Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the occasion of the celebration of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker which falls on the first day of May every year. On this day, which is also celebrated as May Day or Labour Day by secular organisations and governments all around the world, we remember the nature of Christian work and charity as highlighted in the role model of all Christian workers, that is St. Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was a carpenter in the small town of Nazareth.

St. Joseph was the model of virtue for all Christians, of obedience and righteous living and as a simple, humble carpenter, he led a mostly unassuming life in a small, unassuming town of Nazareth, in Galilee at the peripheries of the Jewish world and community at that time. As a carpenter, he was often overlooked and ignored, needed by the community but often unappreciated and disregarded by them in general, as carpenter was considered as the job of the illiterate and the uneducated, skilled but without much power and influence, or fame and glory.

That is why when the Lord came to Nazareth, His own hometown to reveal to the people there, His own townspeople regarding the truth that He has brought into this world, He was ridiculed and rejected, as the people there pointed out how He was just the Son of the village carpenter, a lowly person without much pedigree and status, and therefore, they ridiculed and rejected Him as such, even though He truly had spoken in such great wisdom and authority and done many wonderful deeds before them and across all of Galilee.

That brings us therefore to the reality of our world today, brothers and sisters in Christ, a world where workers all over the world are often under-appreciated and under-provided, treated badly and subjected to horrible working conditions and being treated unfairly, while those who manipulated and exploited them had free reign in doing whatever they wanted in order to maximise profits for themselves and to enjoy the fruits of those who have laboured under them without fair compensation and treatment.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called in our own respective lives to reflect on the realities of our world’s working community and the well-being of workers in general. We are called as employers and those who are in the position of influence and power to be fair in how we treat our fellow men, and not to treat those whom God had entrusted to be under our authority and guidance without justice. And as those who are working, and are labouring, we are also called to be just and virtuous ourselves, that we treat one another with respect, and also obey the good rules and laws of our employment.

Today, as Christians, all of us as part of the same Christian community, assembly of all the faithful, are called to be more like St. Joseph in how we live our lives, as humble and God-centred people, as those who place God as the focus of our respective lives and obey His will and His laws as we carry on living our lives and doing whatever we can throughout life in order to fulfil our obligations as Christians, to be good role models for one another and to be faithful witnesses and disciples of Our Lord through our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us also take some time to reflect on how we are going forward in our lives and balancing our work obligations, our commitments in life, and most importantly our faith life and relationship with God. It is too often that many people have been so absorbed into their work and career that they ended up forgetting that their work and career is only a means to an end. Instead, they allow those things to control them and enslave them to their own desires and ambitions.

Let us all not lose sight of our true focus on life, brothers and sisters, that is the Lord, our God. He is the true centre of our lives, the reason of our very existence, and why we labour daily in order to glorify His Name by our works, and proclaim His truth through our exemplary faith and dedication. Let us all be the pillars of virtue and justice as St. Joseph, the righteous and virtuous Worker had shown us, as a most devoted servant of God and as the Protector of the Church.

Let us ask St. Joseph for his constant intercession, for all of us working out there, and especially for those who are on the forefront of the struggle against the pandemic, all of our frontline healthcare workers, who toiled daily, day and night to care for the need of those who are sick and suffering. Let us ask him to pray for the sake of all those who have also been exploited and manipulated for their work without fair treatment and justice, that God may recourse them and protect them in their hour of need.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us, to be His most faithful disciples, doing our respective work and duties in life, first and foremost as Christians, and living our lives genuinely with faith, in our working places and within each and every one of our communities. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 7-14

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father Who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father.”

“Everything you ask in My Name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon My Name, I will do it.”

Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

Matthew 13 : 54-58

At that time, Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?” And so they took offence at Him.

Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

Sing to YHVH a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

YHVH has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love, nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you, lands, make a joyful noise to YHVH, break into song and sing praise.

Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 12-13, 14 and 16

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children.

Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 44-52

The following Sabbath almost the entire city gathered to listen to Paul, who spoke a fairly long time about the Lord. But the presence of such a crowd made the Jews jealous. So they began to oppose, with insults, whatever Paul said.

Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out firmly, saying, “It was necessary, that God’s word be first proclaimed to you, but since you now reject it, and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we turn to non-Jewish people. For thus we were commanded by the Lord : I have set you as a light to the pagan nations, so that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Those who were not Jews rejoiced, when they heard this, and praised the message of the Lord; and all those, destined for everlasting life, believed in it. Thus the word spread, throughout the whole region. Some of the Jews, however, incited God-fearing women of the upper class, and the leading men of the city, as well, and stirred up an intense persecution against Paul and Barnabas.

Finally, they had them expelled from their region. The Apostles shook the dust from their feet, in protest against this people, and went to Iconium, leaving; the disciples, filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

Genesis 1 : 26 – Genesis 2 : 3

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.” God said, “I have given you every seed bearing plants which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day. That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day He rested from all the work He had done in His creation.

Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

Colossians 3 : 14-15, 17, 23-24

Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May the peace of Christ overflow in your hearts; for this end you were called to be one body. And be thankful. And whatever you do or say, do it in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly, working for the Lord, and not for humans. You well know, that the Lord will reward you with the inheritance. You are servants, but your Lord is Christ.

Friday, 30 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we continue to hear the testimony of faith that St. Paul spoke of before the assembled Jews in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia. St. Paul spoke bravely and courageously about the Lord and all that He had done throughout history for His beloved ones, and today we focused on all that He had done for the sake of all through Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, Who had been crucified and rejected, so that through His suffering and death, all may have eternal life.

St. Paul trusted in the Lord and allowed Him to lead him wherever he was to go, and he became His instrument in revealing His truth to the people, even when he might be rejected and opposed, made to suffer or endure humiliation. He spoke courageously of what his faith had led him to, the faith in the one and same Messiah, Who had willingly surrendered His life, suffered and died so that all who believed in Him may gain the assurance of life and eternal glory, life everlasting with Him in heaven.

St. Paul certainly did not have it easy, as in this case and many others, his words and truth made some among the Jewish people to be uneasy, and feared his charisma and efforts, and made trouble for him, rejecting and expelling him from their places and cities. The same also happened to him as he ventured from places to places preaching the Good News of God. He had successes in many places, and many were turned to God and followed Him, but there were even more occasions when the people, Jews and Gentiles alike, refused to listen to him and rejected him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us? As Christians, have we been living our lives in the most Christian manner, so that in everything we say and do, in all of our actions, we may inspire others to do the same and to follow God wholeheartedly as well. And this is our Christian calling and mission which God has entrusted to each and every one of us from the moment that we accepted Him as Our Lord and Saviour at baptism. We must not forget that He has sent forth all of His disciples to the nations, to deliver to them the Good News and to make disciples of all the peoples of all the nations.

Hence, how can we then persuade and convince others to believe in God, Our Lord and Saviour, if we ourselves have not been sincere in our own faith and in how we ourselves lived our life? We have to show our faith by our good examples, and this does not have to be great or major, but rather, we begin from small and little things, the little things we do in life, beginning from our own lives, from our own families and within our own groups and communities, that our every words, actions and deeds are truly filled with genuine faith in God.

That is why today, we should look up to the saint whose feast we are celebrating, namely Pope St. Pius V, as the great and inspirational role model who can help us to discern our own way of living our faith, and hopefully that we will be ever more courageous and willing to embrace fully our Christian calling and vocation in life. Pope St. Pius V was the great leader of the Universal Church at a very crucial moment in the history of the Church, when both the Church and the faithful were under great threat both from the outside and from within.

At that time, the whole Christendom was greatly threatened by the might and the power of the expansionist Ottoman Empire, which subjugated many nations and peoples under their rule, and they had proven their desire and willingness to expand it even further. And at the same time, the Church and the Christian community had been bitterly divided, not only from the divisions between the Western and Eastern halves of Christendom, but also the great divisions brought by the Protestant reformation.

As such, the Church had convened the Ecumenical Council of Trent that resolved to address the many underlying issues facing the Church at the time, and resolved to purify the Church as well as to rejuvenate the Christian faith, as best as possible. The Church leaders pressed on for crucial reforms, which were eventually finalised and implemented, by none other than Pope St. Pius V, whose reign as the Vicar of Christ and successor of St. Peter came not long after the conclusion of the Council of Trent.

Pope St. Pius V was vigorous in implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent, in his efforts to purify the faith and Christendom, in trying to call more and more of those who had turned their back and lapsed from the true faith to return to the embrace of the Holy Mother Church, and he also helped to organise the great Crusade in defence of Christendom, against the expansion efforts of the Ottoman Empire. And for this he was renowned for two great contributions.

First was his promulgation of the venerable Mass of Pope St. Pius V, which is still used to this day as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the standardisation of the celebration of the Holy Mass that removed the excesses and aberrations found in the earlier history of the Church, while at the same time also rejuvenated the Church and the faithful. Then, he was also remembered as the chief architect in the great alliance assembled in the great victory of the forces of Christendom against the Ottoman navy in the Battle of Lepanto, marking the turning point in the fate of Christendom.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope St. Pius V dedicated his life and effort to serve the Church and all the faithful people of God, and therefore, we should be inspired to follow in his footsteps, in loving God and in dedicating ourselves to serve Him and to glorify Him through our lives. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord in a renewed conviction and desire to serve Him ever more faithfully with each and every passing moments?

Let us all discern carefully our actions and path in life, so that moving forward, we may be ever inspired by the examples of the faithful servants of God, St. Paul the Apostle and Pope St. Pius V. Let us all give ourselves to the Lord and let us devote our time, effort and attention to Him from now on, that we may be His faithful witnesses through which more and more may come to know and believe in the Lord just like us, and therefore be assured of eternal life as well. May God be our guide and may He strengthen us all with the resolve to love and serve Him well. Amen.

Friday, 30 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Friday, 30 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 2 : 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

“Behold the King I have installed, in Zion, upon My holy hill!” I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to Me : “You are My Son. This day I have begotten You.”

“Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall rule them with iron sceptre and shatter them as a potter’s vase.”

Now therefore, learn wisdom, o kings; be warned, o rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and fall at His feet; lest He be angry and you perish when His anger suddenly flares. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Friday, 30 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 26-33

Paul said to the Jews in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia, “Brothers, children and descendants of Abraham, and you also who fear God, it is to you that this message of salvation has been sent. It is a fact that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognise Jesus.”

“Yet in condemning Him, they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath but not understood. Even though they found no charge against Him that deserved death, they asked Pilate to have Him executed. And after they have carried out all that had been written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.”

But God raised Him from the dead, and for many days thereafter He showed Himself to those who had come up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They have now become His witnesses before the people. We ourselves announce to you this Good News : All that God promised our ancestors, He has fulfilled for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus, according to what is written in the second psalm : You are My Son, this day I have begotten You.”

Thursday, 29 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded yet again as we have constantly been reminded throughout this season of Easter of how fortunate we are to be beloved by God each and every moments of our lives. He has graciously given us all so many blessings and wonders throughout all these time that we are always beloved and taken care of by Him Who loves us dearly. All of us belong to God and God treats us as His own children.

In our first reading today, we heard the testimony of St. Paul as he preached to the Jewish people in diaspora in Antioch in Pisidia, as he was asked by the synagogue officials to give words of encouragement to the people assembled there on the Sabbath. He spoke of how God had saved His people from harm and destruction when He rescued them from their slavery in the land of Egypt. He reminded all of the people of the generous love by which God took their ancestors out of the land of their slavery and led them into the land promised.

And St. Paul also continued on speaking of how God sent His Saviour into the world, born of the House of David as predicted and prophesied by the prophets, and how St. John the Baptist came not long before Him, to prepare His way and call the people all to repentance and to embrace once again the truth of God and be forgiven from their sins through His Saviour, Jesus Christ, of Whom St. Paul was preaching about in all those occasions with great zeal and courage.

The Lord has sent St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples to all the people, the children of God, to be the bearers of His Good News and truth as He said in our Gospel today, and all those who listens to the ones whom He has sent, listens to Him, and they receive the truth and should they all remain in faith, then they shall be blessed and be saved. He has called on all to be His followers, and He has also called more and more to be like St. Paul, as those to whom He entrusts the mission of the conversion of sinners.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to all these from the Scriptures, we are then reminded that we ourselves as part of the Church have the same calling and obligation to be witnesses for the truth of Our Lord, to be His exemplary disciples and followers that by our lives and actions, by our words and dedication, our good role model and deeds, we may inspire many others like what St. Paul and the other Apostles, the saints and many holy martyrs had done with their own lives and throughout their respective ministries.

Today, we are all called to look upon the great example showed by one great woman and saint, whose life and dedication inspired so many of her time and beyond, and even Popes were listening to her advice and words. St. Catherine of Siena was renowned for her great piety and dedication to the Lord, that since her youth she has committed herself to the Lord, opposing the efforts made to marry her to a widower. And later on, after constant struggle and determination, through prayer and faith eventually St. Catherine of Siena managed to enter into life consecrated to God.

Throughout her life, St. Catherine of Siena had become great source of inspiration for so many others as she lived her life most virtuously and dedicated herself to a holy life of service to the people of God as she ministered to the poor and the sick in her community and beyond. She helped to rejuvenate the faith in many segments of the community and gained a lot of influence and trust from various members of the Church, including from the Popes, the Cardinals and the bishops in various places. Many sought her for advice and guidance.

St. Catherine of Siena was instrumental in helping the Church, then bitterly divided by factional tension and by various disagreements, by divisions that existed between rival claimants to the Papacy and the divided support from the Christendom which led to a fracturing of Christian unity. She helped to give advice to the Church leaders and elders, and encouraged the Pope to return to Rome and address all the problems and things that had led to the troubles in the Church at that time.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through the courage and the faith showed by St. Catherine of Siena, all of us are called and encouraged to follow the Lord in the same manner too. Are we willing to do so, brethren? Are we able to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him, doing our very best to glorify Him through our lives, and inspiring one another and so many others who have not yet known the Lord. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 29 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 16-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice.”

“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says : The one who shared My table has risen against Me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One Who sent Me.”