(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Seventh Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 36 : 16-17a, 18-28

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, when Israel occupied her own land and defiled it by her way of life and her actions. I poured out My fury on them because of the blood they shed in the land and because they defiled it with their filthy idols.”

“Then I scattered them among the nations  and dispersed them in other lands. I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. But when they were brought to other nations, My Holy Name was profane because others said of them : ‘The people of YHVH had to be exiled from His land!'”

“Then I was concerned for My Holy Name, profaned by Israel among the nations where she had been dispersed. Now you shall say to the people of Israel : ‘It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but because of My Holy Name that you have profaned in the places where you have gone.'”

“‘I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you, and they will know that I am YHVH when I show them My holiness among you. For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land.'”

“‘Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.'”

“‘I shall put  My spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be Your God.'”

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Fourth Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 54 : 5-14

For your Maker is to marry you : YHVH Sabaoth is His Name. Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called God of all the earth. For YHVH has called you back as one forsaken and grieved in spirit. Who could abandon His first beloved? says your God.

For a brief moment I have abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will gather My people. For a moment, in an outburst of anger, I hid My face from you, but with everlasting love I have had mercy on you, says YHVH, your Redeemer.

This is for Me like Noah’s waters, when I swore that they would no more flood the earth; so now I swear not to be angry with you and never again to rebuke you. The mountains may depart and the hills be moved, but never will My love depart from you, nor My covenant of peace be removed, says YHVH whose compassion is for you.

O afflicted city, lashed by storm and unconsoled, I will set your stones with turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will crown your wall with agate, make your gates crystal, and your ramparts of precious stones.

All your children will be taught by YHVH, and they will prosper greatly. Justice will be your foundation; tyranny and the fear of oppression will never come near you.

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 103 : 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24 and 35

Bless the Lord, my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; O Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment; You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

You set the earth on its foundations, and never will it be shaken. You covered it with the ocean like a garment, and waters spread over the mountains.

You make springs gush forth in valleys winding among mountains and hills.

Birds build their nests close by and sing among the branches of trees. You water the mountains from Your abode and fill the earth with the fruit of Your work. You make grass grow for cattle and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. May sinners vanish from the earth, and may the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, my soul!

 

Alternative Psalm

Psalm 32 : 4-7, 12-13, 20, 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. He gathered the waters of the sea into a heap, and stored the deep in cellars.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield.

O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Thursday, 22 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 112 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

Alleluia! Praise, o servants of the Lord, praise the Name of the Lord! Blessed be the Name of the Lord now and forever.

From eastern lands to the western islands, may the Name of the Lord be praised! The Lord is exalted over the nations, His glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God, who sits enthroned on high, but also bends down to see on earth as in heaven?

He lifts up the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. He makes them sit with princes, with rulers of His people.

Sunday, 11 August 2013 : 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 1 and 12, 18-19, 20 and 22

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield. O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

My Prayer Intention for Wednesday, 31 July 2013

1. For Jesuits around the world and all those affiliated to the Society of Jesus as a whole, including our Pope Francis. May the Lord bless them and protect them as they embark on their daily journeys of work amongst God’s people and ministering to those who are least, weakest, and abandoned in our society. May the Lord work His power through them and strengthen the faith and love we have for Him through their work. May the Jesuits continue to serve the Lord and His people for the Lord’s own greater glory, in line with the motto of their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola, that is ‘Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam’ – ‘For the greater glory of God’

2. For all priests around the world, religious and diocesan. May they always recall their calling in life, and their total commitment to the Lord, as His bride, and the bride of the Church, the leaders and shepherds of the people of God. May they remain faithful to their calling and their vocation, and may they always exercise the power and authority that God had granted them with care, and full of love and compassion, especially to those who are without love, and to those who still live in the darkness of evil. May the Lord ever strengthen the faith, love, and hope in their hearts.

3. For all those aspiring to the priesthood and religious life. May the Lord who calls them to His service strengthen their devotion and resolution to His cause, and the cause of His beloved people, that they will be able to make a carefully thought decision, and that they will be able to commit to the choices they are to make, so that in all the things they do, they will always remain in the grace of God and bring the blessings of the Lord to all around them. Keep their faith and dedication in the Lord strong and ever living, despite the challenges and the temptations that await them along the way.

4. For victims of prejudice and persecution of all kinds. May the Lord be with all of them, and protect them, strengthen them with His love, that they will persevere. And most importantly that they will not keep grudge or hatred against their enemies, but be resolved to forgive them with all sincerity of heart. May the Lord end all forms of injustice, prejudice, hatred, and persecution in our world.

May the Lord accept all these humble prayers that we lift up to Him in heaven. May the angels bring these petitions and may the saints intercede always for us sinners still walking on this earth. Amen.

Sunday, 30 June 2013 : 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the reading, particularly the First reading from the First Book of Kings, we listened to the calling of those who had been chosen by our Lord and God. Those whom he had been chosen like Elisha were called, and were given specific trust on certain ministries that they have been entrusted with. Elisha was called from the fields and his oxen by Elijah, to be his successor, and continued the works of the prophet in the lands of the Kingdom of Israel.

We too have our calling, our vocations in life, and what they are depends on what the Lord has in plan for all of us. There are those among us called to be ministers of the Lord, in the same way as Elisha the prophet had once been called. Those of us who are called then, if we accept the calling, become priests, religious, deacons, and all the others who dedicate themselves fully to serve the Lord and minister to His people, while spreading the Good News of the Gospel.

One may think that Christ may sound very rough and impolite when He said that the dead should bury the dead, and one may also think that Christ is being rude when someone asked to first say goodbye to his family before following Him and was rebuked with the words that if someone turn back from their chosen or appointed duty, that person is not fit for the kingdom of God. However, there is in fact great truth inside what Christ had told us today as we heard in our Gospel reading today.

Indeed, in order to serve the Lord, and in order to minister to His people, we must not be half-hearted in our efforts and our work, and we must put all our hearts, all our minds, and all our beings into the works, and focus all of our attention on Christ. There must not be space for doubt or indecision in our hearts, or we risk evil to enter our hearts and corrupt our purpose, which may turn the very noble act of our ministry into something corrupted and hideous.

Well, one may say that this is just a one-time farewell, or a one-time thing, but we must not underestimate the power of evil, as little as that is compared to the power of the Lord, and the power of the world’s temptations and allures. Many had fallen into those temptations and could not keep up their commitment to the service to the Lord and His people, and ended up becoming a contempt to the faithful and a disgrace to the Lord and to the faith.

For we humans are weak, and we are naturally predisposed to temptations and human desires, desire for wealth, and desire for pleasure. If we do not have a hundred percent attention on the Lord, and if we do not put all our hearts and beings into the task ahead of us, not just for the case of the service to the Lord and God’s ministers, but indeed for any other occupations and careers, we must be entirely focused on what we are doing, or we risk mistakes and other flaws that may undermine our own credibility and trustworthiness.

Worse still for the servants of the Lord, because we are directly accountable to God for our actions, our words, and our deeds. When one especially has been called and had chosen to accept the calling and become one of the servants of the Lord, one must not be distracted by worldly concerns and desires. Not even one peek! Since even one peek would tend to corrupt our hearts and twist the true purpose of our ministry, even with just one attempt.

We often think that, ‘It’s only once, it won’t hurt, will not try it again anyway afterwards’, but there is no guarantee that after the first one we will definitely not do it a second time, a third time, or even become an addict. And for priests, religious, and servants of God, a very strict code of conduct must indeed be in place, for they have been marked and appointed as shepherds of God’s people, and shepherds cannot lead their flock unless they themselves have been proper in their conduct and behaviour.

The sheep follow the shepherd, and therefore, if the shepherd does something wrong, the sheep of the flock are bound to follow the actions of the shepherd. We who are called and chosen have to remember that we are responsible for God’s people and to the Lord Himself, in that we must make sure that we do not make any of God’s children, to fall into sin because of us. Remember that Christ greatly chastised those people who did so, “Better for those who let these little ones to fall into sin, to go into hell and be tortured there for eternity’. He condemned those who had misused their authority and abused people’s trust and God’s trust in them.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today pray for those called and chosen, for those priests, bishops, our Pope, and those in the religious orders, that they will remain faithful and steadfast in their faith and in their calling, that they will faithfully discharge the duties that the Lord had entrusted them, and lead the flock God had entrusted them with dignity, love, compassion, and determination.

Let us also pray for those who are aspiring to join the service of the Lord, and those who had been called, but had not made their decisions in their lives. Let us pray, that indeed, in the face of so many worldly temptations and allures, they can remain faithful to their faith and their calling. Let us pray that the parents of those who are called will not be stubborn and reject God’s call for the sake of their own selfish desire for their children. This is one of the main reason why so many did not end up follow their calling, because their parents and their families did not support God’s work by their rejection!

For parents, let’s be open-minded, and be open to the fact that one of your sons and daughters may be called by God to be His servants to serve His people, all of us, and instead of disgust and opposition, take that as a great opportunity and an honourable occasion. Not everyone is called, and not everyone is worthy, and as the parents of those who had been called, all of us should be proud of them instead, and support them to make a wise and carefully thought decision.

May the Lord therefore grant all of us strength and determination to persevere in our missions in life, to be a loving child of God, to be a loving brethren to our brothers and sisters in need, and to listen to God’s will. May the Lord be with all those whom He had chosen from among us, that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide them and strengthen their faith, resolve, and dedication to their respective ministries. God bless us all. Amen.