Monday, 24 June 2013 : Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our God loves us, and He loves all of us so much that He is willing to save all of us from the damnation of hell. He sent us His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour, the One who redeemed us from the sins of our forefathers, from their rebellion against the love of God. Through Him we are saved, if we accept Him as our Lord, and His free offer of salvation to all of us.

To prepare for the Messiah, the Lord sent His messenger, in the person of John the Baptist, the precursor and the preparer of the way for Christ. His dedication to the mission for which he had been chosen for, and his tireless work had indeed straightened the way for Christ and paved the way for salvation.

Today we celebrate the feast of this great messenger of God and saint, John the Baptist, whose baptisms called the people back towards the Lord through repentance. Repentance allowed the people to set their hearts and minds right, so that they would be in the correct state of heart and mind to be receptive of the Lord and His message that is brought by none other than Christ, His Son and our Saviour.

St. John the Baptist had dedicated his whole life to the Lord, as someone set aside for the works of God, through whose hands God had worked His wonders to the people of Israel, the last of the prophets before the coming of the Messiah, who would eventually liberate God’s people from the tyranny of evil, sin, and therefore death.

God is faithful, and He remembered His covenant that He made with Abraham years ago, with the promise He had made that the descendants of Abraham, all of us, will be fruitful, and will be blessed. Even when the descendants of Abraham, as shown through Israel did not stay faithful entirely to the Lord, but fell into rebellion, in the similar way as their forefathers, God did not give up on us, just as He did not give up on mankind after the disobedience of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors.

We are all precious to God, so precious that despite the covenant broken by our rebellion and our stubbornness against God’s love and compassion, He was willing to forge a new covenant with all of us, and this covenant will never be broken, because this covenant is not made just by God’s words alone, but sealed with none other than the Most Precious Blood of the Lamb of God, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who shed His blood from up there on the cross, flowing from His holy wounds, pierced by our sins and our rebellion.

St. John the Baptist had a great part to play in this plan of salvation, not only as the one who helped to bring God’s mission to perfection, and helped to convert many to the cause of the Lord through repentance, but also through his direct role in the initiation of Jesus’ ministry on this world. Through his baptism of Christ on the Jordan, he initiated Christ on His ministry, which began after that baptism, when the Lord proclaimed to the world, that Jesus is indeed His Son, and that His favour is on Him.

His humility that he showed when he declared the identity of Christ to his own disciples, so that He would increase while John himself would decrease in importance is an example for all of us, that whenever we do things, let us remember that we should do it for the greater glory of God, and not to our own personal human glory, and seek the praise of the Lord, and not the praise of man.

We can follow the many examples of Saint John the Baptist, my dear brothers and sisters, that we should emulate him in our lives. To love and serve the Lord with all our hearts, with all our minds, and with all our being, that we truly become the children of God, and people beloved by the Lord our God. May the Lord guide us at all times in our lives, that we will not be led astray in our path towards Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 20 June 2013 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 110 : 1-2, 3-4, 7-8

Alleluia! I thank the Lord with all my heart in the council of the just, in the assembly. The works of the lord are great and pondered by all who delight in them.

Glorious and majestic are His deeds, His righteousness endures forever. He lets us remember His wondrous deeds, the Lord is merciful and kind.

The works of His hands are faithful and just, trustworthy are all His precepts, ordained to last forever, bearers of truth and uprightness.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Tobit 3 : 1-11a, 16-17a

Distressed, I wept and prayed and expressing my sorrow, I said, “You are just, o Lord; all Your actions and all Your ways are merciful and just; Your judgments are always true and just. Remember me, Lord, and look on me. Do not punish me for my sins nor the wrongs I have committed through ignorance.”

“Pardon the sins which my fathers have committed in Your sight, for they disobeyed Your commandments. You have allowed us to be mocked by all the pagan nations among whom we have been dispersed. Ah well! All Your judgments are just when You choose to punish me for my sins and those of my fathers, because we have not accomplished Your will, nor have we sincerely obeyed Your commands. We have not walked before You in truth.”

“Do with me as You will. Order my life taken from me, and turn me into dust, because I prefer death to life. In this way free me and let me return to dust. It is better for me to die than to live, because these unjust reproaches have caused me great distress. Command that I be now released from trials, and let me enter my eternal dwelling place. Do not turn Your face away from me.”

That same day, at Ecbatana in Media, Sara, the daughter of Ragouel, was insulted in a similar way by her father’s young maidservants. Sara had had seven husbands, but the demon Asmodeus had killed each one of them before the marriage had been consummated.

The maidservants said, “It was you who killed your husbands. You have had seven husbands and you have not enjoyed marital relationship with any of them. Why do you punish us? Since they are dead, go and join them. May we never see a son or daughter of yours!”

That same day Sara was so distressed in mind that she went to the upper room in her father’s house. She wished to hang herself. But she thought better of it and said : “If people ever reproached my father and said to him : ‘You had an only daughter whom you cherished and she hanged herself because she was unhappy,’ I would cause my father in his old age to die of grief.”

“It is better for me not to hang myself but to ask the Lord that I may die and not live to hear any more insults.” At that moment she stretched forth her hands towards the window and prayed. The Lord in His glory heard the prayer of Tobit and of Sara and He sent Raphael to heal them both – to give back his sight to Tobit and to give Sara the daughter of Ragouel, to Tobit’s son Tobias, as his wife. Also, Raphael would enchain the wicked demon Asmodeus so that Sara would be the wife of Tobias.

Saturday, 1 June 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Mark 11 : 27-33

They were once again in Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests, the teachers of the Law and the elders came to Him and asked, “What authority do You have to act like this? Who gave You authority to do the things You do?”

Jesus said to them, “I will ask you a question, only one, and if you give Me an answer, then I will tell you what authority I have to act like this. Was John’s preaching and baptism a work of God, or was it merely something human? Answer Me.”

And they kept arguing among themselves, “If we answer that it was a work of God, He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?'” But neither could they answer before the people that the baptism of John was merely something human, for everyone regarded John as a prophet.

So they answered Jesus, “We do not know”, and Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you what authority I have to act as I do.”

Sunday, 26 May 2013 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Psalm)

Psalm 8 : 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

When I observe the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon and the stars You set in their place – what is 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 paths of the ocean.

Friday, 3 May 2013 : 5th Week of Easter, Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles (Psalm)

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Saturday, 13 April 2013 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Martin I, Pope and Martyr (Psalm)

Psalm 32 : 1-2, 4-5, 18-19

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises.

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.

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.