(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 103 : 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24 and 35

Bless the Lord, my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; O Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment; You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

You set the earth on its foundations, and never will it be shaken. You covered it with the ocean like a garment, and waters spread over the mountains.

You make springs gush forth in valleys winding among mountains and hills.

Birds build their nests close by and sing among the branches of trees. You water the mountains from Your abode and fill the earth with the fruit of Your work. You make grass grow for cattle and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. May sinners vanish from the earth, and may the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, my soul!

 

Alternative Psalm

Psalm 32 : 4-7, 12-13, 20, 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. He gathered the waters of the sea into a heap, and stored the deep in cellars.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield.

O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 140 : 1-2, 3 and 8

Lord, I call on You, hasten to help me! Listen to my plea when I call to you. Let my prayer rise to You like incense, as I lift up my hands as in an evening sacrifice.

O Lord, set a guard at my mouth, keep watch at the gate of my lips. But my eyes are turned to You, o God, my Lord; strip me not of life, for You are my refuge.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are told, on the risks facing those who are loyal and obedient to the Lord and to His laws. Jesus foretold the suffering that we will face as those who obey and follow Him. And just as the world had hated Him and persecuted Him and His followers, the disciples and the Apostles, we too will likely face the same opposition, suffering, and rejection from the world.

But we should not fear, brothers and sisters, for the Lord certainly will not remain silent or abandon us in our troubles and tribulations. He will send His help to us, and He will take care of us with gentle love and kindness, that only He, our Lord and God can provide. Remember what we had heard in our first reading today, taken from the Book of Daniel. The king of Babylon, Belshazzar, profaned and blasphemed against God by desecrating the sacred vessels that had been taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem.

The king Belshazzar used those vessels, used for offering gifts and pure holiness to the Lord, for profane actions, in drunken stupor and feasting, with his nobles and his women. He desecrated the Lord further by invoking the name of his pagan gods, together with his guests, and praising these false gods instead of the One, True God, whose sacred vessels the king of Babylon had desecrated in His presence.

Belshazzar was reprimanded severely by the Lord Himself, and shown the wrath of God through His own hands, writing the prophecy of his ends, the overthrow of his person as king, and his replacement as the king of Babylon, by the Persian ruler, Cyrus, the one who later went on to free the Israelites from their bondage and servitude, allowing them to return to their land.

Such stories are told again to us, and we listen to them, so that we will always be reminded, on how the Lord will care for us and provide for us, even if the entire world is to turn against us. Yes, the forces that has power over this world, that is the forces of the evil one, hates the Lord and those who believe in Him. But this does not mean that we should entirely shun the world, hide ourselves from the world, and hate the world and all of its things.

Instead, we have to show our courage to stand up for our faith, and for God, that in all of our actions, our deeds, and our works, we proclaim the glory of God, the love of God, and the hope that God had brought mankind, to all the world, for all to see, witness, and hopefully, believe. Daniel did not hesitate to show the truth and the entire revelation behind the word on the wall, even if he risked his own life because he had said something bad about the king.

Jesus did not hesitate either, and He made it plain to all those who followed Him, that to be His disciples, and to belong to Him means suffering, plain and unadulterated suffering because there will be opposition and even oppression. Faith and salvation are not simple and easy to obtain, as they require complete and thorough dedication of ourselves.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called yet again, to give of ourselves fully to the Lord in faith and love. Distance not ourselves from God’s love, but let us indeed draw closer to Him and towards His infinite love. We all have a choice, brethren. Will we choose to be closer to the Lord, and draw ever more closer towards His presence, even with suffering to pay in this world? Or will we instead choose to take the easy way out? By evading all the persecutions and the sufferings in this world, with the price of distancing ourselves from our Creator, and then to be thrown away into eternal suffering? The choice is ours.

May the Lord therefore continue to guide us, that in our hearts, He may continue to invigorate a spirit of love, that we will always continue to dedicate ourselves to Him, and in the end, receive the crown of glory and the entirety of the promised salvation He had promised us, in. Jesus His Son. Amen.

Sunday, 15 September 2013 : 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we truly know of the greatness of the divine love and mercy of our Lord. He is truly our Father and God, because He truly loves us all unconditionally, like that of a father to a son. The parable of the prodigal son, the well-known story of the wayward son and the forgiving, loving father illustrates this nature of our God’s love for us very vividly.

Yes, the Lord our God is a loving God, whose heart is full of tenderness of love and compassion, especially for all of us, the most beloved of all His creations. He is merciful and readily forgives His children, that is all of us, if we come to Him with contrite and sorry heart, seeking for His forgiveness and love. That love and mercy He had given freely to all of us without exception.

He cares for us the way the father of the two sons cared for them. He showered them with abundance and love, and they lacked nothing. Similarly, we have been provided by the Lord with many things, some of us less, some of us more, that shows the depth of His love and care for us. When we go astray, in the same way as the wayward younger son, He seeks for us with love and commitment.

Yet, brethren, we cannot constantly live with sin, be tempted by sin, and showing sin and wickedness, as the Lord God, as loving and merciful He is, He is also a jealous and avenging God. He would not have sin tolerated in His presence. The temptation of doing these things abhorring to God, and Satan always ramp-up their success in corrupting the hearts of men, that we fall and fail, just like the second son of the father, whom left his father to wander to a foreign nation.

God wants us to be His, and that we will return to His embrace, and He longs for that day when we all can be reunited in perfection with Him, and no longer be separated from Him by sin and our stubbornness. In the same way as the father awaited for the return of the prodigal son from his sojourn in the foreign country, day after day, month after month, until the prodigal son returned to his presence, and he rejoiced because of that.

Yet, we are reluctant to return to our loving God, because of various reasons that become serious obstacles in our path towards God, towards returning to His loving embrace. We can easily observe this in the story of the prodigal son, where the younger son feared going home to his father, although if he returned, he would have lived once again in plenty.

One such obstacle is the pull and temptation of worldly pleasures, which prevents us from going back to the Lord, and instead we immerse ourselves in such pleasures excessively, shutting the Lord out of our hearts and our minds. The other obstacle is fear, that is the fear of the wrath of God, the fear of His anger and retribution for our mistakes and our betrayal.

Such fear prevents us from drawing near to the throne of mercy, and also opening our hearts to the love of God. Yes, the Lord who hates sin and evil will certainly be angry on the sins we have committed, but He is not someone who will get angry without any good reason. The anger of the Lord does not always mean a bad thing to us, as He is indeed like a father to us, a loving Father who cares for His children.

And therefore, just like a father, He chastises us whenever we do something wrong, that we will not repeat doing that again in the future. He is angry with us and punishes us as the way that He showed His care, that we will not fall again as our ancestors had fallen into damnation. He punished us not because He wanted us to suffer, but indeed to avoid eternal suffering that awaits us if He did not ‘discipline’ us.

Hence, brethren, let us look into ourselves and reflect on the things that we had done, which had not been what the Lord taught us to do, that brought us into sin, following the example of the prodigal son, who realised the mistakes he had committed, and to the point of being embarrassed of having to go back to his father when he had no other option.

But it is important to note and follow his examples, that despite his initial fear and hesitation, he gathered his courage and returned to his father, who welcomed him and embraced him with love and joy. Then, brethren, we too should follow his example, to be meek and humble before the Lord who is merciful and loving.

Then, finally, let us reflect on the behaviour of the elder son, who became angry at his father for what he perceived to be unequal and unfair treatment by his father. This is a common  behaviour in mankind, which I am sure that we had witnessed quite often in our lives, how people feel that they deserve something more than what they had received and become jealous when they perceive tht others had been treated better when to them, these people deserved it less than them.

The elder son represents those people whom the Lord had chosen and saved since early on in their lives, and therefore remain in God’s love always, unlike the younger son who went astray along the way, and then returns to the fold. It is natural for us humans, relying on our emotions and instinct to resent those whom we deemed to have been treated better than they should have been.

We ought not to be judgmental on others, and indeed, with God, we should rejoice whenever one of the lost ones returned to the Lord and to us. Remember, that even great saints were once great sinners too. In fact, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen had said, the greater the sins one had committed, the closer one should have been towards realising the depth of their faults and iniquities, and thus, be more ready to embrace the mercy and love offered by God.

Therefore, we should help one another, assisting and supporting one another in our lives, that we will ensure that all of us will be saved and freed from sin. Give help and our love to those who are trapped in the seduction of in and the devil, praying to the Lord to open their hearts to His love. We too, brethren, though we have been saved, must be ever vigilant, that we too do not falter and fall to the traps of Satan that he had cleverly and carefully laid down for us.

May the Lord who has shown His love and mercy for us, continue to shower us with His blessings and graces, and continue to care for us like a father loves his children. May we too realise the depth of our sins, and the depth of His tenderness and love, that we will not be hesitant or fearful to approach Him, full of remorse and sorrow, that the Lord who loves us will embrace us, forgive us, and give us a place beside Him in eternal glory. Love one another and love the Lord God our Father. Amen.

My Prayer Intention for Tuesday, 6 August 2013

1. For all of us. May the Lord who revealed His glory and majesty to His disciples in the wondrous Transfiguration, also reveals to us the greatness of His glory, the depth of His love and compassion, as well as the infinite wonders of His mercy. May He continue to bless us with His blessings and grace as we, His children, journeyed through this world of fear and darkness, that we will be brave, and not satisfied just being within our zones of comfort, but dare to step out and make a difference in the life of others.

2. For the victims of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, especially those of Hiroshima, who suffered ever since the bomb was detonated on Hiroshima, on this very day, 68 years ago. May the Lord comfort them and remain with them, and may He heal them from their afflictions through His infinite love and mercy. May He grant them perseverance and strength, and also understanding to those around them, that they will not ostracise them because of what had happened to them, but instead embrace them with love, as brothers and sisters, children of the same God.

3. For our late Pope Paul VI, the Venerable Pope Paul VI, who died on this day 35 years ago, on 6 August 1978, on this Feast of the Transfiguration. May the Transfigured Christ welcome him and be with him in the eternal bliss of heaven that is his reward. We thank the Lord for Venerable Pope Paul VI and his hard work for the sake of God’s Church and God’s people. We pray that he will also soon be elevated to the Altar, as one of the holy saints of the Lord.

We ask these prayers and petitions, in the Most Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Transfigured Lord and God, who is fully divine, yet fully human, and He who had delivered us from death through His own death on the cross, and His glorious resurrection. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 5 August 2013 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of the Dedication of a Basilica)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we hear today of the Lord’s great kindness and compassion to us, His great love to us, that He provides for us daily what we need in our lives. He is our Father, who created us from dust and gave life to us. Yet, He did not just stop there and leave us to our own devices. He continues to care for us, nurture us as we grow, giving us His love that pours out from His heart.

He shows us compassion whenever we are hungry, whenever we are without love, whenever we are oppressed unjustly, and whenever we are under great distress. He is a loving Father who always makes Himself available to all of us. Never will He leave us without help. In His own mysterious ways, He sends us many help along the way in our lives, whether we realise it or not.

He gives us food, the physical food and nutrition we need for our survival, the sustenance of our physical bodies, the same way Christ had fed the five thousand men, and many more women and children. We receive these food through our parents, our families, our friends, and even those whom we buy the food from. He truly works His grace for us through various ways. Have we realised this, and realised His great love for us?

However, He does not only provide us with physical food to sustain us, but also the spiritual food of His love, the spiritual food of His words, which He gave us through Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. He poured His love into our hearts, that we may not only be physically satisfied, but also spiritually satisfied and whole. That is why we must take good care of our spiritual health. Remember always the rebuke Christ made to Satan when He was first tempted in the desert, that men does not live on bread alone, but from every Word that came from the Lord, that is our spiritual sustenance.

The Lord does not forget us when we are in trouble, nor will He turn us away when we come to Him to seek His help. He sent Moses to deliver His beloved people, Israel, from slavery and suffering in Egypt, delivering through Moses His wrath to Israel’s slave masters, the Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He delivered them through the Red Sea and gave them even food from heaven, the divine manna. Who else may claim that their God feed them with food that came from His own table in heaven?

He also delivered the people of Israel from the threat of utter destruction, by sending an unlikely deliverer, in Judith the widow, who courageously went through the enemy’s camp and slaying the enemy commander with God’s power and grace. He gave power to the weak to bring down the proud and the powerful, and giving freedom to His people living in fear and oppression under tyranny of evil. He does not forget His people, but instead walks among them and support them all the time of their lives.

And most important of all, there is no great gift and providence our Lord had given all of us, without exception, than the gift of Himself, through Jesus Christ His Son, the Word of God made flesh, who descended into the world to become our Saviour, our great Redeemer. Just as the people of Israel was under the tyranny of the Pharaohs, and later under Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who sent his general Holofernes to destroy them, so did all of us fall under the tyranny of evil, of sin, and of Satan, our jailor.

He sent us Jesus to be our Saviour, to be the One who broke forever the chains of sin that kept us bound to death that was our fate. It is not that we will not die, but we will no longer suffer eternal death, that is eternal separation from God who is life, if we put our trust in Jesus our Lord and accept Him as our Saviour.

He offered His salvation to all by the outpouring of His love to all of us, the ultimate nourishment for us and our souls, that He gave us through His disciples, the Most Precious Body and Blood of His own Body, in what we now know as the Most Holy Eucharist, that we regularly receive at the Holy Mass in the Holy Communion. Now truly, we should all be able to see and realise how great the love that God has for all of us, His children!

Today, brothers and sisters, we also commemorate the memorial of the dedication of Basilica of St. Mary Major or Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. This basilica is one of the four Papal Basilicas, and one of the most important sites of Christendom. This basilica was dedicated to the Mother of our Lord, our Blessed Virgin Mary herself, who is also the protector of the city of Rome. Our current Pope Francis went to visit the Basilica to ask for the Lady’s protection and intercession for his Pontificate on the day after his election as our Pope.

You see, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all blessed that the Lord Himself cared so much about all of us sinners in this world, that He sent to us not only His Son, Jesus to be our Saviour, but also even earlier on, His mother Mary, to be our greatest intercessor before her Son, to be our greatest defender and help, when we are in the darkest depth of sin and evil. That is because the best way to the Lord is indeed by Christ, through Mary His mother. Mary is an example to all of us through her numerous deeds and righteousness, and her dedication to her Son, our Lord Jesus and the love she has for all mankind.

Remember that Christ had entrusted His mother to John, His beloved disciple and vice versa. In this way, Christ did not just give Mary to John, nor did He just give John to Mary to care for one another, because in fact, Christ, through John, gave His own mother to all of us, all mankind, without exception! Mary is our great intercessor, as she pleads for our sake, for our case, before her Son in heaven.

Remember again what happened in Cana, in the wedding, when Christ politely rejected the request to perform His first miracle to help the wedding couple in trouble because they ran out of wine. Yet, at the urging and persistence of Mary, in her own words, asking the servants to follow whatever the Lord said, He eventually helped and performed His first miracle, to the relief of the couple.

Yes, the same can also happen to us, brothers and sisters, as the Lord Himself had said, that if we want something, we should ask for it, and we should knock the door, if we want the door to be opened for us. He is generous for mercy, forgiveness, and love, but only if we ask Him, and persistently ask Him. He will give us all that we need, and provide us with everything we need, be it food, physical or spiritual, and other things that we require. Where does our mother, Mary come in this? She is, as I had mentioned, our greatest intercessor, the greatest of all saints, and the one nearest to the throne of mercy, to the throne of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through the intercession of Mary, we can be closer to God, and through her, many souls can be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven. That is why, brothers and sisters, it is important for us to promote the devotion to the Blessed Virgin, our mother and the mother of our God. Ask her for help and for her intercession for our sake before her Son, and our prayers will be heard.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today, and henceforth, let us remember always the kindness and love God had showered us with, all the blessings He had given all of us. Let us always thank Him for the daily bread and blessings He had given us, remembering His love, and His dedication for us, that He even gave Himself to us, that we may live and have eternal life with Him in the glory and bliss of heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 22 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Psalm)

Psalm 62 : 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

O God, You are my God, it is You I seek; for You my body longs and my soul thirsts, as a dry and weary land without water.

Thus have I gazed upon You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.

I will bless You as long as I live, lift up my hands and call on Your Name. As with the richest food my soul will feast; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

For You have been my help; I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You, Your right hand upholds me.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Psalm)

Psalm 68 : 3, 14, 30-31, 33-34

I am sunk in the miry depths where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, swept and engulfed by the flood.

But I pray to You, o Lord, at a time most favourable to You. In Your great love, o God, answer me with Your unfailing help.

But I myself am humbled and wounded; Your salvation, o God, will lift me up. I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving.

Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.

Alternative Reading (from the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Friday, 12 July 2013 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40

Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and live on it. Make the Lord your delight, and He will grant your heart’s desire.

The Lord watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. They are not crushed in times of calamity; when famine strikes, they still are satisfied.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. For the Lord loves justice and right, and never forsakes His faithful ones. The wicked instead will perish and their breed will be cut off.

The Lord is the salvation of the righteous; in time of distress, He is their refuge. The Lord helps them, and rescues them from the oppressor; He saves them for they sought shelter in Him.

Thursday, 4 July 2013 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Psalm)

Psalm 114 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

Alleluia! I am pleased that the Lord has heard my voice in supplication, that He has not been deaf to me, the day I called on Him.

When the cords of death entangled me, the snares of the grave laid hold of me, when affliction got the better of me, I called upon the Name of the Lord : “O Lord, save my life!”

Gracious and righteous is the Lord; full of compassion is our God. The Lord protects the simple : He saved me when I was humbled.

He has freed my soul from death, my eyes from weeping, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.