Saturday, 16 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patronal feast of the members of the Carmelites religious order. This day is a celebration of the great patroness of all the Carmelites as well as the Mother of all of us the faithful people of God, who through the apparition she had made to St. Simon Stock, who was one of the founders and early leaders of the Carmelites order. Back then, almost a millennium ago, the Carmelites was the only religious order founded by the Crusaders in the Holy Land, and it was told that some of their members had resided in the vicinity of Mount Carmel, which led to the association with Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

It was told that when St. Simon Stock went to relocate the orders works and property to England from the Holy Land, the Blessed Mother of God appeared to him and handed to him the now famous Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother promised that all those who wear that brown scapular with faith and commit themselves to the Lord will receive grace and help on the hour of their death, and that they will receive the assurance of eternal life. This was the beginning of the now famous devotion of the Brown Scapular wearing, in which many of the faithful wear the brown scapular as a sacramental.

Today, as we celebrate this Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, one of the Marian feasts and celebrations of the year, we are all called to reflect on the examples and the faith that Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel has shown in her own life, in her commitment to God and all that she had done as part of her mission and ministry, in loving her Son, our Lord and Saviour, and not only that, but after He entrusted each and every one of us to be His mother’s own children, Mary, our Lady of Mount Carmel never ceased to reach out to us, appearing before us and providing us with help from time to time, including in encouraging the devotion of the brown scapular.

Through Mary, God has shown us His saving grace, not only that He shows us His love, but through His own mother’s obedience and love all of us have seen the sure promise of the everlasting joy and happiness with God in Heaven. However, we must also accompany all these with real action and commitment to live our lives faithfully according to the path that God has shown us all. Otherwise, faith that is without action and concrete works, will be truly dead and meaningless, as it will in fact hinder the path of one’s journey towards God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, for those who have particular devotion of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we ought to remind ourselves that the sacramental brown scapular itself serves as a reminder and mark for us to keep in mind that we belong to the Lord, marked by His Sacraments, that of Holy Baptism, and for most of us, the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation, among the other Sacraments that we have received. Each and every one of us as Christians are members of God’s Church, and are also expected to do as the Lord had told us to do, and what He had taught us to do in our lives.

Today, as we reflect on the readings of the Sacred Scriptures and on the role of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the path of our journey towards salvation in God, let us all reflect whether our attitudes in life had been correct thus far, whether we have let our pride and ego, the temptations of worldly power and glory from misleading us down the path of ruin. If this has been the case, then we should begin making the effort to turn back wholeheartedly towards God, and do not allow the devil and other forces from leading us further down the path of ruin.

As I often mentioned, the best example for us to follow is none other than the faith which Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel herself has often shown, in her full obedience and commitment to God’s works and missions, in her love for God and for all of us, and in her righteousness and virtues. Each and every one of us have sinned and erred in one way or another, and some of us have sinned more while others sinned less. Nonetheless, all of us, each and every one of us are called to the forgiveness by God and to be reconciled to Him. Through Mary, our mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we can find an easier and better path towards the Lord, our God and Saviour.

Let us all hence renew our faith in God and devote ourselves to Him ever more through our own devotion to His blessed Mother, the most wonderful Lady of Mount Carmel. Let us all share our faith with one another, and strive to do our best to live a virtuous and exemplary Christian living from now on, obeying the Law and commandments, the will of God at all times. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 16 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 12 : 14-21

At that time, the Pharisees went out, and made plans to get rid of Jesus. As Jesus was aware of their plans, He left that place. Many people followed Him, and He cured all who were sick. But He gave them strict orders not to make Him known.

In this way, Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled : Here is My Servant, Whom I have chosen; the One I love, and with Whom I am pleased. I will put My Spirit upon Him; and He will announce My judgment to the nations. He will not argue or shout, nor will His voice be heard in the streets. The bruised reed He will not crush, nor snuff out the smouldering wick until He brings justice to victory, and in Him, all the nations will put their hope.

Alternative reading (Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Saturday, 16 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Psalm 9 : 22-23, 24-25, 28-29, 35

Why, o YHVH, do You stand afar? Why hide from us in times of distress? The wicked are in power; the weak suffer harassment; the poor become victims of evil schemes.

Exploiters boast in their power and greed; the covetous blasphemes and defies God. In their pride the wicked say, “There is no God.” They see no further.

Their mouths are filled with cursing, deceit and threats; spite and mischief are under their tongues. They lie in ambush near the villages, murdering the innocent and the unfortunate, spying upon their next victim.

But You see those in misery, o God, and You take it in hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; the orphan turns to You for help.

Alternative reading (Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Saturday, 16 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Micah 2 : 1-5

Woe to those who plot wickedness and plan evil even on their beds! When morning comes they do it, as soon as it is within their reach. If they covet fields, they seize them. Do they like houses? They take them. They seize the owner and his household; both, the man and his property.

This is why YHVH speaks, “I am plotting evil against this whole brood, from which your necks cannot escape. No more shall you walk with head held high, for it will be an evil time.” On that day, they will sing a taunting song against you; and a bitter lamentation will be heard, “We have been stripped of our property in our homeland. Who will free us from the wicked who allots our fields.”

Truly, no one will be found in the assembly of YHVH to keep a field for you.

Alternative reading (Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.”

The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again. Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Thursday, 16 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as all of us gather together to glorify the Lord, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Patroness of the Carmelite religious order, recalling the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to St. Simon Stock, one of the earliest members of the Carmelites. Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock and showed him the brown scapular, two pieces of cloth with holy image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on one side, and on the other side the promise that all who wear the scapular with devotion will be saved from the eternal fire of hell.

This was the promise that Our Lady of Mount Carmel showed to St. Simon Stock, and became the foundation for the famous devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the brown scapular associated with her. Through His mother Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Lord wants each and every one of us to put our faith and trust in Him through her, and to put ourselves in her comforting embrace and care, as our blessed and loving mother, entrusted to us and given to us to be our guide and consolation.

That so many people came to follow in the devotion of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a sign of mankind’s great desire to be healed from their hurts, problems and troubles, that they came to seek the mother of our Lord, for her guidance, her prayer and intercession, for solace and consolation during times of trouble and difficulties, trials and hardships as we are surely aware of, especially during these recent days, weeks and months when we have encountered so many problems and troubles in life.

But at the same time, we must make sure that through our devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we are helped in our rejuvenation in faith, our reconciliation with God. We must not fall into blind devotion or merely hoping for miracles and for good things to happen to us because we demand it and want it. Instead, we must once again come back to the essence of this devotion, that is through the brown scapular, we are reminded of the holy life that each and every one of us are called to, and embrace it fully with our hearts.

Let us all remember that all of us are called to turn towards God in these most troublesome and darkest of moments. And we are called to turn to Him to look forward for a new hope that He is going to bring us, and His mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is by our side, showing us the way to reach her Son. And we are all called to follow her examples, her dedication and virtues, her commitment and love for her Son that we too may grow in our faith in Him and in our love for Him.

Today, therefore, we have all been reminded that we must neither be afraid or be fearful, for God Himself together with His blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and innumerable saints and Angels are standing by us, amidst the trials and challenges of life, and amidst all the fears, despairs and uncertainties of life. The Lord wants us to put our trust in Him rather than to put our trust in our own strength and in our own designs and powers. And all of us who trust in Him will soon learn that there is truly nothing that we need to fear of.

For in the end, if we are faithful, obedient to the will of God, and have committed our lives to Him, then as the promise of the Blessed Mother of God, Our Lady of Mount Carmel had spoken to St. Simon Stock, that those who have devoutly wore the brown scapular would be safe from the eternal fires of hell. No matter how great the trials and difficulties we may currently be facing and suffering, but nothing can compare to the eternal suffering and punishment to be endured in hell. We must not lose hope in despair of the darkness, but instead be hopeful of the Lord and His light through His mother.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all dedicate ourselves anew to the Lord, and by devoting ourselves to His blessed mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, let us all turn ourselves into a new, righteous and virtuous living, rejecting sin and the temptation to sin, persevering in faith and committing ourselves to a new life in God’s grace. Are we able and willing to commit ourselves to this, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all discern carefully the path and direction we are going to take in life, that we will not end up in the eternal darkness, but in God’s eternal light and true joy.

May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen us, and may His loving mother Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our mother, continue to intercede and pray for us sinners, all still struggling in this world, that we may break free of the darkness by her Son’s grace and enter into the wonders of the kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

Thursday, 16 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 11 : 28-30

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Thursday, 16 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Psalm 101 : 13-14ab and 15, 16-18, 19-21

But You, o YHVH, You sit forever; Your Name endures through all generations. Arise, have mercy on Zion. For Your servants cherish her stones, and are moved to pity by her dust.

O YHVH, the nations will revere Your Name, and the kings of the earth Your glory, when YHVH will rebuild Zion and appear in all His splendour. For He will answer the prayer of the needy and will not despise their plea.

Let this be written for future ages, “YHVH will be praised by a people He will form.” From His holy height in heaven, YHVH has looked on the earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and free those condemned to death.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Thursday, 16 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Isaiah 26 : 7-9, 12, 16-19

Let the righteous walk in righteousness. You make smooth the path of the just, and we only seek the way of Your laws, o YHVH. Your Name and Your memory are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for You in the night; for You my spirit keeps vigil. When Your judgments come to earth, the world’s inhabitants learn to be upright.

YHVH, please give us peace; for all that we accomplish is Your work. For they sought You in distress, they cried out to You in the time of their punishment. As a woman in travail moans and writhes in pain, so are we now in Your presence. We conceived, we had labour pains, but we gave birth to the wind. We have not brought salvation to the land; the inhabitants of a new world have not been born.

Your dead will live! Their corpses will rise! Awake and sing, you who lie in the dust! For you will grow like plants drenched with the morning dew, and the earth will bring forth its dead spirits.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.”

The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again. Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, remembering and honouring Mary, the great Mother of God who appeared to St. Simon Stock of the Carmelite Order, a Crusaders era religious order founded by pilgrims and missionaries in the Holy Land centred in the area known as Mount Carmel. It was told that Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock showing him the brown scapular.

And that was how the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is always identified with the brown scapular, which has been a popular sacramental in the Church. The devotion of the brown scapular has been popular for the past several hundred years in the promises of the Blessed Mother of God that all those who wear the brown scapular with faith will be saved by God, as the devotional wearing of the scapular indicated one’s consecration to Mary, God’s own beloved mother.

Today, all of us ought to reflect upon the great gift of this brown scapular and how we have been given a lot of means by which we can strive to reach out to God’s generous offer of mercy and salvation through Him. And the Carmelites always consider the Blessed Mother of God as the perfect model of their faith and life, because the Carmelites believe in the value of prayer and contemplation, which Mary embodies very well.

Through this devotion of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, all of us are reminded that Mary has always led us towards her Son, and pointed to us the way to follow as we proceed on in this life. She has always patiently prayed for us and helped us along the way, seeking for us to be saved. For Mary is truly our mother, our loving spiritual mother who has been entrusted to us by Christ Himself, just as He entrusted us to her from the Cross.

Today, all of us are called to reflect on our own respective lives thus far in this world. How have we carried out our lives and actions all these while? How have we lived our commitment as Christians that are expected to do what the Lord had taught us to do and called us to do through His Church? If we have not been faithful as we should have all these while, then should we not make the effort to begin in this journey of faith from now on?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this world there are plenty of challenges and temptations that often become great obstacles in the way of our journey towards God. There are a lot of temptations, be it the temptations of money, of power, of worldly glory, of sexual pleasures and immorality, of many other allures and pleasures of the world that can cause us to deviate from the path leading towards God.

This is where we should spend some time to reorientate ourselves and rearrange the way we live our lives. And I recommend the faithful devotion of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel if we have not done it yet, as something that can help us in this journey towards God’s grace and salvation. But at the same time we must also be careful, not to end up making empty devotions, such as when we do the prayers and devotions not for the right purpose and intention.

This is where we should look upon the example of Mary herself, the Blessed Mother of God, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whose faith and devotion to her Son is truly inspiring and wonderful. She surrendered herself completely to the will of God and obeyed His commands completely, giving herself totally to the mission entrusted to her. And even until now, she is still doing what she has been doing, in helping all of us to reach out to her Son and be saved.

Mary has always directed us to her Son, Our Lord, and we should do well to follow her example and faith. We should renew our lives with faith and with the resolution and commitment to live our lives from now on with righteousness, turning away from sin and wickedness, and instead, doing only what pleases God. Let us all ask for the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, that she will always intercede for our sake, we who are sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 11 : 20-24

At that time, Jesus began to denounce the cities in which He had performed most of His miracles, because the people there did not change their ways.

“Alas for you Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I assure you, for Tyre and Sidon; it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.”

“And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead! For if the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would still be there today! But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Alternative reading (Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”