Tuesday, 2 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scripture we are presented with the calling for us to deepen our relationship with God, to follow Him and to obey His Law and commandments. We are called to reflect on our lives’ actions and whether they truly proclaim God’s glory and whether we have been faithful in doing what God has commanded and taught us to do in our lives.

In our first reading today, we listened to the words of St. Peter the Apostle reminding the faithful to remain steadfast in their faith, not to be deceived by the words of the false prophets and teachers, that they hold fast to the true and authentic Christian faith and truth as had been taught and revealed to them by the Apostles. Indeed, in time to come, there would be many who spread heresies and falsehoods among the people, causing confusion and division, because these people did not have strong and genuine faith in God.

Many of them put their own human and worldly desires, wants, and ambitions ahead and above their faith and obligation to stay true to that faith in God. They propagated their own ideas and false ways, and in the end, causing division and bitterness among the members of the Church, the faithful people of God. St. Peter therefore in his Epistle today forewarned of what would happen to the faithful community, and reminded them all to keep their faith.

Then in our Gospel passage today we heard about the Lord speaking to the Pharisees, sent by the elders and the teachers of the Law to set Him up and test Him, as the latter group wanted to find a reason to have Christ arrested and sentenced for His ways and teachings which the Jewish elders and the elites found to be unnerving and against their own way and teachings. At that time, the Pharisees used the matter of paying taxes in order to trick the Lord into a seemingly inescapable situation.

Why is that so? That is because no matter what the Lord supported of doing, it would end up hurting Him and His credibility, and through the Pharisees, the elders and the teachers of the Law wanted to use this opportunity as strong evidence against the Lord. At that time, paying of taxes was a topic that could bring about bitter argument, disagreement and violence among the people. Many people at that time despised paying taxes and only did pay grumblingly.

That is because many among the Jewish people did not like being ruled by the Romans, who had recently taken over control of Judea and the surrounding regions. And no one likes to have their incomes taxed and burdened with fees that they have to pay, less still to the so-called conquerors and overlords. That was why at that time, the tax collectors were also often hated and reviled in the society. If the Lord answered that the people ought to pay taxes to the Romans, then the Pharisees could gather strong evidence against Him by the people.

In addition, as the taxes must be paid with the Roman coins, in denarius or sestertius at the time, which were casted with the image of the Roman Emperor, to some among the Jews, it would be tantamount to acknowledgement of the Emperor’s divine status and also a form of idolatry which made the matter even more complicated. Thus, if the Lord had supported the paying of taxes, He could have landed Himself in a very big trouble.

On the other hand, if the Lord had said that the people should not pay the taxes, then the elders could quickly construe that as an act of disobedience and rebellion against the Romans, and as the Romans took acts of treason and disobedience, less still rebellion, very seriously, it could have led to a very adverse and troublesome ending for the Lord and His disciples. But the Lord solved the situation in a very ingenious way that certainly none of His opponents had expected.

He simply said that, ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God’. This means that the denarius and sestertius coins used in the tax payment indeed belong to man, and since the government decreed it that way, that all the citizens and other people living in the Empire must pay their due to the state and the Emperor then they ought to obey it. And in the same way, if we obey the law of the state and give what the state demands, then we must also obey the Lord and give to Him what He has asked from us.

It is something that all of us ought to discern carefully and consider, whether we have been truly faithful to God or not in our lives. Have we given Him what we should have given Him, our love, our faith, fidelity and obedience, our commitment and dedication? Or have we instead been distracted by various worldly concerns and desires, by the many temptations of life that we end up forgetting our obligations and responsibilities as Christians?

As what St. Peter had reminded the faithful of the need for us to put our faith in God and to stay steadfast in our devotion to Him, this is where we have been called and challenged to do so, in our daily living. And today, we also celebrate the feast of two great saints and martyrs, whose life examples, courage and faith can inspire us to be good Christians on our own. St. Peter, who was named after St. Peter the Apostle, and St. Marcellinus were two renowned martyrs of the Church.

Both of them were known as faithful servants of God who died during the particularly harsh persecution of Christians under the rule of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. St. Peter and St. Marcellinus were faithful to the Lord and even though there was not much known about them, but their life stories and commitment must have been so powerful and moving for many, that their commemoration were widespread and they were respected as faithful servants of God to the very end of their lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reexamine our lives and how we have lived them all these while. We have our holy and dedicated predecessors, like St. Marcellinus and St. Peter to show us their courage and commitment, that they were willing to suffer and die for their faith amidst the tough and challenging persecutions of their faith by the Roman Emperor and the administration. Let us do our best, in our own lives, to be good servants of God, to be faithful in all things, and at the same time, be good citizens of this world, obeying the rules and laws of the land as long as they do not contradict our Christian Law and commandments.

May the Lord help us and give us the strength needed for us to persevere in faith from now on, following the examples of the saints and martyrs, and become inspirations ourselves for our fellow brothers and sisters. Let us all listen to the Lord, and follow His advice, ‘to give to the world, what belongs to the world, and most importantly, give to God, what belongs to God, that is our hearts, our whole existence, our whole beings.’ May God bless us in our every good endeavours. Amen.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Mark 12 : 13-17

At that time, the chief priests, the teachers of the Law and the elders sent to Jesus some Pharisees with members of Herod’s party, with the purpose of trapping him by his own words. They came and said to Jesus, “Master, we know that You are truthful; You are not influenced by anyone, and Your answers do not vary according to who is listening to You, but You truly teach God’s way. Tell us, is it against the Law to pay taxes to Caesar? Should we pay them or not?”

But Jesus saw through their trick and answered, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a silver coin and let Me see it.” They brought Him one and Jesus asked, “Whose image is this, and whose name?” They answered, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” And they were greatly astonished.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 10, 14 and 16

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

Seventy years to our life, or eighty if we are strong; yet, most of them are sorrow and trouble; speeding by, they sweep us along.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

2 Peter 3 : 12-15a, 17-18

As you wait for the day of God, and long for its coming, when the heavens will dissolve in fire, and the elements melt away in the heat. We wait for a new heaven and a new earth, in which justice reigns, according to God’s promise.

Therefore, beloved, as you wait in expectation of this, strive, that God may find you rooted in peace, without blemish or fault. And consider, that God’s patience is for our salvation. So then, dearly beloved, as you have been warned, be careful, lest those people who have gone astray, deceive you, in turn, and drag you along, making you stumble, and finally fall away.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ : to Him be glory, now, and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Saturday, 11 April 2015 : Saturday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen yet again to the news of our Lord’s resurrection and triumphant glory, the triumph against death and all the forces of evil. He is risen, and that is why we can be happy and truly be joyful, and revel in His glory, for He has conquered death, and we know that we have hope because of that.

And that is the message that He also wants us all to propagate to all of the world, so that all who hear of them may be turned in their hearts and be turned into righteousness and be saved as well. This is the mission and commandment which He had given us all, that we as one Church put all of our effort into this and work together in order to achieve that goal of salvation.

But as we heard in today’s readings as well, that there were those who were adamantly opposed to Christ and His teachings, and they commanded the Apostles to keep their mouth shut and not speak about the Lord and His truth. All these is because they feared that if the truth is to be known, then that would spell the end of their privileged status in the society, and the end of their worldly ambitions and power.

But as we heard, no amount of coercion, threats or challenges would deter the Apostles from speaking up about their faith and about the Risen Lord. Had they succumbed and obeyed the chief priests at that time, then none of us would have known about the Lord, and thus, none of us, and also countless others, millions upon billions and more would have been saved.

Our Church is not a Church of passive people, who remain inactive and just wait patiently for the day of the Lord’s salvation. Instead, it is a living Church, a Church filled with saints, martyrs, and also sinners. We all are part of that Church, and it is living and thriving amidst the difficulties of the world, precisely because its members dared to stand up for their faith and speak up as witnesses in this world.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Stanislaus, yet another of this brave man of God, whose life and even in death is an inspiration to all of us, on how we should live up to our faith in God. St. Stanislaus or St. Stanislaw is a very well known and famous Polish saint and martyr, who lived during the Middle Ages, at a time of turmoil and difficulty.

St. Stanislaus was the Bishop of the venerable city of Krakow, then capital of Poland, who was a vocal critic of the king, who lived in sin and wickedness, and whose actions did not bring about the glory of God, but sought for only his own glory. St. Stanislaus did not fear to speak up, because it was for the good of his flock, that they might not be misguided into sin and evil.

The king was very unpleased with this holy man and dedicated servant of God, and he plotted to kill St. Stanislaus and get rid of him. Thus, St. Stanislaus was martyred when he was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, killed by the king’s own hand himself. In defending the faith and the souls of God’s faithful, the holy man of God was raised to the Altar in glory, while his murderer was forced to go into exile and died in great ignominy and shame.

What St. Stanislaus showed us is that there are so many things that all of us as members of the Church can do in order to help out, by helping all those who have yet to be touched by the light of the Lord. This is what we should do, that by our actions and deeds, we show to the whole world, what our faith is about, and let us testify to the Risen Christ, our Lord, that His light may dispel all the darkness in the world. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 11 April 2015 : Saturday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 9-15

At that time, after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to His followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that He lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this, He showed Himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed Himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Then He told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Saturday, 11 April 2015 : Saturday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1 and 14-15, 16ab-18, 19-21

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : “The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily!”

The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily! I shall not die, but live to proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has stricken me severely, but He has saved me from death.

Open to me the gates of the Just, and let me enter to give thanks. “This is the Lord’s gate, through which the upright enter.” I thank You for having answered me, for having rescued me.

Saturday, 11 April 2015 : Saturday within Easter Octave, Memorial of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 13-21

The chief priests, elders and teachers of the Law were astonished at the boldness of Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated and untrained men. They recognised also, that they had been with Jesus, but, as the man who had been cured stood beside them, they could make no reply.

So they ordered them to leave the council room while they consulted with one another. They asked, “What shall we do with these men? Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign has been given through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in the Name of Jesus.”

So they called them back and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Then the council threatened them once more and let them go. They could find no way of punishing them because of the people who glorified God for what had happened.

(Usus Antiquior) Passion Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 22 March 2015 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Psalm 42 : 1-2, 3

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta : ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me : quia Tu es Deus meus et fortitudo mea.

Emitte lucem Tuam et veritatem Tuam : ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum Tuum et in tabernacula Tua.

Response : Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta : ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me : quia Tu es Deus meus et fortitudo mea.


English translation

Judge me, o God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy. Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. For You are my God and my strength.

Send forth Your light and Your truth, they have conducted me, and brought me unto Your holy hill, and into Your tabernacles.

Response : Judge me, o God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy. Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. For You are my God and my strength.


Collect

Quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, familiam Tuam propitius respice : ut, Te largiente, regatur in corpore; et, Te servante, custodiatur in mente. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.


English translation

Look with favour upon Your household, we beseech You, o Almighty God, that, by Your gift, it may be governed in body and, by Your preservation, may be guarded in spirit. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 15 March 2015 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Isaiah 66 : 10, 11 and Psalm 121 : 1

Laetare, Jerusalem : et conventum facite, omnes qui diligitis eam : gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis : ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae.

Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi : in domum Domini ibimus.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


English translation

Rejoice, o Jerusalem, and come together all you who love her, rejoice with joy, you who have been in sorrow, that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.

I rejoiced at the things that were said to me, “We shall go into the house of the Lord.”

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Collect

Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, qui ex merito nostrae actionis affligimur, Tuae gratiae consolatione respiremus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.


English translation

Grant, we beseech You, o Almighty God, that we, who justly suffer for our deeds, may be relieved by the consolation of Your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.