Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the great Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, remembering the moment when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, ascended into His heavenly glory, and was taken up physically away from us, so that none of us can see Him any longer, and this was the ending of the earthly ministry of our Lord which began from the moment He was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary, through His birth, His youth and growing years, His work among the people of God, and finally His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection.

On this day we remember the moment when the Lord ascended into heaven, not so that He left us behind or abandoned us, but rather because as He had mentioned to His disciples, that He went ahead in order to prepare the places He had destined for us all. It was in the Ascension that we truly know that the Lord was indeed Who He had claimed to be, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and not merely just a Man.

On several occasions, Jesus had said that no one had known or can know the Father, the Creator God, save for the One Who came from heaven itself. And He was indeed referring to Himself when He said such words, revealing His unearthly origin, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and taking up the flesh of humanity, becoming like one of us in appearance and in physical body, but in reality, is also the Divine Son of God.

Jesus our Lord was the Word of God made Flesh, as the Divine Word Incarnate. He was the Word with which the Father willed to create all things found in creation. Through Him all things were made and all existences were willed to be. And through Him also, all of us have seen God, He Who was once invisible and beyond human comprehension and understanding, have revealed Himself to all mankind.

He is the Love of God made incarnate into flesh, God Who is Love, Who descended into this world out of His great and everlasting love for us all, His beloved and yet unworthy children. We have sinned because of our disobedience against God’s will, and yet, He Who loves us beyond everything else still loves each one of us, despite of our shortcomings and wickedness.

And to that extent, He had come to save us from certain destruction, by readily bearing up our sins and wickedness upon Himself, all the punishments and consequences for those sins we committed. He bore on the cross all those punishments, so that by His wounds all of us may receive liberation from the tyranny of sin and evil. He has freed us all by His love and sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, what the Lord had promised us all has been reaffirmed to us. The Lord ascended into glory is a premonition and a preview to our own glorious ascension into an eternity of glory and grace, when we come to our final victory against evil and death. When the Lord comes again to claim all of us His faithful ones, He will separate us from the wicked, and bring us all together into His loving embrace.

But we must not just care only for our own personal safety and well-being. For indeed, many of us have been saved because we believe in the Lord, and we obey Him in all that He had commanded us to do, and we act in ways that are worthy of the Lord and His love. However, we must keep in mind what the Lord Jesus had commanded His Apostles and disciples, just before He was about to ascend from them into heaven, His last and most important command to them.

He commanded all of them to go forth to all the nations, to all the peoples, so that they might bring the truth and revelations which they have received, and bring them to the people of God who still lived in the darkness, those who still refused to welcome Him, those who rejected Him and His truth, all those who continued to live in a state of sin, and all who were still ignorant of His truth and salvation.

That was what the Lord had told His followers to do, for a simple reason. If we do nothing for the sake of these people, then we are truly condemning them to fall into eternal damnation, for if we do not act in order to bring the truth of God to them, then who will do so? We cannot assume that there will be someone out there who will do the work for our sake. No, brethren, we have to step up to the challenge given to us by the Lord, and do as what He had commanded us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how should we then act? We do not need to do marvellous or great things. What we all need is really for us to start from small and little things which we can do, beginning from ourselves and from our own families and relatives. We should spend our time to do as the Lord had taught us, that is to show love in all of our actions, showing concern and care for our fellow brethren, for all those who we see as those who are in need, even for strangers.

Once we have begun doing what is right and just in the sight of the Lord, our actions themselves will speak louder than words, and they will become a source of inspiration for many others, who hopefully will be touched by what we have done, and therefore, through us, they may find out the love of the Lord. This is what we all should do, that we live our faith truly through our actions and deeds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore today, as we commemorate our Lord’s glorious Ascension into heaven, seek to deepen our relationship with Him, and devote ourselves anew to love and care for our brethren, especially those who are in need, and all those who have yet to come to understand the love and truth of God, and all those who have been blinded by the darkness of sin, and therefore remain separated from the love and salvation in God.

May the Lord help us all that we may be ever more courageous and be filled with faith, so that in all things we do in this life, we will grow ever more and more committed to the Lord and to our fellow men and women, calling to salvation all those whom the Lord had called to receive His grace and love. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 28 : 16-20

At that time, as for the eleven disciples, they went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Jesus, they bowed before Him, although some doubted.

Then Jesus approached them and said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples from all nations. Baptise them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. I am with you always even to the end of the world.”

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Ephesians 1 : 17-23

May the God of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Father of Glory, reveal Himself to you and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know Him. May He enlighten your inner vision, that you may appreciate the things we hope for, since we were called by God.

May you know how great is the inheritance, the glory, God sets apart for His saints; may you understand with what extraordinary power He acts in favour of us who believe. He revealed His Almighty power in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and had Him sit at His right hand in heaven, far above all rule, power, authority, dominion, or any other supernatural force that could be named, not only in this world but in the world to come as well.

Thus has God put all things under the feet of Christ and set Him above all things, as Head of the Church which is His Body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 46 : 2-3, 6-7, 8-9

Clap your hands, all you peoples; acclaim God with shouts of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared; He is a great King all over the earth.

God ascends amid joyful shouts, the Lord amid trumpet blasts. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

God is King of all the earth; sing to Him a hymn of praise. For God now rules over the nations, God reigns from His holy throne.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 1 : 1-11

In the first part of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when He ascended to heaven. But first He had instructed through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles He had chosen. After His passion, He presented Himself to them, giving many signs that He was alive, over a period of forty days He appeared to them and taught them concerning the kingdom of God.

Once when He had been eating with them, He told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the fulfilment of the Father’s promise about which I have spoken to you : John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit within a few days.”

When they had come together, they asked Him, “Is it now that You will restore the Kingdom of Israel?” And He answered, “It is not for you to know the time and the steps that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth.”

After Jesus said this, He was taken up before their eyes and a cloud hid Him from their sight. While they were still looking up to heaven where He went, suddenly, two men dressed in white stood beside them, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the sky? This Jesus Who has been taken from you into heaven, will return in the same way as you have seen Him go there.”

Thursday, 21 May 2015 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue to hear about the prayer which Jesus had made to His Father, asking Him to bless and protect those who have dedicated themselves to Him, and all those whom He had chosen out of the world and have not betrayed Him like what Judas Iscariot had done.

And He prayed that they all may be united and one in Body and Spirit, just as He and His Father are one, that as One Church, they may stand together against the darkness around them, and become the testimony of the Faith that all who saw them might believe and repent.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we also heard about how St. Paul stood for trial in front of the Sanhedrin, or the Council of the elders of the people of Israel, and he was condemned because of his faith in God and his courageous and ceaseless preaching and evangelisation of the peoples regarding the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, which most of the Sanhedrin members had rejected.

And we heard how God blessed St. Paul and protected him from harm by putting discord amongst his persecutors, the party of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. And this was because of the discord of those who do not belong to the Church of God. Each of them with their own ideas and thoughts. That is indeed the way of this world, the way of selfishness where everyone gives in to their own selfish desires and wants.

But sadly, this is the same issue that also affected even the Church of God. Because of mankind’s greed and inability to resist the temptations of the world, this brought about division into the Church of God, where heresy and falsehoods were rampant amongst the people of God, misleading many souls away from salvation. And this is a great danger to all of us, for division in the Church brings about harm for the souls that became ensnared in the lies of Satan.

That is why Jesus prayed for the unity of the Church, that is the unity of all of His faithful ones, all of His beloved children. The Church is not just a building and an establishment, or an organisation, but in fact, it encompassed all of us, all the believers and all those who have placed their faith in God. All of us make up the one Body of Christ, that is His Church. For while the Church is filled with peoples of different origins from all over the world, but its human traits hide the truth that truly, the Church came from God and it, together with all of us, belongs to God alone.

If united, the Church of God will be able to face and persevere through whatever it is that Satan and his wicked allies throw against us. Remember that Jesus Himself told Peter that not even the gates of hell will prevail against it. Thus, if we remain united and devoted to our call and mission as children of God and members of His Church, then not even the greatest force and power of Satan can uproot us or harm us.

As we approach the celebration of Pentecost, let us all remember that all of us faithful ones in God all share the same Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit which we have received, in the one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Church. And today we also celebrate the feast of St. Christopher Magallanes and his companions, who are martyrs of the Faith and the Church.

St. Christopher Magallanes was a faithful and devoted priest and servant of God, who ministered to the people of God with love and tenderness, sharing with them the love of God. He lived however, in a turbulent country at a turbulent time, in Mexico during a time of great hostility and opposition against the Church and the Faith in general. The people in power were adamantly and aggressively hostile against the Church.

Thus, he was martyred with many other brave and courageous defenders of the faith, and together they were elevated to their glory at the Altar as the holy saints and martyrs of the Church. They remained true to their faith and calling as servants of God, bringing the word of God despite knowing that doing so would lead to their deaths.  Their examples should serve as a reminder for all of us to lead a dedicated and committed life of faith in our Lord. There are so much more that we can do.

Let us all in all of our actions seek to bring unity to the Church, and bringing one another closer to God, and helping one another to resist the temptations of the flesh and the world. May God our Father guide us on our way and keep our hearts strongly in love for Him, and so that we may remain true to Him and keep all of His Laws and commandments faithfully. Amen.

Thursday, 21 May 2015 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

John 17 : 20-26

At that time, Jesus prayed to God His Father and said, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who through their word will believe in Me. May they all be one, as You Father are in Me and I am in You. May they be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”

“I have given them the glory You have given Me, that they may be one as we are one : I in them and You in Me. Thus they shall reach perfection in unity; and the world shall know that You have sent Me, and that I have loved them, just as You loved Me.”

“Father, since You have given them to Me, I want them to be with Me where I am, and see the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me. As I revealed Your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal it, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I also may be in them.”