Sunday, 15 December 2019 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Isaiah 35 : 1-6a, 10

Let the wilderness and the arid land rejoice, the desert be glad and blossom. Covered with flowers, it sings and shouts with joy, adorned with the splendour of Lebanon, the magnificence of Carmel and Sharon. They, my people, see the glory of YHVH, the majesty of our God.

Give vigour to weary hands and strength to enfeebled knees. Say to those who are afraid : “Have courage, do not fear. See, your God comes, demanding justice. He is the God Who rewards, the God Who comes to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unsealed. Then will the lame leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing and shout. For the ransomed of YHVH will return : with everlasting joy upon their heads, they will come to Zion singing, gladness and joy marching with them, while sorrow and sighing flee away.

Saturday, 14 December 2019 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Sirach 48 : 1-4, 9-11

Then came the prophet Elijah, like a fire, his words a burning torch. He brought a famine on the people and in his zealous love had them reduced in number. Speaking in the Name of the Lord he closed down the heavens, and on three occasions called down fire.

How marvellous you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Who could ever boast of being your equal? You were taken up by a whirlwind of flames in a chariot drawn by fiery horses. It was written that you should be the one to calm God’s anger in the future, before it broke out in fury, to turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and to restore the tribes of Jacob.

Happy are those who will see you and those who die in love, for we too shall live.

Friday, 13 December 2019 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Isaiah 48 : 17-19

Thus says YHVH, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel : I, YHVH, your God, teach you what is best for you; I lead you in the way that you must go. Had you paid attention to My commandments, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Your descendants would have been like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains, their names never cut off nor blotted out from My presence.

Thursday, 10 December 2015 : 2nd Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 41 : 13-20

For I, YHVH, your God, take hold of your right hand and say to you : “Fear not, I am your assistance.” Fear not, Jacob, poor worm, and you, people of Israel, so frail. I am your Redeemer, says YHVH, the Holy One of Israel, your Helper.

I will make you a thresher, new and with sharp double teeth : you will thresh hills and mountains, crushing them and reducing them to chaff. You will winnow them, the wind will carry them off and the storm will scatter them. But you will rejoice in YHVH and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The poor and the afflicted seek water, and find none. Their tongues are parched with thirst. But I, YHVH, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open up streams over the barren heights and let the rivers flow through all the valleys; I will turn the desert into lakes and brooks and the thirsty earth into a land of springs.

I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle and the olive; I will plant in the wasteland fir, cypress and pine – that all may see and know, consider and understand, that the hand of YHVH has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Friday, 5 December 2014 : First Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

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.’


Homily and Reflection :

Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened how the very people of Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, rejected Him and had a serious prejudice against Him. They talked of Him being a carpenter’s son, as in their mind, He was nothing more than the son of Joseph, the simple carpenter of the town. To them it was absolutely impossible that the son of a carpenter could be the One to bring the salvation of God to them.

Yes, within their hearts they had been blinded by their own sense of jealousy and human desire. They thought of evil in their heart when they see someone whom they considered inferior to themselves, gaining the ultimate glory and honour. And this is a problem which had plagued mankind for ages. Mankind had the tendency to envy and to want from others what we do not have.

The people of God at the time of the prophet Jeremiah had also rejected the Lord and opted to walk in their own paths in rebellion against God. And instead of following the Lord, they followed their own heart’s desire. That was why the prophet Jeremiah was called from among them, so that God might speak with these wayward children of His, and hopefully to call some of them back into His fold.

These people acted like just how the people of Nazareth acted against Jesus. In fact, the priests and the educated elite, the leaders of the people were the ones who were ganging up against Jeremiah, the chosen prophet of God. They refused to listen to the truth, because they thought they were better than others, and thinking that what they had done were right, while in fact what they had done were wicked in the sight of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today God wants us to know that we ought to listen to Him speaking to us in the depths of our hearts. We should throw far, far away our pride and learn how to humbly follow the Lord. This is important if we are to gain salvation in God and avoid the fate of those who had rejected the Lord, both those who lived in the time of Jeremiah, and those who lived in the time of Jesus.

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, a bishop and doctor of the Church, as well as the founder of the renowned Redemptorist religious order. As the founder of the Redemptorists, or also known in their official name as the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, St. Alphonsus Liguori is renowned for his devotion to the Lord as the Redeemer of all mankind.

You see, brothers and sisters, that God desires nothing but our salvation and redemption from sin that separates us from Him. He wants us to be brought out from the pit of darkness we have fallen into. God has sent us nothing less than His own Son to be our Saviour. Yes, Jesus our Lord and Saviour. And it is on this salvation that God had provided us that St. Alphonsus Liguori and his Redemptorists had tried to bring us closer to.

St. Alphonsus Liguori himself had a bright career in life as a lawyer and working in the field of legal studies, before he decided to give it up and devote his life entirely to God, and to help his fellow men to come closer to the redeeming love of our God. Through his writings and numerous works, we come to realise the love that God has for us, as well as the need for us to draw from His love and mercy in our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we all renew our pledge and commitment of love towards Jesus our Lord and Redeemer? St. Alphonsus Liguori had shown us the way, and he had given us a guide. Through his congregation and brethren in the Redemptorist order that we have amongst us even today, we are brought ever closer to the salvation and the mercy of God whom we had rejected, like the people of Israel of old, and like the people of Nazareth to whom Jesus Himself had come.

Let us not be like them, and let us welcome the Lord with open hands and open hearts, just as He Himself opens up His hand to welcome us back. May God forgive us our sins and trespasses, and may His light shine upon our path, that we may find our way back to His love. God bless us all. Amen.