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

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 36 : 16-17a, 18-28

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, when Israel occupied her own land and defiled it by her way of life and her actions. I poured out My fury on them because of the blood they shed in the land and because they defiled it with their filthy idols.”

“Then I scattered them among the nations  and dispersed them in other lands. I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. But when they were brought to other nations, My Holy Name was profane because others said of them : ‘The people of YHVH had to be exiled from His land!'”

“Then I was concerned for My Holy Name, profaned by Israel among the nations where she had been dispersed. Now you shall say to the people of Israel : ‘It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but because of My Holy Name that you have profaned in the places where you have gone.'”

“‘I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you, and they will know that I am YHVH when I show them My holiness among you. For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land.'”

“‘Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.'”

“‘I shall put  My spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be Your God.'”

Sunday, 6 April 2014 : 5th Sunday of Lent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Romans 8 : 8-11

So, those walking according to the flesh cannot please God. Yet your experience is not in the flesh, but in the spirit, because the Spirit of God is within you. If you did not have the Spirit of Christ, you would not belong to Him.

But Christ is within you; though the body is branded by death as a consequence of sin, the spirit is life and holiness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus Christ from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. Yes, He will do it through His Spirit who dwells within you.

 

Saturday, 26 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of our Lady)

Romans 8 : 1-11

This contradiction no longer exists for those who are in Jesus Christ. For, in Jesus Christ, the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death.

The Law was without effect because flesh was not responding. Then God, planning to destroy sin, sent His own Son, in the likeness of those subject to the sinful human condition; by doing this, He condemned the sin in this human condition. Since then the perfection intended by the Law would be fulfilled in those not walking in the way of the flesh, but in the way of the Spirit.

Those walking according to the flesh tend towards what is flesh; those led by the Spirit, to what is Spirit. Flesh tends towards death, while Spirit aims at life and peace. What the flesh seeks is against God : it does not agree, it cannot even submit to the law of God. So, those walking according to the flesh cannot please God.

Yet your existence is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, because the Spirit of God is within you. If you did not have the Spirit of Christ, you would not belong to Him. But Christ is within you; though the body is branded by death as a consequence of sin, the Spirit is life and holiness.

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is within you, He who raised Jesus Christ from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. Yes, He will do it through His Spirit who dwells within you.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Timothy 3 : 14-16

I give you these instructions, although I hope I will see you soon. If I delay, you will know how you ought to conduct yourself in the household of God, that is, the Church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. How  great indeed is the mystery of divine blessing!

He was shown in the flesh and sanctified by the Spirit; presented to the angels and proclaimed to all nations. The world believed in Him : He was taken up in glory!

Thursday, 12 September 2013 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate another important Marian feast, that is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, the mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, God incarnate into man. Today we celebrate the name of the very woman through whom the salvation of this world and the salvation of all of us, came into this world, and through whom our salvation in Christ her Son was ensured in all its fullness.

Why the name of Mary? That is because the devil trembles every time he hears that name, just as he hides in fear every time he hears the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, her Son. That is because in her and in Jesus, the devil suffered his ultimate defeat, and the sealing of his fate, that is to suffer most grievously for all eternity in the lake of fire prepared for him and the angels who followed him into rebellion against God.

Satan, the devil and the deceiver had scored an early victory in his struggle, by snatching the most beloved and the greatest of all the things created by God, that is mankind. He successfully deceived Eve, and then Adam, by playing into their innocence, making them disobey God and therefore in their sin and rebellion, they were to suffer the same fate as Satan and his angels, to suffer for eternity most grievously.

And yet, God did not leave mankind to their fate, as even to Adam and Eve, and to Satan, He had revealed His great plan of salvation, that a woman will come and crush the head of the snake, just as the snake had bitten the feet of mankind and their children. Yes, even though through the ‘bite’ of evil and his poisons, that is temptations and sins, many of our forefathers had fallen along the way, succumbing to the temptations of the devil, but in the end, the deliverance of all will come.

That was what was keeping the devil in constant fear, fear that the salvation would come and ruined all of his attempts to destroy mankind by his false promises and temptations. It is in Mary and her works that brought about this end for him, yes, Mary is that promised woman, who will crush the serpent under her feet, and end the tyranny of Satan and sin. She brought forth the very Messiah who saved all from their fate, that they would not suffer the fate of Satan and his angels.

Mary clothed herself with righteousness and faith, and in her perfect obedience to God and His plans, she had made herself into the vessel through which God finally made the final strike against Satan and his perversion, by sending His own Son Jesus to be incarnate into man through Mary. Through Mary’s obedience and role in God’s plan for salvation, she had therefore stomped hard on the head of that snake, Satan the deceiver and the enemy.

At the name of Mary therefore, Satan will tremble and hide, because first of her role as the mother of Jesus the Messiah, as well as her own virtue and goodness that terrified Satan, because just as her Son, and unlike all other mankind, Mary was conceived without sin, and lived upright throughout her life, and thus, Satan has no power at all over her.

Yes, brethren, that is why we honour Mary, because she had made a new hope available to all of us, in Jesus her Son. It is also because of her upright and life dedicated to the Lord, that we honour and emulate her often in our own lives. Yes, brethren, she is our role model, the best of all role models after Christ our Lord Himself, and she is the greatest among the saints in heaven, the first of all, and the one closest to the throne of God, constantly advising her Son and interceding for our sake that her Son will be merciful and always loving to us.

Therefore, let us take this opportunity to deepen our love for the Lord, and our love for things good, things in complete tandem and harmony with the Lord. Let us not be led to fall into temptation by the evil one. Let us remain focused on the Lord, and ask His mother Mary to be our help in our journey back towards the Lord.

If the devil comes and threatens us with his temptations, we have to be brave and stand up to him, and utter the holy name of Mary and Jesus, and he will tremble and leave. He has no power over us, brethren, not since the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross had liberated all of us for eternity and broken the chains of sin. Never fear and trust in the power and providence of the Lord. Mary is also there to support us, as our mother and protector and our guide.

May the Lord and His mother Mary continue to watch for us and protect us, as we walk down this long and arduous path towards salvation in God. May we remain in the favour of the Lord, and seek His love at all times, reminding ourselves of the love He had shown us throughout all ages. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 19 May 2013 : Solemnity of the Pentecost, Pentecost Sunday (Second Reading)

1 Corinthians 12 : 3b-7, 12-13

No one can say, “Jesus is the Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There is diversity of ministries, but the Lord is the same. There is diversity of works, but the same God works in all.

The Spirit reveals His presence in each one with a gift that is also a service. As the body is one, having many members, and all the members, while being many, form one body, so it is with Christ. All of us, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, have been baptised in one Spirit to form one body and all of us have been given to drink from the one Spirit.

 

Alternative reading

 

Romans 8 : 8-17

So, those walking according to the flesh cannot please God. Yet your existence is not in the flesh, but in the spirit, because the Spirit of God is within you. If you did not have the Spirit of Christ, you would not belong to Him.

But Christ is within you; though the body is branded by death as a consequence of sin, the spirit is life and holiness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is within you, He who raised Jesus Christ from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. Yes, He will do it through His Spirit who dwells within you.

Then, brothers, let us leave the flesh and no longer live according to it. If not, we will die. Rather, walking in the Spirit, let us put to death the body’s deeds so that we may live. All those who walk in the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God. Then, no more fear : you did not receive a spirit of slavery, but the Spirit that makes you sons and daughters and every time we cry, “Abba! Father!” the Spirit assures our spirit that we are sons and daughters of God.

If we are children, we are heirs, too. Ours will be the inheritance of God and we will share it with Christ; for if we now suffer with Him, we will also share Glory with Him.

Saturday, 4 May 2013 : 5th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we who believe in Christ, and put our trust in His words, and place ourselves in His great love, do not belong to this world, which is owned by the evil one, with the sole intention of steering all of us away from the true path, that is the way of Christ. This they have done together by tempting the faithful ones in Christ, God’s sheep with the false promise of earthly pleasures and false joy and happiness.

Do not fear though, my brethren in faith, for Christ, our Lord Himself had also suffered such temptations and yet He won, because of His obedience to God His Father, and His unshakeable faith. We too ought to have that kind of faith and love for God, that we can deny the evil one, a passage into our hearts. Do not let the devil dwell inside us, but rather, let us put God at the centre of our very being, making our own body into a Holy Temple of His Presence.

God has made all of us His own, and gave Himself freely for our sake, giving His own flesh and blood that we can live eternally with Him in eternal joy and bliss. Not the temporary and false joy and happiness that this world can offer, but the lasting happiness of heaven. True happiness, and true joy, that the world cannot give, for there is only true joy when we are together and united with Christ our Lord and God, never again to be separated from Him.

The world hates the Lord, because it belongs to the devil, and therefore it will hate all of us too, who keep the faith in God strong. But if we remain faithful to the Lord, the devil and this world will have no power over us. We must keep our faith in God strong, and how to do this? By constant and healthy prayer life, to anchor ourselves in God, by being in constant direct line to God, we can keep ourselves from the power of evil. We also should receive the Lord regularly in deep devotion during the Mass, by attending Mass frequently, and devoutly receiving the Lord in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist, that is our Lord’s Precious Body and Blood will transform us into a Holy Temple of His divine Presence, as He enters our own unworthy bodies, and from the inside, He would transform us and made us worthy of Him, but only if our minds, our hearts, and our soul are open to Him and willing to accept Him.

Let us put our trust in God, who is our divine Master and Lord, who had triumphed over death, and who had won for us the fight against evil, and banish evil forever into the ultimate fate that awaits him, that is the lake of fire. Let us not fear evil and the world anymore, but continue to put our trust in God and love both Him and our fellow men. Keep our guard up, that the evil one will not ‘steal’ us from under God’s watch, but we need not fear if we stay in our faith in Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr (Scripture Reflection)

The Church is growing, in just barely years after the death and resurrection of Christ our Lord, the number of Christians grew exponentially. They were called Christians because they were of Christ, because they declared the life and death of Christ, and His resurrection, that brought hope of salvation to all mankind, that all who believe in Him may be saved.

Christians are unique because we believe in God, in a sacred and Holy Trinity, of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in an indivisible union of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. One God undivided with three natures, that complements one another, each being perfect on their own. We believe in Christ and in His teachings, because He came from the Father, and being the Son, He is one with the Father.

Now that Christ had risen from the dead, and liberated all mankind from the slavery of sin by Satan, and that He has returned to the Father, we can no longer see Him physically in this world, and yet, Christ’s presence is unmistakably clear in our world today, that despite the world’s hatred for Christ and His truth, He remained in our world ever since the day of the apostles, through the teachings that the apostles passed down to us through our priests and the ministers of the Lord’s Gospel.

We believed in Christ because of His good works and His ultimate work for the sake of us, that is His death on the cross. Had He not been of God, and one with God, His sacrifice would have been in vain, since the blood of mortal man has no power to save mankind from their fate of death, for having rebelled against the Lord, but because Christ is of God, and is God, His death made us all worthy of God by the shedding of the Precious Blood of the Lamb of God.

God our Father had given us all to Christ His Son, and as He Himself has said that no one that the Father has given Him was lost, and therefore, we, who had been saved, if we remain faithful to God and Christ His Son, we will gain eternal life in heaven with God. It is this promise of redemption and salvation that gave so many people a new reason for their life, and a new impetus for life, a new sense of purpose that drove them to embrace the Lord.

For without the Lord, we are nothing, and without the Lord we are empty. That is why our bodies, without a good soul anchored in the Lord, is just an empty husk of flesh, and a soul without God in it, is an empty and meaningless soul. God who gave us life through the Spirit He breathed into us when He created us made us perfect only if we keep Him always in our hearts.

Too often we forget about the Lord, and went on about our daily lives and schedules, and in the noisy world of our lives, we simply shut the Lord out, shut His soft whispers and words, and instead, involved ourselves with worldly distractions and desires, instead of listening to the Lord. No, this should not be the way. We should always keep the Lord at the centre of our lives, and put our ears, our minds, and our hearts ever ready to listen to Him and what His will is.

Today, we also commemorate the feast day of St. Adalbert, a bishop, and a martyr, who lived in the late first millennium, and who was martyred in his attempts to convert the pagans in Prussia. He converted many in Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic nations, bringing to many pagan peoples, the true faith and light of Christ, that many received salvation through the tireless preaching of St. Adalbert. He tirelessly worked for the sake of Christ, and spread the Gospel in many mission areas in Central and Eastern Europe, and did not show fear against the pagans and their beliefs. He was martyred for standing fast to his faith in Christ, in his attempts to bring Christ to them.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us return to the Lord, and place Him into the most important part of our lives once again, and that when the hectic schedules of our daily lives begin to take over us, let us remember to take a step back and remember the Lord, and keep Him always in our mind.

Do not let this world and its temptations deviate us from our true path, that is towards God. May God almighty strengthen us and our faith in Him, and allow us to listen at all times to His will, He who is our Good Shepherd, He who has chosen us and made us worthy, and He who had died for the sake of all of us. Let us follow the example of St. Adalbert, who worked hard and ceaselessly for the sake of God and the spreading of his Good News. Through his efforts, many who were chosen by God were saved. St. Adalbert, pray for all of us, and may God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 20 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 6 : 60-69

After hearing this, many of Jesus’ followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?”

Jesus was aware that His disciples were murmuring about this, and so He said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the spirit that gives life, not the flesh. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”

From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray Him. So He added, “As I have told you, no one can come to Me unless it is granted by the Father.”

After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed Him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?” Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the word of eternal life. We now believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Thursday, 18 April 2013 : 3rd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

John 6 : 44-51

No one can come to Me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent Me; and I will raise Him up on the last day. It has been written in the Prophets : ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ So whoever listens and learns from the Father comes to Me.

For no one has seen the Father except the One who comes from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Though your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, they died. But here you have the bread which comes from heaven, so that you may eat of it, and not die.

I am the living bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is My flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.