Wednesday, 13 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pontian, Pope and Martyr, and St. Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 18 : 15-20

If your brother has sinned against you, go and point out the fault, when the two of you are in private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. If he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the Church, then regard such a one as a pagan, or a publican.

I say to you : whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound. In like manner, I say to you : if, on earth, two of you are united in asking for anything, it will be granted to you by My heavenly Father; for where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them.

Friday, 28 June 2013 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Irenaeus, who was a bishop and martyr hailing from the early Church. St. Irenaeus emphasized the teachings of the Apostles and the tradition of the faith in opposition to the numerous heresies of man born in the turbulent times of the second century Church. He especially defended the episcopacy and Church hierarchy, particularly the primacy of the successors of St. Peter, the Bishops of Rome.

He defended the teachings of the Church and the people of God from influences such as Gnosticism, which syncretic practices threatened to destroy the young Church from within. His role is therefore crucial in ensuring that the true, orthodox faith in the Lord can remain undisturbed and flourished in the next centuries after his death, while that of the heresies dwindling into oblivion.

He gave his full trust to the Lord, and steadfastly defended the faith. He believed in God who is loving and merciful, the Lord who healed the leper in the Gospel reading today, the Lord who gave Abraham the words of His promise, and kept fully to the promise, by granting Abraham his promised son, Isaac, through Sarah, even when she had been very old.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord and God wants to heal us, and grant us His blessings and grace, that is if we remain faithful to Him and show our love and dedication to our God and creator. Our Lord and God is kind, and He wants to bring all of us scattered throughout the world back to Him, like a shepherd tending to his sheep, and searching for the lost ones, to make sure that no sheep may fall to be prey of wolves.

That He had done through His teachings that He had passed down through the Apostles. The Apostles themselves and their successors are shepherds in God’s image of the Good Shepherd, ever ready to defend the faith, both from the pagans and the heresies that came from within the Church itself. They worked hard, like the way St. Irenaeus had done, to defend the sheep of the Lord from the wolves of heresy, and the wolves of this world.

We should indeed rejoice, because despite our sinfulness and our rebellious nature, God wants to save us through the covenants He had made, first that He made with Abraham, and one that was renewed into a new covenant by Christ, the Son of God, by His death on the cross in Calvary. That He gave Himself, His own life, His Body and His Blood for us, so that we can be saved, is testimony enough of His love for us, and proof enough why He is the only One worthy of praise and worship.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, emulating the example of St. Irenaeus, the valiant defender of the faith of the early Church, his contemporaries, the Apostles and the early Church Fathers, let ourselves be resolved to defend our faith in the Lord against all kinds of aberrant teachings that seek to diminish the divinity and the love of our God, teachings that are like wolves preying on weak and unsuspecting sheep, our very own brothers and sisters.

That is why there is an ever greater need to strengthen the faith within all of us, empowering ourselves so that all of us may remain steadfast in our faith, the true faith as beheld by St. Irenaeus and the Apostles, amidst the numerous currents in this world, the currents of heresy, the currents of worldliness, and the currents of evil. These currents corrupt mankind and will bring us away from God and salvation in Him.

Remain strong, brothers and sisters in Christ!  and pray for one another at all times, that God will defend us against the evils of this world. May God always be with all of us. Amen.

Thursday, 2 May 2013 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor (Scripture Reflection)

Today, we hear the words of Christ, that we all should love, just as Christ and His Father, our Lord have loved us, so then we should also love them back with all our hearts, our minds, and our souls. For love lies at the very centre of our faith in God, and it is in love that we truly can have faith in Christ. If we have no love in us, we can never be truly faithful to Christ and to God, for without love, we cannot possibly understand what they are doing and what they have done, for our sake, and for our own good.

Love one another as God has loved us. Indeed, it may seem to be easy for many to say that they can love, but in fact, love should not be taken for granted, for the ability to love is not as easily obtained as one would think, but true love require great dedication and effort, in order for love to be present, to be maintained, and to be able to flourish. Our world lacks love, and it is in this lack of love, that the many problems of our world can trace their roots from.

Have we followed Christ’s commandments, the commandments of love, to love one another as unconditionally as Christ had loved us? He died for all of us, by suffering on the way to Calvary and finally hung between the heaven and the earth, so that all of us may be saved from death that is our fate, and by His resurrection we can share in His life, that all of us will have eternal life in Him. This He offered to everyone, even to those who hated Him, and even to those who persecuted Him, and His people.

To be able to love is a great blessing to all of us. If we are able to learn more about love, and how to love, we will be able to transform ourselves, but indeed not just ourselves, but also those around us, and many other things surrounding us. Love is indeed the key to life, life eternal in God, both for ourselves and to those to whom we show and reflect God’s love.

Today, we celebrate the memorial and feast of a great saint, Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, who was one of the great early Church Fathers that helped to establish the Church of God, and strengthened the faith of the people of God, in the onslaught of heresies and heretical thoughts espoused by those who the devil had entrusted to destroy God’s Church. The devil hates love, and therefore, it is only natural that he will want to destroy the very place where love can still be found in this world, that is in the Church of God.

St. Athanasius defended the Church against the heretical teachings of Arius, the popular presbyter and preacher, who espoused the idea that Christ is not fully man and fully divine, and rather just as a man, a mere human, without divine qualities, as we believe in our Creed. St. Athanasius had to suffer exile and persecution due to his steadfast defense of the Lord and the true faith in God, against these heresies. Yet he prevailed, and due to his ceaseless efforts to bring many back to the true faith in God, he managed to prevail in the end, and bring back countless ones back into God’s Church and therefore into God’s love.

For we have to remember always that Christ is no mere human, for He is the Son of God, both fully human and fully divine at the same time. He is God, and with God since the beginning of time. And it was because of the great and infinite love that God has for all of us, that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be man like us, and in this great love, we are saved and are given chance for eternal life, if we would receive His divine love and that He is our Lord and God.

For if we believe that Christ is just mere human, then there would be no hope for all of us, all of us beloved by God and who place our trust in Christ. For a human’s blood has no power to free us from the chains of slavery of sin, which Satan has imposed on us, since the rebellion of our forefathers, Adam and Eve, our ancestors. But because Christ is God, and with God, one with He who created us, we have hope since the Lamb of God Himself shed His Precious Blood, that we can be saved, out of His great and infinite love for all His people.

Now that we know how much God has loved us, and how much He wants us to remain within His love and care, should we now then vow to our Lord and God, that we will love Him ever greater and ever more? Let us put our full trust in Him and follow in His ways, in the footsteps of St. Athanasius, the great defender of the true faith in Christ. St. Athanasius of Alexandria, pray for us. Amen.