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

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 14 : 15 – Exodus 15 : 1

YHVH said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. You will raise your staff and stretch your hand over the sea and divide it to let the Israelites go dryfoot through the sea. I will so harden the minds of the Egyptians that they will follow you. And I will have glory at the expense of Pharaoh, his army, his chariots and horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am YHVH when I gain glory for Myself at the cost of Pharaoh and his army!”

The Angel of God who had gone ahead of the Israelites now placed Himself behind them. The pillar of cloud changed its position from the front to the rear, between the camps of the Israelites and the Egyptians. For one army the cloud provided light, for the other darkness so that throughout the night the armies drew no closer to each other. Moses stretched his hand over the sea and YHVH made a strong east wind blow all night and dry up the sea.

The waters divided and the sons of Israel went on dry ground through the middle of the sea, with the waters forming a wall to their right and to their left. The Egyptians followed them and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and horsemen moved forward in the middle of the sea.

It happened that in the morning watch, YHVH in the pillar of cloud and fire, looked towards the Egyptian camp and threw it into confusion. He so clogged their chariot wheels that they could hardly move. Then the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites for YHVH is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then YHVH said to Moses, “Stretch your hand over the sea and let the waters come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea.

At daybreak the sea returned to its place. As the Egyptians tried to flee, YHVH swept them into the sea. The waters flowed back and engulfed the chariots and horsemen of the whole army of Pharaoh that had followed Israel into the sea. Not one of them escaped. As for the Israelites they went forward on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the waters forming a wall on their right and their left.

On that day YHVH delivered Israel from the power of the Egyptians and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore. They understood what wonders YHVH had done for them against Egypt, and the people feared YHVH. They believed in YHVH and in Moses, His servant.

Then Moses and the people sang this song to YHVH : I will sing to YHVH, the glorious One, horse and rider He has thrown into the sea.

Monday, 18 August 2014 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ezekiel 24 : 15-24

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, I am about to suddenly take from you the delight of your eyes, but you are not to lament or weep or let your tears flow. Groan in silence and do not mourn for the dead; wear your turban, put on your sandals, do not cover your beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”

I spoke to the people in the morning and my wife died that evening. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. Then the people said to me : “Explain to us the meaning of your actions.”

I said to them, “The word of YHVH came to me in these terms : ‘Say to Israel : I am about to profane My sanctuary, your pride, the delight of your eyes for which you long.'”

“‘The sons and daughters you left behind will also fall by the sword, but you will do as I have done : you will not cover your beard or eat the customary food of mourners; you will keep your turbans on your heads and sandals on your feet. You will not lament or weep. Instead, because of your sin, you will waste away and groan among yourselves.'”

“‘Ezekiel will be a sign for you. Do as he did and when this happens you will know that I am YHVH.'”

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Jeremiah 15 : 10, 16-21

Woe is me, mother, why did you bring me to the light? A man of dissension throughout the land! I owe them nothing, neither do they owe me, yet they all curse me!

I devoured Your words when they came. They were my happiness and I felt full of joy when You made Your Name rest on me. Never did I associate with worldly people, amusing myself with scoffers!

When Your hand was upon me I stood apart and You filled me with Your anger. Why is there no end to my sorrow or healing for my wound? Why do You deceive me, and why does my spring suddenly dry up?

Then YHVH spoke to me, “If you return I will take you back and you will serve Me again. Draw the gold from the dross and you will be as My own mouth. You must draw them to you and not go over to them. I will make you a fortress and a wall of bronze facing them; if they fight against you they will not overcome you.”

“I am with you to free you and save you. I will redeem you from the wicked and free you from the hands of tyrants.”

Monday, 2 June 2014 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 67 : 2-3, 4-5ac, 6-7ab

Arise, o God, scatter Your enemies; let Your foes flee before You. As smoke is blown by the wind, so blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before You.

But let the righteous be glad and exult before God; let them sing to God and shout for joy. Sing to God, sing praises to His Name. Rejoice in His presence.

Father of orphans and Protector of widows – such is our God in His holy dwelling. He gives shelter to the homeless, sets the prisoners free.

A Brief State of the Church in China – a Church in Trial and Persecution, a Church of Martyrs, a Church of Hope

The Church in China (1949) consisted of :

20 Archdioceses

85 Dioceses

39 Apostolic Prefectures

3,080 Missionaries

2,557 Chinese priests (Total : 5,637 priests)

4 million Catholics


The Church in China (2014) consists of :

20 Archdioceses

94 Dioceses

34 Apostolic Prefectures

1 Apostolic Exarchates

3,500 priests (approximate)

12 million Catholics (both open and underground)


Looking at the above comparisons, we can see a wary future for the Church in China, which had been in official and unofficial persecution for the past six and a half decades since 1949, the year when the Communist Party of China took over power in China. Since then, the Church in China, which was once among the most vibrant and fastest growing in the world, had been in great tribulation and period of persecution. Especially during the Cultural Revolution years in the 1960s, there were great attacks against the faithful and the faith throughout the country.

On one side, it seems that there had been a growth in the number of Catholics and in terms of the growth in the number of the dioceses. However, if we look deeper into the reality of the Church and the faith, there had been a great trouble that threatened many of the faithful, especially being divided between the ‘official’ government-sanctioned ‘church’ and the underground ‘loyal’ Church.

Many of the Archdioceses and dioceses are vacant, or that their bishops are not recognised as valid and legitimate, having often been government-picked, and more of a loyal men to the government rather than true and good shepherds for the faithful. Many of the bishops were picked by the government-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association or CPCA, whose leaders have often been noted to be not just laymen, but even non-baptised people.

There had been much grievances and controversies in the recent years in the illegitimate and illegal election and ordination of bishops by the CPCA and the Chinese government which were not approved by the Holy See. On some occasions, the bishops did receive blessing from both parties, but in many other cases, it was the contrary. This further deepened the division among the faithful in China.

Many of China’s priests and bishops are underground, that is they remain faithful and loyal to the completeness of the faith in the Church, and unaffected by the pressure from the government to obey them. There had been great persecution against them and the faithful under their care, such that imprisonments and forced labour are not uncommon.


And recently, just almost two years ago, the then newly appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Shanghai, Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin bravely and courageously announced his resignation from the CPCA, the official ‘church’ of China at his own episcopal ordination, which was done with the blessing of the Holy See and the Pope. This resignation triggered a massive response from the government which resulted in his incarceration for the past two years, and he had greatly suffered for this. His episcopal motto is clear and indeed clearly highlighted his wish for the unity of the Church in China with the Universal Church, free from any external intervention. His motto is “Ut Sint Unum ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam” or “That they may be One, for the greater glory of God.”

The Church in China still grows, and more and more people hunger for the truth that Christ can offer them. There are many opportunities at evangelisation, and many brave and courageous ministers of the Lord’s Gospel went forth even against the challenges that await them. The recent attacks by the government on the Christian faith, as shown by the demolition of a church building in Wenzhou show how much the authoritarian government fears the power and influence that the Church and the faith may have in bringing about their downfall. The downfall of Communism and the authoritarian governments in Eastern Europe must still be fresh in the minds of the autocrats in Beijing, and they fear their own demise if they allow the faith to grow unchecked.

There is still great hope in the Church in China, and there is genuine faith in the people, who desire to be reunited completely with their brethren in faith, all of us, in the Universal Church, and be freed from any form of pressure or external domination, which are unjust and uncalled for. But they need our prayers, our support and our encouragement.


Let us ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary, the Help of Christians, who in the above picture is depicted as our Lady of Zose or Sheshan, from a famous pilgrimage site in Sheshan near Shanghai. Let us ask for her intercession for the Church in China and for the faithful there, our brethren in faith. Just as once the Lord had done His great works through Pope St. John Paul II, another great saint, to cast down the tyranny of atheism and unbelief in the states of Eastern Europe and Russia, may our Lady of Sheshan also intercede for the sake of our brethren in faith in China, a great nation and a great civilisation and yet is filled with worldly hatred of the devil who hates the Church and all its faithful.

We also pray that there will be a new spirit of dialogue and renewal, and that those entrusted with power at the top of the Chinese government hierarchy will finally realise the futility and the inhumane nature of their attempts to control the Church and the faithful. We hope that there will be an amicable and peaceful solution, that the Church in China may be completely reunited once again with the Universal Church, free from all the current issues and dilemmas, and free from any political arguments and intrusions by any external forces.

May the Lord be with His people always, protect them, bless them, and guide them to the light of Christ. May He give them rest and grace, after all the difficulties and challenges that they have faced, in the courageous and zealous defense of their faith in Him. Amen.

Saturday, 10 May 2014 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 14-15, 16-17

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful.

O Lord, I am Your servant, truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s son. You have freed me from my bonds. I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord.

Sunday, 4 May 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Easter (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Peter 1 : 17-21

You call upon a Father who makes no distinction between persons but judges according to each one’s needs; take seriously, then, these years which you spend in a strange land. Remember that you were freed from the useless way of life of your ancestors, not with gold and silver but with the precious blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish.

God, who has known Christ before the world began, revealed Him to you in the last days. Through Him, you have faith in God who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him in order that you might put all your faith and hope in God.