Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us through the passages of the Sacred Scriptures, regarding the matter of God’s love for each one of us, and how each one of us are also called to lead a life that is both holy and worthy of God. We are constantly being reminded to turn towards God with faith, sin no more and to do no more what is wicked and unbecoming of our status as Christians. We are all called to be holy just as our Lord and God is holy, and to be righteous and just in the way that He has shown and taught us.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, of the prayer which the prophet Jeremiah made on behalf of the people of God in Judah, which began with the Lord’s words mentioning how the Lord was sorrowful of the sufferings and the plight endured by His people in Jerusalem and Judah. They had endured a lot of trials and tribulations because of their own mistakes and disobedience against God, in turning towards the pagan gods and idols instead of the Lord, following the wicked ways of the world rather than turning back towards the Law and the commandments of God.

The Lord has sent His prophets again and again to help set His people on the right path and to remind them of what they had to do as His disciples and followers, as His flock and His people. However, the people had often hardened their hearts and minds, closed themselves off from the Lord and disobeyed Him time and again, and they often persecuted those prophets and messengers who had been sent to remind and guide them in the right paths. Yet, God was still ever patient in reaching out to them, because ultimately should they remain in sin, they would be lost to Him forever.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the continuation of the parable which the Lord told His disciples, the parable of the wheat and the weeds, in which an enemy had spread weeds among the wheat crops in a field. The weeds cannot be removed from the wheat without killing the wheat crops themselves, and they also compete with the wheat crops for nutrients, water, space and more. The owner of the field, who represents the Lord our God, let both to grow together until the day of the harvest, when all the wheat were collected into the barns while the weeds are finally removed, burnt and destroyed.

This is a reminder to all of us, God’s beloved people that if we continue to live our lives in the manner of the wicked and if we remain in the state of sin, then we are like weeds growing in the field of the Lord, that is this world. On the other hand, if we are faithful to the Lord, then we are like the wheat growing wonderfully and fruitfully in the field of the Lord. And we have that choice whether we want to be like the wheat or to be like the weeds. God has given us all plenty of time and opportunities, the choices and the means for us to embrace Him, His love, His truth and His path. If only that we have the courage and the willingness to commit ourselves to that path towards His salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded that while we still have the time and opportunity to do so, we should do our best to turn towards the Lord with contrite hearts and minds, seeking Him with all our hearts and with all our might and strength, and we should do our best to glorify God by our lives and actions from now on. We are all called to be exemplary in faith and to be role models for one another so that we can be true disciples of the Lord and truly are the healthy and fruitful wheat of the Lord’s field. That is our calling as Christians today, and we should do better by looking upon the examples of the great saints, our holy predecessors.

Today, we mark the Feast of the grandparents of the Lord, St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. Although there was not much information that Apostolic tradition had on them, but as we saw how Mary turned out to be, as a truly devoted and dedicated woman, and as a committed servant of God, her parents must have prepared and guided her well. St. Joachim and St. Anne were remembered as loving parents who loved their daughter Mary and who taught her well in obeying God and in the ways of the world. They were Mary’s role models in life, and they should be ours too.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed faith and commitment, and do our best to live our lives in a true Christian manner, distancing ourselves from sin and wickedness, and being faithful in all things that we may become inspiration and role models for one another. May St. Joachim and St. Anne, their faith and dedication to God, their love for their daughter Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, continue to inspire us always. Amen.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 13 : 36-43

At that time, Jesus sent the crowds away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Jesus answered them, “The One Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed are the people of the kingdom; the weeds are those who follow the evil one. The enemy who sows the weeds is the devil; the harvest is the end of time, and the workers are the Angels.”

“Just as the weeds are pulled up and burnt in the fire, so will it be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send His Angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom all that is scandalous and all who do evil. And these will be thrown into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the just will shine, like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. If you have ears, then hear.”

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 78 : 8, 9, 11, 13

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us for the sake of Your Name.

Listen to the groans of the prisoners; by the strength of Your arm, deliver those doomed to die.

Then we, Your people, the flock of Your pasture, will thank You forever. We will recount Your praise from generation to generation.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 14 : 17-22

This you will say to them : Let My eyes shed tears night and day without ceasing! For a great wound has the virgin daughter of My people been wounded, a most grievous wound. If I go into the country, I see those slain by the sword. If I enter the city I see the ravages of famine. For the prophet and the priest did not understand what was happening in the land.

Have You then rejected Judah forever? Do You abhor Zion? Why have You wounded us and left us with no hope of recovery? We hoped for salvation but received nothing good; we waited for healing, but terror came! YHVH, we know our wickedness and that of our ancestors, and the times we have sinned against You.

For Your Name’s sake do not despise us; do not dishonour the throne of Your glory. Remember us. Do not break Your Covenant with us! Among the worthless idols of the nations, are there any who can bring rain, or make the skies send showers? Only in You, YHVH our God, do we hope, for it is You Who do all this.

Sunday, 3 October 2021 : Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 2-16

At that time, some Pharisees came and put Jesus to the test with this question : “Is it right for a husband to divorce his wife?”

He replied, “What law did Moses give you?” They answered, “Moses allowed us to write a certificate of dismissal in order to divorce.” Then Jesus said to them, “Moses wrote this law for you, because you are stubborn. But in the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and because of this, man has to leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So they are no longer two but one body. Therefore let no one separate what God has joined.”

When they were indoors at home, the disciples again asked Him about this, and He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another also commits adultery.”

People were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, and the disciples rebuked them for this. When Jesus noticed it, He was very angry and said, “Let the children come to Me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then He took the children in His arms and, laying His hands on them, blessed them.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Mark 10 : 2-12

At that time, some Pharisees came and put Jesus to the test with this question : “Is it right for a husband to divorce his wife?”

He replied, “What law did Moses give you?” They answered, “Moses allowed us to write a certificate of dismissal in order to divorce.” Then Jesus said to them, “Moses wrote this law for you, because you are stubborn. But in the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and because of this, man has to leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So they are no longer two but one body. Therefore let no one separate what God has joined.”

When they were indoors at home, the disciples again asked Him about this, and He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another also commits adultery.”

Saturday, 20 June 2020 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them. As for His mother, she kept all these things in her heart.

Thursday, 19 March 2020 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Church celebrates together the great Solemnity of the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Foster-Father of Our Lord Jesus, that is St. Joseph. On this day we rejoice in the memory of this great saint who had been made the Patron and Protector of the Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX in the mid-nineteenth century, invoking his intercession and protection for the Church just as he protected the Lord and His mother Mary as the Holy Family.

St. Joseph was a humble and simple carpenter in the small town of Nazareth, who married the young virgin Mary, and he was remembered as a righteous and God-fearing man, obedient to the Law and the commandments, and was upright in all of his dealings and actions. He acted with faith and justice, caring for others as shown in how he tried to preserve Mary’s life and dignity when he wanted to divorce her in secret because she was found to be with a Child before their marriage.

St. Joseph cared for her because had he let it be known to others of Mary’s condition, she would have been stoned to death by the prevailing Jewish laws and customs as she would have been considered as an adulterer and wicked woman. Her whole family would have also been shamed and disgraced. This was not what St. Joseph would have wanted as he certainly knew that Mary could not have cheated on him by her character, which shows us just how righteous and caring he was, not being selfish or egoistic, but putting the needs and concerns of others before that of his.

And it was St. Joseph who cared for Mary and the Lord Jesus, as they travelled while Jesus was still in His mother’s womb on the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a difficult journey for a heavily pregnant woman, and in securing an accommodation for them at the time when all the inns and accommodations in Bethlehem were full. St. Joseph also protected Mary and the Baby Jesus when they fled to Egypt away from the hands of king Herod who wanted to kill the Child.

It was likely also St. Joseph, as the Foster-Father of the Lord, who guided the Lord Jesus during His early years, caring for Him and teaching Him the necessary skills and ways to survive and do well in the world. It was even possible that the Lord Jesus was also taught on carpentry and other skills of the trade from St. Joseph, among others, which was why He indeed grew up so well in wisdom in the eyes of men, not only because He is indeed the Divine Son of God, but also likely because of the patience and the perseverance of St. Joseph together with Mary, His Mother.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this great Solemnity of St. Joseph, all of us are called to look upon the great examples shown by this faithful, righteous and wonderful saint, whose life was truly an inspiration for all of us as Christians, in how he had lived his life, in the way he has acted towards others, in his commitment to the mission which God had entrusted to him as the head, caretaker and protector of the Holy Family, and as a role model in fatherhood and family for many of our own Christian families.

Today, we all live in a world where the virtues upheld by St. Joseph were no longer honoured and these virtues were often forgotten and ignored, as many were focused on attaining selfish desires and aims, the pursuits of personal satisfaction and glory, the emphasis on personal pride and ambition, that we enjoy and be happy even at the cost of hurting others. And we have also seen how many of us Christians are no longer obedient to God and not following His laws and commandments, and we also see divisions in the families and breaking down in meaningful and genuine Christian relationships.

This is why it is all the more important that today we direct our attention to look upon St. Joseph and invoke him as the Patron and Protector of the Church, that we may look upon his examples of faith and devotion, his upright life and virtues so that we may once again be faithful to God and commit ourselves to Him anew, by following the example and inspirations from St. Joseph, and see how we can be true Christians through our actions and sincerity in following God from now on.

As we celebrate this Solemnity of St. Joseph today, let us all spend some time to reflect on our lives especially in the midst of this season of Lent. As we still continue our busy lives and schedules, our daily activities and all, let us all remind ourselves to be faithful and to be good in our actions and deeds, so that inspired by the good examples of St. Joseph, we may indeed become more like him and be more righteous and devoted to God. In the end, we will then be more worthy of God and His salvation, through our changed life.

Let us all turn away from sin, and embrace God’s love more willingly, and strive to be obedient to the Law of God, to be more generous in love, to be more selfless and less selfish, to be less attached to the many tempting desires of this life. Let us all share our love and blessings with one another, be more welcoming to those who are unloved and rejected, be more forgiving on those who have hurt and caused us pain and troubles. Let us all be committed in our faith like that of St. Joseph, our great role model.

Let us ask for the intercession of St. Joseph, that he may pray for us and help to lead us in our way, so that we may be strengthened by God in our faith and in being more courageous to live our lives with greater fidelity, righteousness and love for God from now on. O St. Joseph, Holy Patron and Protector of the Church, our great role model and intercessor, pray for us all sinners, and show us the way forward in faith towards your Foster-Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, 19 March 2020 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 16, 18-21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah.

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 41-51a

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them.

Thursday, 19 March 2020 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 4 : 13, 16-18, 22

If God promised Abraham, or rather his descendants, that the world would belong to him, this was not because of his obeying the Law, but because he was just and a friend of God through faith.

For that reason, faith is the way and all is given by grace; and the promises of Abraham are fulfilled for all his descendants, not only for his children according to the Law, but also for all the others who have believed.

Abraham is the father of all of us, as it is written : I will make you father of many nations. He is our father in the eyes of Him Who gives life to the dead, and calls into existence what does not yet exist, for this is the God in Whom he believed. Abraham believed and hoped against all expectation, thus becoming father of many nations, as he had been told : See how many will be your descendants.

This was taken into account for him to attain righteousness.

Thursday, 19 March 2020 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

You said, “I have made a covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish his descendants forever; I build his throne for all generations.”

“He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’ I will keep My covenant firm forever, and My love for him will endure.