Sunday, 6 December 2020 : Second Sunday of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 40 : 1-5, 9-11

Be comforted, My people, be strengthened, says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, proclaim to her that her time of bondage is at an end, that her guilt has been paid for, that from the hand of YHVH she has received double punishment for all her iniquity.

A voice cries, “In the wilderness prepare the way for YHVH. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley will be raised up; every mountain and hill will be laid low. The stumbling blocks shall become level and the rugged places smooth. The glory of YHVH will be revealed, and all mortals together will see it; for the mouth of YHVH has spoken.”

Go up onto the high mountain, messenger of Good News to Zion, lift up your voice with strength, fear not to cry aloud when you tell Jerusalem and announce to the cities of Judah : Here is your God! Here comes YHVH Sabaoth with might; His strong arm rules for Him; His reward is with Him, and here before Him is His booty. Like a shepherd He tends His flock : He gathers the lambs in His arms, He carries them in His bosom, gently leading those that are with young.

Saturday, 5 December 2020 : 1st Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 30 : 19-21, 23-26

O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. When you cry, He will listen; when He hears, He will answer. When the Lord has given you the bread of anguish and the water of distress, He, your Teacher will hide no longer. Your own eyes will see Him, and your ear will listen to His words behind you : “This is the way, walk in it.”

He will then give rain for the seed you sow and make the harvest abundant from the crops you grow. On that day your cattle will graze in wide pastures. Your beasts of burden will eat silage tossed to them with pitchfork and shovel. For on the day of the great slaughter, when fortresses fall, streams of water will flow on every mountain and lofty hill.

The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven times greater, like the light of seven days, when YHVH binds up the wounds of His people and heals the bruises inflicted by His blows.

Friday, 4 December 2020 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Priests)

Isaiah 29 : 17-24

In a very short time, Lebanon will become a fruitful field and the fruitful field will be as a forest. On that day the deaf will hear the words of the book, and out of the dark and obscurity the eyes of the blind will see. The meek will find joy and the poor among men will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

For the tyrant will be no more and the scoffers gone forever, and all who plan to do evil will be cut down – those who by a word make you guilty, those who for a bribe can lay a snare and send home the just empty-handed.

Therefore YHVH, Abraham’s Redeemer, speaks concerning the people of Jacob : No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will his face grow pale. When he sees the work of My hands, his children again in his midst, they will sanctify My Name, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who err in spirit will understand; those who murmur will learn.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020 : 1st Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 25 : 6-10a

On this mountain YHVH Sabaoth will prepare for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, meat full of marrow, fine wine strained. On this mountain He will destroy the pall cast over all peoples, this very shroud spread over all nations, and death will be no more. The Lord YHVH will wipe away the tears from all cheeks and eyes; He will take away the humiliation of His people all over the world : for YHVH has spoken.

On that day you will say : This is our God. We have waited for Him to save us, let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation. For on this mountain the hand of YHVH rests.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 4 : 1-7, 11-13

Therefore, I, the prisoner of Christ, invite you, to live the vocation you have received. Be humble, kind, patient and bear with one another in love. Make every effort to keep among you, the unity of spirit, through bonds of peace. Let there be one body, and one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God, the Father of all, Who is above all, and works through all, and is in all.

But to each of us, divine grace is given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. As for His gifts, to some, He gave to be Apostles; to others, prophets, or even evangelists; or pastors and teachers. So, He prepared those who belong to Him, for the ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, until we are all united, in the same faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Thus, we shall become the perfect Man, upon reaching maturity, and sharing the fullness of Christ.

Saturday, 31 August 2019 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Matthew 25 : 14-30

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each, according to his ability; and he went away.”

“He who received five talents went at once to do business with the talents, and gained another five. The one who received two talents did the same, and gained another two. But the one who received one talent dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.”

“After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents, saying, ‘Lord, you entrusted me with five talents, but see, I have gained five more.’ The master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you in charge of many things. Come and share the joy of your master.'”

“Then the one who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you entrusted me with two talents; with them I have gained two more.’ The master said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you in charge of many things. Come and share the joy of your master.'”

“Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said, ‘Master, I know that you are a hard man. You reap what you have not sown, and gather what you have not scattered. I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours!’ But his master replied, ‘Wicked and worthless servant, you know that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered. You should have deposited my money in the bank, and given it back to me with interest on my return.'”

“Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who are unproductive, even what they have will be taken from them. As for that useless servant, thrown him out into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Friday, 17 July 2015 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Exodus 11 : 10 – Exodus 12 : 14

Moses and Aaron had worked all these marvels in the presence of Pharaoh, but YHVH had made Pharaoh obstinate and he would not let the people of Israel leave his country.

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.”

“That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat the meat lightly cooked or boiled in water but roasted entirely over the fire – the head, the legs and the inner parts. Do not leave any of it until the morning. If any is left till morning, burn it in the fire.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a Passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH!”

“The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today you may think that Jesus was being uncharacteristically rude towards His own family, and His own mother in particular. After all, how could such a great Teacher of the faith disown and ridicule His own mother in front of the public He was teaching? Such are the thoughts that may circulate among many of us.

But in fact, Jesus was praising His own mother, Mary, with what He said, because  Mary as the obedient and faithful servant of the Lord, His handmaiden, was the perfect example of what Jesus referred to, as those who were considered part of His family. It is indeed her example of devotion to God that we all should follow.

We are all indeed one big family in Christ, for through baptism, on the day when we were sealed with the Sacrament of Baptism, that we were made to be children, the sons and daughters of God who is our Father. And therefore, Christ His Son, the Divine Word of God, also made us to be His brothers and sisters, to be part of the community of the faithful, which is called the Church, symbolised as the unity of the Body of Christ, as the body of all the faithful ones in God.

Today’s first reading also told us about King David of Israel, when he brought in the Ark of God into the city of Jerusalem. In king David’s example, much like that of Mary, he devoted himself to the Lord, so devoutly that he went straight to praise the Lord with dance and song ahead of the Ark of God, showcasing and representing the joy of the people in the coming of the Lord to them in the Ark.

God did not ask much from us, brothers and sisters in Christ. What is referred to by our Lord Jesus when He told the people about obedience to the will of God, is all about love. Yes, the love that we should have for our brothers and sisters, and the love we have to have for God our Lord and Father. It is pure, genuine, and undivided love and attention that God desires from us, and this is true faith.

What this highlights is that, as mentioned, that we were made sons and daughters of God our Father when we were welcomed into the Church upon our baptism. However, we cannot then just remain at that stage and do nothing. Our faith cannot be just a one-off thing, as our faith must keep growing and must be alive and vibrant.

That means our faith cannot be stagnant or mere lip-service, but like what David and Mary in their actions had shown, faith in God must be made through concrete action and real devotion. God wants from us our love and our devotion, in the same way that had been shown by David and Mary, as well as many other forms of love. Love for God must be genuine and pure, and not be mere incantation of prayers and rituals. Those are important, but they must be done with true understanding and genuine love for God.

Today we celebrate the feast of one of the greatest and well-known saints of Christendom, that is St. Thomas Aquinas, the renowned theologian and avid writer of the faith, in the many volumes of his works, he had inspired countless faithfuls, and inspire them to grow deeper in their faith and devotion to God.

St. Thomas Aquinas wanted to join the religious life from an early age, but was faced with strong opposition from his family. Nevertheless he managed his way to become a devotee in the end despite many attempts from his family to bar his way. St. Thomas Aquinas became a Dominican, the order of Preachers, and yet he was known to be a quiet man.

Nonetheless, as another saint was to announce prophetically about St. Thomas Aquinas, his quiet nature hides the true wisdom and greatness that is inside of him. St. Thomas Aquinas was a well educated person and helped to bring the faith to a clearer light through his various writings and works, as well as through his various evangelisation works as part of the Dominican order.

Of course, St. Thomas Aquinas did not have things going his way all the time. There were numerous oppositions from different sources as he went about doing his works. His teachings were even condemned at times and he was harassed at times too. But he did not budge, and St. Thomas Aquinas continued with his works for the sake of the Lord and His people.

His wisdom was eventually recognised and his piety became an encouragement and a model to everyone. And therefore, brethren, let us follow the examples of St. Thomas Aquinas and that of the other saints, that we may truly shine in our faith, through greater understanding of the faith itself, and that is why it is important for us to read great works of the faith, including that of St. Thomas Aquinas. And also to put that faith into practice, by loving one another, practising the same love that God had shown us through Jesus.

May our loving God continue to be with us and guide us, and bless us that we may continue to be faithful and loving till the end of our days. God be with us all, brethren, and may He bless you richly. Amen.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 3 : 31-35

Then Jesus’ mother and His brothers came. As they stood outside, they sent someone to call Him. The crowd sitting around Jesus told Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are outside asking for You.”

He replied, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking around at those who sat there, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to Me.”

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 23 : 7, 8, 9, 10

Lift up, o gateways, your lintels, open up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may enter!

Who is this King of glory? The Lord, the strong, the mighty, the Lord, valiant in battle.

Lift up your lintels, o gateways, open up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may enter!

Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of glory!