Sunday, 16 February 2014 : 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach 15 : 16-21

If you wish, you can keep the commandments and it is in your power to remain faithful.

He has set fire and water before you; You stretch out your hand to whichever you prefer. Life and death are set before man : whichever a man prefers will be given him.

How magnificent is the wisdom of the Lord! He is powerful and all-seeing. His eyes are on those who fear Him. He knows all the works of man. He has commanded no one to be Godless and has given no one permission to sin.

 

Thursday, 1 August 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Exodus 40 : 16-21, 34-38

Moses did this; He did exactly as YHVH had commanded him. The Holy Tent was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year. Moses set up the Holy Tent. He fixed the bases for it, put up its frames, put its crossbars in position, set up its posts.

He spread the tent over the Holy Tent and on top of this the covering for the tent, as YHVH had commanded Moses. He took the Covenant and placed it inside the Ark. He set the poles to the Ark in place and put the mercy Seat on it. He brought the Ark into the Holy Tent and put the screening veil in place; thus He screened the Ark of YHVH, as YHVH had commanded Moses.

Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the Glory of YHVH filled the Holy Tent. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because of the cloud that rested on it and because of the Glory of YHVH that filled the Holy Tent.

At every stage of their journey, whenever the cloud rose from the Holy Tent, the people of Israel would continue their march. If the cloud did not rise, they waited and would not move their camp until it did. For the cloud rested on the Holy Tent by day, and a fire shone within the cloud by night for all the House of Israel to see. And so it was for every stage of their journey.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Exodus 33 : 7-11 and Exodus 34 : 5b-9, 28

Moses then took the Tent and pitched it for himself outside the camp, at a distance from it, and called it the Tent of Meeting. Whoever sought YHVH would go out to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. And when Moses went to the tent all the people would stand, each one at the entrance to his tent and keep looking towards Moses until he entered the tent.

Now, as soon as Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down  and remain at the entrance to the tent, while YHVH spoke with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud at the entrance of the tent, they would arise and worship, each one at the entrance to his own tent.

Then YHVH would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his neighbour; and then Moses would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua, son of Nun, would not leave the tent.

Moses called on the Name of YHVH. Then YHVH passed in front of him and cried out, “YHVH, YHVH is a God full of pity and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in truth and loving-kindness. He shows loving-kindness to the thousandth generation and forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin; yet He does not leave the guilty without punishment, even punishing the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

Moses hastened to bow down to the ground and worshipped. He then said, “If You really look kindly on me, my Lord, please come and walk in our midst and even though we are a stiff-necked people, pardon our wickedness and our sin and make us Yours.”

Moses remained there with YHVH forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. He wrote on the slabs the words of the Covenant – the Ten Commandments.

Saturday, 27 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we who believe in Christ had been marked by the Lord our God, with a special mark, for each one of us, to distinguish us from those who do not believe and do not have faith and love for the Lord. That mark is none other than His own Precious Blood, the Blood of the Lamb of God, which He gave to us to mark His faithfulness and love for us, to mark the New Covenant He has established with all of us, with all mankind, a covenant that will never be broken.

The Blood of the covenant of Christ reminds us of the first reading today, when Moses sealed the covenant between the people of Israel and the Lord their God with the blood of animals, the blood of lambs and goats sacrificed on the altar made to God. The blood sealed the promise that God had made with their father Abraham, that his descendants would prosper and enjoy God’s blessing and be led to the Land of Promise.

On the other hand, the covenant involve a two-way promise and vow, and therefore, just as the Lord has vowed to bless His people and care for them, so the people too must keep their part of the covenant, to obey the laws of the Lord, and live according to His will. If they remain faithful to their part in the covenant, their lives will truly be happy and blessed, and they will receive the fullness of their covenant with God.

But if they break their part of the covenant, by disobeying the Lord and doing wicked things not in conjunction with the Lord’s will, then they will not receive the blessings that the Lord had promised them, and instead, they will truly suffer for having turned their back on the Lord and His covenant, the covenant of love He had offered freely to Abraham and his descendants that they will be blessed.

That was exactly what many of the people of Israel did, even just after Moses had sprinkled the blood of the covenant on them, as they complained against Moses and the Lord for having brought them in the journey through the desert to the Promised Land.

They complained because they did not keep themselves strong enough in the faith that the devil could come to them and sow the seeds of discord and evil in their hearts, and the seeds of desire and greed, desiring ever more things from the Lord, complaining to the Lord when they did not receive enough, even though the Lord had fed them with bread from heaven, the manna, and with quails and birds for them to eat, and also provide them with sweet and clear spring water to drink.

No, brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not the way that we should follow, the rebelliousness and the hard-hearted people of Israel during their sojourn in the desert. We must instead follow the path of Christ, of love and dedication, which we should give to the Lord and to our fellow men, and also thanksgiving to the Lord when it is due. That is because the Lord had given us much, very much indeed, that He gave us nothing else more precious, nor that there will ever be anything that is to be more precious, than His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour, and new hope of life eternal.

We must fortify ourselves, brethren, in our hearts and minds, that we will not succumb to the evil one. Prevent the sower of evil from sowing seeds of evil and sin within our hearts. Do not let him to reign free over us, and enslave us to the chains of sin and death. The devil will always try and utilise everything that is within his power to corrupt us and turn us from the path of the Lord, that is salvation, towards the path to hell and eternal damnation.

We must have a strong and healthy prayer life, that our heart will be defended from the assaults of the evil one. In doing so, our faith and dedication to the Lord will be complete.” But remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that faith cannot stand on its own, and without good and positive acts in our words, deeds, and actions, our faith will be dead and empty. Yes, as empty as that of the people of Israel in the desert. They had been given manna, the bread from heaven and quails as food during their desert journey, and yet they still complained and blasphemed against His Name.

Our Lord is faithful, just as He is loving, brothers and sisters in Christ. He loves us all so much, that He shed His own Body and His own Blood, through the cross, that all of us be redeemed in a new covenant that He established by His own sacrifice, for our sake. This is no blood of the lambs and goats that die, brothers and sisters, but here is the Blood of the Lamb of God who lives, the Lamb who has triumphed and conquered Satan and evil. This Blood, the divine blood given to us out of the Lord’s own will, is the blood that purifies and cleanses, washing our beings white and pure again from all the filth and darkness of sin within us.

We receive this Blood and the Body, in the Eucharist, which the priests turned from the humble bread and wine, into the very Being of our Lord and Saviour, who died as the lamb of sacrifice, the True Lamb, who is the only one worthy to redeem us from all the weights of our faults and evil, all the horrible things we had committed, things abhorred by the Lord our God. He established this new covenant, a covenant not only with the people of Israel of old, but with all mankind, without exception. He established this new covenant, especially for sinners. The greater the sin that a sinner has, the more the Lord wants to come to redeem him or her from their fate that is death and hell.

He paid for this new covenant and sealed it with His own Blood, not blood of any animals, but the most precious Blood possible, the divine blood of the Lord, poured down on us from the cross, given to us to drink in the Eucharist, in the form of wine transubstantiated into His Blood. We who partake in this divine gift is sealed in the new covenant with God, through Christ, and as long as we remain faithful to God, we will ever be in God’s grace, and we will receive the gift of eternal life Christ had promised all those who believe in Him.

Our Lord loves us so much and He wants all of us saved, from our fate of certain death in sin. He has given His best and His all in His part on the covenant. But as I have mentioned, a covenant is made between two parties, in which both parties have to commit to the covenant that it is made valid and true. Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we ready to commit ourselves to Christ, to His love? Are we ready to take up our own crosses and follow Christ, so that we will make whole the new covenant of the Lord?

Are we ready to commit ourselves to the Lord present in the Most Holy Eucharist? In His Body and Blood that He gave us that He may be in us and we in Him? Let us from now on strive to be the loving partner of our God in that holy covenant, and play our part, that is following the Lord’s commandments that is love. Love our God and love our fellow brethren as we love ourselves. For God is love! Amen.

Thursday, 18 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Exodus 3 : 13-20

Moses answered God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them : ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ they will ask me : ‘What is His Name?’ What shall I answer them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO AM (YHVH). This is what you will say to the sons of Israel : ‘I AM sent me to you.” God then said to Moses, “You will say to the Israelites : ‘YHVH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me.’ That will be My Name forever, and by this Name they shall call upon Me for all generations to come.”

“Go! Call together the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘YHVH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob appeared to me and said : I have seen and taken account of how the Egyptians have treated you, and I mean to bring you out of all this oppression in Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanites, a land flowing with milk and honey.'”

“The elders of Israel will listen to you and, with them, you shall go to the palace of the king of Egypt and say to him : ‘The God of the Hebrews, YHVH, has met with us. Now let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to YHVH our God.’ I well know that the king of the Egyptians will not allow you to go unless he is forced to do so. I will therefore stretch out My hand and strike Egypt in extraordinary ways, after which he will let you go.”

Monday, 29 April 2013 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor (Gospel Reading)

John 14 : 21-26

“Whoever keeps My commandments is the one who loves Me. If he loves Me, He will also be loved by My Father; I too shall love Him and show Myself clearly to Him.”

Judas – not Judas Iscariot – asked Jesus, “Lord, how can it be that You will show Yourself clearly to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him; and we will come to him and make a room in his home.”

“But if anyone does not love Me; he will not keep My words; and these words that you hear are not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. I told you all this while I was still with you. From now on the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you.”