Friday, 5 May 2017 : 3rd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 9 : 1-20

Meanwhile Saul considered nothing but violence and death for the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus that would authorise him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem anyone he might find, man or woman, belonging to the Way.

As he travelled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” And he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus Whom you persecute. Now get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do.”

The men who were travelling with him stood there speechless : they had heard the sound, but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground and, opening his eyes, he could not see. They took him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. He was blind and he did not eat or drink for three days.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, to whom the Lord called in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord!” Then the Lord said to him, “Go at once to Straight Street and ask, at the house of Judas, for a man of Tarsus named Saul. You will find him praying, for he has just seen in a vision that a man named Ananias has come in and placed his hands upon him, to restore his sight.”

Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem, and now he is here with authority from the High Priest to arrest all who call upon Your Name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to bring My Name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I Myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for My Name.”

So Ananias left and went to the house. He laid his hands upon Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may receive your sight and be filled with Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptised. Then he took food and was strengthened.

For several days Saul stayed with the disciples at Damascus, and he soon began to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 : 3rd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Psalm 24 : 4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9

Teach me Your ways, o Lord; make known to me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and instruct me, for You are my God, my Saviour.

Remember Your compassion, o Lord, Your unfailing love from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, but in Your love remember me.

Good and upright, the Lord teaches sinners His way. He teaches the humble of heart and guides them in what is right.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017 : Ash Wednesday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Joel 2 : 12-18

YHVH says, “Yet even now, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. Rend your heart, not your garment. Return to YHVH, your God – gracious and compassionate.” YHVH is slow to anger, full of kindness, and He repents of having punished.

Who knows? Probably He will relent once more and spare some part of the harvest from which we may bring sacred offerings to YHVH, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, proclaim a sacred fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the community, bring together the elders, even the children and infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his bed, and the bride her room.

Between the vestibule and the altar, let the priests, YHVH’s ministers, weep and say : Spare Your people, YHVH? Do not humble them or make them an object of scorn among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples : Where is their God?

YHVH has become jealous for His land; He has had pity on His people.

Saturday, 12 November 2016 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples a parable, to show them that they should pray continually, and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my opponent!'”

“For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.'”

And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night, even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Wednesday, 17 August 2016 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ezekiel 34 : 1-11

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, speak on My behalf against the shepherds of Israel! Say to the shepherds on My behalf : Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?”

“But you feed on milk and are clothed in wool, and you slaughter the fattest sheep. You have not taken care of the flock, you have not strengthened the weak, cared for the sick or bandaged the injured. You have not gone after the sheep that strayed or searched for the one that was lost.”

“Instead you ruled them harshly and were their oppressors. They have scattered for want of a shepherd and became prey of wild animals. My sheep wander over the mountains and high hills; and when they are scattered throughout the land, no one bothers about them or looks for them.”

“Hear then shepherds, what YHVH says : As I live – word of YHVH, – because My sheep have been the prey of wild animals and become their food for want of shepherds, because the shepherds have not cared for My sheep, because you shepherds have not bothered about them but fed yourselves and not the flocks, because of that, hear the word of YHVH.”

“This is what YHVH says : I will ask an account of the shepherds and reclaim My sheep from them. No longer shall they tend My flock; nor shall there be shepherds who feed themselves. I shall save the flock from their mouths and no longer shall it be food for them.”

Indeed YHVH says this : I Myself will care for My sheep and watch over them.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking about the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, to whom the prophet Hosea had been sent to. The people of Israel had been blessed with much blessings, as their ancestors had been faithful to God and to His covenant with them. And at that time, as a background, the prophet Hosea was sent to the northern kingdom of Israel at the time of relative prosperity.

And all that prosperity as well as their own stubbornness and lack of faith had made the people of God to lose track and deviate from the true faith in God. They refused to listen to the prophets which had been sent to them to remind them of what they ought to do to repent and to turn back to the Lord. They disobeyed God and instead, they lived in debauchery and wasted themselves on the prosperity and the wealth which they had gained.

And instead of following their one and true King, they followed the king whom they have set over themselves. Those kings had misled them into evil ways and thus into sin. But despite of this, they continued on with their wrong path, and they therefore sank deeper into the darkness. And yet, God continued to send His help again and again, one after another with the hope that some of them would realise their errors and return to Him.

That was why Jesus our Lord, Who came into the world in order to save it, also sent His twelve Apostles and the many other disciples He had to preach His Good News to the people, spreading the truth about God’s love and mercy to them, and calling them to repentance and to turn themselves to God’s ever great and generous mercy.

But the resistance by all those people to whom the Apostles and the disciples had been sent to, was great. They did not like it when they had to change their ways to suit that of the ways of the Lord. For them, it was much more preferable for them to continue with their then way of life rather than to abandon them for the sake of the Lord. Many of them were too attached to worldliness and thus their hearts were set against God and His message.

Then, this is where we should take note of what happened to the saint whose feast day we celebrate today. She is the famous saint whose story must be quite familiar with many of us. St. Maria Goretti was a young woman who was devoted to the Lord, and has promised herself before God to remain holy and pure in all things. She lived with another family as her own father had passed away when she was still very young.

The son of the family where St. Maria Goretti lived in took an interest in her, and he on one occasion, threatened St. Maria Goretti and wanted to rape her when she was alone, but St. Maria Goretti, even when threatened with a sharp knife, refused his advances, and courageously reminded him that such an act is a great and mortal sin that would condemn both of them to the eternal fires of hell.

Faced with such a setback and opposition, the boy panicked and as he gave in to his fears and anger, he struck at St. Maria Goretti many times with the knife. As she laid dying from her wounds in the hospital, she forgave her murderer with love, and wished that he would be with her in Heaven.

And indeed, while the murderer refused to repent and did not show regret over his actions in the first few years of his imprisonment, but after a bishop visited him in prison and told him how St. Maria Goretti had forgiven him and even prayed for him, and as on one night she even appeared before him and spoke to him, the murderer, Alessandro Serenelli, repented sincerely and changed his ways, eventually even becoming a member of a religious order, dedicating himself to a life of piety and devotion to God.

This wonderful story of the life and death of St. Maria Goretti, and how her murderer had been converted into the way to salvation should be inspiration for us all as well. Let us not be like the people of Israel in ancient times, who placed their worldly desires and greed above their faith in God. The same problem had caused that Alessandro to murder St. Maria Goretti, and also many other sinful things which we mankind commit in this world today.

Let us all no longer give in to our human desires and the greed that is in our hearts. Let us instead devote ourselves ever more faithfully to our God, and give ourselves to Him in all the things that we say and do, so that we may draw ever closer to the throne of His love and mercy. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 10 : 1-7

At that time, Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits, to drive them and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the Twelve Apostles : first Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Him.

Jesus sent these twelve on mission with these instructions : “Do not visit pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go instead to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. Go and proclaim this message : The kingdom of heaven is near.”