Tuesday, 12 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Lord and His profession of faith and devotion to us, as He told us how a shepherd would go all out of his way, leaving those sheep which are secure with him, and find the one lost sheep until that sheep is found. Our Lord is the Good Shepherd, as He Himself had said, and therefore, we are His sheep, in the pasture that is this world, and He will devote Himself in the same way as the shepherd is devoted to his flock of sheep.

In the first reading today, Ezekiel, the prophet of Israel called when the people of God was exiled at Babylon, received a vision showing God in all of His majesty, who commissioned him to speak His words on His behalf to the people of God, and particularly those who had rebelled against God and walked in ways contrary to the way of the Lord.

Thus, both readings essentially talked about the same thing, that God is concerned with the fate of mankind, particularly those who are lost in the darkness of this world, which is caused by our sinfulness and disobedience to the will of God. God wants those sheep that are lost, to be able to find their way back to Him before it is too late, and thus He sent His servants, the prophets like Ezekiel and ultimately Himself through Jesus His Son.

God did not take our case and fate lightly, as He knows that there are only two end points for us all, that is either eternal goodness or eternal damnation. Satan and his supporters are ever active in our world, dragging mankind and all those who are not vigilant into the trap of sin and evil, much like how wolves drag and trap their unsuspecting preys, the lost sheep into harm’s way and death.

That is why He sent on our way, so much help and assistance, that is the assistant shepherds which He gave us to be our shepherds and leaders to help us on our way to the Lord, to guard us and help us to evade the wolves. These were the prophets, and then followed by the disciples of Christ and their successors, our priests and bishops today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of a saint, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, a French noblewoman who lived during the late Renaissance era. She led a relatively normal life for the people of her age in that time, building up a family with her aristocrat husband, until she was widowed at the young age of twenty-eight with several of her children.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal then experienced a turn in her life, when she devoted herself to a life in devotion to God through charity and works, meeting up with saints and then established a congregation of women committed to the service of the poor, which she herself dutifully carried out for the sake of these lost ones of the children of God.

She was so devoted in her works, that despite all the opposition and challenges against her, even ridicule and obstacles would not allow her to give up her good works for God’s lost and weak children. It was indeed the same as how our Lord painstakingly worked hard to gather back all of His sheep, the lost ones, namely all of us, who had been sundered from Him ever since sin entered into the hearts of men.

We too have to follow her example, and the very example set up by our Lord, who as the Good Shepherd, did the ultimate act of love and devotion, by laying down His own life for His sheep, through the crucified Christ, that we all may live. It is important for us to realise how great is the love that God has for us, and therefore try our best to love Him back and seek Him with the best of our abilities.

Let us help one another on our way towards the Lord. Let us seek Him who is the Shepherd of all things living, and of all creations. He loves us all, and we should also all love Him back in the same way. Let us never be separated again from Him, and let us ask for the intercession of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, that our faith in the Lord will always be blessed by God. Amen.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Matthew 18 : 1-5, 10, 12-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you that, unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in My Name receives Me.”

“See that you do not despise any of these little ones, for I tell you : their angels in heaven continually see the face of My heavenly Father.”

“What do you think of this? If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? And I tell you : when he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it than about the ninety-nine, that did not get lost.”

“It is the same with your Father in heaven : your Father in heaven does not want even one of these little ones to be lost.”

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Psalm 118 : 14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

I delight in following Your laws, more so than in all riches.

Your laws are my delight, my counselors who uphold me.

Your law is more precious to me than heaps of silver and gold.

How sweet are Your promises to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Your statutes are my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart.

I gasp in ardent yearning for Your commandments that I love.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Ezekiel 2 : 8 – Ezekiel 3 : 4

The Son of Man said, “Listen then, son of man, to what I say and do not be a rebel among rebels. Open your mouth and take in what I am about to say.”

I looked and saw a hand stretched out in front of me holding a scroll. He unrolled it before me; on both sides were written lamentations, groanings and woes. He said to me, “Son of man, eat what is given to you. Eat this scroll and then go; speak to the people of Israel.”

I opened my mouth and He made me eat the scroll and then He said to me, “Eat and fill yourself with this scroll that I am giving you.” I ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey.

He said, “Son of man, go to the Israelites; speak to them with My words.”

100,000 views for my blog! Thanks to all the visitors and Praise be to God!

As of last Sunday, 7 July 2014, my blog has reached its 100,000th view by visitors from different parts of the world. I thank all those who had spent their time to come and read what I had published in this blog.

May God be with us all, bless us and guide us always. And may He guide me and bless me so that I can continue to write, to publish and to work for His greater glory.

 

Blog world map - 13 July 2014

 

Blog statistics (as of Sunday, 13 July 2014) :

Total views : 106,903

Total visitors : 64,237
Statistics by countries (views) – 104,780 views tabulated

1. United States of America (USA) : 30,179

2. Philippines : 19,667

3. Singapore : 17,364

4. United Kingdom (UK) : 6,318

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7. Australia : 2,675

8. Italy : 1,850

9. Ireland : 1,385

10. Germany : 1,233

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115. Federated States of Micronesia : 16

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117. Bermuda (UK) : 14

118. Honduras : 13

119. Guyana : 13

120. Luxembourg : 13

121. Northern Mariana Islands (USA) : 12

122. Gibraltar (UK) : 12

123. British Virgin Islands (UK) : 11

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148. Sierra Leone : 5

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150. Guernsey (UK) : 5

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188. People’s Republic of China (China) : 1

189. Kiribati : 1

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Marian feast)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I am sure that all of you know the importance of today’s celebration, that is commemorating the Mother of our God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appeared in an apparition to St. Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes more than a hundred and fifty years ago. Our Blessed Mother Mary appeared to her and showing her concern and care for us all mankind, who are still in state of sin and unworthy of her Son, Jesus our Lord.

Lourdes today had become a very popular site of pilgrimage, besides that of Fatima, another site of major apparition of Mary. In Lourdes, Mary appeared to St. Bernadette and over a period of many days and apparitions, she showed her concern for mankind, and eventually through the act of penance made by St. Bernadette, a clear spring of water gushed out of the ground at the grotto of Lourdes, at the site where Mary showed herself to St. Bernadette.

The water was pure and holy, and ever since then, it has caused many miraculous cure of the sick, those who came and immersed themselves in the water with full faith in God. And this ties in well with another event that we are celebrating today, indeed tied to the miraculous nature of the apparition at Lourdes, that is the World Day of Prayer for the Sick.

Every year many people visit the grotto at Lourdes, now a major pilgrimage place, and there are many different kinds of people who went there. There are the healthy ones, who seek to pray and to have the time spent with God and Mary, His mother, asking for her intercession before her Son for their sins, and there are of course the sick, who come there to seek healing and miracle of Lourdes, to be healed of their afflictions and illnesses.

It does not matter who comes to Lourdes, because everyone indeed are sick, and they seek to cure this sickness be it the sickness of the body and flesh, or the sickness of the soul and the spiritual. They seek to be cured and completely healed from their afflictions, and to be made healthy again in body and in spirit.

Yes, we are all sick, brothers and sisters in Christ, because sin is in all of us, and even the smallest of sins is a black taint upon our souls much like a festering wound seeking to destroy and kill us. Sin is a disease that afflicts not just our hearts, but also that of our flesh and our soul. As long as sin is within us, then we are sick and we are not well.

That is why the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Bernadette that time, to help all of us to seek the cure in God. It is not in the power of Mary herself or in the water that made whoever was cured of their conditions whole, because it was God who made them whole, after hearing the intercession of Mary, who intercede on behalf of those who believe in her message delivered through St. Bernadette and the Church to us.

We have to realise that all of us sin, and many of us make major mistakes and great sins in life, and as long as sin is in us, we are greatly hindered in our way towards the Lord. Worse still is that sin may prevent us from reaching our goal that is the Lord and instead bring us to eternal damnation in hell, for the punishment of our sins.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important that all of us seek to understand our faith, and understand what God wants from each one of us. What God seeks from us is actually simple, that is love, devotion and complete understanding of His ways. And we should all show this in our words, deeds, and actions. We should not just have empty faith in God, for empty faith is as good as dead.

And we should always seek to emulate the examples shown by His mother Mary, whose actions are model for all of us who believe in God. Mary is the perfect example of obedience, righteousness, and faith. Follow her obedience to the will of God, and we will be fine. Follow her righteous and upright life and actions, and we will be fine. Follow her unconditional love and faith for God, and we will be fine.

And in Mary too we have a great helper who can help us to reach for the Lord, her Son. She does this in many ways, but first, she prays for us at all times, and intercedes for each one of us before her Son at the foot of His throne in heaven. If only we are to ask her for help, and if only we show our concern at our own sinfulness, then Mary would have gladly helped us and intercede for our sake.

Through what happened at Lourdes too, Mary showed that at times she wanted to play a more direct role in helping to bring mankind closer to salvation and this she did, out of her love for her fellow mankind, still trapped in the quagmire of sin. She prays without cease for our sake, for the sake of all of us sinners still in this world, before it is too late for us.

May we therefore realise the gravity of our own sickness, of our sins and the illness in our souls, that we may seek God’s forgiveness and help from Mary His mother. Let us all also pray for those among us who are sick, and also for those who had yet to listen to God and remained in darkness, that God too may call them out of their afflictions and into good health by receiving Him as their Lord and Saviour.

O Holy Mother of God, our Lady of Lourdes, our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us sinners, now at the hour of our death. Amen.

Monday, 11 November 2013 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters, today it is revealed and explained to us all, the nature and the power of faith, that is the faith that we have in God. Faith is truly powerful, and it is also revealed what we ought to do as the children of God, that is to reflect God’s love in all of our actions, and in all that we do. We cannot be truly faithful to God, if we do not do what He asks us to do, and if we do not listen to His words or obey His will.

In the Lord lies all wisdom, knowledge, power, and authority, because He is the Lord and Creator of all things and all in this universe. That is why, we who are mere humans ought to look at Him, believe in Him, His words and His love for us. Unfortunately, many of us took great pride in our own wisdom and intelligence. Not that this is bad, but the way we often do this is by excluding God from our lives and indulging in self-glorification, the glorification of our deeds and achievements and we do not give glory to God.

Through Jesus His Son, our Lord made it clear to us, that we need to know how to love one another, to show love to one another, and to let love govern all our words, actions, and deeds. We cannot belong to God and be faithful to God, if our actions contradict what we believe in. We must walk the talk and not just believe in rhetorics, because such is the faith of the Pharisees, the hypocrites.

Brethren, we are role models for one another, shepherds to one another, and as such, we have to help make sure that each of us, all of us are truly faithful to the Lord our God. We cannot lead our brethren into damnation instead. As the Lord Himself mentioned in today’s Gospel, that great is the sin of those who had misled others, especially so for those who misled the innocent ones. The greater is our sins then, if we do so, and the greater is the punishment due for us.

Today, brethren, we celebrate the feast of St. Martin of Tours, one of the greatest saints and builders of the early Church. St. Martin of Tours lived during the waning years of the Roman Empire in the West, and he was once a Roman soldier turned into a general. Yet, he remained faithful in God and was truly exemplary in his practice of the faith.

St. Martin of Tours was truly a role model for the other Christians of his time. He was loving, just, and charitable, renowned especially for his care and love for the poor and unloved ones in the society. St. Martin of Tours devotedly give his life in dedication to the Lord, even as he continued his career as a Roman soldier. He did not have an empty faith, or faith based on mere words. His faith is truly a living one, and one that is based on love, for God and for his fellow men.

In one instance, it was told that St. Martin of Tours was passing by a road, when he saw a poor man suffering from cold, without any clothing to cover and protect him from the cold. St. Martin was moved by the sight, and true to his faith in God, he cut off a part of his soldier’s cape, and gave it to the poor man as a cloak. Later that night, St. Martin saw an apparition of our Lord Jesus, who showed to him that the old man he helped was none other than Jesus Himself!

Truly, at this juncture we ought to remember what Jesus Himself has told us, that whatever we do for our brethren, to the least of them, the poorest, the least loved, and those whose sufferings are the greatest, we do it for God Himself. That was the true virtues and righteousness of St. Martin, which we all can follow too.

St. Martin was chosen later in his life to be the Bishop of Tours, and he carried on his duties faithfully, as the shepherd of God’s people, till the end of his life, well-known by many in Christendom as a holy, humble, and faithful servant of God. We too can follow in his footsteps, if we choose to do so, and take concrete steps in following after his examples. Nothing is impossible for God, and therefore nothing too should be impossible for us.

Therefore, brethren, from now on, let us be conscious to our own sins, to our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to sin, and let sin not hinder us on our way towards the Lord. Let us be a reflection of our Lord and His love, in our own actions and deeds, through forgiving and loving one another, committing ourselves in love to our brethren in need, just as St. Martin of Tours himself had once done.

May the Lord guide us and continue to watch over us, as we grow in faith and love, that we will always ever draw closer to His presence and to His loving embrace. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 11 November 2013 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 17 : 1-6

Jesus said to His disciples, “Scandals will necessarily come and cause people to fall; but woe to the one who brings them about. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck. Truly, this would be better for that person, than to cause one of these little ones to fall.”

“Listen carefully : If your brother offends you, tell him, and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he offends you seven times in one day, but seven times he says to you, ‘I am sorry.’ Forgive him.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” And the Lord said, “If you have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree, ‘Be uprooted, and plant yourself in the sea!’ And it will obey you.”

Monday, 11 November 2013 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 138 : 1-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10

O Lord, You know me : You have scrutinised me. You know when I sit and when I rise; beforehand You discern my thoughts. You observe my activities and times of rest; You are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is formed in my mouth, You know what it is all about, o Lord. From front to back You hedge me round, shielding me with Your protecting hand. Your knowledge leaves me astounded, it is too high for me to reach.

Where else could I go from Your Spirit? Where could I flee from Your presence? You are there if I ascend the heavens; You are there if I descend to the depths.

If I ride on the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand shall guide me and Your right hand shall hold me safely.

Monday, 11 November 2013 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Wisdom 1 : 1-7

Love justice, you who rule over the world. Think rightly of God, seek Him with simplicity of heart, for He reveals Himself to those who do not challenge Him and is found by those who do not distrust Him.

Crooked thinking distances you from God, and His Omnipotence, put to the test, confounds the foolish. Wisdom does not enter the wicked nor remain in a body that is enslaved to sin. The Holy Spirit who instructs us shuns deceit; It keeps aloof from foolishness and is ill at ease when injustice is done.

Wisdom is a spirit, a friend to man, and will not leave the blasphemous unpunished, because God knows His innermost feelings, truly sees His thoughts and hears what He says. For God’s Spirit has filled the whole world and He who holds together all things, knows each word that is spoken.