Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings we are all reminded both of our sinfulness and also of God’s mercy, which He extends to all of His beloved children. We have sinned before the Lord, disobeying His commandments and walked away from the path which He had shown us, in pursuit of our worldly glory and other things that kept us away from Him.

But God loves each and every one of us, so much that He was willing to forgive us and He wants to welcome us back into His presence, because He is indeed merciful and filled with compassion and pity for us. He will bless us and receive us back in grace, just as He had promised us through Jesus His Son, as we heard in our Gospel passage today.

Nevertheless, we have to remember the fact that, while God is merciful, and while He extends His mercy and love freely to all of His people, but whether His mercy works on us depends solely on whether we accept that mercy, and open the doors of our hearts to welcome God and allow Him to enter into our hearts and exercise His grace of mercy in us, transforming us from the sinners that we are into people of the light.

We have hardened our hearts against God, and we did not allow God to enter into our hearts. We shut Him out and drown ourselves in our many busy dealings and concerns of the world, that we were not even able to listen to Him speaking to us in the depths of our hearts, calling us to repent from our sins and to be reconciled with Him. This is the problem that many if not most of us are facing, and the reason why many people were still incapable of reaching God’s mercy and forgiveness.

We should look upon the example of the prophet Daniel, who in our first reading today was humbly petitioning God, exposing before Him the sins of all the people who have disobeyed His commandments and were wayward in their ways. He has admitted on behalf of the people, the sins which they had committed, which brought a great shame to them, unworthy to even call God their Lord and Master.

It is this kind of humility and acceptance of one’s own sinfulness that allows God to exercise His forgiveness and mercy among us. Many of us do not only harden our hearts in pride before the Lord, but we also deny our sins, thinking that we could not have done wrong in our lives, or that we are thinking that those sins were inconsequential. We were wrong if we think in that manner, brothers and sisters, for sin, even the smallest among all forms of sin, are abhorred by God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, as we continue to progress through this special time for repentance and forgiveness, let us all reflect deeply into our lives. Let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord our God, promising Him that we will no longer sin as we had done before, but instead willingly embrace His love and mercy, opening the doors of our hearts to welcome Him.

Let us work conscientiously to restrain ourselves, our pride, our desire and all the temptations to sin which had led us astray. Let us use this time and opportunity that God had granted to us in order to work towards our redemption and salvation in God. It is time for us to turn our back against our old ways of sin, and to begin anew in faith in the Lord. This is what we must do, so that we will be worthy of God’s forgiveness, so that while we are sinners, but God will absolve from us our sins, and transform us into righteous people in His presence.

May the Lord bless us all and help us to go through this season of Lent filled with joy knowing that we have the hope of forgiveness and everlasting life by what He had promised us all who remain true and faithful to Him. Let us humbly seek Him with repentance and regret for all of our past transgressions and sins. May God forgive us all our sins and bring us to the glory of the everlasting life. Amen.

Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Luke 6 : 36-38

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”

Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Psalm 78 : 8, 9, 11 and 13

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us for the sake of Your Name.

Listen to the groans of the prisoners; by the strength of Your arm, deliver those doomed to die. Then we, Your people, the flock of Your pasture, will thank You forever. We will recount Your praise from generation to generation.

Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Daniel 9 : 4b-10

Lord God, great and to be feared, You keep Your covenant and love for those who love You and observe Your commandments. We have sinned, we have not been just, we have been rebels, and have turned away from Your commandments and laws. We have not listened to Your servants, the prophets, who spoke in Your Name to our kings, leaders, fathers and to all the people of the land.

Lord, justice is Yours, but ours is a face full of shame, as it is to this day – we, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the whole of Israel, near and far away, in all the lands where You have dispersed us because of the infidelity we have committed against You. Ours is the shame, o Lord for we, our kings, princes, fathers, have sinned against You.

We hope for pardon and mercy from the Lord, because we have rebelled against Him. We have not listened to the voice of YHVH, our God, or followed the laws which He has given us through His servants, the prophets.

Changes in the College of Cardinals, Promotion pro hac vice Title and other promotions of the 2003 Consistory Cardinal Deacons

As of Thursday, 12 June 2014, the composition of the College of Cardinals has changed, with most of the Cardinal Deacons appointed in the 2003 Consistory by Pope St. John Paul II exercised their right to be promoted to Cardinal Priests, 5 with the same title (pro hac vice Title – meaning the Deaconries they are holding at the moment is considered to be a ‘Title’ that is corresponding to their Cardinal Priest status but only for the duration of their Cardinalate – they will revert to deaconries upon their deaths), 1 is given a new Cardinal church (S. Dorotea) and 1 remains for the moment as Cardinal Deacon (Cardinal Martino) who is now the new Protodeacon of the College of Cardinals.

There are now 213 Cardinals, which consists of 118 Cardinal-electors and 95 Cardinal non-electors (above age of 80).

There are now 9 Cardinal Bishops (including Eastern Catholic Cardinal-Patriarchs), 165 Cardinal Priests and 39 Cardinal Deacons in the College of Cardinals.

There are at the moment 0 vacant Suburbicarian See (Cardinal Bishoprics), 3 vacant Cardinal Titles (for Cardinal Priests, out of a total of 147), and 8 vacant Cardinal Deaconries (out of a total of 69).

Here are the summary of the changes :

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1. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Cardinal Deacon of S. Apollinare alle Terme Neroniane-Alessandrine, the former Protodeacon of the College of Cardinals is promoted to Cardinal Priest of S. Apollinare alle Terme Neroniane-Alessandrine pro hac vice Title.

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2. Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, Cardinal Deacon of S. Francesco di Paola ai Monti remains as such for the moment and is the new Protodeacon of the College of Cardinals, and the one to announce the name and title of the new Pope if one is elected during his time as Protodeacon.

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Palm Sunday mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican.April 17 2011.

3. Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, Cardinal Deacon of S. Lucia del Gonfalone is promoted to Cardinal Priest of S. Lucia del Gonfalone pro hac vice Title.

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4. Cardinal Julian Herranz Casado, Cardinal Deacon of S. Eugenio is promoted to Cardinal Priest of S. Eugenio pro hac vice Title.

Javier Lozano Barragan

5. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, Cardinal Deacon of S. Michele Arcangelo is promoted to Cardinal Priest of S. Dorotea (new titular church of the Diocese of Rome). Cardinal Deaconry church of S. Michele Arcangelo is now vacant.

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6. Cardinal Attilio Nicora, Cardinal Deacon of S. Filippo Neri in Eurosia is promoted to Cardinal Priest of S. Filippo Neri in Eurosia pro hac vice Title.

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7. Cardinal Georges-Marie-Martin Cottier, O.P., Cardinal Deacon of Ss. Domenico e Sisto is promoted to Cardinal Priest of Ss. Domenico e Sisto pro hac vice Title.

Note : Cardinal Deacons are allowed to request promotion to Cardinal Priest rank after they have been in the position for at least 10 years from the date of their appointment (in this case – 21 October 2003)

Let us pray for them, and also for all the other Cardinals in their ministries and hard works of maintaining, expanding and steering the Church of God!

Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontificate (19 April 2005)

Happy 8th Anniversary of the election of our beloved Pope Benedict XVI!

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He may have retired, but he will always be our Pope, and so I find that it is still relevant and indeed recommended to celebrate this joyful occasion, that 8 years ago, on 19 April 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Pope. I can still clearly remember the Habemus Papam uttered by Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez on that day.

Ad multos annos, Holy Father! Pray for us always! May you live long and see through your successors! Support them with your prayers.

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(Image : From the election of Pope Benedict XVI on 19 April 2005)

Pope Francis : First day as Pope, Visit to Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

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On his first day as Pope, on Thursday morning, 14 March 2013, Pope Francis made his surprise visit to the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for his Pontificate.