Saturday, 14 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Callixtus I, Pope and Martyr (First Reading)

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

Joel 4 : 12-21

Rise up, o people, and come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, nations. Bring a sickle for the harvest is ripe; come and tread, for the wine press is full, and the vats overflow; so great is their wickedness! Multitudes and more multitudes in the Valley of Verdict! The day of YHVH is near in the Valley of Verdict! The sun and the moon become dark, the stars lose their radiance.

YHVH roars from Zion and raises His voice from Jerusalem; heaven and earth are shaken. Indeed, YHVH is a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the Israelites. You will know that I am YHVH, your God, dwelling on Zion, My holy mountain. Jerusalem will be a holy place; and foreigners will never pass through there again.

On that day, the mountains shall drip wine and the hills flow with milk; all the streams of Judah will run with water; and a fountain will spring from the house of YHVH, and water the valley of Shittim. On the other hand, Egypt will be devastated; and Edom will become a deserted wasteland, because they committed violence against Judah and shed innocent blood in their country.

But Judah will be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem through all generations. And I shall avenge their blood and not leave it unpunished, for YHVH dwells in Zion.

Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Joel 1 : 13-15 and Joel 2 : 1-2

Gird yourselves, o priests, and weep; mourn, o ministers of the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, o ministers of my God! For the house of your God is deprived of grain and drink offering.

Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Summon the elders, and all who live in the land, into the house of your God, and cry out to YHVH, “What a dreadful day – the day of YHVH, that draws near, and comes as ruin, from the Almighty!”

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all dwellers in the land tremble, for the day of YHVH is coming. Yes, the day is fast approaching – a day of gloom and darkness, a day of clouds and blackness. A vast and mighty army comes, like dawn spreading over the mountain : such as has never occurred before, nor will happen again in the future.

Thursday, 5 May 2016 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 9 : 24-28 and Hebrews 10 : 19-23

Christ did not enter some sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself. He is now in the presence of God on our behalf. He had not to offer Himself many times, as the High Priest does : he who may return every year, because the blood is not his own. Otherwise He would have suffered many times from the creation of the world.

But no; He manifested Himself only now at the end of the ages, to take away sin by sacrifice, and, as humans die only once and afterwards are judged, in the same way Christ sacrificed Himself once to take away the sins of the multitude. There will be no further question of sin when He comes again to save those waiting for Him.

So, my friends, we are assured of entering the Sanctuary by the blood of Jesus Who opened for us this new and living way passing through the curtain, that is, His Body. Because we have a High Priest in charge of the House of God, let us approach with a sincere heart, with full faith, interiorly cleansed from a bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast to our hope without wavering, because He Who promised is faithful.

Alternative reading
Ephesians 1 : 17-23

May the God of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Father of Glory, reveal Himself to you and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know Him. May He enlighten your inner vision, that you may appreciate the things we hope for, since we were called by God.

May you know how great is the inheritance, the glory, God sets apart from His saints; may you understand with what extraordinary power He acts in favour of us who believe. He revealed His almighty power in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and had Him sit at His right hand in heaven, far above all rule, power, authority, dominion, or any other supernatural force that could be named, not only in this world but in the world to come as well.

Thus has God put all things under the feet of Christ and set Him above all things, as Head of the Church which is His Body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.

Saturday, 19 April 2014 : Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection, Easter Triduum (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 1 : 1 – Genesis 2 : 2

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered together in one place and let dry land appear.” And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’, and the waters gathered together He called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruit trees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well.

God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.

God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth under the ceiling of the sky.” God created the great monsters of the sea and all living animals, those that teem in the waters, according to their kind, and every winged bird, according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds increase on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning : the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living animals according to their kind : cattle, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals according to their kind.” So it was. God created the wild animals according to their kind, and everything that creeps along the ground according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God said, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day.

That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done.

 

Alternative Reading (shorter version)

 

Genesis 1 : 1, 26-31a

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth,

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God said, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made and it was very good.

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

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate Good Friday, the day when Jesus Christ our Lord, laid down His life for us by dying on the cross in atonement for our sins, and suffering the effects and the punishments for our sins, He was tortured and scourged for the consequences of our sins, and He died so that we will not suffer the ultimate consequence of sin, that is death.

Jesus was the suffering servant mentioned in the first reading today taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah. Jesus was the Son of God, mighty and all powerful, but for our sake and for His love, He was willing to go through all those sufferings and great pains in our place. Remember always, brethren, every time we look at the cross and the crucifix, that He died for us.

Many nowadays have no more regards for God and His love, and this is because we have lost our sensitivity to His love and in our worldliness and our lifestyles, we centre ourselves more and more on our ego and our desires, no longer witnessing and realising the great love and mercy which God had extended to us, with no greater example than that of the death of Jesus, His own Son, on the cross for us.

In today’s situation, in our world, many have abandoned God and sought refuge in other places and found other sources of inspiration and belief outside of God. That is the sad truth about humanity, and more and more are leaving God for the refuge in the pleasures and goodness of this world, and they depend more and more on their human wisdom and understanding rather than on the love and wisdom of God.

Why? Why is this so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why such violent rejection of the Lord and His love that had been shown through the cross? That is because mankind had sealed themselves off from God’s love, and instead of understanding and appreciating the love of God in them, they grew distant and apathetic to love, not just God’s love, but also love in general.

Again, why so? This is in fact because we lack faith, we lack hope, and we lack love. We fail to realise that God loves us so much, that He gave it all through Jesus and His death on the cross. We think of God as someone who is distant and wrathful, because He hates our sins and trespasses, and yet we failed to realise that as much as He hates our sins, even more it is that He loves us more than He hates the sins we commit.

On the other extreme of course, this does not mean that we should take advantage of God’s love for us by continuing to commit sins without cease, but indeed the Lord’s mercy and love is an opportunity for us to cast away our past sinfulness and mistakes and accept the fullness of God’s forgiveness. We must not close the doors of our hearts to God’s mercy.

Yes, brethren, for we have to always remember that God makes His mercy and forgiveness available to all freely, if we are just to accept this mercy with all of our hearts. We often fear God more than we love Him, and to many of us, God is not real and close, and this is the heart of the problem. Mankind has closed their hearts to God, and concerned only about themselves.

We are sinners, and we should have deserved death for our disobedience and rebelliousness, and yet God resolved to rescue us, even while we are still sinners and lived in sin. Every time we look at Jesus on the cross, hanging between the heaven and the earth, we see the One who loves us so much that even for unworthy servants like us, He was willing to save us by His own death.

The cross that Jesus bore was our sins, the collections of our faults, mistakes, failures and rebelliousness, which have added up to such a great weight that Jesus had to bore. And as mentioned in the first reading, the wounds and the piercing that Christ endured are all because of our sins too. Every sin we committed in our lives, be it small or big, they all cause great pains to the Lord, who yet bore those pains and sorrows with Him as He walked on the way to His death.

See how much God cares for us, for if not for His love, He would not have bothered to even worry about us, and less so to suffer all the scourges and humiliations for us. Therefore today we celebrate this occasion of Good Friday because we rejoice in the goodness of God, and how much good He had brought upon us this day. For He cast away the pall of death from our eyes and enable us to hope once again.

For once we were condemned to death and after Jesus died for us on the cross, the way to God that was once closed is once again open for us. Through His death, Jesus became the bridge that link all of us back to the Father, the way through which is the only way back to God the Father who loves us. All this was because Jesus died for us.

Again I want to reiterate how much God truly loves us. Jesus prays for us daily, and when He was in His suffering and Passion, He entreats God with His prayers for our sake, and cared only about us, and as St. Paul said in the second reading, that God listened to His prayers, and because of that, we are saved. Jesus prays for us all the time, and He cares for us and thinks about us, even as He carried up that great burden on His shoulders towards Calvary.

We have to open ourselves to God’s love and understand how much He truly is concerned for all of us. Certainly He would not want any of us to suffer eternal separation of death caused by our sins, that we end up in hell. That is why, brethren, we must never fear the Lord or His anger, but instead we have to give it our all, to seek His mercy and be truly repentant of our sinfulness. In this way, then the Lord will be able to work His mercy and we shall be forgiven.

May this Good Friday be a good opportunity for all of us to wake up from our deep slumber in the darkness and realise once again the great love and concern that the Lord had shown us. Let us turn our sight towards the Lord on the cross, and look at He who had died for us, and then make a commitment that we will always love He who had first loved us, that He gave His life for us, that we may not die but live! Amen.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God – Theotokos, World Day of Prayer for Peace (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 66 : 2-3, 5, 6 and 8

May God be gracious and bless us; may He let His face shine upon us, that Your way be known on earth and Your salvation among the nations.

May the countries be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples with justice and guide the nations of the world.

May the peoples praise You, o God, may all the peoples praise You! May God bless us and be revered, to the very ends of the earth.