Sunday, 2 July 2017 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
2 Kings 4 : 8-11, 14-16a

One day Elisha went to Shunem, and a rich woman invited him to eat. Afterward, whenever he went to that town, he would go to her house to eat. The woman said to her husband, “See, this man who constantly passes by our house is a holy man of God. If you want, we can make a small upper room for him, and place a bed, a table, a chair and a lamp in it. So when he comes, he may stay and rest.”

One day when Elisha came, he went to the upper room and lay down. So Elisha said to Gehazi, “What can we do for her?” The young man answered, “She has no children and her husband is now old.” And so Elisha said to him, “Call her.” The young man called her; and as the woman stood by the door, Elisha said, “By this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms.”

Sunday, 26 March 2017 : Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)
John 9 : 1-41

At that time, as Jesus walked along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, “Master, was he born blind because of a sin of his, or of his parents?”

Jesus answered, “Neither was it for his own sin nor for his parents’ sin. He was born blind so that God’s power might be shown in him. While it is day we must do the work of the One Who sent Me; for the night will come when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”

As Jesus said this, He made paste with spittle and clay, and rubbed it on the eyes of the blind man. Then He said, “Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.” (This word means sent.) So the blind man went and washed and came back able to see. His neighbours, and all the people who used to see him begging, wondered. They said, “Is this not the beggar who used to sit here?” Some said, “He is the one.” Others said, “No, but he looks like him.” But the man himself said, “I am he.”

Then they asked him, “How is it that your eyes were opened?” And he answered, “The Man called Jesus made a mud paste, put it on my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went, and washed, and I could see.” They asked, “Where is He?” And the man answered, “I do not know.”

The people brought the man who had been born blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made mud paste and opened his eyes. The Pharisees asked him again, “How did you recover your sight?” And he said, “He put paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, for He works on the Sabbath”; but others wondered, “How can a sinner perform such miraculous signs?” They were divided, and they questioned the blind man again, “What do you think of this Man who opened your eyes?” And he answered, “He is a Prophet!”

After all this, the Jews refused to believe that the man had been blind and had recovered his sight; so they called his parents and asked them, “Is this your son? You say that he was born blind, but how is it that he now sees?” The parents answered, “He really is our son and he was born blind; but how it is that he now sees, we do not know, neither do we know Who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is old enough. Let him speak for himself.”

The parents said this because they feared the Jews, who had already agreed that whoever confessed Jesus to be the Christ was to be expelled from the synagogue. Because of that his parents said, “He is old enough, ask him.” So a second time the Pharisees called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Tell us the truth; we know that this Man is a sinner.”

He replied, “I do not know whether He is a sinner or not; I only know that I was blind and now I see.” They said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He replied, “I have told you already and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”

Then they started to insult him. “Become His disciple yourself! We are disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses; but as for this Man, we do not know where He comes from.” The man replied, “It is amazing that you do not know where the Man comes from, and yet He opened my eyes! We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone honours God and does His will, Hod listens to him. Never, since the world began, has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

They answered him, “You were born a sinner and now you teach us!” And they expelled him. Jesus heard that they had expelled him. He found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said, “You have seen Him and He is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and worshipped Him.

Jesus said, “I came into this world to carry out a judgment : Those who do not see shall see, and those who see shall become blind.” Some Pharisees stood by and asked Him, “So we are blind?” And Jesus answered, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty. But you say, ‘We see’; this is the proof of your sin.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)
John 9 : 1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

At that time, as Jesus walked along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth.

As Jesus said this, He made paste with spittle and clay, and rubbed it on the eyes of the blind man. Then He said, “Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.” (This word means sent.) So the blind man went and washed and came back able to see. His neighbours, and all the people who used to see him begging, wondered. They said, “Is this not the beggar who used to sit here?” Some said, “He is the one.” Others said, “No, but he looks like him.” But the man himself said, “I am he.”

The people brought the man who had been born blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made mud paste and opened his eyes. The Pharisees asked him again, “How did you recover your sight?” And he said, “He put paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, for He works on the Sabbath”; but others wondered, “How can a sinner perform such miraculous signs?” They were divided, and they questioned the blind man again, “What do you think of this Man who opened your eyes?” And he answered, “He is a Prophet!”

They answered him, “You were born a sinner and now you teach us!” And they expelled him. Jesus heard that they had expelled him. He found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said, “You have seen Him and He is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and worshipped Him.

Saturday, 7 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings spoke to us about believing in God and following His ways. And a warning has also been given to us, in order to warn us against those who would corrupt us and mislead us into sin, namely the wicked spirits and the false prophets, the agents of the evil one. And the key to differentiate the truth from the false ideas, as mentioned, lay in knowing the good works of God, through which God by His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, had redeemed us.

Those who believe in the Lord and in His ways will be able to know if someone is genuine or fake in their devotion to the Lord. They will know this through witnessing and seeing the actions of those who claim to have come from the Lord. No matter how good they are in trying to subvert the messages of the Lord and in trying to trick us into doing evil, those who serve the evil one will not be able to proclaim and recognise that Jesus is their Lord and Master, and it will also show through their actions.

Indeed, there are many obstacles and challenges for us Christians. There are many difficulties that we have to overcome in order to be able to reach out to the Lord and to His salvation. There will be those who try to bar us from reaching Him, and there will also be many people who will criticise us and oppose us in our works and in our attempt to be faithful servants of our Lord. But that is because the ways of the Lord we are following, are against the ways of the world.

The world preaches a life of sin and wickedness, a life filled with the pleasures and desires of the flesh, with all sorts of corruption and unworthiness before God. It is a world which has been filled with all sorts of sin and wickedness, ever since mankind first disobeyed God and preferring to listen to the devil and his lies. It is a world of darkness, where we are blinded by the darkness of our own sins and human weaknesses, where we did not know the path and the way forward.

But we have to know that God loves each and every one of us, and through that same love, He had endeavoured to send unto us the true Light, the Light which has penetrated the darkness of this world, and became the light that guided us through the journey of this life, and filling us with a new hope, that is a hope for the salvation of our souls.

He came into the world, as mentioned in the Gospel today, with the mission to heal the sick and the afflicted from their sickness and afflictions. He touched the lepers, the blind and the deaf and mute people, and these were healed from all of their physical afflictions. But ultimately, Jesus also healed us all from the greatest affliction of all, that is the scourge of sin. By healing us from our sins, He had made us whole again and once again were made worthy of the kingdom of God.

It is therefore the same calling and mission which our Lord had entrusted to us, that we may show the love of God, the mercy of God, and the healing with which He had made many people whole once again, to all of our fellow brethren, especially to those who are still living in the darkness of this world. When there are those who seek to mislead and to bring the people of God to ruin and damnation, we should be those who help to guide one another on the path towards God.

Let us therefore on this day remember the life of the holy saint whose feast we celebrate on this day, so that we may imitate the examples of this holy servant of God, and find our way to God’s salvation. St. Raymond of Penyafort was a holy and devoted man, a holy priest of God who belonged to the Order of Preachers or the Dominican Order.

St. Raymond of Penyafort was renowned for his many good works for the sake of the Church, helping many people on their path towards redemption. He helped the Church and the Pope to reform the Church and the lives of the faithful. Through him, many people turned back towards the Lord and reformed their sinful lives into a life worthy and righteous to God.

It was also told in one very well-known tale, that he even rebuked the king of Aragon in Spain, to whom he was a confessor, for his sinful ways. The king was a good and faithful person, but at the same time, he allowed his lust and the temptations of the world to take over him. The holy saint repeatedly asked the king to dismiss his concubine, but the king refused to do so.

And when the king also refused to let the holy man go, because St. Raymond could no longer tolerate the king’s sinful ways, he said to the king that the Lord, Who is the one true King over all, will show him His power and rebuke the wicked king’s deeds. It was told that St. Raymond took off his Dominican preacher’s cloak and spread it on the water, on which he sailed through the sea, a great miracle witnessed by many, which also made the king to believe and to repent his ways.

Each and every one of us as Christians also have the same obligation to keep one another in the faith, so that each and every one of us will continue to walk in the way of faith, and not falter and fall into temptation. St. Raymond of Penyafort had shown us one such example, and also many other examples not mentioned today. We do not have to perform miraculous deeds as he had done, but at least from ourselves, we should devote our time to care for our brethren, and to help each other to watch our path that we will not be lost to sin and eternal damnation.

May the Lord help us on our path, that we may remain ever faithful amidst this world filled with all sorts of temptations. May we remain in the Lord’s grace and be filled with faith, that all of us may be worthy of Him when He comes again, and He will bring us all into the everlasting inheritance and bless us with eternal life filled with true joy. God be with us all. Amen.

Saturday, 7 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 4 : 12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, a town by the lake of Galilee, at the border of Zebulun and Naphtali.

In this way the word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled : Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, crossed by the Road of the Sea, and you who live beyond the Jordan, Galilee, land of pagans : The people who lived in darkness have seen a great Light; on those who live in the land of the shadow of death, a Light has shone.

From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim His message, “Change your ways : the kingdom of heaven is near.” Jesus went around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and curing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people.

The news about Him spread through the whole of Syria, and the people brought all their sick to Him, and all those who suffered : the possessed, the deranged, the paralysed, and He healed them all. Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Ten Cities, from Jerusalem, Judea and from across the Jordan.

Saturday, 7 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 2 : 7-8, 10-11

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to Me : “You are My Son. This day I have begotten You. Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Now therefore, learn wisdom, o kings; be warned, o rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and fall at His feet; lest He be angry and you perish when His anger suddenly flares. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Saturday, 7 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
1 John 3 : 22 – 1 John 4 : 6

Then whatever we ask we shall receive, since we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. His command is that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another, as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commands remains in God and God in him. It is by the Spirit God has given us that we know He lives in us.

My beloved, do not trust every inspiration. Test the spirits to see whether they come from God, because many false prophets are now in the world. How will you recognise the Spirit of God? Any spirit recognising Jesus as the Christ Who has taken our flesh is of God. But any spirit that does not recognise Jesus is not from God, it is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard of his coming and even now he is in the world.

You, my dear children, are of God and you have already overcome these people, because the One Who is in you is more powerful than he who is in the world. They are of the world and the world inspires them and those of the world listen to them. We are of God and those who know God listen to us, but those who are not of God ignore us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error as well.

Sunday, 9 October 2016 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Denis, Bishop and Companions, Martyrs, and St. John Leonardi, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
2 Kings 5 : 14-17

So Naaman went down to the Jordan where he washed himself seven times as Elisha had ordered. His skin became soft like that of a child and he was cleansed. Then Naaman returned to the man of God with all his men. He entered and said to him, “Now I know that there is no other God anywhere in the world but in Israel. I ask you to accept these gifts from your servant.”

But Elisha answered, “I swear by YHVH Whom I serve, I will accept nothing.” And however much Naaman insisted, Elisha would not accept his gifts. So Naaman told him, “Since you refuse, let me get some sacks of soil from your land – the amount that two mules can carry. I shall use it to build an altar to YHVH, for I shall not offer sacrifices to any other god but Him.”