Tuesday, 26 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue what we had heard from the previous day’s theme on the sins and corruptions of the Pharisees and the elders of the people of Israel. The seven woes of the Pharisees as they are known, are highlighted in today’s Gospel, with Jesus continuing to rebuke these vile and corrupt leaders who brought their people into destruction.

It was greatly stressed, the importance of walking and doing the faith, and not just merely concerned about the externalities and the formalities of the Law, but also the teachings and the ways of the Lord must be lived within the soul, heart and mind, so that in all things, we may truly be representing the Lord to all those who see us, who hear us and who witness our actions and deeds in all things.

Indeed, the fundamentals of the Law of God are justice, mercy and faith as Jesus had said. The Pharisees, the scribes and the teachers of the Law are too preoccupied on the external applications and details of the Law so as to forget the true meaning and purpose of those laws in the first place. Rather than trusting in God and His truth revealed in Jesus, they persecuted the faithful and rejected He who came to save His people, preferring to trust in men, in their own power and wisdom than in the wisdom and truth of the Lord.

Why justice? Because the Law of God is indeed just, and it was not crafted to torture or make the lives of men difficult. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law continued on the expansions and the increasingly difficult application of the Law of God as revealed through Moses. In the Torah, the first Book of our Bible, also known as the Pentateuch, scattered through the Book of the Exodus, Leviticus, Number and Deuteronomy, are the laws of God given to Moses.

However, over the centuries and over time, the interpretation of these laws had become very rigid and extremely punitive in nature. The Lord Himself did not intend for these to be punitive and harmful in nature, but instead these were meant to lead the people of God to have a good discipline in life, particularly in the matter of their faith, so that they would always stick to the right paths in life. We know from our reading of those same Books, how unfaithful and difficult the people of Israel could be, both during their forty years journey and when they were already dwelling in the Promised Land.

But this should not become the kind of interpretation which the Pharisees had done to the laws, which ended up as a kind of leash and prison to the faithful who were forced to endure the numerous observations which apparently numbered as many as six hundred and thirteen laws, rules and regulations. Many of these observations ended up in the Pharisees abusing their authority and oppressing the people, losing the true meaning and intention of the Law.

And then, the Law is also about mercy. The Pharisees were so utterly convinced in their actions and deeds, that they believed that they were alone the most righteous and greatest among the people of God, as the only ones on whom the Lord cast His favour on. They believed that because they did as they had done, they were allowed to do what they thought was right on others, to the point of abusing others and casting judgments on others.

Remember what they did when the faced the man who was born blind and then was cured by Jesus? The Pharisees and elders of Israel tried to discredit the good works and miracles of Jesus, and when they failed to do so, they cursed and blamed the man who was born blind and healed, and they called him cursed and sinner, since the day he was born, a truly preposterous and horrible action indeed, one that is unworthy of these supposedly pious servants of God.

The Pharisees also condemned the woman who committed adultery, arguing that because she committed sin she deserved to die according to the Law. However, Jesus thought otherwise, and He highlighted the important of forgiveness and mercy, as the way for salvation. The Law was truly intended to guide mankind back to the Lord, so that the Lord might exercise His mercy, rather than punishing them.

And lastly, the Law is also about faith. This is not superficial and superfluous faith of the Pharisees who were concerned mostly with their own faith and their own piety, for the praise of the people rather than to help one another into salvation through faith. The Law must be obeyed with understanding and true sincerity and desire, or otherwise, it will do no good to us at all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect together on this, let us all together help one another to grow in our faith and devotion to the Lord, and also in our love towards our fellow men, which also means love among ourselves. Let us not be discouraged or be distracted by the devil and his tricks and lies. Rather, let us all continue to believe in God and seek to understand further the power of His love. God bless us all and may we continue to obey His love with full understanding. Amen.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Lord and His profession of faith and devotion to us, as He told us how a shepherd would go all out of his way, leaving those sheep which are secure with him, and find the one lost sheep until that sheep is found. Our Lord is the Good Shepherd, as He Himself had said, and therefore, we are His sheep, in the pasture that is this world, and He will devote Himself in the same way as the shepherd is devoted to his flock of sheep.

In the first reading today, Ezekiel, the prophet of Israel called when the people of God was exiled at Babylon, received a vision showing God in all of His majesty, who commissioned him to speak His words on His behalf to the people of God, and particularly those who had rebelled against God and walked in ways contrary to the way of the Lord.

Thus, both readings essentially talked about the same thing, that God is concerned with the fate of mankind, particularly those who are lost in the darkness of this world, which is caused by our sinfulness and disobedience to the will of God. God wants those sheep that are lost, to be able to find their way back to Him before it is too late, and thus He sent His servants, the prophets like Ezekiel and ultimately Himself through Jesus His Son.

God did not take our case and fate lightly, as He knows that there are only two end points for us all, that is either eternal goodness or eternal damnation. Satan and his supporters are ever active in our world, dragging mankind and all those who are not vigilant into the trap of sin and evil, much like how wolves drag and trap their unsuspecting preys, the lost sheep into harm’s way and death.

That is why He sent on our way, so much help and assistance, that is the assistant shepherds which He gave us to be our shepherds and leaders to help us on our way to the Lord, to guard us and help us to evade the wolves. These were the prophets, and then followed by the disciples of Christ and their successors, our priests and bishops today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of a saint, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, a French noblewoman who lived during the late Renaissance era. She led a relatively normal life for the people of her age in that time, building up a family with her aristocrat husband, until she was widowed at the young age of twenty-eight with several of her children.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal then experienced a turn in her life, when she devoted herself to a life in devotion to God through charity and works, meeting up with saints and then established a congregation of women committed to the service of the poor, which she herself dutifully carried out for the sake of these lost ones of the children of God.

She was so devoted in her works, that despite all the opposition and challenges against her, even ridicule and obstacles would not allow her to give up her good works for God’s lost and weak children. It was indeed the same as how our Lord painstakingly worked hard to gather back all of His sheep, the lost ones, namely all of us, who had been sundered from Him ever since sin entered into the hearts of men.

We too have to follow her example, and the very example set up by our Lord, who as the Good Shepherd, did the ultimate act of love and devotion, by laying down His own life for His sheep, through the crucified Christ, that we all may live. It is important for us to realise how great is the love that God has for us, and therefore try our best to love Him back and seek Him with the best of our abilities.

Let us help one another on our way towards the Lord. Let us seek Him who is the Shepherd of all things living, and of all creations. He loves us all, and we should also all love Him back in the same way. Let us never be separated again from Him, and let us ask for the intercession of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, that our faith in the Lord will always be blessed by God. Amen.

Monday, 23 June 2014 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are brought to an important lesson in life which our Lord wants us to remember at all times. Before we judge or think badly about someone, let us first take a look at our own selves and judge ourselves, that we know the fact, how all of us are in fact equally sinful, equally guilty, and equally wicked, and that we have no right to judge anyone else for we too can be judged in the same way that we have been judged.

In that way, therefore, we should not judge the people of Israel and Judah that we heard in the first reading either. The kingdom of Israel and Judah fell because of the disobedience and the wickedness of their people, who had left behind the Law of God and followed their own ways, committing evil at every turn. But if we judge them for such, will we not be judged similarly as well? We too, at different moments of our lives, failed to live up to our faith and commit things wicked in the sight of God.

But the first reading today is a vivid reminder of what happened if we remain persistent in our faith and not be repentant. The northern kingdom of Israel in particular had been very wicked and unrepentant, that despite the many prophets sent to them, they continued to engage in their rebellion against God, and as a result, they were exiled from the Land given to them and scattered among the nations.

The kingdom of Judah too did not escape the repercussions of their sinfulness and disobedience, since although prophets had been sent to them, as Israel had been, the people refused to listen to these prophets and instead of judging themselves first and repenting from their sins, they judged the prophets, hunting them down and killing them in cold blood. In this, they persisted in their rebelliousness and perish.

Thus, that too, will be our fate, if we remain in our obstinate behaviour and insistence on keeping our sinful ways and our wickedness. We must realise that we have sinned and we are unworthy of the Lord, but instead of blaming others and ourselves, and worse, instead of blaming God, we should really reflect on our own actions, on our own deeds and on our own words, whether in them, we have lived our faith really well, or whether our slander and our actions have hurt others and cause wicked things to occur before God and men.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let this day be a day of reminder for us, that we may begin on a committed path of life, one that is no longer judgmental and critical for others, but instead, one that is committed to help one another and strengthen one another in faith, and affirm each other in love. May our actions always be based on love, and let us always be with one another, to help each other to reach the Lord together as one. God be with us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial Feast of our Lady of Fatima (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 86 : 1-3, 4-5, 6-7

He Himself has built in His holy mountain; the Lord prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns. Great things have been foretold of you, o city of God.

Between friends we speak of Egypt and Babylon; and also Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia : “Here so-and-so was born.” But of Zion it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And the Lord notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for You.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of our Lady of Fatima)

 

Psalm 44 : 11-12, 14-15, 16-17

Listen, o daughter, pay attention; forget your father’s house and your nation, and your beauty will charm the King, for He is your Lord.

All glorious as she enters is the princess in her gold-woven robes. She is led in royal attire to the King, following behind is her train of virgins.

Amid cheers and general rejoicing, they enter the palace of the King. Forget your fathers and think of your sons, you will make them princes throughout the land.

Friday, 2 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard of the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes of five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fishes, and in a great miracle, these few food items managed to satisfy all of them till full and with twelve baskets of leftovers just for the bread alone.

We also heard how the respected leader of the elders of Israel, the Rabbi Gamaliel, counseled patience and caution to the rest of the elders in dealing with the Apostles who were proclaiming the greatness of Christ and taught the teachings of Jesus to the people, and hence rivalling the authority of the Pharisees and the chief priests.

All that we heard today, testify to the one singular fact, that is, we have One Man who came upon us from heaven, sent with power, by the Power Himself, that is none other than Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. Today we celebrate the very nature of Christ who is Son, and who is sent by the Father and bear the power of the Holy Spirit with Him, truly the concept of a Godhead with Three distinct persons yet perfectly in unity, the Holy Trinity.

Today we celebrate also the feast of a saint, a great and holy man, whose life had been given in its entirety to defend this basic and holy truth, the fact that quite a few people of this saint’s time refuse to acknowledge and believe in, and instead they believed in the lies of Satan spread through the heretical teachings of a man called Arius, from whom the Arian heresy got its name from.

Arius and his followers denied the divinity of Christ, by teaching and speculating that the divine and human nature of Christ is separate, and that Jesus Christ who was in this world is merely human created and not equal with the Father, who is God Almighty and all-powerful. For them, it may be unthinkable that God should go through all the humiliating and not-so-good experiences that Jesus had encountered, culminating with the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

They claimed that Jesus is mere man and mere creation of God, albeit One that is special among all other creations. In essence, the view of those who adopted the Arian heresy is not much different from the views espoused by the Muslims who also stressed especially that Jesus is not God in their so-called ‘Scripture’. As such, there had been some people who deemed that the two might be related, and the two heresies might indeed had the same origin.

Nevertheless, all of them were mistaken greatly because they failed to understand the mystery and the sublime nature of God in our faith, that is so great that it begs a better understanding from us. And even with our limited wisdom and knowledge, we are not likely to be able to understand the fullness of God and His mysteries. And that is why our deposit of faith in the Sacred Tradition is so important.

For denying the divinity of Christ is in fact the same as denying the greatness of God Himself, no matter what these people do to justify their ideas and viewpoints born out of mistaken view of the Word of God. They denied the works of salvation carried out by Jesus, for they denied not just Jesus as divine, but also because of that, they denied the salvation that can be offered only by the worthy Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, whose blood made all of us pure and worthy.

If Jesus is not God as Arius and others have claimed, then we have no hope, because the blood of a man alone will not be able to atone for our sins. The blood of Christ saves us exactly because He is divine, both God and man at the same time, one divine person but having two natures, divine and man. This is what we are celebrating today’s saint for, that is in the defense of this truth about the faith, the hard work of St. Athanasius of Alexandria.

St. Athanasius of Alexandria was the Patriarch and leader of the See of Alexandria, which with Rome was the five most preeminent dioceses and centres of the Christian world at the time. St. Athanasius was a great defender of the faith, and despite the popular and provocative teachings of Arius, which brought many people to fall into heresy, he managed to hold on to the firm foundation of faith established since the Apostles, and despite opposition and ridicule by his enemies, St. Athanasius remained firm and faithful.

The hard works of St. Athanasius earned him the faith of the people and the perseverance of many in the face of heresy, and many stood strong for the Lord and did not turn towards the erroneous teachings of Arius. St. Athanasius stood strong for the Lord’s true divine and human nature, and championed the indivisibility of the Most Holy Trinity. He was truly a faithful servant, like that of the Apostles of old.

Remember, brethren, that if Jesus is not God, it will be precisely as what Gamaliel said in the first reading, that the endeavours of man will eventually perish and be gone, but if it is the endeavour of the Lord, not even the greatest force or opposition can make it go away. The Lord will triumph in glory in the end, and this is a fact that we know.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, hence, inspired by the life of St. Athanasius and his actions, shall we walk in the same way as he had walked? Shall we resolve to make a difference in the lives of our fellow men, in a way that we bring the truth of God to them? Shall we bring the light of God to our brethren who are still in darkness, and to those who have been trapped and lured in by the lies of the devil?

May God guide us in our endeavour and our actions, that in all the things that we do, we will always be faithful, strong and completely dedicated to the Lord in all of our days, and show it through our actions and deeds. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Share your goods with one another, be with those among you who are lonely, sick, in trouble, or downtrodden, and comfort one another. Assure them that Christ is with them, through your actions. That is the essence of the lives of the early Christian communities, where the earliest converts to the cause of the Lord lived together in perfect harmony and in accordance to the will of God.

In doing what they had done, these predecessors of our faith has eliminated the temptations of this world, in the temptations of money, wealth and power, so that their lives might be completely dedicated to the cause of the Lord, as they had shown in how they lived and treated one another as brothers and sisters, children of the same God.

In essence, what these disciples of Christ had done is true communism and socialism, unlike what had been attempted by those we know as the communists and socialists of our days. They failed miserably, because they lacked God in their system, and they were unable to prevent human desire and intentions from interfering in their attempt to achieve true communism as the disciples of Christ had done.

This of course does not mean that what we have today is bad, or systems like capitalism is bad. It is unbridled capitalism, the desires and hunger for money and more money that is harmful, for it leads us to disregard for our fellow brethren especially those who are in need, and we are in the position where we are able to help them.

In reality of this world, what has been known as communism and socialism is nothing better than the tyranny of the minority and the powerful, that is in the name of championing equality and common good, certain people had taken advantage of the situation and ended up benefitting from what they had done. And these people are those in the positions of power, that is those who have the greatest access to many resources shared by the people, and ended up embezzling them for their own benefits and to the suffering of the people.

Greed, jealousy, fear, dishonesty, and many other vices we know well off are the many problems that mankind commonly face, and these are the main cause behind the problems that prevented the true implementation of common good for all mankind as the early Christian communities had done. That was why so many of the so-called communist and socialist states had failed miserably in achieving their aims, and instead became places where people suffer greatly.

On the other hand, however, we should also not take whatever is in the Scriptures literally. It does not mean that because the early Christian communities had lived as they did, sharing their goods with one another and selling their possessions to be shared, then we too must do the same. Indeed, in this era, in our world today, doing so would merely do more harm than good and it will also hinder us from having the opportunity to help those who are less fortunate.

Having possessions is in fact a great opportunity for us to give help to those who are in need. These possessions can be shared and yet we still have enough for ourselves. Remember that we should not impoverish ourselves to help others, as in fact this may hinder our ability to help them in the long run. What is the most important is that we have the heart for sharing, that is the heart to love another and the giving of ourselves to those who are in need.

It is the attitude that is important for us all, that we open our hearts to God and allow His love to fill us, and from us to the people around us, our brethren. We have to share this love and through the graces that God has given us, some of us have more and some have less, we should share it genuinely and sincerely, without coercion, unlike what those communist states had tried to do, and as what they are doing now in places like North Korea.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, a renowned saint, religious and mystic well-known for her deep faith in God, her holiness and her visions of the Lord. St. Catherine of Siena and her numerous works and writings are essential for the growth of faith in many of those who read them, and she also inspired countless others who followed in her footsteps, with some becoming saints eventually, like her.

St. Catherine of Siena desired that her life be one that is completely on tune with God in complete and total dedication, to the point of even declaring her perpetual dedication to Christ as His spouse. St. Catherine of Siena led a very holy and dedicated life, in deep prayers and fasting, which is often at odds with the society at the time, even clashing with her own family and their desires and plans for her.

St. Catherine of Siena threw far away her pride and human desires, seeking instead the solace and happiness that she could find in God alone, and she was among those called to be the instruments of God’s favour and love for mankind. Through her visions and works, she brought forth numerous writings that exemplified the excellence of her faith, that it shone out of her persona, and in her writings, God made His presence in this world known.

The holiness of St. Catherine of Siena and her dedication to the Lord, which at one point even brought her to be the one to convince the Pope to return to Rome to end the terrible and bitter schism which had divided the Church at that time, is our inspiration, and should indeed empower us to follow her footsteps and become more and more like her in our deeds and actions.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our lives, that we may dispel the superficial and the lies of Satan, and instead seek the truth in God as St. Catherine of Siena had once done. May God be with us, that we may be more and more like Him and when the time comes, may we all be found worthy of life everlasting. God bless us all. Amen.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 15 : 5, 8-11

O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.

I keep the Lord always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your Holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.

Monday, 14 April 2014 : Monday of Holy Week (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the Gospel is the sad reality of some portions of the Church and our faith, where people became and end up as hypocrites in their faith, in the name of false almsgiving, charity and humility and end up discrediting the faith itself.

What am I talking about here? It is about some of those who held the view that the Church has to become simple, but for the very wrong reasons. The poverty that these people talked about is literal poverty, stripping the beauty and splendour of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Lord at the Mass. In the name of false simplicity and poverty, they turned the Holy Mass and its celebration into a playground.

This is a true scandal of the faith, one that is sadly quite existent in our Church these days as it had been in the past decades. They substituted the Lord for their own human desires and lack of appreciation for the true faith that the Lord wants from us. In doing what they had done, they not only doom themselves, but also many others who were innocent, in the process.

In the recent years and decades ever since the end of the renewal of the Second Vatican Council, there had been many mistaken and wayward interpretations on what the Council was truly about, and it ended up on the destruction of the beauty of worship which had been preserved for millenia, and for many years, many parts of the world devolved into anarchy of the faith, because they have failed to understand what the Lord truly wants from them.

They brought low the true meaning of the sacrifice in the Mass, the offering of our hearts and love to the Lord. Yes, just as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus once offered her love and devotion to the Lord, only to be rebuked unfairly by the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. She offered the Lord her love and the best offering of her humble heart, anointing and preparing Him for His Passion, while Judas rebuked her for the reason of a hypocrite, pretending to love the poor while in his heart, it was truly a selfish concern for himself.

The same too can be said, even today, on those who wreak havoc on the offering of mankind, who had given their best of all as the gifts and offerings of their heart, in the name of false humility and concern for poverty, or the poverty gospel as one may say. We have to love and care for all, especially the poor for they have little or nothing, and there is much that we can give them. But, this must not be used as an excuse to attack the faith or those who love God and seek to glorify Him by giving Him their all.

We like to make these excuses because we fail to understand and have God in our hearts. Our hearts are not filled with the love and goodness of God, but with malice and ill intent, as Judas Iscariot once did, thinking only about himself and his own benefit with the pretext of giving lip service to God and His way.

This we must not do or we risk to walk the same path that Judas had taken. Mankind had lived for far too long under the influence and corruptions of the evil one. Shall we take the proactive stance and say a definitive no to the devil? Let us cast away all the temptations and false promises which the devil has offered us and instead be true followers of the Lord.

May God be with us, and guide us on our way, as we proceed on this journey of life, that we may always persevere and be strong, rejecting the evil and his falsehoods and be like Mary, giving her all to glorify and to serve the Lord. Let us all remain faithful, brethren! Amen.

Saturday, 12 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Jeremiah 31 : 10, 11-12ab, 13

Hear the word of YHVH, o nations, proclaim it on distant coastlands : He who scattered Israel will gather them and guard them as a shepherd guard His flock.

For YHVH has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the hand of his conqueror. They shall come shouting for joy, while ascending Zion; they will come streaming to YHVH’s blessings.

Maidens will make merry and dance, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy for sorrow.

Friday, 11 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we often like to presume many things, even those that we have no right to. We like to think that we know it all and refuse to believe if we face any kind of criticism or feedback from others. We especially do not like if we are questioned on our way of doing things. We resist and make complaints when things do not go our way.

That is, brethren, what happened to the people of Israel, the Jewish people of Jesus’ time. They had forsaken the truth of the Lord for human conveniences, and had rejected the Lord in favour of the devil and his worldly pleasures and temptations. They refused to see the truth that came with Jesus, and obstinately kept to their wicked ways.

They failed to understand the Christ and the purpose of His coming, as they did not understand God’s ways or the Scriptures in the first place. They put their trust in their human ways and observances, rather than seeking to know more about God and what He had intended for them. They failed to see how Jesus is the Messiah, the very One who would liberate them from the grip of sin and death.

Why so? That is because they have grown complacent and accustomed to the ways of the world, that they end up rejecting any attempts to make them change their ways. But again, as we see from the readings today, not all of them were such as that. Not all of the people of God were set in their wicked and rebellious ways, as there were indeed those who would listen to God and repent their sinful ways.

Those who refused to listen to Jesus and His words likely came from those who stood to lose the most by following Jesus and abandoning their wicked ways. These were the people in positions of power and influence, and they committed evil deeds through their positions and occupancies, leading many others to follow them into sin.

That was why the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the teachers of the Law were the ones who were most adamant against Jesus and His teachings, because they  looked upon Him as a rival and a usurper to their power and influence. The irony is such that they were the ones who by right should have the greatest knowledge of the Scriptures among the people of God, and thus should have been the ones who would have first noticed the Messiah and the Lord when He comes.

Thus, they refused to open their hearts to listen to the wisdom of God and instead succumb themselves to the temptations of Satan in their hearts, opening themselves to evil, such as pride, anger, wrath, jealousy and hatred which led them to act in a way that opposed the Lord and His ways, even as He came into the world to be the light to those who are in darkness, including they themselves.

That is what happened if we too allow ourselves to be taken over by our desires and human weaknesses, by our pride and arrogance, and by our jealousy and insecurities which lead us to disobey God and block His attempts and offers which He gave to us freely for our sake and for our salvation. That makes us to sin even more and to fall deeper into damnation.

So, today, we have to change our ways if we have acted like the Pharisees, and today, we celebrate the feast day of St. Stanislas or St. Stanislaus, a martyr of thr faith and one of the first pioneers of the faith in the kingdom of Poland, a thousand years ago. The martyrdom of St. Stanislas is well known even today, both in Poland and abroad.

St. Stanislas was the Bishop of Krakow, the same diocese from where our late Blessed Pope John Paul II came from originally before he became our Pope. St. Stanislas brought about a vigorous evangelisation of the then still largely pagan peoples of Poland, bringing about a real transformation of the society and bringing them to know the ways of the Lord.

St. Stanislas fought against many vices in the society, one of the most serious ones involve the very king of Poland himself, Boleslaw II also known as the Bold. King Boleslaw the Bold was known for his many good deeds, but he was also corrupted by the many vices of the world, and he did many things that were immoral and evil in the sight of God.

St. Stanislas did not fear of even rebuking his own superior, the king. St. Stanislas rebuked the king and eventually excommunicated him, casting him outside the communion of the Church into damnation. Yet instead of changing his ways and repenting for his sins, King Boleslaw chose the quick way out and murdered St. Stanislas with great cruelty and without fear of God for murdering one of His faithful servants.

As a result, King Boleslaw lost his throne, overthrown and eventually died in great infamy, because he disobeyed God and refused to listen to His will. He followed in the footsteps of the Pharisees who were adamant in their rebelliousness, that they refused to listen to God. This is what we have to avoid, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yes, we cannot be complacent, and we have to open our ears, and the ears of our heart wide, so that we may listen to God and obey Him. Let us not be like King Boleslaw, the Pharisees and all those who acted to preserve their own selves and as a result end up in condemnation, which threw them into eternal suffering in hell. Let us all be faithful servants of our God, and continue to serve Him and listen to His will.

May God be with us always and guide us till the end of time, God bless us all. Amen.