Monday, 28 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to rejoice in the Easter celebrations, let us all heed the words of the Scripture, reminding us that God’s love for all those who are faithful to Him will keep all of us safe from all harm and troubles, and no enemy is going to be able to threaten us or harm us if we put our full trust in the Lord our God.

In this Easter season we all rejoice together celebrating the triumph that our Lord had shown us against the forces of evil and darkness, the triumph and victory He had shown us all against sin and against death, as He proved that mankind has a way out of their enslavement to sin, and they do not need to fear sin and death, for the Lord Himself had shown them His care and love, and through Him, they have hope for a new life renewed in grace.

But alas, it is mankind themselves who refused to listen to reason and refused to accept God’s offer of grace and forgiveness. They refused to open themselves and allow God to come in and transform them for the better. They shut themselves out of God’s love and tender mercy, and instead in their pride and arrogance, they thought that only their ways were correct.

That was why the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law refused to listen to the Lord and His truth, and even after He had suffered, died and risen to glory, they refused to accept the truth that He is the Lord, the Messiah, the Saviour of all, even the Saviour of all of them, all who have rejected Him. Remember, that on the cross, Jesus prayed for those who have condemned them to death? He has forgiven them from their sins, and even to those sinful people, He has offered His salvation and redemption.

And yet, they were adamant in their refusal. Why was it so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why did the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests persisted in their futile and wicked attempts to oppose Jesus, so far as to tell lies and falsehoods to the people, telling them that the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was false? Should they not instead then believe in Him Who had shown everything just as they had been foretold by the prophets?

No, that was not the case because of their attachment to worldliness and human greed, the temptations of power, glory, fame and majesty, the allures of human praises and the temptations of things that please the flesh. They were highly respected in the society, and they held important positions of power and honour. To give all these up by abandoning all of their old, worldly ways to follow Jesus the Lord in all things were simply too much for most of them.

They were jealous of the Lord and His teaching authority, and of the truth which He was preaching to the people of God. They saw Him as a great and dangerous rival to their own influences, to their own fame and positions, and as they were so attached to all those, they were unwilling to let them go, and thus they persisted in resisting the Lord’s good works and set obstacles in His paths.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we hear all these things today, let us then ask ourselves. Are we like the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests? Did we allow our worldly attachments to dull our love and commitment to God and His ways? Did we allow ourselves to be taken over by our greed, our pride, arrogance, haughtiness, and all the vices and wickedness in our hearts, by jealousy and hatred?

Let us all dedicate the time and opportunities given to us this Easter in order to push ourselves ever further on the path towards eternal salvation, and let us all seek to resist the temptations of our flesh, telling no to Satan and reject all of his evil and wicked advances. Let us all pray, that God will strengthen our faith and our resolve, to become ever more faithful and devoted in His presence. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 6 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 6 : 14-29

At that time, king Herod also heard about Jesus, because His Name had become well-known. Some people said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in Him.” Others thought, “He is Elijah,” and others, “He is a Prophet like the prophets of times past.”

When Herod was told of this, he thought, “I had John beheaded, yet he has risen from the dead!” For this is what had happened : Herod had ordered John to be arrested, and had had him bound and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Herod had married her, and John had told him, “It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife.”

So Herodias held a grudge against John; and wanted to kill him, but she could not, because Herod respected John. He knew John to be an upright and holy man, and kept him safe. And he liked listening to him, although he became very disturbed, whenever he heard him.

Herodias had her chance on Herod’s birthday, when he gave a dinner for all the senior government officials, military chiefs, and the leaders of Galilee. On that occasion the daughter of Herodias came in and danced; and she delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want and I will give it to you.”

And he went so far as to say with many oaths, “I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” The mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried to the king and made her request, “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist, here and now, on a dish.”

The king was very displeased, but he would not refuse in front of his guests because of his oaths. So he sent one of the bodyguards with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded John in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl. And the girl have it to her mother.

When John’s disciples heard of this, they came and took his body and buried it.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 16 November 2014 : Gradual and Alleluia

Psalm 43 : 8-9 and Psalm 129 : 1-2

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos : et eos, qui nos oderunt, confudisti.

Response : In Deo laudabimur tota die, et in Nomine Tuo confitebimur in saecula.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam. Alleluja.

English translation

You had delivered us, o Lord, from those who afflict us, and had put them to shame, those who hate us.

Response : In God we will glory all the day, and in Your Name we will give praise forever.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : From the depths I have cried to You, o Lord. O Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.

Friday, 24 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to examine our own lives and the actions which we have taken in this life, and to ignore no longer our sinfulness and disobedience against the way and the will of the Lord. Our Lord Jesus Christ had made it very clear in the Gospel that we heard today, on how mankind can see things around them and made accurate prediction of things, but they failed to see what is in their own hearts.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is often indeed that we look at the outside and the exterior, seeing things around us and make a judgment, and we are indeed quick to judge and to come into a conclusion, but we fail to see what is inside us, the phenomena that is inside us, which is sin. And they also failed to see what the Lord had done, and when He came in the form of flesh in Jesus, they failed to recognise Him even though they were so apt and good in recognising everything else.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the major weakness of mankind, as we often fail to recognise our own frailty and weaknesses, just as Jesus said, how we often like to point out the weakness in others and the sins of others, and yet we fail to see our own weakness, and this weakness is our sin and our iniquities. We are quick to point finger to blame others, but whenever we do so, we have to realise that while one finger is pointed at others, the other four fingers are pointed at us.

Sin is dangerous, brothers and sisters in Christ, for sin corrupts many things and sin prevents us from recognising the good that is around us. It covered our hearts in jealousy, pride, arrogance, hatred, desire, doubt and many other negative influences and aspects that prevent us from seeing good in others, seeing the bad in ourselves, seeing the good in ourselves, and ultimately, failing to see God who is ever present with us, and who guide us to the right path.

Do you wonder why the people of God failed to recognise Jesus when He came into the world, even though it was so obvious from what He had done during His life and ministry that He was the promised One, the Holy Anointed One of God whom the prophets had talked about throughout their many ministries among the people of God. The Scriptures and the Law themselves had also spoken about the Messiah who was about to come, and yet the people blinded by their sinfulness failed to realise this.

They persecuted the prophets and servants of God in their refusal to listen to the truth, because the truth was often painful for them, pointing out their shortcomings and inability to look into themselves and realise their sins. Thus in the same way, they too rejected Jesus the Messiah when He came among the people to do the same yet again.

They were too engrossed in themselves and in their own world, just as exemplified by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were adamantly against Jesus and His teachings. This is ironic considering that they were the ones who should know the most about the teachings of Moses, of the prophets and their prophecies, and of course of the Law. Thus, they should be the ones who proclaimed His coming and recognised Him through what He had done.

The sin in their hearts, which they allowed to grow accompanying their human desires and greed prevented them from doing so, and in the same manner, they incited the people of God to avoid following and trusting Jesus, by spreading lies about Him, all because of their jealousy, the jealousy of their hearts and the fear of losing their influence and power, as well as prestige and fame among the people. They feared losing these and put their own human ego ahead of their duty and responsibility of proclaiming the coming of God to His people.

It is indeed easy for us to point our own fingers at them, but are we too totally blameless? That is why it is nigh time for us to start examining our own lives and actions. How many times we actually refused to listen to the Lord speaking in our hearts and instead decide to follow our own desires and greed? How many times is it that in our live we have caused hurt and even harm to others because of our own selfishness?

Thus, if we look at ourselves, we are no better than the people of Jesus’ time and the Pharisees. Although we profess our faith in God, but our actions often said otherwise. Hence, brethren, this is the best time for us to begin to reinspect and reform our lives for the better according to what God had taught us. If we follow His ways, we will surely change and be transformed to better people.

And I would like to share with all of you the life of a saint whose feast we celebrate today, and whose life can also be an inspiration for us in walking in the path of the Lord. He is St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the religious order famously known as the Claretians after their founder. St. Anthony Mary Claret was a bishop who lived in Spain about two centuries ago, who was renowned for his zeal and faith in God, and in the numerous works which he had done as a missionary and later as an Archbishop, establishing many good charitable acts and works for the sake of the least and the lost ones of the society.

St. Anthony Mary Claret served in many functions as a servant of God and His Church, zealously spreading the word of God to many people, especially to those who have yet to listen to the word and the Good News. He established many works and institutions of charity to help the poor and the marginalised in the society, and through his preaching, calling many of them to embrace the love and faith in God.

St. Anthony Mary Claret also wrote extensively on many aspects of the faith, and which writings become inspiration for many of the faithful in the years to come, including up to our generation, where his works and dedications for the people of God is truly a model for us all to follow. He reminded us indeed that in order for us to be true disciples of Christ, we cannot allow our personal and human vulnerabilities to come in the way of our faith.

That means we have to restrain ourselves, our human desire and emotions, and make the effort not to be controlled by these, as the people of the past and the Pharisees had done. We have to break free from the slavery and tyranny of sin, and thus we should really understand our own sinfulness, and seek ways to handle what had made us sin in the first place. Therefore, the key lies in humility and willingness to listen to the Lord and to walk in His ways, as well as our persistence and perseverance to resist the temptations that will always come our way.

Therefore, as St. Paul mentioned in the letter he wrote to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, let us all be true servants of God and give ourselves completely and wholly to the Holy Spirit of God, which unites us in one Body of the Church of God, and in that unity, may we together find our way towards the Lord, avoiding all forms of fornications and corruptions.

May Almighty God strengthen our faith and help us to grow in our love and devotion towards Him, and with the inspiration by St. Anthony Mary Claret and the other holy saints, may we be able to find our way to the Lord, by doing what is right and just in the eyes of God, and by being able to look deep within ourselves, seeking the Lord’s mercy with humility for all the iniquities and sins we have committed. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 20 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are asked through the Scriptures we have heard, to reflect on our own lives, on whether our lives have been filled with selfishness, self-centredness, egoistic acts and behaviours, as well as pride or arrogance, or whether our lives had been filled with love, that is genuine love for one another, and the love for God just as much as we love ourselves.

It is very difficult for us men to live according to the latter standards as compared to the former standards. We have a big ego with us, just as the word ‘Ego’ in Latin means ‘I’, that is we are first and foremost always concerned first about ourselves, and then far below that concern is the concern about others who are around us. We are by our nature selfish, and filled with desire to the point of greed and unwillingness to show charity to others.

This ‘I’ is dangerous indeed, and do you all know who was Satan, our great enemy, before he is known now as the prince of evil and darkness? He was Lucifer, the ‘lightbringer’, one created bright, beautiful, mighty and great among all the angels who serve the Lord day and night, not to outshine his Creator, but to show all creation how great and mighty the Lord is, in creating such a perfect and wonderful creation.

Yet, in the beauty, greatness and perfection in which he had been created, Lucifer grew proud and attached to his perfection and wonders, and thus his ego grew, and his desires grew to the point that he aspired to be like God and even to surpass His own creation, in his own words, that he wanted to raise his throne above the stars of God, and to rule over all creations.

It is this pride that led to his downfall, and it is this same arrogance over his apparent greatness and abilities that made him to commit sin before God. And his rebellion against God brought him nothing but his own downfall, as he was cast out of heaven, as a sign to all others who also followed him into his rebellion, thinking that in the greatness and all the endowments they had received, they had the right to boast or be proud of those achievements.

And what did he get in the end? Nothing but damnation and eternal punishment, for the pride and greed that brought him nothing else but oblivion. Hence, this is also to help remind us, just as we heard in the Holy Scriptures, how Jesus and St. Paul both urged the people of God to let go of their ego, their pride, their arrogance, their selfishness, and all of the vices they had committed in life, and embrace the true faith, in accepting the fullness of the faith as taught to them by the Lord and through His Apostles and disciples.

How is this relevant to us? We can look at our own lives. It is very obvious that at some points and moments in our lives, we are vulnerable to our ego and our desires. How many times in our respective lives, that we put our own prosperity above that of others? How many of us did not hesitate to do certain actions, even when fully knowing that such actions may bring hurt to others, but may benefit us in some ways?

Surely this life is filled with many of such examples, when we mankind succumb to our desires and began to greedily desire on things and possessions, even often beyond our means and at the expense of others. This is also the precise cause of the many evils and miseries in the world, namely wars, conflicts, abuses, hatred and jealousy of one another. That is because mankind had grown proud of themselves and what they can do, and by what they have discovered in life, that they think too highly of themselves and as a result, inevitably come into conflict with one another due to conflicting interests.

Thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, what then, we can do so that we can prevent or to settle this matter? We are often too focused on the world, and all things worldly, to the point that we ended up worrying too much about what we ought to eat, what we may receive in life, what possessions we should have or obtain, and many other things, while forgetting that in our pursuit of such things and in our worry, we may end up causing trouble for one another.

Worry and fear is not the way, brothers and sisters in Christ. We have to realise that our Lord and God loves us very much, and He wants to love us tenderly just as a father loves his children. He provides us with essentially everything that we need in this life. He will care for us as He had always done, and if we put our complete trust and faith in Him, we shall never be disappointed.

Indeed, those who put their trust in themselves will be disappointed, and just like the rich man who worried about where he ought to put his excess harvest products and building new barns to contain them, he did not put their trust in God and thus he will suffer for his selfishness and lack of love, both for men and for God. Thus, this is exactly what we need to avoid.

Let us all from now on, lead a life filled with genuine faith in God, seeking God at all times, and seeking to imitate Him in all that we do, so that in everything we do in this life, we may be truly like the children and the servants of God, and like the Apostles and disciples in their lives, so that our lives may be filled with love and charity, love that we show for our fellow men, particularly those who are in most need for our love, the last, the lost and the least among men.

And lastly, let us all love God by devotion and by action, showing our genuine faith to Him founded in love. May Almighty God see our love and our faith, and by those love and faith we have done in this life, may we be made justified and worthy of salvation and the promise of eternal life which God had made through Jesus His So. Let us pray therefore for one another, and helping one another that all of us will reach the Lord our God safely. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel (I Classis) – Monday, 29 September 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast of a great protector, our great defense against the assaults of the evil one, Satan, the prince and progenitor of all evils. We celebrate today the feast of the chief of all the angelic hosts of heaven, that is St. Michael the Archangel, prince of all the angels, and chief of the seven Archangels who served before the throne of God.

The angels were created by the Lord to be His servants, that is to be the ones who carry out His will throughout the world, to be His messengers and the bearers of His good works, to exercise His power throughout the universe He had created. He created angels of many forms and kinds, and they have various tasks and functions, depending on how they were created.

Just like men, when we were first created, the angels were initially pure and blameless, free from what is now called as sin, the impurities and imperfections that blemished the purity of creation, through disobedience against the will of God. The angels too, were granted free will just like us, so that, just as we are able to choose our path and destination in life, then they too were able to choose.

But everything was good and perfect, just as our ancestors once lived in perfect peace and harmony in the gardens of Eden, the angels were all pure and immaculate, free from all evil and taints of sin, that is until the corruption and fall of Lucifer, the greatest, brightest and the mightiest of all the angels, and unfortunately, his pride too was the greatest of all the angels, his vanity and sense of superiority over others, which proved to be his greatest undoing.

While now we speak of St. Michael the Archangel as the chief of all the heavenly hosts, he was not made such because of his greatness and his power or might, neither it was because he was the most beautiful or splendid among the angels of God. It was rather because of St. Michael’s great obedience and faith in the Lord, which made him to be the greatest defender of the Lord and His beloved people against the forces of evil.

For as mentioned, that Lucifer was once the greatest and the mightiest among the angels, but this made him proud beyond any pride, and he began to plot his rise among the angels, and eventually even boasted that he would make his throne rise above the stars of God, namely the angels, to be the ruler of them, and displacing God as the ruler over all creations.

Lucifer was proud and haughty, and he was brought down, because he was thinking too highly of himself, aspiring to be the ruler of all surpassing the Creator, while he is merely a creation, albeit a glorious and great one at that. On the contrary, St. Michael was known for his great faith and piety, and the complete trust he has for the Lord. And in addition to this, he was also told to be trembling at always before the presence of God.

This does not mean that St. Michael was fearful or weak, but rather, in doing so, he actually by himself acknowledging the superiority of God, and how great God is as compared to himself. It is his humility, courage and piety which made the Lord to choose him and honour him to be the great commander of His heavenly forces. And he courageously led the forces of the faithful against the deceiver and the evil one, the fallen Lucifer, who was struck down and cast out of heaven, to suffer for eternity the fate prepared for him.

The examples of St. Michael’s faith, piety, dedication and courage therefore should become guiding lights for us to follow, that in our actions and deeds, we may model them after what St. Michael had once done, and what he is doing now, that is leading the hosts of the Lord in a constant and regular battle for the salvation of our souls, against Satan, the fallen Lucifer, and his allies, those angels who were also ensnared in his pride and vanity, and ended up rebelling against God.

We mankind are special indeed, for we are the greatest of God’s creations, including even the angels, and we are the most beloved ones of all the things which God had created. As such, while the angels who rebelled were given no second chance to turn back to the Lord, and receive forgiveness, we mankind alone had been given this gift of forgiveness, that as long as we repent our sins and rebelliousness, and if we are willing to follow the way of the Lord, we will be saved.

That is why, even though our ancestors had disobeyed the Lord, through the instigation of the snake, the form assumed by the fallen Lucifer, who wanted mankind to also follow into his rebellion, God gave us a second chance, and by no other means than to send His very own Son, part of Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord, to assume our own form, and through what He had done, He gave up His life and through His sacrifice, gained for us a new hope and a new justification in Himself.

And we also have to note that the Lord is thoroughly concerned with us, brothers and sisters in Christ. He is truly concerned about our fate, and whether we will share the fate of the devil, that is to suffer in the hell fire, or to be reunited with Himself in perfect love and harmony, just as what He intended for us at the very beginning when He first created us.

That is why, He sent us Jesus His Son, so that through what He taught His disciples, and from them passed down to us, we may all know what we need to do in order to avoid the dark fate which awaits us if we remain in our life of sin. But we need to be aware that, what Jesus said today in the Gospels, we should not interpret or take it literally, which means that if a part of our body made us to sin, then we should not chop it off just like that.

There is indeed wisdom and thought put into that kind of decision, to cut off the part that corrupts the entire body and soul, but that also means that we can no longer do good with the same part of the body, which God had given us. This is where we need to truly understand, that what the Lord means is that, we have to really do our best to excise from ourselves any actions or parts which have been great hindrances to our salvation, beginning from within ourselves.

Sin corrupts everything it touches, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is caused by the accumulation of the negativity in our hearts, of which things such as pride, jealousy, hatred, greed and many others consist of. And it was this same thing that had corrupted even the greatest and the brightest of the angels into rebellion against God and therefore sinned against Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore let us renew our faith in the Lord, not by just mere empty words and promises, but also through real action and devotions, that is by following the examples of St. Michael the Archangel. Let us excise from our hearts, all evils and darkness, that we may truly become pure and worthy of the Lord once again. We can do this by sincere love and devotion to the Lord, and by listening to what He had said to us through Jesus.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all sharpen the edges of our humility and obedience to God, that we may always listen to Him and follow Him, obeying Him in His will for us rather than to listen to our own desires and pride, as Lucifer had done. Let us all not be enslaved by our emotions and pride, that we may truly rebuke Satan and let him to suffer alone the fate which he had earned for himself. Do not let him to drag us into hellfire, brethren!

Let us pray and ask for the help and intercession of St. Michael the Archangel and the holy angels, so that they may help us and protect us from all the harm which the evil one and his allies, the fallen angels had intended for us. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, so that by the power of God, you who are the prince and leader of all the heavenly hosts, may smite down Satan and all his lies, and all those who are working their evils in our world, seeking after the ruination of all the souls of the faithful. Amen.

Friday, 26 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Ecclesiastes 3 : 1-11 (or Qoheleth 3 : 1-11)

There is a given time for everything and a time for every happening under heaven : A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building.

A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing. A time for throwing stones, a time for gathering stones; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing. A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for throwing away.

A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace. What profit is there for a man from all his toils?

Finally I considered the task God gave to the humans. He made everything fitting in its time, but He also set eternity in their hearts, although they are not able to embrace the work of God from the beginning to the end.

Thursday, 11 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented with the readings from the Scriptures and the Holy Gospel, on the importance of love in our lives in this world. Without love, that is genuine love, we cannot survive in this world, and we will have no part in the inheritance of our Lord and God, who is Love. Love is the key to solve many problems in this world, as without love, hatred and violence reign free and supreme.

The essence of what we heard today is the nature of love, and how our love should be. Our love must be genuine and true, and it must be wholesome. It cannot be love that brings joy to some and yet causes pain to others. To us mankind, it is the latter kind of love that we often encounter, and we ought to know that this is no love.

Love is when we are able to free ourselves from deceit and evil within our hearts, and be able to look beyond the veil of darkness that surround us, which include the feeling of fear, hatred, jealousy and prejudice which prevent us from truly loving as we should have loved. Love is when we can love and care for everyone, no matter whether they return our love or whether they have loved us first.

Love must be unconditional, in that when we love we should not expect the love we give to be returned. And therefore, it is not right if we demand that the love we have given ought to be repaid with similar kind of love. This kind of love is not a perfect love as Jesus had taught us, but rather it is love with benefits, that is we are likely to continue to love as long as it benefits us, but we are then likely to stop that love and care once the condition becomes unfavourable for us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there is much violence and hatred in this world, and these are not easy to be overcome. There is much effort required if we are to overcome these sinister forces threatening to split mankind apart and pit brethren against their own brothers and their own sisters. Why is this so? This is because there are many temptations in the world, the idols of mankind.

If St. Paul in the first reading today, in his letter to the faithful in Corinth said that the faithful should not consume food that had been offered to the pagan idols, said such in a very devoted attempt to ensure that those whose sensitivities were affected by such action be not allowed to fall again into sin, then we too in our own behaviours in this world should avoid all the fornications of our body and soul to sin.

How so? It may seem that in today’s world, in most of the world the old pagan worship of idols with offerings of food and other forms of sacrifices are no longer prevalent, and thus this can be deceiving to many of us. We often do not realise that in the absence of those idols, other, new idols had risen up to take their place in corrupting mankind and bringing them further and further away from salvation in God.

Money, power, influence and others in this world are all these new idols. They are what many in the world toil for, work for, and in many instances even to fight with one another, even with those dear to them, so that they can be closer to these new ‘idols’ and get more of them in the world. And we all should know that they are the main cause of wars, conflicts, and violence prevalent throughout the world.

If mankind continue to worship these idols of money, power, influence and others out there in the world, then there will be no end to suffering for mankind, and the world will slide ever further into chaos and darkness. That is why we have so much anger and violence in the world, so much suffering and people in difficulties, and why so many people have their rights violated against by those with power.

And if we recall today, that this day we remembered thirteen years ago was a great tragedy that befell a nation, that is the United States of America when two large jets were hijacked by extremists and then flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. The resulting destruction caused thousands of deaths and many more injured and not just that, for the families of those who were lost, they still grieved even until today.

In this regrettable and horrible event, we can see clearly that above all the bickering and all the conspiracy theories, above all the disputes and the attacks which one side attack the other with, and above all of that, it is the innocent ones who suffer, both in the site of the event itself, where thousands lay dead, and in the aftermath, in the wars that followed which caused even more death on both sides in the conflict.

Mankind are often fighting over what they want, and they seek more and more in this life. We are by nature difficult to satisfy, and if we do not leash our desire, we risk having the attitude of doing anything in order to get at our goal. And hence, that is why we committed violence, show hatred to others, and not easily satisfied even though we have been given plenty.

This is because in many of us, if not most, we lack love in our hearts. This is not the love as the world knows it. Love as the world knows it is exactly the kind of love that care only for the benefit of the self, a selfish love, which when it had served its purpose, then it turns into hatred, evil and destruction. What we urgently need to have with us, is the kind of love that Jesus had taught us and shown us, an unconditional and true love.

This love is such that it is not a selfish one, but a genuine love for others. Love that asks for no returns or reciprocation, as Jesus mentioned. And this love also overcomes hate and prejudice. Jesus taught us that we should forgive one another, no matter what kind of pain we have received from another. This is a crucial key on how to break that continuous and self-sustaining cycle of violence and evil.

If we repay violence, anger and hatred with equal violence, anger and hatred, then we are merely perpetuating the cycle, and in fact we add even more negativity by committing evil on others ourselves. Rather, Jesus taught us to love, and therefore, through that love, instead of evil, the love that is pure and unconditional may begin to heal the broken souls and hearts of mankind filled with hatred and darkness.

Therefore, as we remember those who perished on this day thirteen years ago, let us all learn to love and forgive, and to pray for all those who are still committing acts of violence, anger and hatred throughout the world, that they too may learn of the love of Christ, be converted to His life and gain salvation in Him. God bless us all, and may He give us His love, that we too may love each other and Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strengths. Amen.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 6 : 20-26

Then, looking at His disciples, Jesus said, “Fortunate are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.”

“Fortunate are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Fortunate are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”

“Fortunate are you when people hate you, when they reject you and insult you and number you among criminals, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. Remember, that is how the ancestors of this people treated the prophets.”

“But alas for you who have wealth, for you have been comforted now. Alas for you who are full, for you will go hungry. Alas for you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Alas for you when people speak well of you, for that is how the ancestors of these people treated the false prophets.”

Thursday, 14 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 18 : 21 – Matthew 19 : 1

Then Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?”

Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. This story throws a light on the Kingdom of Heaven : A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants. Among the first was one who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment.”

“The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free, but even cancelled his debt.”

“When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of his companions, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the neck and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!'”

“His companion threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ The other did not agree, but sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.”

“Now his fellow servants saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed when you begged me to do so. Were you not bound to have pity on your companion, as I had pity on you?'”

“The lord was now angry, so he handed his servant over to be punished, until he had paid his whole debt.”

Jesus added, “So will My heavenly Father do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.”

When Jesus had finished this teaching, He left Galilee and arrived at the border of Judea, on the other side of the Jordan River.