Wednesday, 23 March 2016 : Wednesday of the Holy Week, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 68 : 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34

Since I am held in contempt for Your sake, and shame has covered My face. I have become a stranger to My kindred, an alien to My mother’s sons. Zeal for Your house consumes Me as fire and those who insult You insult me as well.

Dishonour has driven Me to despair; I looked for sympathy and there was none, for comforters and there was no one. They gave Me poison for food and vinegar to drink.

I will praise the Name of God in song; I will glorify Him with thanksgiving. Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.

Sunday, 8 December 2013 : Second Sunday of Advent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Romans 15 : 4-9

And we know that whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, for both perseverance and comfort given us by the Scripture sustain our hope. May God, the Source of all perseverance and comfort, give to all of you to live in peace in Christ Jesus, that you may be able to praise in one voice God, Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Welcome, then, one another, as Christ welcomed you for the glory of God. Look : Christ put Himself at the service of the Jewish world to fulfill the promises made by God to their ancestors; here you see God’s faithfulness.

The pagans instead give thanks to God for His mercy, as Scripture says : “Because of that, I will sing and praise Your Name among the pagans.”

Saturday, 2 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Souls (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Black

Brothers and sisters in Christ, after we celebrated the feast of all saints yesterday, today we also remember all of our faithful departed, the souls of the dead, those who departed before us, some of which are known to us, as our own relatives, brothers and sisters in Christ. They have departed from us, but certainly they are not forgotten, as they remain with us, united in God.

Just like all saints, those who had departed this world are also our intercessors. They pray for us who are still in this world, this sinful world, immersed in our sinfulness. At the same time we also pray for them, that the Lord will welcome them into the kingdom of God, opening the gates of heaven for them, forgiving their sins, and purifying them that they will be able to join the company of saints and angels.

The Lord had given all of us and the souls departed a new and great hope, that they may receive salvation in Him, and be freed from the bondage of sin and evil. Previously, mankind had no hope for salvation, as the gates of heaven was closed shut tight before them, as the consequence and punishment for their rebellion and sinfulness.

It is through Jesus then, that we are made righteous again. It is because Christ took unto Himself all of our sins and defects, suffering for all the consequences of our sins in place of us, and die a humiliating death, all that so we can have a new hope in Him, the hope of a life eternal in glory with God in the afterlife. Through His resurrection, we then too share the hope of the same resurrection, that we will be brought body and soul, purified and made worthy by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

But this salvation is only offered to all those who receive and accept Christ as their Lord, their God, and their Saviour. In accepting the Lord Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, they receive the fullness of the salvation promised to all of us. But those who rejected Him and spurned His love will have no part in the glory promised to them. Instead, they shall perish and suffer everlasting death in the eternal darkness of hell.

If we are saved, then why do we need to pray for our departed ones, the souls of the dead? That is because, we believe that, in our faith, as a central dogma, is the presence of the purgatory, as a temporary place where souls transit on their way towards heaven. These souls have been found worthy by the Lord, worthy of heaven and therefore, they did not deserve hell and the devil’s fate for their destination. Yet, for them, they still have venial and small sins that prevented them from truly being with the Lord. This is why we have the souls in purgatory.

In purgatory, the souls are being purified of their sins, through suffering that they are not yet able to be with God. Nevertheless, this is unlike hell, which is a state of total and complete separation from God, in which there is no hope, an eternal suffering without end. In the purgatory are good souls who deserve to be with God, but they need to be rid of these little imperfections first before they can enter heaven. God is so great and perfect, and so perfectly good that no evil can hope to stand in His presence and survive. That is why, we have souls in purgatory.

Through our prayers, we help the souls departed in purgatory, that the Lord will pardon them completely, and allow them to be completely reunited with His love. Our prayers do help, brothers and sisters, if we are sincere. These souls, suffering the temporal separation from God, also pray for us, that we can grow more faithful and evade damnation, together with the saints, who intercede for us daily and at all times without cease.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, today, as we pray for the souls departed and the souls in purgatory, let us also take some time to reflect on our own actions, that we may seek to rectify any errors and unworthiness that we still maintain before the Lord, which distanced us from the embrace and love of God. Let us from now on, seek to be righteous and to be worthy, loving God’s children and He who is our Father Himself, with all of our hearts, our minds, and our souls. Amen.

Saturday, 2 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Souls (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Black

John 6 : 37-40

Yet all those whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me.

And the will of Him who sent Me is that I lose nothing of what He has given Me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day. This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall live eternal life; and I will raise Him up on the last day.

Saturday, 2 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Souls (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Black

Romans 5 : 5-11

And hope does not disappoint us because the Holy Spirit has been given to us, pouring into our hearts the love of God. Consider, moreover, the time that Christ died for us : when we were still helpless and unable to do anything. Few would accept to die for an upright person; although, for a very good person, perhaps someone would dare to die.

But see how God manifested His love for us : while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and we have become just through His Blood. With much more reason now He will save us from any condemnation.

 

Once enemies, we have been reconciled with God through the death of His Son; with much more reason now we may be saved through His life. Not only that; we even boast in God because of Christ Jesus, our Lord, through whom we have been reconciled.

Alternative Reading

Romans 6 : 3-9

Do you not know that in baptism which unites us to Christ we are all baptised and plunged into His death? By this baptism in His death, we were buried with Christ and, as Christ was raised from among the dead by the Glory of the Father, so we begin walking in a new life. If we have been joined to Him by dying a death like His so we shall be by a resurrection like His.

We know that our old self was crucified with Christ, so as to destroy what of us was sin, so that we may no longer serve sin – if we are dead, we are no longer in debt to sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, once risen from the dead, will not die again and death has no more dominion over Him.

Saturday, 2 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Souls (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Black

Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.

He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake. Although i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are beside me : Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Saturday, 2 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Souls (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Black

Isaiah 25 : 6, 7-9

On this mountain YHVH Sabaoth will prepare for all peoples a feast of rich foods and choice wines, meat full of marrow, fine wine strained. On this mountain He will destroy the pall cast over all peoples, this very shroud spread over all nations, and death will be no more.

The Lord YHVH will wipe away the tears from all cheeks and eyes; He will take away the humiliation of His people all over the world; for YHVH has spoken. On that day you will say : This is our God. We have waited for Him to save us, let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

 

Alternative Reading

 

Wisdom 3 : 1-9

The souls of the just are in the hands of God and no torment shall touch them. In the eyes of the unwise they appear to be dead. Their going is held as a disaster; it seems that they lose everything by departing from us, but they are in peace.

Though seemingly they have been punished, immortality was the soul of their hope. After slight affliction will come great blessings, for God has tried them and found them worthy to be with Him; after testing them as gold in the furnace, He has accepted them as a holocaust.

At the time of His coming they will shine like sparks that run in the stubble. They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king forever. Those who trust in Him will penetrate the truth, those who are faithful will live with Him in love, for His grace and mercy are for His chosen ones.

Friday, 1 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Saints (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters, rejoice! Rejoice indeed, I say to you! That is because today is indeed a great feast for all creation. Today is the feast of All Saints and holy people of God, those who had been made holy in God and who have been made righteous and glorious, receiving the eternal rewards and glories of heaven.

Yet, we should not think that these saints are superhumans or truly people who we all cannot become. There is a danger in us seeing them as people with divine and miraculous powers. It is important for us not to get this misconception. That is why many people outside the Church of God and even inside the Church have this misconception that we worship and pray to the saints as if they are gods.

No, brethren, as we all should know, that this is not the case. These saints were once like us, and they were indeed mere humans like ourselves, with all of our strengths as well as our weaknesses and shortcomings. These saints were just like us once, and some of them were even at one point of time, great sinners, whose sins could indeed be considered very abominable and evil in the eyes of the Lord. Among them were murderers and liars alike. They were no different from us, when they still walked in their mortal bodies in this world.

Yet, what sets them apart, is their realisation and understanding of the reason for their lives, that they, particularly those who sinned greatly, discovered the ugly nature of their sinful acts and from there, resolved to change themselves for the better. They left behind their sinful selves and cast away that empty shell of sin, cutting away the veil of darkness that separate them from God and His love.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why we have our saints and blesseds, whom the Church and the entire Body of Christ had declared to be worthy of the glory of heaven. They have transformed themselves to become the vessels of the light and love of the Lord our God. They have used the gifts given to them, using them for the good of others, loving all mankind, just as the Lord had asked all of us to do. And finally, they loved God in their own ways, each no less great than the other.

Sainthood is not an easy matter to get, for being saints mean that those people have been found worthy of the glory of heaven. It is not easy for us to be worthy of the glory of heaven, as we have to be mindful of the sins and evils we have committed, be it in our words and our actions. And yet, remember again, brethren, that saints and all the holy people, were also once sinners like us, but they have been made worthy, because they realised their sinful nature and changed themselves from that point, for the better.

In this, then we have to take note of what our Lord Jesus Christ had said in the Gospel today. It is a very familiar passage for us all, as it is the Sermon at the mount, or the Beatitudes, where Jesus taught His disciples and all the people who were following Him, on the blessings that He gave and attributed to the people who had done what is good. Essentially these are the people who are truly blessed and found worthy of the kingdom of heaven.

So are these categories then a sign of greatness and glory? Of might and power? No! In fact, when you look at the Beatitudes, the characteristics of those who are blessed, are being merciful, peaceful, loving, and essentially, all that Jesus Himself had preached throughout His ministry. It is these people who love peace, who seek love with one another, and those who put the Lord and His precepts above everything else.

We too can become saints, brethren! Sainthood is truly not outside our reach. The late Blessed Pope John Paul II himself, soon to be raised to the glory of heaven as a saint, called all of us the faithful ones in God, to become more saintly and aspire to be them, through his universal call to holiness. All of us truly have within each one of us, the ability to become saints, and receive the rich and glorious rewards of heaven, only if we make a decisive choice.

Let us therefore, brothers and sisters, from now on, resolve to make ourselves into new persons in God, that all of our actions, our words, and our deeds will be truly a reflection of the Lord, that we will be righteous in all of our deeds, that we will be made worthy and holy, before the Lord our God, that one day, we will be able to join His choir of angels and saints, praising His Name forever and ever.

Remember brethren, the Beatitudes and the other teachings of our Lord. Be loving, be men of peace, be humble, be gentle, and be faithful to our Lord. Happy all Saints day to everyone, may they intercede for us sinners still in this world, and God be with us all. Amen!

Friday, 1 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Saints (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 5 : 1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. He sat down and His disciples gathered around Him. Then He spoke and began to teach them :

“Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.”

“Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land.”

“Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.”

“Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God.”

“Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God.”

“Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are My followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God.

Friday, 1 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Saints (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 3 : 1-3

See what singular love the Father has for us : we are called children of God, and we really are. This is why the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Beloved, we are God’s children and what we shall be has not yet been shown. Yet when He appears in His glory, we know that we shall be like Him, for then we shall see Him as He is. All who have such a hope try to be pure as He is pure.