Friday, 29 June 2018 : Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Acts 12 : 1-11

About that time king Herod decided to persecute some members of the Church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword, and when he saw how it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.

This happened during the Festival of the Unleavened Bread. Herod had him seized and thrown into prison with four squads, each of four soldiers, to guard him. He wanted to bring him to trial before the people after the Passover feast, but while Peter was kept in prison, the whole Church prayed earnestly for him.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound by a double chain, while guards kept watch at the gate of the prison. Suddenly, an Angel of the Lord stood there and a light shone in the prison cell. The Angel tapped Peter on the side and woke him saying, “Get up quickly!”

At once, the chains fell from Peter’s wrists. The Angel said, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” Peter did so; and the Angel added, “Now, put on your cloak and follow me.” Peter followed him out; yet he did not realise that what was happening with the Angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.

They passed the first guard, and then the second, and they came to the iron door leading out to the city, which opened by itself for them. They went out and made their way down a narrow alley, when suddenly the Angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know that the Lord has sent His Angel and has rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from all that the Jews had in store for me.”

Monday, 2 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, remembering all those spiritual guardians who are constantly watching each one of us, defending us in the constant battle raging around us, even though we may not be aware of what is happening.

In the first reading today, taken from the Book of Exodus, we heard how God sent His Angels to guide the people of Israel as they made their way down towards the Promised Land from Egypt, from where they had been freed from the bonds of their slavery. The Angels of God protected them and cleared the path before them, and all of the enemies of Israel were defeated while the Angels of God were with the Israelites.

That was what God had done with His people, sending His Angels to help them. Those who are faithful will not be abandoned or left alone, for God will send His Angels to defend us, against all those who seek to destroy us. We may not be aware, but Satan and his fellow fallen angels are always out there, ready to strike at us and snatch us from God’s loving hands. They do this through their persuasions, temptations and even if necessary, force.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard Jesus talking to His disciples, about the faith of a child, that is truly the greatest among the people in the kingdom of heaven. And unless they have the same kind of faith as the faith of young children, they will not be great in the kingdom of Heaven. Why is that so? That is because, a child’s faith is pure and genuine, not yet corrupted by the many concerns of the world and by the temptation of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we often find it difficult to listen to the Lord, because temptations are always around us, the tempters are out and active, speaking to us, urging us to follow our desires, and therefore, doing what is sinful in the sight of God. And when we sin, the devil has been victorious in his plans for us, as with every sin we committed, we draw ever closer to the path to damnation.

But our guardian Angels are also always active, protecting us from the predation and attacks by these demonic forces. They are always out and about, keeping us safe and close to the way of the Lord. They also speak in the depth of our hearts, urging us to think about what it is that we believe in our faith, and how the temptations are wrong, and are urging us to do something that is against God’s teachings, and which are rebellious acts against His will.

This constant struggle is the spiritual warfare raging at all times around us, like a game of tug-of-war, with our souls at stake. Should Satan and his forces win, then we will end up in the eternal damnation in hell. And should God and His Angels, including our guardian Angels triumph by pulling us free from the bonds of Satan and from the temptations of sin, then we will receive the eternal glory and joy in heaven promised to us all who are faithful to God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must be really careful so as not to ignore the constant battle raging around us and not to be lukewarm in our faith. Otherwise, we will become easy prey for the devil who will do whatever is in his disposition to tempt us, to persuade us, to cajole us, to force us to do what he wants us to do, that is to sin against God.

Many of us have also been too busy to spend time with God, and our faith in Him had been muddled by the many worldly concerns we have. That is why all of us need to rediscover that faith which we once had as a child, or what we have seen in how a child believes. We must have that pure heart once again, wholly dedicated to God, just as a child would.

Therefore, let us from now on pledge ourselves, to do our best in order to do God’s will, guided by our holy Guardian Angels, that we always ready our ears, open our minds and hearts to listen to them, as they convey to us the message of God. Let us resist the temptation of sin, and do our best that we may come out from the daily and constant spiritual struggle over our souls triumphant, worthy of God’s grace and eternal life. May God and His Guardian Angels be with us always. Amen.

Monday, 2 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5, 10

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in My Name, receives Me.”

“See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven continually see the face of My heavenly Father.”

Monday, 2 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 90 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11

You, who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say to YHVH, “My Stronghold, my Refuge, my God in Whom I trust!”

He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and give you refuge under His wings.

You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks by night, and the plague that destroys at noonday.

No harm will come upon you; no disaster will draw near your home. For He will command His Angels to guard you in all your ways.

Monday, 2 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 23 : 20-23

See, I am sending an Angel before you to keep you safe on the way and bring you to the place I have made ready. Be on your guard in his presence and listen to him; do not resist him for he will not pardon your wrongdoing, for My Name is in him.

If you listen to him and do what I say, I will be the enemy to your enemies and the opponent of your opponents. My Angel will go before you and bring you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; all these I will destroy.

Friday, 29 September 2017 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, the three Archangels named and mentioned in the Scriptures, considered the foremost and the greatest among the Angels of God in heaven. Each of them has their own specific roles in fulfilling the will of God and assisting the people of God.

St. Michael the Archangel is the leader of all the heavenly hosts, the Prince over all the Angels. He was chosen to lead all the Angels of God, not because he was the mightiest or the greatest among them, but because of his obedience to the will of God, his Lord and Master. His name, Michael, means ‘Who is like God’, the very utterance of challenge against Satan, who since the beginning of time had challenged God for the rule of the universe.

Satan was the greatest among all of the Angels of God, reputedly the most beautiful and brilliant amongst all of God’s Angels. Yet, in his brilliance and wonders, he grew proud and arrogant, seeking to become the ruler of all creation, replacing God and sitting on His throne. For this insolence and disobedience against God, Satan was cast out of heaven with all those who followed him, who became the fallen angels and demons.

It was told that, St. Michael the Archangel rebuked Satan directly, challenging Satan for having attempted to usurp God’s glory and throne. And he rallied the forces of Heaven, assembling all the faithful Angels, and as told in the Book of the Apocalypse or Revelations of St. John in chapter 12, St. Michael and his Angels drove Satan and the fallen angels out from heaven to their downfall.

Yet, having been defeated, Satan and his allies did not give up. They still tried to win the warfare and targetted God’s beloved creation, mankind. Not only that Satan tempted our ancestors and made them to fall into sin, but he and his allies constantly attempted to tempt the sons and daughters of men throughout all time, persuading them, coercing them, and even pressurising them through many temptations and tribulations to make them to fall into sin and damnation.

Thus, we used to regularly pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, asking him to protect us together with the company of Angelic hosts, defending us in the constant battle and spiritual warfare against those who seek our downfall, Satan and his fellow fallen angels who are always trying to snatch us away from our salvation in God. I encourage all of us to continue this venerable practice, and seek the help from this great and mighty prince of Angels.

Meanwhile, St. Gabriel the Archangel was known for his role in the Annunciation, as the messenger of God’s will and words, in which he declared to Mary, the mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, what God has planned for her and for the salvation of mankind. He was the bearer of the Good News to mankind, the bane of Satan and his allies, for having heard the message born by the great Archangel, they knew that their days were numbered.

For God’s will shall be done in the end, and no matter how much Satan tried to struggle or to plot against Him, he was in the end, a mere creation who was also subject to God’s authority and will. He has to submit to God, and despite all of his efforts, God will triumph in the end. And the good news of that eventual triumph has been delivered to all of us through His Archangel, St. Gabriel.

We should therefore also pray to St. Gabriel the Archangel, that through his intercession, God will send His Angels to encourage and reinvigorate our spirits, that despite the darkened and difficult times, and despite the great challenges in life, we will not easily give up the fight, and succumb to the temptations. St. Gabriel the Archangel has brought the message of hope to us mankind, and we should rejoice because of it.

Then, St. Raphael the Archangel is another Archangel mentioned in the Bible, who appeared to two people in separate troubles, namely Tobit and Sara in the book of Tobit. Tobit was a faithful servant of God who got into trouble for standing up for his fellow countrymen, and he lost his eyesight in an accident. While Sara was a woman who have been beset by a demon, Asmodeus, who killed seven of her previous husbands.

Both of them suffered and were in great distress, when they prayed to God and God listened to their pleas. He sent the Archangel St. Raphael to help both Tobit and Sara, and through the works of St. Raphael, God healed Tobit and restored his eyesight, while the demon Asmodeus was chased away from Sara, and she was troubled no longer by the demon.

In this, we see how God also healed His people through the Angels, sending them St. Raphael the Archangel as the bringer of God’s healing and restoration. Therefore, let us all also pray to St. Raphael the Archangel, asking him to intercede for our sake, that God may heal all of us from our afflictions, just as He has healed Tobit and Sara. Most importantly, we pray that God will heal us from the worst affliction of all, which is sin that brings about death.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all ask the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael to pray for our sake, to intercede for us, that God may send His holy Angels to be with us, to guide us and to protect us, especially from the attacks from Satan and his allies, who seek our downfall and destruction. Let us all pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel together.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, o Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Friday, 29 September 2017 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 47-51

At that time, when Jesus sae Nathanael coming, He said to him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.” Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?”

And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.” Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that.”

“Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”