Thursday, 11 December 2014 : Second Week of Advent, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Popes)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today it was told to us about the great help and grace that we can gain in the Lord our God, who is our Help and our Saviour. He is willing to make us great and give us much blessings, provided that we allow Him to come into ourselves and transform our lives for the better. If we allow Him to make a difference in our lives, then all that we do will be great and successful, for no one that does the will of God shall go unrewarded.

In the Gospel today, our Lord Jesus told His disciples about John the Baptist, who is the messenger sent by God, the prophet and servant who would prepare the way for His own entry into the world. John was indeed Elijah the prophet, who was taken up into heaven by God at the end of his first ministry, on flaming chariots as witnessed by Elisha, his disciple and successor. The same Elijah then, as prophesied, came again into the world in John the Baptist.

Elijah was a great prophet, and in him the grace and power of God was truly evident. He healed many people from their afflictions, performed many miracles, feeding and providing for the widow of Zarephath, and even brought dead people back to life. He made flames to fall down from the Lord onto his sacrifice when the pagans and the Baal worshippers contested him at the mount Carmel.

All these miracles and wonders were the sign of divine favour and blessing, which He bestowed on all those whom He had sent into the world to be His servants and messengers, and also to all those who live uprightly and justly in the presence of our God. The same spirit and power bestowed upon Elijah, was therefore also bestowed on John the Baptist, who then called the people of God to repentance, much as Elijah had once laboured to bring the people of God back from their past sinfulness.

That was why Jesus mentioned John in such a way, that he is indeed greater than any who came before him, and yet, at the same time, he as the servant, is not greater than his own Master, who would come after him, in Jesus Christ. But the readings today, particularly the Gospel, are indeed not about comparing one to the other, not about comparing John the Baptist and Jesus our Lord, for it is truly a lesson of who we should be and how we should act, as the disciples of Christ.

It is a lesson and reminder of humility, the humility of both John the Baptist and ultimately, of Jesus Himself. John the Baptist was bestowed with great power and authority, and yet, he humbled himself before God greatly, proclaiming publicly that he is not the Messiah, and how he would not even be worthy to untie the straps of the sandals of His Lord. When more and more people flocked to Jesus and followed Him instead of John, he was happy, and truly pleased, that with the words we should indeed reflect on, ‘He shall increase, while I shall decrease.’

And Jesus, we knew that He is God, and being the Son, He is equal with God the Father and Almighty in all things. However, as St. Paul mentioned in his letter to the Philippians, that He does not dwell on that equality as something to be grasped. But rather, He lowered Himself and assumed the nature of a servant, and in that humility, He was exalted and His Name is glorified above every other names (Philippians 2 : 6-11).

As we can see, that our Lord is good and great, and He has done so much in order to help us attain our freedom from the slavery of sin and to gain the eternal life promised to us. However, many of us are unable to obtain this, because our pride often stands in our way. Pride prevents us from acknowledging our sinfulness and our corruption, and that is why we are often reluctant to seek the Lord, because we either think that we do not need Him, or that we are thinking to highly of ourselves to stoop down to acknowledge our shortcomings.

Today we celebrate the feast of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope of Rome and Leader of the entire Universal Church. Pope St. Damasus I was born at a time just after the ending of the persecution of the Faith, and grow during a time when the Faith increasingly become accepted as the norm in the late Roman Empire, until it eventually became the official and only Faith of the Empire.

Pope St. Damasus I was elected Pope at a time of great turbulance. Although the Faith has become increasingly firm and rooted in the world, and more and more accepted the Faith, but conflict and divisions arose more and more frequently, endangering the unity and the works of the Church. Clashes and riots accompanied the papal election that elected Pope St. Damasus I, because of rival candidates and infighting in the Church, which caused great pain to the faithful.

Pope St. Damasus I was not elected as the Successor of St. Peter without opposition or difficulty, but nevertheless, he carried out faithfully the duties and responsibilities which had been given to him. He was very firm against heresies and all the aberrations of the Faith, and he stood to condemn all those who had misled the people of God for their own benefits.

He worked hard in conjunction with many other great saints and fathers of the Church, including St. Jerome and St. Basil of Cappadocia. Pope St. Damasus I continued to dedicate himself faithfully in the service of God and His Church, and despite his position, he remained always humble and devoted to the cause which he had been called in service to. Through his dedication, he brought forth much good for the people of God, and helped the works of so many other saints at the time, building up further the foundation of the Church of God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we not walk in the footsteps of Pope St. Damasus I? Shall we humbly go our way and seek the Lord in all things, and especially seek Him for His forgiveness for our transgressions? Let us no longer be stubborn and put our pride aside, so that our Lord may come into us, and transform us into peoples of goodness. May Almighty God, our Lord, be with us all, and make us to be like His faithful servant, Pope St. Damasus I and bring goodness to one another, the people of God, His Church. Amen.


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Monday, 22 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the lesson for us today from the Holy Scriptures we have heard is exceedingly clear, that we have to do something and take action, if we are able to do that something, for the benefit of those who are around us, and not just for our own benefits. We cannot be idle or ignorant especially if we have the power to make a difference. We certainly have this power, as God had granted it to us. If we are idle, then the Lord who knows it all, will not be pleased at our actions, or lack of actions.

We cannot have a faith that is stagnant and consists of mere word of mouth and lip-service. And we cannot have that kind of faith in which we are merely concerned about our own salvation. This kind of selfishness and this kind of faith will not be acceptable to the Lord. He had clearly indicated to us the kind of faith and love that we need to have, which is to love one another as we have loved ourselves, and to also love God in the same way, with all of our strengths and our dedications.

Our faith must therefore be based on this love, which we ought to have for God and for our fellow men. If not, then our faith is no different from being dead. It is precisely as what Jesus had said to His disciples, that this kind of faith is like those who has lighted a lamp but hide it under the bed or cover it with a bowl, in which the light of the lamp becomes useless and meaningless.

Those who committed evil and bad things in the sight of God, and also those who fail to do things which we ought to do, in our ignorance and laziness, as according to the words of the Book of Proverbs, will receive the wrath and displeasure of the Lord, as these have not done what He had asked us to do, and in our failure, we may have led many people who should have been saved, into darkness and condemnation together with us.

But God did promise also, that those who do His will faithfully and committed themselves to His cause will receive rich rewards and bountiful blessings for their work and dedication. God will not abandon those who had been faithful to Him, and who had undertaken the endeavours to bring more and more to the embrace of God and out of condemnation and the path to hell.

God knows everything, whatever we do, and whatever we have done in our lives, and whatever we have failed to do. We cannot hide anything from God who is omniscient and omnipresent, and who knows all things even in the depths of our hearts. Every moment we fail to do something for the benefit of our brethren, or instead if we bring them into sin, then it is a missed opportunity for us to do as what God had told us to do, and therefore is a missed opportunity for us to add another security to our salvation.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, what we are expected today from now on, is so that all of us can be heralds of the Lord’s Good News, spreading the truth and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we had ourselves received, to the world and to the people, especially those who are still lost from the Lord, so that through our deeds and actions, we may be justified in our faith and therefore gain salvation promised to us by the Lord our God.

And at the same time, we may also help one another in our effort to seek the Lord and to attain salvation, such that in the end, we hope that no one shall be lost to the darkness and to evil. Indeed, the reality is that there are those who have been lost and there are also those who will be lost, because they continue to rebel against the Lord and refuse to listen to the words and to obey the works of the saints regardless of what had been done to them.

Let us all therefore work together as one people, one family in the Lord, helping one another, especially those who are in great need for the saving grace of our good works, that in the end, as many souls as possible can be saved and gain justification together with us. No one should be lost to the darkness, and more importantly, if we are capable of doing something to prevent the loss of these good souls, and we do nothing, then we are indeed responsible for their downfall and damnation.

May Almighty God be with us all, and may He give us strength and courage to do something for the sake and benefit of our brethren in need, that whenever it is within our power to do so, we should never be idle, but take a conscious action for their sake. God bless us all. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Double Major Feast, II Classis) – Sunday, 14 September 2014 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 12 : 31-36

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus turbis Judaeorum : Nunc judicium est mundi : nunc princeps hujus mundi ejiciatur foras. Et ego si exaltatum fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum. Hoc autem dicebat, significans, qua morte esset moriturus.

Respondit ei turba; Nos audivimus ex lege, quia Christus manet in aeternum : et quomodo tu dicis : Oportet exaltari Filium hominis? Quis est iste Filius hominis?

Dixit ergo eis Jesus : Adhuc modicum lumen in vobis est. Ambulate, dum lucem habetis, ut non vos tenebrae comprehendant : et qui ambulat in tenebris, nescit, quo vadat. Dum lucem habetis, credite in lucem, ut filii lucis sitis.

English translation

At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews, “Now is the judgment of the world, and now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.” Now this He said, signifying what death He should die.

The multitude answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law, that Christ abided forever, and how could You say that, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is the Son of Man?”

Jesus therefore said to them, “Yet a little while, the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, that the darkness would not overtake you. And he who walked in the darkness knows not where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light.”

Monday, 23 September 2013 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 8 : 16-18

No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lampstand, so that people coming in may see the light.

In the same way, there is nothing hidden that shall not be uncovered; nothing kept secret that shall not be known clearly. Now, pay attention and listen well, for whoever produces will be given more, but from those who do not produce, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 138 : 7-8, 9-10, 11-12ab

Where else could I go from Your Spirit? Where could I flee from Your presence? You are there if I ascend the heavens; You are there if I descend to the depths.

If I ride on the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand shall guide me and Your right hand shall hold me safely.

Shall I say, “Let darkness hide me, I prefer the night as my light?” But darkness for You is not dark and night for You shines as the day.