Monday, 26 December 2016 : Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Acts 6 : 8-10 and Acts 7 : 54-59

Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Some persons then came forward, who belonged to the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia and Asia. They argued with Stephen but they could not match the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When the Council heard the reproach Stephen made against them, they were enraged and they gnashed their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus at God’s right hand, so he declared : “I see the heavens open and the Son of Man at the right hand of God.”

But they shouted and covered their ears with their hands and rushed together upon him. They brought him out of the city and stoned him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen prayed saying : “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Sunday, 3 April 2016 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 1 : 9-11a, 12-13, 17-19

I, John, your brother, who shares with you, in Jesus, the sufferings, the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island of Patmos, because of the Word of God and witnessing to Jesus. On the Lord’s day, the Spirit took possession of me and I heard a voice behind me which sounded like a trumpet, “Write down all that you see.”

I turned to see who was speaking to me; behind me were seven golden lampstands and, in the middle of these, I saw someone like a Son of Man, dressed in a long robe tied with a golden girdle. Seeing Him, I fell at His feet like one dead but He touched me with His right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. It is I, the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead and now I am alive forever and ever; and Mine are the keys of death and the netherworld.”

“Now write what you have seen, both what is and what is yet to come.”

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 : Tuesday of the Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

At that time, after speaking to His disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.” So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or, “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon. My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter. “Truly, I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Thursday, 6 August 2015 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 9 : 2-10

At that time, six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain. There His appearance was changed before their eyes. Even His clothes shone, becoming as white as no bleach of this world could make them. Elijah and Moses appeared to them; the two were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter spoke and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say : they were overcome with awe. But a cloud formed, covering them in a shadow, and from the cloud came a voice, “This is My Son, the Beloved; listen to Him.”

And suddenly, as they looked around, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus with them. As they came down the mountain, He ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this to themselves, although they discussed with one another what ‘to rise from the dead’ could mean.

Thursday, 5 June 2014 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Martyrs)

John 17 : 20-26

I pray not only for these, but also for those who through their word will believe in Me. May they all be one, as You Father are in Me and I am in You. May they be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.

I have given them the glory You have given Me, that they may be one as We are one : In them and You in Me. Thus they shall reach perfection in unity; and the world shall know that You have sent Me! And that I have loved them, just as You loved Me.

Father, since You have given them to Me, I want them to be with Me where I am, and see the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me.

As I revealed Your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal It, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I also may be in them.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 2a and 5, 6-7, 8-9

O Lord, our Lord, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! What is a man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the path of the ocean.

Friday, 18 April 2014 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, Easter Triduum (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Hebrews 4 : 14-16 and Hebrews 5 : 7-9

We have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who has entered heaven. Let us, then, hold fast to the faith we profess. Our High Priest is not indifferent to our weaknesses, for He was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sinning. Let us, then, with confidence approach the throne of grace; we will obtain mercy and, through His favour, help in due time.

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His humble submission. Although He was Son, He learnt through suffering what obedience was, and once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for those who obey Him.

Sunday, 13 April 2014 : Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 21 : 1-11

When they drew near Jerusalem and arrived at Bethphage, on the mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go to the village in front of you and there you will find a donkey tied up, with its colt by her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says something to you, say that the Lord needs them, and that He will send them back immediately.”

This happened in fulfillment of what the prophet said : “Say to the daughter of Zion : See, your King comes to you in all simplicity, riding on a donkey, a beast of burden, with its colt.”

The disciples went, as Jesus had instructed them, and they brought the donkey with its colt. Then they threw their cloaks on its back, and Jesus sat on them. Many people also spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

The people who walked ahead of Jesus, and those who followed Him, began to shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was disturbed. The people asked, “Who is this Man?” And the crowd answered, “This is the Prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Sunday, 16 March 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Today we heard about the well-known account on the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ our Lord on the mountain, when He was transformed and assumed His glory, as a premonition of what was to come for Him and for the world. Jesus was revealed to the three disciples, His closest ones, Peter, James and John, to be truly the One whom the Lord has favour with, the One who would save the world and renew it.

In the Transfiguration of Christ, the world is preempted with the rare look into the glory of Christ, before He is truly glorified at His resurrection from the dead. For Christ is the Logos, the Son of God, the Word of God who created everything, who is God and who is with God since the beginning of time and before. And as such, He is God Himself, who came down into this world in the form of human flesh in Jesus. And in Transfiguration, the glorious self that is His was revealed in its fullness for the first time to the world.

And the event of the Transfiguration itself would set the tone for the rest of the mission of Jesus in this world, leading up to His suffering and death on the cross, as the culmination of His divinely appointed mission. First of all, the Transfiguration established firmly without question that Jesus is the Messiah and the Holy One of God, whom the prophets and elders of the people had prophesied for, in many years leading up to His coming.

Moses and Elijah, who appeared to Jesus confirmed this fact, and again showed yet another fact about Christ, that He is to be a Leader and a Prophet, much as Moses and Elijah had done. As what Moses had done, in delivering the people of God from the slavery in Egypt, Jesus would, as the new Leader of all, bring all mankind, all peoples and take them away from their slavery to sin and evil.

And with Elijah, it was shown that Jesus was the culmination of the prophecies of the prophets, and He was the complete fulfillment of the law of God as revealed through the leaders and the prophets. And Jesus came to fulfill and make perfect the law of God, bringing them to the clear understanding by the people of God. Jesus is to lead us to a new life and one that is blessed and filled with the wisdom of God.

The Transfiguration reminds us of the many challenges and responsibilities that Jesus had taken up upon Himself. He brought Himself to be the atonement for the sins of the innumerable, and He made Himself punished so that we will not be punished as we deserve. Jesus on that mountain affirmed His love and dedication to the Lord, and He from then on was prepared to walk down the path towards His Passion, to die on the cross for our sake.

But in all His glory and power, Jesus did not become proud or boastful of what He has. He did not revel in His glory but remained perfectly obedient to the will of God His Father. And that was why, He did not remain there in His Transfiguration for eternity or for a long time, for He left the peak and went down the mountain with His disciples.

How does this relate to us then? If we remember that the disciples of Christ, led by Peter, asked the Lord whether they should pitch up a tent for each Jesus, Moses and Elijah, that they may stay there longer. When someone pitches a tent somewhere, he certainly will want to stay longer in the locality and remain there until the tent was removed.

We are often like Peter, that we are often reluctant to leave our comfort zone and lingered long in areas that gave us the greatest happiness and pleasure. That means, we do not want to go down the mountain, but remain there forever. This is why the Lord kindly reminded them, and all of us, through His words, that we ought to obey Him, and obeying Him means that we have to go down the mountain, and in doing so, face the reality of our lives.

Yes, we have our ups and downs. We certainly cannot always remain as either up or down, because we need to face the reality of this life, that there are often good things that we can enjoy, but there will also be hardships and inequalities, which we have to face eventually. We cannot remain on top of the mountain forever, for doing so means that we indulge in our power and glory.

Jesus willingly went down the mountain, knowing full well that He was heading to His own death, and yet He continued on and obeyed perfectly the will of God. Can we also do the same? Can we also seek to leave our zones of comfort and embrace the will of God as our own? Can we die to our pride and live humbly before God?

The answer to all of these is yes. And indeed, yes, we can, because what matters now is to give of ourselves to the Lord our God. Let us begin from now on, if we have not done so, to dedicate ourselves to the Lord, wholly obedient to the will of God. May He continue to bless us and keep us in His grace. Amen.

Friday, 27 December 2013 : Feast of St. John the Evangelist, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 5-6, 11-12

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right are His throne.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

He sheds light upon the upright, and gladness upon the just. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are blameless, and give praise to His holy Name.