Friday, 7 January 2022 : Friday after the Epiphany, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (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 called to remember the love of God and all that He has done for our sake, which He has shown us and revealed to us through none other than Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. He has revealed to us just how fortunate we are to have been beloved in such a way by our Lord. God has always been kind and compassionate to us, and His love was what made His action possible, in sending us our salvation through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. John, we heard of the words of the Apostle concerning all that God had done for our sake, through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In that passage, we heard St. John speaking of how Christ has been acknowledged through water and through Blood and the Spirit of God. This was a reference of everything that we have received from Him, and how He has revealed Himself and God’s salvation, through His baptism at the Jordan, His crucifixion and death, and finally through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

First of all, at the time of His baptism at the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist, the Lord has been proclaimed by the voice coming down from Heaven, as He was immersed in the water, and a Dove came to rest on Him, the Holy Spirit descending from the Father into this world through Jesus, the Son. The Father’s voice spoke the truth about the Man Who was baptised that day, that Jesus is indeed His Son and the One Whom He had promised to send into our midst, so that we may be saved from our fated destruction.

Then, at the moment of His crucifixion, as Christ bore His Cross, and was nailed to that Cross, enduring for us the punishments and the consequences that we ourselves ought to have suffered, He spilled His Most Precious Blood, which came down to us, as the Blood that washes us away from our sins. At that same time, when the soldiers were told to break the legs of those who had been crucified, Jesus was already dead, and one of the soldiers, later known as St. Longinus, took a spear and hit the side of the Lord with it, and immediately blood and water poured forth from it, a proof of God’s Love that endured even through His death on the Cross.

And lastly, the same Holy Spirit that had come down upon the Lord was also sent to the Apostles and the other disciples just as the Lord Himself has promised them, as tongues of fire descending on them at Pentecost, fulfilling what He has promised them and revealing to those who have received the Spirit, the fullness of truth of God’s love for us mankind and His saving grace. Through all these signs therefore we have been made aware of the most wonderful love that God has given us, through His most beloved Son, Whose coming into this world has given us all a new hope.

In our Gospel passage today, we then also heard from the Gospel of St. Luke regarding the healing of a man suffering from leprosy. The Lord wanted to heal him, and immediately, He cured the man from the leprosy. Leprosy was then a very dreaded disease that according to the old Law and customs of the Israelites would have led those who were suffering from it to be forced to live away from the rest of the society, to wander off in the wilderness until they could prove that their disease had been completely cured.

This is yet again another reminder for us of the most generous and wonderful love of God which He has kindly and generously shown us from the very beginning. God has reached out to us and make Himself approachable to us through Christ, and we ought to remember during this the blessed time of Christmas. We celebrate the most generous and amazing love God has bestowed on us, everything that He had done for us through His Son. We all rejoice because the Light of our Hope has come upon us.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of St. Raymond of Penyafort, also known as St. Raymond of Penafort, a renowned Dominican friar and priest who was instrumental in the codification of the laws of the Church that remained in force for many centuries, as well as his many contributions to the Church in the areas of theology and Catholic education, and in a most well-known miracle, he was also instrumental in the conversion of King James I of Aragon, who lived in a state of sin with his mistress and repeatedly refused to dismiss her.

St. Raymond of Penyafort sailed away from the city on his cloak, in a great miracle still remembered to this day, when the king forbade him to leave the capital city of Barcelona. This was seen by many of the sailors who witnessed the saint sailing on his cloak, as well as by many other spectators. The king was stunned by this great miracle, and was humbled, that he mended his path in life and from then on, lived more virtuously in accordance with the Law and the rules of the Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through the short exposition of the life and examples showed by St. Raymond of Penyafort, all of us are called to follow his good examples and to show our faith sincerely to the Lord. Are we able and willing to show our love to the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ? Remember how He has loved us so much through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, just as discussed it earlier on. Let us then love the Lord in the same way that He has first loved us, and do our best to honour Him with our righteous and worthy lives from now on.

May the Lord be with us all, and may His love continue to be poured onto us, in our every day and every moments. May He bless us all in our every endeavours and good works for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

Friday, 7 January 2022 : Friday after the Epiphany, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 5 : 12-16

At that time, one day, in another town, a man came to Jesus covered with leprosy. On seeing Jesus, the man bowed down to the ground, and said, “Lord, if You want to, You can make me clean.”

Stretching out His hand, Jesus touched the man and said, “Yes, I want to. Be clean.” In an instant, the leprosy left him. Then Jesus instructed him, “Tell this to no one. But go, and show yourself to the priest. Make an offering for your healing, as Moses prescribed; that will serve as evidence for them.”

But the news about Jesus spread all the more; and large crowds came to Him, to listen and to be healed of their sickness. As for Jesus, He would often withdraw to solitary places and pray.

Friday, 7 January 2022 : Friday after the Epiphany, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 147 : 12-13, 14-15, 19-20

Exalt YHVH, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion! For He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you.

He grants peace on your borders and feeds you with the finest grain. He sends His command to the earth and swiftly runs His word.

It is He, Who tells Jacob His words; His laws and decrees, to Israel. This, He has not done for other nations, so His laws remain unknown to them. Alleluia!

Friday, 7 January 2022 : Friday after the Epiphany, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 5-13

Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through Blood. Not only water but water and Blood. And the Spirit, too, witnesses to Him for the Spirit is truth.

There are then three testimonies : the Spirit, the water and the Blood, and these three witnesses agree. If we accept human testimony, with greater reason must we accept that of God, given in favour of His Son. If you believe in the Son of God, you have God’s testimony in you.

But those who do not believe make God a liar, since they do not believe His words when He witnesses to His Son. What has God said? That He has granted us eternal life and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life, the one who do not have the Son of God do not have life.

I write you, then, all these things that you may know that you have eternal life, all you who believe in the Name of the Son of God.

Friday, 8 January 2021 : Friday after Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 5-13

Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through Blood. Not only water but water and Blood. And the Spirit, too, witnesses to Him for the Spirit is truth.

There are then three testimonies : the Spirit, the water and the Blood, and these three witnesses agree. If we accept human testimony, with greater reason must we accept that of God, given in favour of His Son. If you believe in the Son of God, you have God’s testimony in you.

But those who do not believe make God a liar, since they do not believe His words when He witnesses to His Son. What has God said? That He has granted us eternal life and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life, the one who do not have the Son of God do not have life.

I write you, then, all these things that you may know that you have eternal life, all you who believe in the Name of the Son of God.

Friday, 8 January 2016 : Friday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the Lord Who came into this world, proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation, mercy and healing upon all of us mankind, all of whom were sickened in our hearts, filled and tainted with the darkness of our own faults and disobediences, with our own sins and unworthiness before the Lord.

In the Gospel we heard how the Lord Jesus helped a leper who was suffering from his leprosy, the pain, the suffering, the shame and the stigma that came with it, and how Jesus brought him to fullness of healing and redemption, and his leprosy was healed when the Lord touched him, purging from him the imperfection and the filth of the physical leprosy of the flesh.

But Jesus did not desire for the man to trumpet out loud what He had done for him. In our human nature, it would be natural for us all to show off what we have been successful in, and boast of our achievements, but this was not what the Lord Jesus had done. This is because whatever He had done for mankind’s sake, His people and beloved children, He had done them for their sake entirely, and never for His own glory.

And yet, whatever He had done, out of His infinite and everlasting love for us all, He had been glorified through His actions, as we heard in the first reading today, by the testimony of the water, the blood and the Spirit, all of which acted in unison in proclaiming the love, the everlasting and great love that God had shown us all and manifested itself through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When Jesus was baptised at the Jordan, as He was immersed in the water by John the Baptist, the heaven was opened, and there came a great voice from Heaven, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God, and a dove, which represents the Holy Spirit, came to dwell on Jesus, the testimony of the truth which both the water and the Spirit agreed on, that Christ our Lord is the One Who had come into the world in order to save us.

And what is the testimony of Blood? It is the testimony of the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Who had shed His blood and pour it all upon us as He lay dying and suffering on the cross. Had it been any other blood, animal’s blood or human blood besides that of Christ’s, it would have been useless and meaningless. But because our Lord Himself had shed His own Precious Blood, the blood which is worthy and capable of absolving all of us from our sins, then that was why, we have a new hope of salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, let us all realise what great friend and help we have had in Jesus our Lord. It was because of Him that the love of God had reached out to all of us, and through Him we have this hope and promise of eternal life and salvation from all of our predicaments. We have once been condemned to a fate of eternal death and suffering because of our sins and disobedience, but the Lord Who loves us all, wanted another fate for us.

Have we therefore given Him thanks and gratitude for all that He has done for us? We have passed through Christmas and all of its joyful celebrations, where we revel and be happy knowing that our Lord Who had come into the world, had also blessed us with His presence and dwelling here among us, so that through Him, we may all be saved. And we see how the Lord had sacrificed Himself for our sake, which we will celebrate in the upcoming weeks as we proceed into the season of Lent and then into the Holy Week and Easter.

Let us all therefore commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and let us all strengthen our faith in Him, so that in all things that we say and do, we may always bring glory to Him and also that we may remain always in His grace and love, that we will never be separated again from His love. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 8 January 2016 : Friday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 5 : 12-16

At that time, one day, in another town, a man came to Jesus covered with leprosy. On seeing Jesus, the man bowed down to the ground, and said, “Lord, if You want to, You can make me clean.”

Stretching out His hand, Jesus touched the man and said, “Yes, I want to. Be clean.” In an instant the leprosy left him. Then Jesus instructed him, “Tell this to no one. But go and show yourself to the priest. Make an offering for your healing, as Moses prescribed; that will serve as evidence for them.”

But the news about Jesus spread all the more, and large crowds came to Him, to listen and to be healed of their sickness. As for Jesus, He would often withdraw to solitary places and pray.

Friday, 8 January 2016 : Friday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 147 : 12-13, 14-15, 19-20

Exalt the Lord, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion! For He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you.

He grants peace on your borders and feeds you with the finest grain. He sends His command to the earth and swiftly runs His word.

It is He Who tells Jacob His words, His laws and decrees to Israel. This He has not done for other nations, so His laws remain unknown to them. Alleluia!

Friday, 8 January 2016 : Friday after the Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 5-13

Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through Blood. Not only water but water and Blood. And the Spirit, too, witnesses to Him for the Spirit is truth.

There are then three testimonies : the Spirit, the water and the Blood, and these three witnesses agree. If we accept human testimony, with greater reason must we accept that of God, given in favour of His Son. If you believe in the Son of God, you have God’s testimony in you. But those who do not believe make God a liar, since they do not believe His words when He witnesses to His Son.

What has God said? That He has granted us eternal life and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life, the one who do not have the Son of God do not have life. I write to you, then, all these things that you may know that you have eternal life, all you who believe in the Name of the Son of God.

Friday, 10 January 2014 : Friday after the Epiphany (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we see the power and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour of the world. Jesus needs no fame or human praise, because in Him lies all the glory and all praise, as the Lord of all. He sought not popularity or human praise, by doing His miracles, but He did them because of His love for us all, for all mankind.

Yes, brethren, in the past few days we have heard from the Scriptures how Jesus fed the multitudes of more than five thousand men not counting women and children, and how Jesus healed the sick, the lepers and those with illness, restoring them to full health and show the love that God has for them all. He did these to show mankind that He cared for them, and wanting them to be perfectly cured of their maladies, most important of which, is the malady of the soul.

Yes, sin, the malady of the soul. Sin tainted mankind with impurity and unworthiness, which separated us from God. Sin made us unable to comprehend God’s love for us. And it is sin that our Lord came down to us, in order to correct and address this problem, this darkness that prevented us from seeing and living in the Light of God.

The Lord had no need of advertisement to promote Himself, for the Holy Spirit testified for Him, and the people could see that He is One with authority and power. It is clear enough that no one is like Him, and He is not a mere man or a mere prophet of God, for He is the Son of God Most High endowed with power, and with the authority over all diseases and illnesses, as well as over all the forces of this world.

Yet many people continued to refuse to believe in Him or doubt in His presence. They put their trust more in human and worldly powers rather than in the Lord. The devil is hard at work everyday to convince the people that his way is better and more appealing than that of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

And yet, the path of the evil one is death and destruction, while the path of the Lord is life and true joy. Only in the Lord can we find the source of life, just as St. John the Evangelist told us in his letter. True life and hope for life is not in us if we do not believe in God and His Son, or put our trust in Him, the Lord of life. Jesus made it plainly enough throughout His teachings.

Jesus repeated the words eternal life very often in His ministry, and a lot of His teachings revolved on, and focused on the fact that whoever believes in Him and has Him in themselves, shall not suffer death or the consequences of death, but will gain the eternal reward of life with God. He did not make this promise lightly, for He truly imparted to all of us, as He had promised, with His own Body and Blood, sacrificed for our sake and offered freely to us.

Yes, those of us who receive the Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist and believe in Him wholeheartedly, is assured of life in God. Brethren in Christ, it is important that while we live in this world, that we do not get too engrossed with the world and forget what the Lord had asked of us. Yes, because believing in God is not merely just making promises or empty proclamation of the faith. If we believe in God, we must show it concretely through our actions, words and deeds.

Therefore brethren, let us now truly profess our faith in the Lord, that we show Him true faith and dedication, not just in words but also in action. Let the Lord see that we are truly His faithful and loving children, and that we reject the lies of the evil one. May the Lord therefore, then bless us with the abundance of blessings and graces, that in Him, we may find the joy of eternal life in true happiness. God bless us all. Amen.