Thursday, 4 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 10 : 1-12

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’ But in any town where you are not welcome, go to the marketplace and proclaim : ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off and leave with you. But know for a certainty that the kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”

“I tell you, that on the Day of Judgment it will be better for Sodom than for this town.”

Sunday, 18 March 2018 : Fifth Sunday of Lent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Hebrews 5 : 7-9

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him, Who could save Him from death, and He was heard, because of His humble submission. Although He was Son, He learnt, through suffering, what obedience was, and, once made perfect, He became the Source of eternal salvation, for those who obey Him.

Alternative reading (Reading from Year A)

Romans 8 : 8-11

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.

Saturday, 11 April 2015 : Saturday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 9-15

At that time, after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this, He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Callistus I, Pope and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard in the Holy Scriptures and the Gospel about the nature of the Law of God, and how we ought to keep it in faith, and how important it is to understand what the Law is all about, and how to best apply it in our lives. It also highlighted the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who kept a superficial vigil and observance over the Law, but not understanding the true intent and meaning of the Law.

As is with any forms of laws, the Law of God is often bound to be misinterpreted and misused, especially when its meaning and purpose are not fully understood by those who enforce these laws. It is imperative that the people of God understand what the Law is all about, that is about love, and not just any forms of love, but the love which comes from the source of all love itself, that is God.

The Law is meant as the symbol and representation of love of God for us mankind, by giving us this set of guidance and pointers to help us to orientate ourselves in this world filled with temptations, darkness, evils, and impurities. The ultimate aim of the Law is indeed ultimately to keep us in God’s grace, and to bring us back to His love all of us who have sinned and walked away from Him.

But when those who were tasked to safeguard and apply the Law erred in their judgments and refused to listen to what the Lord had to say about them, then the Law lost its purpose, and ended up becoming a chore and a tedious thing for the people of God to maintain and keep. As a result, that was why Jesus criticised the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were obsessed with the external applications of the Law rather than the holistic applications of the Law.

Being too engrossed in the external and superficial application of the Law is dangerous, as this ended up in the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law adopting an excessively strict and burdensome interpretation of the Law, which brought a great burden on the people of God, and sadly that this is done not in the spirit of true understanding of the purpose of the Law, ending in the observance of the Law just for the sake of observing it, which will bring no benefit but instead condemnation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today we are all urged to turn deep into the Law of God, all the rules and observances which we have known in the Church, and begin to appreciate them in complete fullness and find the true meaning and purpose of the Law, that is the love of God for us, and His great desire to reunite us with Himself, so that we may be free from sin and unworthiness, and gain the eternal inheritance He had planned for us.

Today we celebrate together as the Church, the feast of Pope St. Callistus I, also known as Pope St. Callixtus I, the leader of the early Church and a martyr of the faith under the persecution of the Roman authorities at the time. Pope St. Callistus I was once a slave, who managed to escape his slavery and eventually became a servant of the Lord and His Church. He suffered many times for his Christian faith, and he was sent to many punishments by the authorities for that.

Nevertheless, eventually when Pope St. Callistus I was chosen as the Bishop of Rome and the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, and as the Vicar of Christ, he extended a new outreached hand towards those sinners and those who had erred in their path, committing adultery and fornication, allowing them to return to the Church to seek God’s mercy.

There were indeed serious oppositions to this policy, and some including the Saint Hippolytus were firmly opposed to the policies of Pope St. Callistus I who was seen as being too lenient against the sinners. St. Hippolytus was thus elected as a rival Bishop of Rome and Pope, in opposition to Pope St. Callistus I. But despite the differences and the rivalry between them, God continued to exercise His good intentions upon the world through them, as they continued to minister to the people of God in faith. Eventually both of them would also meet their end in martrydom, in the defense of their faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples of the saints and the messages from the Holy Scriptures which we heard today, all call for us to reassess our own lives as well as our own actions and deeds. We have to remember that first, God is loving and merciful, and through the Law and rules which He had given us, He wants to bring us back to Him and be renewed in love, so that our sins may be cleansed, and we renewed and purified, may find justification and salvation in God.

However, at the same time, we cannot turn a blind eye on our sins and defects indeed. We cannot ignore them or to bypass them in our attempts to seek the Lord and find His mercy. For God hates and rejects sin and evil just as much as He loves and be merciful to all of us. Welcoming sinners is indeed important, and we should make it a priority to help sinners to come back to the Lord through Faith. However, this cannot be done at the expense of condoning sin or to reduce our contempt of sin.

Instead, brothers and sisters in Christ, from today onwards, if we have not done so before, let us all help one another so that we may remind ourselves of the sins we have committed, that we may repent from them and find our way to the Lord, seeking His mercy and forgiveness. Let us also from now on seek to understand the true meaning, purpose and intention of the Law of God, so that by obeying the Law in all its full meaning, we may gain the favour and the blessings of the Lord.

May Almighty God guide us always in life, and help us so that we may become ever better disciples and followers, rooted in love and abundant in charity and faith. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 21 September 2014 : 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle, Catechetical Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 144 : 2-3, 8-9, 17-18

I will praise You day after day and exalt Your Name forever. Great is the Lord, most worthy of praise; and His deeds are beyond measure.

Compassionate and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in love. The Lord is good to everyone; His mercy embraces all His creation.

Righteous is the Lord in all His ways, His mercy shows in all His deeds. He is near those who call on Him, who call trustfully upon His Name.

Sunday, 11 May 2014 : 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and World Day of Prayer for Vocations (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.

He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake. Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are beside me : Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Monday, 14 April 2014 : Monday of Holy Week (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the Gospel is the sad reality of some portions of the Church and our faith, where people became and end up as hypocrites in their faith, in the name of false almsgiving, charity and humility and end up discrediting the faith itself.

What am I talking about here? It is about some of those who held the view that the Church has to become simple, but for the very wrong reasons. The poverty that these people talked about is literal poverty, stripping the beauty and splendour of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Lord at the Mass. In the name of false simplicity and poverty, they turned the Holy Mass and its celebration into a playground.

This is a true scandal of the faith, one that is sadly quite existent in our Church these days as it had been in the past decades. They substituted the Lord for their own human desires and lack of appreciation for the true faith that the Lord wants from us. In doing what they had done, they not only doom themselves, but also many others who were innocent, in the process.

In the recent years and decades ever since the end of the renewal of the Second Vatican Council, there had been many mistaken and wayward interpretations on what the Council was truly about, and it ended up on the destruction of the beauty of worship which had been preserved for millenia, and for many years, many parts of the world devolved into anarchy of the faith, because they have failed to understand what the Lord truly wants from them.

They brought low the true meaning of the sacrifice in the Mass, the offering of our hearts and love to the Lord. Yes, just as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus once offered her love and devotion to the Lord, only to be rebuked unfairly by the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. She offered the Lord her love and the best offering of her humble heart, anointing and preparing Him for His Passion, while Judas rebuked her for the reason of a hypocrite, pretending to love the poor while in his heart, it was truly a selfish concern for himself.

The same too can be said, even today, on those who wreak havoc on the offering of mankind, who had given their best of all as the gifts and offerings of their heart, in the name of false humility and concern for poverty, or the poverty gospel as one may say. We have to love and care for all, especially the poor for they have little or nothing, and there is much that we can give them. But, this must not be used as an excuse to attack the faith or those who love God and seek to glorify Him by giving Him their all.

We like to make these excuses because we fail to understand and have God in our hearts. Our hearts are not filled with the love and goodness of God, but with malice and ill intent, as Judas Iscariot once did, thinking only about himself and his own benefit with the pretext of giving lip service to God and His way.

This we must not do or we risk to walk the same path that Judas had taken. Mankind had lived for far too long under the influence and corruptions of the evil one. Shall we take the proactive stance and say a definitive no to the devil? Let us cast away all the temptations and false promises which the devil has offered us and instead be true followers of the Lord.

May God be with us, and guide us on our way, as we proceed on this journey of life, that we may always persevere and be strong, rejecting the evil and his falsehoods and be like Mary, giving her all to glorify and to serve the Lord. Let us all remain faithful, brethren! Amen.