(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 3 : 1-4

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things.

For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

 

Alternative reading


1 Corinthians 5 : 6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast makes the whole mass of dough rise? Throw out, then, the old yeast and be new dough. If Christ became our Passover, you should be unleavened bread.

Let us celebrate, therefore, the Passover, no longer with old yeast, which is sin and perversity; let us have unleavened bread, that is purity and sincerity.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear a very powerful story, one which certainly resonates with all of us. Firstly, it is that we ought not to let our  apparent inferiority and weakness be an obstacle to us, and allow others to belittle us because of our apparent shortcomings. That is because, brethren, even the least one among mankind, and the worst of all sinners have hope in them, that is hope in Jesus the Lord.

It is often that people are ostracised, bullied, and treated badly, simply because they appeared weak to their surrounding people, simply because they are perceived to be inferior, and therefore, to the people around them, they are not worthy of anything good. We are indeed ourselves also guilty of the same thing, as we often let our prejudices and pre-formed generalisations and mindsets to interfere in our approach to these less fortunate ones.

And that is how we belittle others around us and ostracise them, often even without we ourselves knowing that we had done such evil acts on our fellow brethren, simply because we are often not aware of the impacts of the actions we had done. Indeed, in fact, we have to make the habit of continuously reflecting on our own actions, especially our own shortcomings, that we become aware that as mankind, each of us have our own shortcomings, our unworthiness before God, and therefore we should not judge others, less so belittling them or treating them badly.

That was exactly what the Pharisee in the story of Jesus in the Gospel today had not done. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are the supposed experts and examples for the entire people of God, because of their piety and strict observation of the entire Jewish laws. Yet, as Christ had repeatedly pointed out in many different occasions, they did not truly have God in their hearts, as what they truly yearned was the glory and praise of men instead of the love of God.

They give in to their pride and arrogance, especially being placed in high esteem by the people, that they often judge others whom they deemed to be not as ‘holy’ as they were. They condemned prostitutes, tax collectors, and those they had considered as sinners in general. They failed to notice that they too were sinners, and in condemning these people, they have in fact judge others, while they themselves ought to be judged for their own wickedness.

They acted mighty and proud, proud with their great ‘piety’ and ‘obedience’ to the Law, but in fact, all these were empty, because they did not have God in their hearts. It is such that they have always been in the way during the Lord’s ministry in this world, planting obstacles wherever they could, and sowed dissent and trouble for Jesus and His disciples.

They failed to see the great repentance in the woman, the great humility in her as she approached the Lord and Saviour. She showed her regret for her sins through her tears, and through her complete humility. She did not show her faith, love, and dedication for the Lord through loud and long prayers as the Pharisees had done, but through her concrete actions. And to the Lord our God, her faith and love for Him was truly far greater than all of them combined.

Prayers are important, brethren, as it is our way to communicate with the Lord our God, in a two-way communication between Him and us. That is why, it is even more important to make sure that the prayers that we make truly are prayers worthy of our God, that is not like the prayers of the Pharisees.

We must humble ourselves before the Lord as the prostitute had done, seeking for God’s most merciful heart, throwing far away our pride and arrogance. The Pharisees liked to praise themselves and their ‘piety’ in prayers, and did not humble themselves for their sins. This is what we must not do.

Today, brethren, we celebrate the feast day of St. Januarius, who was once the Bishop of Naples in the early Church in Italy. St. Januarius lived and ministered through the times of difficulty for the Church and the faithful. He worked hard for the faithful, and ministered piously, even despite the harsh persecutions of the faithful, by the Emperor Diocletian, who led the last great persecution of the Church.

St. Januarius died protecting his faith and in his loving service to the people of God. As a result, he provided much ground for the Church to continue to grow and he also defended the faith against threats both external and internal. Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us follow in the footsteps of St. Januarius, to serve the Lord with passion and commitment. Let us also be humble before the Lord our God. May the Lord who is merciful and loving, continue to watch over us and protect us sinners, that we may return to Him and praise Him forevermore.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red

Luke 7 : 36-50

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to share His meal, so He went to the Pharisee’s home, and as usual reclined at the table to eat. And it happened that a woman of this town, who was known as a sinner, heard that He was in the Pharisee’s house.

She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and stood beside Him, at His feet, weeping. She wet His feet with tears, she dried them with her hair, she dried them with her hair, she kissed His feet and poured the perfume on them.

The Pharisee who had invited Jesus was watching, and thought, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what sort of a person is touching Him; Is this woman not a sinner?”

Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, “Simon, I have something to ask you.” He answered, “Speak, Master.” And Jesus said, “Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. As they were unable to pay him back, he graciously cancelled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.” And Jesus said, “You are right.” And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? You gave me no water for My feet when I entered your house, but she has washed My feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.”

“You did not welcome Me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since she came in. You provided no oil for My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet. This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because  of her great love. But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.”

Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others reclining with Him at the table began to wonder, “Now this Man claims to forgive sins!” But Jesus again spoke to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace!”

Thursday, 19 September 2013 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red

Psalm 110 : 7-8, 9, 10

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

He has sent His people deliverances and made with them a covenant forever. His Holy Name is to be revered!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are those who live by His precepts. To Him belongs everlasting praise.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red

1 Timothy 4 : 12-16

Let no one reproach you on account of your youth. Be a model to the believers in the way you speak and act, in your love, your faith and purity of life. Devote yourself to reading, preaching, and teaching, until I come.

Do not neglect the spiritual gift conferred on you with prophetic words when the elders laid their hands upon you. Think about it and practice it so that your progress may be seen by all. Take heed of yourself and attend to your teaching. Be steadfast in doing this and you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Sunday, 8 September 2013 : 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom 9 : 13-19

Indeed, who can know the intentions of God? Who can discern the plan of the Lord? For human reasoning is timid, our notions misleading; a perishable body is a burden for the soul and our tent of clay weighs down the active mind.

We are barely able to know about the things of earth and it is a struggle to understand what is close to us; who then may hope to understand heavenly things?

Who has ever known Your will unless You first gave him Wisdom and sent down Your Holy Spirit to him? In this way You directed the human race on the right path; they learnt what pleases You and were saved by Wisdom.

Sunday, 4 August 2013 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 3 : 1-5, 9-11

So them, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

Therefore, put to death what is earthly in your life, that is immorality, impurity, inordinate passions, wicked desires, and greed which is a way of worshipping idols.

Do not lie to one another. You have been stripped of the old self and its way of thinking to put on the new, which is being renewed and is to reach perfect knowledge and the likeness of its creator. There is no room for distinction between Greek of Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, foreigner, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.