were most adamant against Jesus and His teachings, because they  looked upon Him as a rival and a usurper to their power and influence. The irony is such that they were the ones who by right should have the greatest knowledge of the Scriptures among the people of God, and thus should have been the ones who would have first noticed the Messiah and the Lord when He comes.

Thus, they refused to open their hearts to listen to the wisdom of God and instead succumb themselves to the temptations of Satan in their hearts, opening themselves to evil, such as pride, anger, wrath, jealousy and hatred which led them to act in a way that opposed the Lord and His ways, even as He came into the world to be the light to those who are in darkness, including they themselves.

That is what happened if we too allow ourselves to be taken over by our desires and human weaknesses, by our pride and arrogance, and by our jealousy and insecurities which lead us to disobey God and block His attempts and offers which He gave to us freely for our sake and for our salvation. That makes us to sin even more and to fall deeper into damnation.

So, today, we have to change our ways if we have acted like the Pharisees, and today, we celebrate the feast day of St. Stanislas or St. Stanislaus, a martyr of thr faith and one of the first pioneers of the faith in the kingdom of Poland, a thousand years ago. The martyrdom of St. Stanislas is well known even today, both in Poland and abroad.

St. Stanislas was the Bishop of Krakow, the same diocese from where our late Blessed Pope John Paul II came from originally before he became our Pope. St. Stanislas brought about a vigorous evangelisation of the then still largely pagan peoples of Poland, bringing about a real transformation of the society and bringing them to know the ways of the Lord.

St. Stanislas fought against many vices in the society, one of the most serious ones involve the very king of Poland himself, Boleslaw II also known as the Bold. King Boleslaw the Bold was known for his many good deeds, but he was also corrupted by the many vices of the world, and he did many things that were immoral and evil in the sight of God.

St. Stanislas did not fear of even rebuking his own superior, the king. St. Stanislas rebuked the king and eventually excommunicated him, casting him outside the communion of the Church into damnation. Yet instead of changing his ways and repenting for his sins, King Boleslaw chose the quick way out and murdered St. Stanislas with great cruelty and without fear of God for murdering one of His faithful servants.

As a result, King Boleslaw lost his throne, overthrown and eventually died in great infamy, because he disobeyed God and refused to listen to His will. He followed in the footsteps of the Pharisees who were adamant in their rebelliousness, that they refused to listen to God. This is what we have to avoid, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yes, we cannot be complacent, and we have to open our ears, and the ears of our heart wide, so that we may listen to God and obey Him. Let us not be like King Boleslaw, the Pharisees and all those who acted to preserve their own selves and as a result end up in condemnation, which threw them into eternal suffering in hell. Let us all be faithful servants of our God, and continue to serve Him and listen to His will.

May God be with us always and guide us till the end of time, God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 3 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 31-47

If I bore witness to Myself, My testimony would be worthless. But Another One is bearing witness to Me, and I know that His testimony is true when He bears witness to Me. John also bore witness to the truth when you sent messengers to him, but I do not seek human testimony; I recall this for you, so that you may be saved.

John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were willing to enjoy his light. But I have greater evidence than that of John – the works which the Father entrusted to Me to carry out. The very works I do bear witness : the Father has sent Me.

Thus He who bears witness to Me is the Father who sent Me. You have never heard His voice and have never seen His likeness; therefore, as long as you do not believe His messenger, His word is not in you.

You search in the Scriptures, thinking that in them you will find life; yet Scripture bears witness to Me. But you refuse to come to Me, that you may live. I am not seeking human praise; but I have known that love of God is not within you, for I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not accept Me.

If another comes in his own name, you will accept him. As long as you seek praise from one another, instead of seeking the glory which comes from the only God, how can you believe? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. Moses himself, in whom you placed your hope, accuses you.

If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?

 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Samuel 7 : 4-5a, 12-14a, 16

But that very night, YHVH’s word came to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, this is what YHVH says : When the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you and I will make his reign secure.”

“He shall build a house for My Name and I will firmly establish his kingship forever. I will be a father to him and he shall be my son. Your house and your reign shall last forever before Me, and your throne shall be forever firm.”