Sunday, 5 June 2022 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday marking the fiftieth and the last day of the entire glorious and joyous season of Easter. The celebration of the Pentecost had its roots in the Jewish custom, in which fifty days after the celebration of the Jewish Passover, the Festival of the Pentecost is celebrated, and hence, a lot of people were assembled in Jerusalem for that occasion, coming from different countries, likely both the Jewish people and diaspora who lived in those places as well as some others who were attracted to the celebrations that were happening in Jerusalem.

In our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles we heard the account of how on the Festival of the Pentecost, fifty days after Our Lord’s glorious Resurrection, the Holy Spirit came down upon all the disciples who were assembled and in hiding from the Jewish authorities, Mary, the Twelve Apostles and the other disciples who were there in the same room and place. The Holy Spirit came down like tongues of fire, resting on each of the disciples and gave them all the strength, courage and power to proclaim the Lord and His truth to all the people they encountered, beginning with those who came to Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost.

This is a fulfilment of what the Lord has always promised His followers, that He would send them the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Advocate Who would strengthen them and give them the courage and power to do the will of God and to carry on what He had entrusted to them to do in this world. When He ascended into Heaven, the Lord promised that the Holy Spirit would come and help His disciples, and that they ought to wait in Jerusalem and pray. True enough then, that about ten days after the Lord ascended into Heaven, on the Pentecost celebrations, the Holy Spirit came down on the disciples.

Pentecost Sunday does not only mark the fiftieth day of Easter and the final day of that joyous season. It is also according to tradition, the ‘birthday of the Church’ as it was on that day that the Church became tangible, visible and apparent to the world. Before that moment, the disciples were all hiding in fear but afterwards, they courageously went forth and proclaimed the Word of God to the masses without fear anymore. That was the moment when the Church began its mission of evangelisation, reaching out to the world, to more and more people so that more may come to know the Lord and be saved through finding out the truth.

Pentecost is the day when the Church of God began its ministry to the world, when the Body of Christ, that is the Church, became visible to all and began calling on all to turn towards the Lord and to believe in Him as their Lord and Saviour. This is all possible because of the wisdom and strength bestowed on the Apostles through the Holy Spirit. Before that, the disciples were all lacking confidence and the drive to do the mission they have been entrusted with, and many among them were also illiterate and uneducated, hence explaining even more why they were hesitant to make themselves shown prior to the Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit gave them all the gifts of wisdom and knowledge, of faith and hope, of strength and courage, allowing them to do everything that we now know as the amazing things that the Apostles and the saints had done, only some of which were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and the rest of the New Testament. Through the Holy Spirit, the Lord guided His faithful disciples who embarked on the journey of faith to proclaim His truth to the nations, to the many people they visited and lived with, and they spoke of the Lord and His love openly and without fear, guided by the strength, wisdom and passion that came from the Holy Spirit inflaming their hearts and minds.

They all went to proclaim the truth of the Lord, revealing the generous love which God has shown us, and they lived according to the Lord’s commandments of love, as mentioned in our Gospel passage today. They loved the Lord most wholeheartedly and at the same time, they also showed the same love towards their fellow brothers and sisters, to all man equally and without discrimination, be it Jews, Greeks, Romans, Persians or any other people. They loved them all as fellow children of God, and it was this love, together with the wisdom that God has shown them through the Holy Spirit, which made the Christian faith so popular among the people, and many decided to believe in God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must realise that the works of the Church and the Lord have not yet been completed but instead are still ongoing this very moment. There are still a lot of areas and opportunities for the Church and the faithful to reach out to those who have not yet known the Lord and to all those who have lapsed in their faith. There are still many parts of the world and many communities who have lived in ignorance of the Lord’s truth, and it is we as Christians who have the responsibility and calling to bear the truth of God, His love and hope, His compassion and mercy, His path and light to those who have not yet known Him.

We are all called as Christians to continue the great and wonderful works that our predecessors, the Apostles, the innumerable saints and martyrs, and many others who had faithfully obeyed the Lord’s commandments and laws, following His will and doing His good works in this world. Through baptism all of us have become part of the Church and received the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that the Apostles and disciples of the Lord had received. And many of us have also received the Sacrament of Confirmation, in which after period of preparation and prayer, we have been affirmed in faith and received a more complete gift of the Holy Spirit.

What are these gifts of the Holy Spirit, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Church teaches us that there are seven gifts of the Holy Spirits. Those gifts are the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord. Each of these gifts are related to the seven Virtues of our Christian faith, namely Charity or Love, Faith, Prudence, Courage, Hope, Justice and Temperance. All these gifts have been given to us, to strengthen us and to help us in how we live our lives, so that each and every one of us can become great role models and inspirations for one another, to encourage and help each other on our way to the Lord and His salvation.

Through Wisdom and Understanding we have all been given the clarity and ability to appreciate the depth of the truth of God, the knowledge of God’s love and His laws, His commandments and ways, understanding the ways of the Church and its practices, and how to explain it to others, and to discern carefully the path that we are to choose in life. While through Counsel and Fortitude, we are brought to the ability to resist the temptations to sin, the ability to consider carefully what each of our actions will lead us to, and how to stand up for things that are right, in defending our faith and the actions that are just against the wickedness of this world, against the temptations to sin.

The gift of Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord then allows us to know more about God and to get ourselves closer to Him, allowing us to love Him ever deeper and more, desiring to be ever closer to Him, and by knowing more of the great infinity and boundlessness of God’s Almighty power and majesty, we may grow to fear Him more, not because we are afraid of Him, but because we know well what it means for us to reject and abandon Him and His path, falling into the depth of sin and eventually hell, out of which there is no escape and no hope of salvation. Hence, we will strive to get ever closer to God and avoid doing things that are against God and His will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have received those wonderful gifts from God through the Holy Spirit, as well as other abilities, talents and opportunities that are distinct for each and every one of us. However, if we do not open our hearts and minds, and embracing those gifts and talents, opportunities and all presented to us by the Lord, then all those gifts would have been naught and useless for us. We have to embrace the Lord and His gifts for us, the Holy Spirit and all of His blessings and do our best to make use of them for the purpose that He has revealed to us. Otherwise, we are not doing what the Lord has commanded us to do, to be the disciples that go forth to the world, to proclaim His truth before all mankind and calling them all to His presence.

Today, this Pentecost Sunday, as we celebrate this joyous celebration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church of God, and the birthday and beginning of the Church, let us all discern carefully our respective calling in life. Are we all doing what we can in answering God’s call, His call for us to make good use of the talents, gifts, abilities and opportunities that He had provided to us? Each one of us as Christians have been given different sets of skills, talents, gifts and blessings, and have various vocations and calling in life. Are we willing to do what we can, within our means and within the capacity that God has provided us, to do His will and to live our lives virtuously and faithfully as good and devoted Christians?

Let us all hence commit ourselves anew to the Lord this day, and remind ourselves that Pentecost is not there to mark the end of the season of Easter. On the contrary, on this day we celebrate the Descent of the Holy Spirit, we remind ourselves that the Church’s primary mission is to evangelise and spread the Word of God, His truth and love to the whole world, and the best way for us to do this, is by living our lives virtuously as exemplary and good Christians, as otherwise how can we expect others to believe in us if we ourselves do not act and live our lives in the manner that we tell others to live theirs?

May the Lord continue to bless us and guide us, and may each and every one of us continue to walk faithfully in God’s path at all times. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us and strengthen us, now and always. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of all Christians who are faithful and committed to God, and enkindle in the fire of Your love. Come Holy Spirit, and renew the face of this Earth, purge hatred and evil from this world, and allow us Christians to strive to love one another and advance the cause of peace and harmony between all the children of God. Come Holy Spirit, and be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 4 June 2022 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday beginning with the celebration of this Vigil Mass of the Pentecost. On this Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the coming and descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of the Lord, fifty days after the Lord’s glorious Resurrection and ten days after His Ascension into Heaven. That is why we call this celebration as the Pentecost, as Pentecost itself has the meaning of ‘fifty’, a celebration that has roots in the Jewish law and traditions, of the Pentecost festival fifty days after the Passover which was why there were a lot of people assembled in Jerusalem at the time when the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles.

And as we listened to the readings from the Scripture, one of the first readings from the Book of Exodus related the moment the first Covenant God made with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai, the mountain of God after they have left Egypt behind and was freed from their slavery. According to tradition, this happened about fifty days after the time of the Exodus, which the Passover commemorated every year, the moment the Israelites were saved from their slavery and passed from Egypt safely through the Red Sea, while the forces and armies of the Egyptians were crushed and destroyed by the raging waves as they tried to pursue the Israelites.

The Passover itself has been made complete and renewed with the true Passover made by Christ Himself, that He, as the Lamb of God, offered Himself for our sake so that by His death, on the Cross, and the outpouring of His Blood, that brought salvation to all of us, while by passing through the waters of baptism, made holy and sanctified by His power and grace, like the Israelites of old passing through the Red Sea, all of us as Christians have passed through death to our old way of life, washed and cleansed away, freed from the slavery to our sins and evils, and beginning the journey towards our ‘Promised Land’, which is Heaven, to be with God forevermore.

Hence, based on what I mentioned earlier, we can see a very clear parallel and link between the old and new Passover, the death and Resurrection of Christ our Lord with the freedom of the Israelites from the Egyptians, and this is exactly how all of us who believe in the Lord and has been baptised, received into the Church, pass through the domains of sin and death, freed from their dominion and through Christ, enter this journey of a new life in which we are all called to a new existence, just as the newly freed Israelites were journeying towards the Promised Land of Canaan. The Lord made a New Covenant with us through His Son, just as He had made a Covenant with the Israelites back then. This time, it is not just the Israelites that were His chosen people, but all of mankind, those willing to answer and embrace His call.

Now, back to the moment the Covenant was made with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, there were also parallel between what happened there and what happened at the Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down on the disciples of the Lord. At the time of the old Covenant, God gave His Law to His people through Moses, written as the Ten Commandments carved on two slabs of stone, and also other laws unwritten but passed through God’s wisdom to Moses, and from Him to the people of God. At the New Covenant, at Pentecost, God gave His faithful ones, the wisdom to understand His Law which He has revealed and brought into our midst through His Son, Jesus Christ, Who Himself is the embodiment of the Law.

The Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples just as the Lord had promised to them, to be their strength and guidance, to inspire them and to grant them the wisdom and understanding to proclaim His truth and salvation to the whole world. God’s works of saving His people, all of mankind began at that moment, as the Apostles and disciples were previously very afraid to leave their dwelling place, always constantly in hiding after the Lord’s Passion and death, as the Jewish authorities were strictly forbidding anyone from teaching and preaching in the Name of Jesus, openly opposing and persecuting those who were doing so.

But as the Holy Spirit came into them, the disciples gained great courage, strength and wisdom, and all of them went forth out from their hiding place, proclaiming Christ to all the assembled people in Jerusalem, who could all understand what they said even though they came from various places. That was the gift of tongues and language that the Holy Spirit granted to the disciples, a symbolic reversal of what happened if we read the story of the Tower of Babel in the Book of Genesis, where in yet another one of our possible first readings today, last time used to be all read for the Pentecost, mankind who used to speak the same language were punished and confused in their language and speech because of their pride, disobedience and sins, in trying to upstage God by building the Tower of Babel pointing towards Heaven itself.

Through what we have heard, God is calling all of us sinners back to Himself, wanting each and every one of us to be reconciled to Him. He loves us very dearly and does not want any one of us to be lost to Him. Our disobedience has led us to sin, and sin sundered us from God, separating us from His grace and love. But through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, all of us have been called back from among the nations, all the lost sheep of the Lord gathered back into the same one flock of Christ, our Good Shepherd. Through baptism, we have entered this New Covenant that He had made and sealed with His own Precious Blood on the Cross.

At Pentecost, three thousand people were convinced and received baptism from the disciples, which is interestingly a comparison and contrast to what happened back then at Mount Sinai. As we all should know, the Israelites rebelled against God and disobeyed Him there when they built and raised up a golden calf idol that they treated and worshipped as god over them, and this led the whole people into sin, where according to the later part of the Book of Exodus, three thousand people sided with the idol and were crushed and killed when Moses pronounced the judgment of God against them. The three thousand people saved at Pentecost was a clear reversal of what happened at Mount Sinai.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this Pentecost Sunday is also often known as the ‘birthday of the Church’ and it is rightly so because the Church of God is the physical gathering and assembly of the people of God, of all the faithful who have shared in the gift of baptism, to be that One Body of Christ. As Scripture says, we have all been made one body, one spirit, in Christ. That is what the Church is, and as the disciples went forth from hiding to begin in earnest their work of evangelisation, converting the three thousand people and possibly more, that established the very first tangible community of the faithful people of God, the visible Church. Hence, that is why this Pentecost is considered as the birthday of the Church.

Now, having discussed in detail what Pentecost is about, and how it is closely linked to the past events in the history of salvation, let us all then discern what we are to do ourselves going forward from now on. Just as the Israelites did not reach the Promised Land immediately after God made His Covenant with them at Mount Sinai, and how they had to endure a lot of challenges, punishments and hardships along the way, thus as I mentioned earlier, that this Covenant that God made with us all as Christians mark only the beginning of our journey of faith towards Him, towards our hopefully final destination that is Heaven.

That is why we must never think of our baptism as the end of our journey. On the contrary, it is the beginning of our new life with God, beginning a new existence and life in Him, inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, that each and every one of us enter into this journey that we are all expected to walk through in our journey and path towards God, and each one of us as Christians are called to live our lives in accordance to the way that God had taught us and expected us to live them. If we do not do so, then we are hypocrites and even in the worse case, we may even scandalise our faith and the Lord just as how some among the faithful had acted wickedly not in accordance to what Christians ought to act and believe in.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we commemorate this great rejoicing at this Pentecost Sunday, let us remind ourselves at all times that even though it marks the end of the season of Easter, but it does not mean that the spirit of Easter ends here. On the contrary, as I mentioned earlier, we must remember that our Christian living is a journey towards God, and the struggles and challenges have not yet ended. In fact, as we continue to progress in faith and through this journey of life we may realise that we will encounter more and more challenges and trials along the way, and we may have to persevere through those difficult moments and trials.

But yet, we are not alone, brothers and sisters! The Holy Spirit is with us, as our Advocate and Helper. And just as the Holy Spirit was with the Apostles and disciples of the Lord back then, guiding them, inspiring and strengthening them, the Holy Spirit is also now with us, bestowing on us the gifts that are meant to help us. However, we have to open our hearts and minds, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our path, as we can easily be tempted or shaken by fear that we lose our trust in God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us hence ask the Lord to continue to strengthen us and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide us in our journey towards the Lord and eternal life that we shall enjoy with Him forevermore. May all of us always ever be righteous and strive to do our best to walk in the path of God, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 29 May 2022 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communications Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday marks the seventh Sunday in the season of Easter, and we are all reminded that as the glorious season of Easter is coming to a close soon, with the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday next week, we are all called as Christians to be always full of Easter joy and hope, and to carry out the mission which the Lord has entrusted to us, the mission to bring forth His truth and love to all the nations, to all the peoples of every race and every origins, so that everyone may come to know the Lord, His salvation and grace, His love and most generous mercy for us all, His beloved ones.

In our first reading today, we heard of the account of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, one of the first martyrs of the Church. St. Stephen was falsely accused by the opponents of the Lord and all those who resented him and his efforts in proclaiming the Christian faith and truth to the people. St. Stephen despite facing such an opposition and persecution, going up against the whole assembly of those who have been full of determination to persecute and destroy him, did not fear for his life. On the contrary, encouraged and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, St. Stephen courageously proclaimed the Lord and all that He had done for our salvation before those same people.

St. Stephen spent the time to reveal to them the truth of God and he spoke very convincingly guided by the Wisdom granted to him through the Holy Spirit. Yet, the people refused to listen to him, close off and shielded their ears, rushing towards him and angrily stoning him to death. And despite everything that happened to him, St. Stephen did exactly the same as the Lord had done, forgiving and praying for the sake of all those who had persecuted him, asking the Lord not to hold their mistakes and faults, their sins against them, but to forgive them and to show mercy on them. That is what each and every one of us as Christians are asked to emulate in our own lives.

In our second reading today, we heard from the Book of the Revelations of St. John the Apostle, the vision that St. John received while he was exiled at the island of Patmos. St. John received the vision of the things that will happen in the future, and today, we heard the conclusion of that account of his vision of the future. After having seen all that will transpire and happen in the end of times, the Second Coming of the Lord and the final triumph of the Lord against Satan and the forces of evil and sin, St. John saw the Lord speaking to him and telling him that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, and that He will come again at the end of time, everything to happen just as St. John had seen them.

That is why the Lord told him and through him, His Church, all of us to be His faithful witnesses, and to speak of this same truth, the truth that St. Stephen had spoken courageously about, and had died defending. St. Stephen died defending the same truth that has been entrusted to us all, and which we all also ought to defend and proclaim courageously in our own present day and time. This is what each and every one of us have been called to do, and God has given us all various gifts, talents and opportunities for us to be inspirations to each other, so that by our lives and actions, we may all inspire more people to come to believe in God and be saved.

That is why today, this Sunday we also commemorate the occasion of World Communications Sunday. In the context of our faith, we are all called to be good communicators of our faith, as faithful and devout witnesses of our Christian truths, of the Lord’s love and kindness. This is our mission as part of the Church of God, the Great Commission that our Lord had entrusted to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven. And although He has ascended into Heaven and is no longer physically visible in our midst, but He is in truth always with us, guiding us along the way, and the Holy Spirit that He has granted to us through the Church, gave us the wisdom and courage to proclaim Him just as St. Stephen had done.

Nonetheless, in order for us to do this properly, we have to be connected to the Lord and we have to regularly in communication with Him. As we heard in our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus praying to His Father in Heaven, asking Him to bless His disciples and to give them strength and guidance, we should always look up to the Lord and keep ourselves connected to Him, just as the Lord Himself often prayed to His Father. Jesus has showed us the example of how we all should pray and stay connected to our loving Father and Creator, and we should heed and emulate His examples in our own lives.

That brings us to think of what a prayer truly is. Prayer is not like what some of us may think it is. Prayer is not the means for us to attain or achieve what we wanted, that just by asking the Lord what we want through prayer, then God will then give us what we wanted. That is among some very common misconceptions that we normally had on what a prayer truly is. Prayer is not a litany of demands or petitions made by us, demanding that God does something for our sake or on our behalf. Let us not forget that God does not owe us anything or in any way beholden to us, that He has to accede to our demands.

On the contrary, true prayer is our way of communicating wholeheartedly to the Lord, our loving Father and Creator, in the manner how the Lord Jesus Himself prayed to His Father, and how the Apostles and saints like St. Stephen prayed. Prayer is about opening ourselves and our hearts and minds, entering into genuine communication and dialogue with God, speaking to Him and letting Him speak to us as well, in the depths of our hearts and minds. Unfortunately, more often than not we allow ourselves to be distracted and we were also unwilling to listen to God, while forcing God and demanding on Him to listen to us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why on this Seventh Sunday of Easter, the World Communications Sunday, each one of us as Christians are not only just reminded of our calling and mission in life, to evangelise and proclaim the truth of God in our world today, but we must also learn to be good communicators in order to do so. As mentioned, first of all we must be connected to God and know how to communicate with Him, through prayers and other means, and not only sporadically, but as often as we are able to, from our hearts and allowing God to speak to us, so that we may know of His will and what He intends with our lives.

And in our work of evangelisation and proclaiming the words of God’s truth, we must also be good and effective communicators as well. We cannot convince others to believe in God unless we also listen to them and communicate with them, reaching out to them and their hearts. Imposing our will and demanding others to listen to us only do not make use good evangelisers and examples of our Christian faith. Not only that, but we can even risk causing others to distance themselves further away from God and His Church, as we must be mindful that our actions can both bring people closer to God, as well as driving people away from Him.

Hence, as Christians, we have truly great responsibilities, to proclaim the Word of God and the Christian teachings and truths through our lives. We should not just speak with our words, but we must embody our Christian faith through our way of life, in every single moments of our lives, so that others who see us, witness our actions and way of life may come to believe in God through us. In fact, if we do not live our lives according to what we profess or proclaim, then we are no better than hypocrites who do not live their lives and practice what they themselves had preached. And in that way, hardly anyone will believe in us, no matter what we tell them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, let us all renew our commitment to the Lord, to be the bearers of His Good News and truth to the nations. We do not have to seek to do great things in life, but rather, even in the smallest things we do, in our every interactions with each other, we should do our best to live up to our Christian faith and beliefs. We have to allow the Lord to lead and guide us, through the wisdom and courage of His Holy Spirit, that we do not end up falling into the wrong path in life, or mislead others into the path of sin. Let our lives be good examples and let us communicate our faith well to others, and strengthen each other’s faith through examples of our own lives.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our own respective journeys of life. May He empower us all to walk ever more faithfully in His path. May God bless us in our every actions and way of life, and may He remain in our midst and lives, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 29 May 2022 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, on the fortieth day of Easter or on the seventh Sunday in the Easter season, we mark the occasion of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, commemorating the moment when the Risen Lord Jesus, after having appeared to His disciples, ascended in glory to Heaven, returning to His place at the side of God the Father. On this day we remember the time when the Lord, as He ascended into Heaven, sent out His disciples and followers with the final commandment, also known as the Great Commission, to go forth to the whole world and make the disciples of all the peoples of all the nations.

Today we are all reminded that while God has ascended into Heaven, it was not because He abandoned us or left us behind. Instead, as He Himself had said, that He went before all of us to prepare a place for us, and also as He has said and promised, that He will come again in the end, at His Second Coming, to gather all of His faithful ones and to win a final triumphant victory against the forces of evil, leading all of us, God’s beloved children to the true and fullness of happiness which had been intended and meant for us from the very beginning. The Lord ascended into Heaven to show us that He truly came from there, and by His love for us, He has willingly come to us in order to touch us and to show His most generous and enduring love for us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Solemnity of the Ascension, we are presented with the full circle of the Lord’s work in bringing His love and salvation into our midst. We have seen the Lord’s love made flesh, the Son of God made Man, Who entered into this world as the Son of Man, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother, and made the love of God and His salvation tangible and approachable to us. The Lord has shown Himself to us, and as He came of age and revealed Himself through His Baptism, He began His ministry and work among us, and revealing the truth that He has brought into this world.

And today we mark that moment after He has completed all of that world He had to do in this world, in obeying the will of His heavenly Father. He completed His many works, healing the people, casting out demons and performing countless other miracles and signs, showing everyone that He is truly the One Whom the prophets and messengers of God had spoken and prophesied about. He would then face suffering for our sake, willingly and voluntarily taking up His Cross for our sake, accepting the burden of that Cross on our behalf, bearing on His shoulders the whole burden and the consequences due for our sins. By His Passion, suffering and death, He has united us to Himself and we who share in His death and then later, His Resurrection, have become sharers and partakers of this promise of eternal life.

Hence, after He has completed all of these and made a New Covenant, the new and everlasting Covenant between God and us, sealed and purchased by His own Precious Blood, which He offered for our sake, as our High Priest, on the Altar of His Cross, as mentioned in our second reading today, so that by the offering of the most worthy Precious Body and Blood of the Son of God, the Holy Paschal Lamb of God, then the atonement of our innumerable sins can be made a reality. We are truly so fortunate that we have such a loving God on our side, caring for us and protecting us, and even reaching out to us and loving us when we have often spurned His love and rejected Him and His mercy.

The Lord ascended into Heaven after He has risen from the dead, after His triumphant victory against evil and death. And as He ascended gloriously by His own power and might, it proved to all those who had witnessed Him in His Risen glory and that He did not die but had risen from the dead, that truly Jesus Christ is the Holy One Who had come down from Heaven as prophesied by the prophets and the servants of God of ages past, and the Lord has delivered unto us the unmistakeable proof of His love, by His sacrifice on the Cross. His ascension and return into Heaven then serves as the proof that whatever He had said was true, and the disciples who witnessed it, believed in Him as they had always done.

The Lord also did not leave His disciples alone, as He has promised to send them the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit would continue to guide them henceforth, to do what He commanded them all to do, the Great Commission to go forth to all the people from all the nations, proclaiming the truth of God, the Good News of His salvation and to gather them all to Himself, by baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This has been, is and will always be the primary mission of the Church, as God entrusted this very important mission to His Church, to this very day, so that many more people who had not yet known Him, may come to be saved as well.

That is why, today, as we celebrate this Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, it is very important that each and every one of us realise that as parts and members of the Church, each one of us as Christians ought to take up this same mission which God has entrusted to us, to be His witnesses and to evangelise to all the people of all the nations. We are all called to share in the very same mission that God has entrusted to His Apostles, until He comes again at the end of time, at the time of His Second Coming, as shown in the Book of Revelations of St. John the Apostle, when God will come once again to gather all of His faithful and win a final victory against evil.

Now, let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters. Have we truly lived our lives faithfully as Christians all these while? Or have we instead been idle and ignorant of our calling and mission as Christians, or even worse still, have we instead been acting in ways that brought scandal to our faith and to the Lord, which caused others to distance themselves from the Church and from the Christian faith and truths? These are important questions that we really need to ask ourselves and to serve as good reminders even as we celebrate this Ascension of Our Lord today, so that it will not be merely just another celebration and then life goes on as usual for us, without a profound change in our life attitudes.

If we wonder whether we are worthy or capable of the calling and the mission which the Lord had entrusted to us, then we do not need to look any further from the Apostles themselves, many of whom were illiterate and came from backgrounds and origins that would have made them unlikely, even ineligible to be the followers and champions of the Lord. And yet, that was what exactly had happened, and the Lord called His disciples and followers even from among the unlikeliest of sources, because ultimately what we think as impossible, by our standards, are perfectly possible for God, because everything is possible for Him, Who knows all things and rules over all.

We do not need to do magnificent or wonderful things. Even if we can live our lives righteously, in accordance to the teachings of the Lord and the laws and rules of the Church, in even the smallest things and parts of our lives, then that will already be sufficient for us. What we need to do is to do our best even in the smallest of things, in the every words we utter, every actions and interactions we have done, and in our every works and dealings. We are all called to be good examples, role models and inspirations to one another with our every day living and in all that we say, act and do. That is the best way for us to proclaim the Lord and to evangelise, reaching out to all those who have not yet known the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore strive to do our best in our every day living, from now on if we have not yet done so, to be good and committed disciples of Our Lord, spreading His Good News, truth and love to all, and continuing His many good works that He has entrusted to His Church. We are all God’s people, and we should do our best to follow Him and obey His will as best as we can. We should reflect on this well as we celebrate this glorious day of the Ascension. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us all and to strengthen us just as He has guided the Apostles and disciples in doing their best for the greater glory of God.

May our Lord, Who ascended in glory and Who has shown us His everlasting love, continue to guide us and be with us, and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our path so that we may always ever be ready to embark on the journey of faith and be great witnesses and missionaries of His cause, glorifying Him by our every actions and deeds in life. Amen.

Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, on the fortieth day of Easter, we mark the occasion of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, commemorating the moment when the Risen Lord Jesus, after having appeared to His disciples, ascended in glory to Heaven, returning to His place at the side of God the Father. On this day we remember the time when the Lord, as He ascended into Heaven, sent out His disciples and followers with the final commandment, also known as the Great Commission, to go forth to the whole world and make the disciples of all the peoples of all the nations.

Today we are all reminded that while God has ascended into Heaven, it was not because He abandoned us or left us behind. Instead, as He Himself had said, that He went before all of us to prepare a place for us, and also as He has said and promised, that He will come again in the end, at His Second Coming, to gather all of His faithful ones and to win a final triumphant victory against the forces of evil, leading all of us, God’s beloved children to the true and fullness of happiness which had been intended and meant for us from the very beginning. The Lord ascended into Heaven to show us that He truly came from there, and by His love for us, He has willingly come to us in order to touch us and to show His most generous and enduring love for us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Solemnity of the Ascension, we are presented with the full circle of the Lord’s work in bringing His love and salvation into our midst. We have seen the Lord’s love made flesh, the Son of God made Man, Who entered into this world as the Son of Man, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother, and made the love of God and His salvation tangible and approachable to us. The Lord has shown Himself to us, and as He came of age and revealed Himself through His Baptism, He began His ministry and work among us, and revealing the truth that He has brought into this world.

And today we mark that moment after He has completed all of that world He had to do in this world, in obeying the will of His heavenly Father. He completed His many works, healing the people, casting out demons and performing countless other miracles and signs, showing everyone that He is truly the One Whom the prophets and messengers of God had spoken and prophesied about. He would then face suffering for our sake, willingly and voluntarily taking up His Cross for our sake, accepting the burden of that Cross on our behalf, bearing on His shoulders the whole burden and the consequences due for our sins. By His Passion, suffering and death, He has united us to Himself and we who share in His death and then later, His Resurrection, have become sharers and partakers of this promise of eternal life.

Hence, after He has completed all of these and made a New Covenant, the new and everlasting Covenant between God and us, sealed and purchased by His own Precious Blood, which He offered for our sake, as our High Priest, on the Altar of His Cross, as mentioned in our second reading today, so that by the offering of the most worthy Precious Body and Blood of the Son of God, the Holy Paschal Lamb of God, then the atonement of our innumerable sins can be made a reality. We are truly so fortunate that we have such a loving God on our side, caring for us and protecting us, and even reaching out to us and loving us when we have often spurned His love and rejected Him and His mercy.

The Lord ascended into Heaven after He has risen from the dead, after His triumphant victory against evil and death. And as He ascended gloriously by His own power and might, it proved to all those who had witnessed Him in His Risen glory and that He did not die but had risen from the dead, that truly Jesus Christ is the Holy One Who had come down from Heaven as prophesied by the prophets and the servants of God of ages past, and the Lord has delivered unto us the unmistakeable proof of His love, by His sacrifice on the Cross. His ascension and return into Heaven then serves as the proof that whatever He had said was true, and the disciples who witnessed it, believed in Him as they had always done.

The Lord also did not leave His disciples alone, as He has promised to send them the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit would continue to guide them henceforth, to do what He commanded them all to do, the Great Commission to go forth to all the people from all the nations, proclaiming the truth of God, the Good News of His salvation and to gather them all to Himself, by baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This has been, is and will always be the primary mission of the Church, as God entrusted this very important mission to His Church, to this very day, so that many more people who had not yet known Him, may come to be saved as well.

That is why, today, as we celebrate this Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, it is very important that each and every one of us realise that as parts and members of the Church, each one of us as Christians ought to take up this same mission which God has entrusted to us, to be His witnesses and to evangelise to all the people of all the nations. We are all called to share in the very same mission that God has entrusted to His Apostles, until He comes again at the end of time, at the time of His Second Coming, as shown in the Book of Revelations of St. John the Apostle, when God will come once again to gather all of His faithful and win a final victory against evil.

Now, let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters. Have we truly lived our lives faithfully as Christians all these while? Or have we instead been idle and ignorant of our calling and mission as Christians, or even worse still, have we instead been acting in ways that brought scandal to our faith and to the Lord, which caused others to distance themselves from the Church and from the Christian faith and truths? These are important questions that we really need to ask ourselves and to serve as good reminders even as we celebrate this Ascension of Our Lord today, so that it will not be merely just another celebration and then life goes on as usual for us, without a profound change in our life attitudes.

If we wonder whether we are worthy or capable of the calling and the mission which the Lord had entrusted to us, then we do not need to look any further from the Apostles themselves, many of whom were illiterate and came from backgrounds and origins that would have made them unlikely, even ineligible to be the followers and champions of the Lord. And yet, that was what exactly had happened, and the Lord called His disciples and followers even from among the unlikeliest of sources, because ultimately what we think as impossible, by our standards, are perfectly possible for God, because everything is possible for Him, Who knows all things and rules over all.

We do not need to do magnificent or wonderful things. Even if we can live our lives righteously, in accordance to the teachings of the Lord and the laws and rules of the Church, in even the smallest things and parts of our lives, then that will already be sufficient for us. What we need to do is to do our best even in the smallest of things, in the every words we utter, every actions and interactions we have done, and in our every works and dealings. We are all called to be good examples, role models and inspirations to one another with our every day living and in all that we say, act and do. That is the best way for us to proclaim the Lord and to evangelise, reaching out to all those who have not yet known the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore strive to do our best in our every day living, from now on if we have not yet done so, to be good and committed disciples of Our Lord, spreading His Good News, truth and love to all, and continuing His many good works that He has entrusted to His Church. We are all God’s people, and we should do our best to follow Him and obey His will as best as we can. We should reflect on this well as we celebrate this glorious day of the Ascension. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us all and to strengthen us just as He has guided the Apostles and disciples in doing their best for the greater glory of God.

May our Lord, Who ascended in glory and Who has shown us His everlasting love, continue to guide us and be with us, and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our path so that we may always ever be ready to embark on the journey of faith and be great witnesses and missionaries of His cause, glorifying Him by our every actions and deeds in life. Amen.

Sunday, 22 May 2022 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is already the Sixth Sunday of Easter, and this means that we are approaching the end of the joyous season of Easter soon, and it is a good time for us to take stock on what we have gone through so far in the season of Easter. This season of Easter is a time for us to focus our attention on the Risen Lord and the hope that He has brought upon us all Christians, the hope of everlasting life and true happiness with God. It is a time for us to rediscover our faith in Him and for us to return to our roots in the teachings of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our first reading today, as we listened to the words of the Acts of the Apostles, we are presented with the controversy and divisions that existed within the Church in its early days when there were disagreements between those who sought to impose the very strict and harsh version of the Jewish laws and customs, as proposed by those converts to the Christian faith from among the Pharisees, and those who wanted to make it easier for the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people to follow the Lord, by not requiring any Christian faithful from obeying the full laws and customs of the Jewish people. Both of them represented the different opinions and factions then present within the early Church, showing some of the challenges faced by the Church and its leaders in its earliest days.

It would be difficult for the non-Jewish people like the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Arameans and many others who were touched and called by the truth of God to follow the Lord should they be required to obey the fullness of the Jewish laws and customs. That is because some of the Jewish traditions and requirements such as circumcision and the dietary prohibitions would have caused great difficulties for them to live their lives as Christians as those were seen as strange or even barbaric practices by those Gentiles. It would have made living as Christians doubly difficult for the converts from among the Gentiles.

As such, the Apostles and the whole Church discussed and prayed over the matter, and they considered how they could make it better especially for the Gentiles to follow the Lord. They decided that it was unnecessary for the faithful, be it Jews or Gentiles to follow the fullness of the very restrictive and strict Jewish laws and customs. Those laws had dated from the time of Moses, when the Lord Himself gave those commandments, laws and precepts to His people through Moses. However, many of those were meant to help the people to redirect their attention and way of life to focus on the Lord instead of their many worldly preoccupations and distractions.

Instead, as time went by, there were more and more laws and ordinances, harsher and stricter interpretations due to the desire of the people to purify their way of life after enduring the difficulties and the humiliations caused by the years of the destruction of the old kingdom of Israel, the destruction of their homeland and exile in Babylon, Assyria and elsewhere. Then, later on, much more recent by the time of Jesus, the actions of the Greeks in trying to destroy the Jewish culture and customs, as highlighted in the Book of the Maccabees in the Old Testament, would lead to a bitter war of independence led by the Maccabees which eventually led to the freedom for the Jewish people. This happened just about over a hundred and fifty years before the time of Jesus’ ministry.

However, that noble intention was overshadowed by the overzealous attempts of those who sought to keep the laws pure and sacred, by increasingly emphasising on the intricate details of the rituals and practices of the laws, adding more detailed explanations and parts that ended up overriding the original intention of the Law, and making it difficult and cumbersome for the people to follow it faithfully and wholeheartedly. In fact, many of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who enforced those laws themselves did not truly and could not fulfil the entire commandments and parts of the Law that they themselves enforced.

Hence, what we have heard in our first reading is a reminder for all of us that, just as the Apostles had done in pointing out to the Church and the faithful that what is important in being Christians is not about the Law itself or how one is to follow the Law in a particular way, for ultimately, the Law is a means through which the faithful could be better able to follow the Lord, and it is meant to bring the people closer to God, to discover His truth and love, and to know how they can live their lives so that they may be better attuned to Him, and eventually be able to find their way to Him through His saving grace.

That was why, the Apostles and the elders of the Church decided that it did not make any sense for the faithful to be subjected to the whole breadth and depth of the Jewish laws and practices as enforced and kept by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, when the Lord Himself frequently, as highlighted throughout the Gospels, criticised the way that those same Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had carried out and followed the Law. When the Law became the focus of the attention and when everyone ended up becoming self-centred and self-righteous, comparing oneself and thinking of oneself as being better and superior than others just because they obeyed the Law better, that is when the Church as a community of the faithful break down and fail to work.

Instead, the Church of God must remain open and welcoming, filled with the genuine love of God and His truth. The Church of God has to be the beacon of light showing the light of God, His love and truth to all the nations. The message that we heard in our second reading today from the Book of Revelations of St. John showed us the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, the new Heaven and the new Earth that will come in the end, and into which all the people are called to come, regardless of their race and background, and regardless of their affiliations and status. What matters is their faith and genuine love for God.

The Lord welcomes us all, every single sons and daughters of man to follow Him, to be His disciples and followers. He calls us all to walk in His path, and He has taught us how to do so, through what we have heard in our Gospel passage today. In His own words, He said that we ought to keep His words and teachings, and accept His truth wholeheartedly. That is what He expected us to do with our lives, as Christians, as His disciples and followers, and as His beloved people. All of us have to remain firm in following His path and not be easily distracted by the many temptations and pressures of the world, and keep our focus on Him and not on other things.

As what we have heard and discussed regarding the attitudes of those who followed the strict version of the Jewish customs and laws, and attempted to impose them on the whole Church. The Lord wants us, His faithful ones to live according to the Law and not for the Law. The Law of God is the law of love, what God has revealed to us more completely through His Son and the Holy Spirit, a call for us to love God with all of our hearts and might, and to show that same love to all of our fellow brethren, our fellow mankind. That is what Christian love is and all of us are challenged and called to fulfil that, as the cornerstone of our lives and as our focus and attention.

Each and every one of us have to remind ourselves that we are all called to share the love of God with one another, and to inspire others to love Him more and more. And the best way for us to do that is by showing that love in our own way of life. Instead of loving ourselves and acting with pride and arrogance as what many among the Pharisees had done, who looked down on those whom they condemned as sinners and unworthy, we ought to remind ourselves that we are all sinners in God’s eyes, sinners who are in need of God’s love and mercy. We are all equal before God and we should not think that we are better than others, or wanting to impose our way of thinking on others, as highlighted, when those are not in accordance with God’s truth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all as we continue with our journey of faith in life, commit ourselves to follow the Lord and to do the best with our lives, with whatever gifts and talents that God has given us. Let us all be exemplary in our lives and actions so that by our lives we may inspire many others to follow our examples, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us. Let us not worry about how much we do and whether what we had done is enough. Instead, let us encourage ourselves by realising that whatever we have done, even in the smallest things, can impact others in ways beyond what we ever imagined.

Let us do our best to inspire others to follow the Lord and to believe in Him, instead of pushing them away from Him by our arrogance, pride or self-righteousness. Instead, let us show the path to the Lord by sharing His love and compassion, His mercy and grace by our actions, at all times. May God bless us all and our every actions, for His greater glory, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 15 May 2022 : Fifth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we mark the Fifth Sunday of Easter, which means that we have passed the mid-point of this blessed and joyful season of Easter, and we continue to progress through this time and season of Easter, we are constantly again being reminded of our calling as Christians, as those who have placed our faith and trust in Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Whom we believe to have risen from the dead and had been triumphant in the struggle and battle against evil, sin and death. All of us as Christians are called to be sharers in the Church’s mission to evangelise and to spread the Good News to more and more people.

In our first reading today, we heard of the ministry and works of St. Paul and St. Barnabas as they were sent to evangelise to the people in many places, travelling throughout the breadth and length of Asia Minor, visiting the population centres and other areas, proclaiming the truth of God and the message of His Good News and salvation to more and more people. They also encouraged the faithful there to keep their faith despite the trials and challenges that they had to endure in being the followers of Christ. The Christian faithful were then persecuted by the Jewish authorities, the Sanhedrin and the chief priests, the Pharisees and Sadducees and their supporters.

Yet, all these did not dampen the spirit of the Apostles and the other missionaries who continued to labour hard for the sake of the Lord and His faithful people, as they continued to speak up for the Lord’s truth amidst all the opposition and challenges that they encountered. They faithfully committed themselves to spread the words of God’s salvation to more people throughout the world, and while they suffered, their faith and love for God in fact inspired many more people to believe in God as well. The faith and the love that each of those Christians showed to one another, and their hope in God encouraged many to remain firmly faithful in God.

In our second reading today, taken from the Book of Revelations, we heard of the words of St. John the Apostle speaking at the end of his account of the revelations he had received from God. St. John received the visions from God of what would happen in the end of time, and he saw in the end, a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem descending from God in Heaven, in which all the faithful people of God will dwell in, free from sorrow and suffering, free from tyranny and oppression. All the faithful will live and reign forever with God, Who will be with them and dwell among them, and everyone will enjoy an everlasting peace and happiness with Him.

It is this firm assurance of the world that is to come, the love of God and all that the faithful ones of God will have in the end, which encouraged the faithful further. St. John wrote of his experiences and his visions as such, to reveal to the people of God, that while indeed there will be sufferings to come, the persecutions and oppressions against the faithful as detailed in that same Book of Revelations, but those who keep their faith in God and do not give up their obedience to Him, will enjoy the fullness of happiness and grace, the ultimate triumph that they will enjoy together as God conquers evil, sin and death for all eternity.

That was the same encouragement that St. Paul, St. Barnabas, the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord had proclaimed to the people, and the assurances that they had given to their fellow brothers and sisters in faith. God will not abandon His beloved people, and while they may have to suffer just as He has suffered, rejected and humiliated just as He has been rejected and humiliated, and even having to die a most painful death just as the Lord Himself had died a terrible death on the Cross, but they will be triumphant with God in the end, and what matters is that, God knows everything that His faithful ones had done for His sake, and they shall be rewarded for that faith.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord gave His commandment to His disciples at the moment of the Last Supper, after Judas Iscariot the betrayer had left. The Lord told all of the disciples assembled to do as He had told them to do, to love one another just as He had loved them, and to continue doing what He had taught them to do, in obeying God’s will and commandments. And He also said that it is by their obedience and adherence to this way of life that everyone would come to know that they were the followers of God, and therefore, some among them, if not many, may be persuaded and convinced to follow the Lord as well.

It is there that we are once again reminded of our calling as Christians. Each one of us are called to practice our faith actively in our daily lives, to be exemplary in how we live our lives, in carrying out the Lord’s commandment of love faithfully in each and every moments we have. We do this by showing care and concern, love and compassion for one another, caring for our fellow brothers and sisters just as much as we care for ourselves. This is actually easier said than done, because we mankind are selfish by nature, and we tend to think of ourselves first, and the common ways of this world and the actions of many out there showed us how men were often willing even to sacrifice others for their own benefits and satisfaction.

But that is not what our Christian faith and way of life is all about, brothers and sisters in Christ. As Christians, we are called and challenged to live a way of life that is often fundamentally different from what we are often familiar with in our world. Instead of being selfish and self-serving, we are all called to think of others first, and to show love to others, much as how the Lord has shown His care for us, not minding Himself and what He had to endure, so that by loving us, and caring for us, He might open for us all the path to eternal life. That He had done so through His most loving sacrifice on the Cross.

The Apostles were clearly inspired by the Lord, His examples and unconditional love for all of us sinners. They gave themselves to their ministry and calling, enduring bitter rejection and persecution, all because they loved the Lord very much, and they also loved their fellow brothers and sisters, even those who had persecuted them, much as the Lord Himself had done the same thing earlier on. They followed the Lord’s own examples, and from there, they gave us even more concrete examples of true and genuine faith, faith that is not selfish or inward looking, but rather is life-giving and nurturing, as they ventured forth in proclaiming the Word of God to more and more people, for the salvation of all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to these words from the Scriptures and reflect on their meaning, significance and importance to us once again, we all ought to discern how we can be better and more worthy Christians in our daily living. Are we living our lives as how faithful and selfless Christians should live? And are we doing what the Lord had told us to do, to love our fellow brethren just as much as we have loved ourselves? The Lord had called us to action, and to embrace faithfully and wholeheartedly the mission of evangelisation that He has entrusted to each one of us.

The responsibility and calling to evangelise is not just the responsibility carried by some in the Church. It is not just the clergy, priests and missionaries who need to labour for the sake of the Lord and His Church, and for the people who had not yet known God. On the other hand, it is the responsibility shared by all the faithful, and which is why our roles as various parts and members of the Church are even more important, and each one of us, be it clergy or laity, whether married or single, or in whichever stage of life we are in, all of us have this calling and obligation to glorify God by our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this Sunday’s readings, and through them, all of us as Christians are reminded as we have been many times throughout this season of Easter, that our rejoicing and celebration cannot just be inward looking and focused. On the contrary, we have to be an evangelising, missionary and active Church, full of vibrancy and faith, with dedication and commitment to live our lives daily with faith, fulfilling what the Lord had commanded us to do, to love one another just as He has loved us, and to love others just as much as we love ourselves.

Are we all willing and able to commit ourselves to this calling, brothers and sisters? The choice is in our hands whether we want to follow Christ our Lord wholeheartedly or not. The temptation indeed will be great for us to succumb to the temptations and allures of worldly pleasures, but we must not let those things distract us from our path towards the Lord. Let us all help one another in our journey of faith and be sources of inspiration for each other in how we live our lives with faith. Let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and devote more of our time, effort and attention to be the faithful disciples and witnesses of Our Lord in our world today, that more and more people may be saved through us. May God bless us and our every endeavours, our every good works. Amen.

Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the fourth Sunday in the season of Easter marks the occasion of Good Shepherd Sunday, or also known as the Vocation Sunday. This Sunday is called as such because the Gospel reading was taken from the Gospel of St. John, in which the Lord referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd and we, the people of God as His sheep and flock. Through Him, our Good Shepherd, the Lord has called on all of us to follow Him and return to Him, to no longer be lost and separated from Him, but be reunited with Him and becoming once again part of that one flock of God in His Church.

In our first reading today, all of us heard from the Acts of the Apostles the works of two of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas who were travelling to Antioch in Pisidia in Asia Minor, where they preached about the Lord and His truth in the synagogue. The two Apostles spoke to a large gathering of both Jewish people and the non-Jewish people, the Gentiles. But their efforts in attracting so many people especially the Gentiles caused some among the Jews to be jealous and hostile to their popularity. It was likely that those Jewish people mentioned had belonged to the Pharisees or at least those who were sympathetic of the position of the Pharisees and their opposition against Jesus.

Hence, as we heard, while the Apostles managed to gain great support and following even from among the Gentiles, who were happy to hear the Good News presented to them, but those people who refused to believe in them were offended and angry at the popularity that St. Paul and St. Barnabas managed to get, and considered them as a threat to the way of life and the beliefs of those who held and clung on to the traditions of the Jewish customs as promoted and preserved by the Pharisees and the elders. As such, they did whatever they could to oppose the two Apostles, persecuting them and evicting them from their region.

Yet, the Apostles, St. Paul, St. Barnabas and the Twelve Apostles led by St. Peter all continued to labour hard for the Lord and His Church, going forth to many places and spreading the Good News passed onto them as the shepherds of the Lord’s flock, the servants of the one and true Good Shepherd of all. They proclaimed the Lord’s truth to all the people, to the Jewish people and the Gentiles alike, and although they encountered many opposition and rejection from those who refused to believe in God and His truth, persecuted and having to endure arrest, prison, torture and even martyrdom, they continued to proclaim the word of God faithfully and many others did flock to follow the Lord through them.

In our second reading today, we heard of the vision of St. John the Apostle from the Book of Revelations that he wrote, detailing what he had seen in the series of visions he received at the island of Patmos during his exile there. St. John saw the vision of innumerable holy men and women from across all time and places, all gathered together to proclaim the Lord and glorify Him, to praise Him on His Throne, as St. John saw Him, the victorious Lamb of God, Who has won the ultimate victory over sin, evil and death, and by His sacrifice on the Cross, He has gathered all of us as our Good Shepherd, leading us all to the path towards eternal life.

What victory is it about, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the great triumph that God had won for us over the forces of evil and sin. We have been corrupted by sin ever since the beginning of time, when we succumbed to the temptations of the devil and allowed sin to enter into our hearts. Because of that, we have been scattered throughout the world and fell into darkness, becoming lost from the Lord, our Good Shepherd. But what is important is that, God’s love for us far surpasses His disgust and anger for our sins. He loves us all beyond anything else, and He created us in the first place because He loved us all. If He did not love us at all, He would not even have created us or given us a chance at all.

Therefore, in coming upon us Himself, through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Word Incarnate, the Lord came to us to show just how much He loved us all and how precious we truly are to Him. The Lord has come to gather us all from the far ends of the world, and to lead us all back to Himself just as He has long promised to us. And to this end, He has established His Church, and called us all to be part of that one flock that He has gathered together in His Name, and entrusted all of us to those whom He had called and dedicated to be shepherds modelled after Himself, the Good Shepherd.

St. Paul, St. Barnabas, the other Apostles and many other holy men and women of God, the saints all showed us what they had done in following the examples set by the Good Shepherd in helping many more lost souls, the lost sheep of the Lord to return to Him. Just as the Lord Himself also said in another occasion, that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, hence, He Who laid down His own life for our salvation inspired His own servants, like St. Paul, St. Barnabas and many more to be willing to lay down their lives and to suffer for the sake of the Lord and His people. Through their courage and determination, countless souls had been saved, and many had been brought to reconciliation with God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we commemorate this Good Shepherd Sunday, what we have just discussed earlier highlighted why we also mark the occasion of Vocation Sunday today. That is because while we remember the Lord, our Good Shepherd in all that He had done for us, we must not forget that He has called all of us to follow Him, and for all of us to embrace our respective calling in life and dedicate ourselves, in whichever capacity and ability we are able to commit, to embrace a good Christian vocation in life. And we must not think or misunderstand that vocation means only vocations to priesthood only.

That is because there are many vocations for us as Christians in the Church. Most prominent indeed are those whom God had called to serve Him wholeheartedly and completely as those who embrace the call to the priesthood as well as religious life. They have been called to serve the Lord and His people, following in the footsteps of the Apostles, in continuing their works of evangelisation and in ministering to the people of God. However, this does not mean that all the others who have not followed this same path then do not have any role to play in the works of the evangelisation or as part in the Lord’s mission entrusted to His Church.

On the contrary, as members of God’s Church, each and every one of us have very important roles to play, and the laity have immense role that all of them have to play and take part in faithfully and with commitment in order to make sure that the Church’s efforts and its missions will be successful. The responsibility for evangelisation and spreading the Good News of God is not that of the priests and religious, or missionaries alone. All the faithful people of God share in the same mission, inspired by the Good Shepherd, Our Lord’s own examples, His love and dedication for us, His lost sheep, in gathering all of them to His loving embrace.

That is why, all of us have to live our lives worthily of the Lord and doing whatever we can to contribute to the mission of the Church in reaching out to the lost sheep of the Lord’s flock, all those who have not yet known the Lord and His salvation, and all those who have fallen astray in the path towards God. Each one of us can help one another, and even the priests and missionaries need the constant support from every members of the Church so that they may be able to do their works effectively. It is indeed not easy to be priests, especially in our world today, and we need to support the priests, our shepherds, that they may be inspired to follow the path of their predecessors, the Apostles and their successors, and the Lord Himself, the Good Shepherd.

That is why all of us have to pray for our priests, for more vocations to the priesthood. But at the same time, should any of us are called to the priesthood, then we should not ignore that call either. A most common thing in the Church is that we do not mind if others are called to the priesthood, but when some parents encounter the fact that it is their own children who are called to the priesthood, or religious life, or other vocations that are not according to what they wanted, they became defensive or even putting objections to that vocation or desire of their own children. It is truly hypocritical if we want others to embrace their vocation but not those in our own families. Yet, sadly, this is one of the main reason why it is truly difficult for some to embrace their vocation to priesthood and religious life.

Now, at the same time, we must also not forget to reflect on our vocation as married people, as those who have been called to a life in matrimonial bond and in growing up faithful Christian families. As mentioned, that is also a very important vocation, and one that cannot be ignored. For faithful and committed Christian families are truly the bedrock of the Church, and the first places where our children will learn about the faith. If our Christian families are not founded upon firm faith and the strong desire to serve and follow God, then sooner or later, not only that we may lose a lot of our children to indifference to their faith, to apostasy and more, but the whole entire Church community will also be negatively affected.

There are also of course those among us called to other purposes in life, even those who are called to remain single and devote themselves to the Lord. Many of them are not even members of any religious orders, but they dedicated themselves to a particular purpose or some missions to do things for the good of others, and to advance the cause of the Lord, to proclaim His Good News and more. Those are also wonderful vocations that each one of us, should we be called, have to embrace as well. We are all called to different purposes in life and we really should do our best to follow Him, and commit ourselves to God as best as we can.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Good Shepherd and Vocation Sunday, let us ask the Lord, our Good Shepherd, to guide us all and to give us the strength and courage so that we all can be faithful shepherds, role models and examples for one another in faith. Let our actions, words and deeds be inspiration at all times, and let more and more people come to believe in God through us. May each one of us devote more of our time and effort to follow our vocations in life, and may God, our loving Good Shepherd be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 1 May 2022 : Third Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the third in the glorious and joyous season of Easter, all of us are called to remember once again, through the Sacred Scriptures, of the reason why we celebrate this season and why we rejoice so happily, all because of the great victory and triumph that Our Lord and Saviour has won for us, that by His death and resurrection, He has purchased for all of us, the freedom and liberation from the tyranny of sin and death. Through Him, all of us have received the assurance of eternal life and true joy, assured of the final victory that will come with Him, if we remain faithful and steadfast, staying true to Him to the very end.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the confrontation between the Apostles and disciples of the Lord led by St. Peter, against the Sanhedrin, the powerful High Council of the Jewish people led by the High Priest, who had arrested the Apostles and ordered them to stop preaching in the Name of the Risen Lord. At that time, the Lord had risen and ascended into Heaven, and the Holy Spirit had descended upon the Apostles, whom encouraged and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, went forth to proclaim courageously the truth about God and His salvation, in Jesus Christ, the same One Whom the Sanhedrin had arrested and accused, sent to the Romans to be crucified and killed.

The Apostles, led by St. Peter firmly and courageously refused to remain silent or to obey the order of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, as they had been tasked and entrusted by God with the very important mission of revealing the truth and the Good News of His salvation, His great and amazing love, all that He had done for the sake of His beloved people through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who had cone into this world to gather all the lost sheep of His flock, and lead them to the reconciliation with God and hence, the assurance and certainty of eternal life. And the Apostles had been entrusted with the role as shepherds in the image of the one and true Good Shepherd, Christ Himself, to lead the people of God towards Him.

Despite the threats and warnings that the Sanhedrin gave to them, the Apostles were not afraid at all. They proclaimed courageously their Lord and Saviour, Whom they had witnessed and seen Risen from the dead with their own eyes, witnessed Him performing His miracles even before He had gone through His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection, and as we also heard from our Gospel passage today, they had also seen and witnessed the miracles that God continued to perform after He had risen from the dead. They had been called and sent forth by the Lord, and they would not betray or abandon their Lord and Master.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard from the Gospel of St. John detailing to us what happened that day when the Lord appeared to His disciples in Galilee just not long after He had risen from the dead. He has told the women who witnessed His resurrection that He would go before His disciples to Galilee, and He would see them there later on. Before this, He Himself had also appeared to His disciples in two occasions just as we heard it in our last Sunday’s Gospel, where St. Thomas who earlier on doubted the Lord’s resurrection was dumbstruck in awe and finally believed when the Lord appeared before him and the other disciples in the flesh. He showed them that He had truly risen from the dead.

Then, as we heard today’s Gospel passage, we heard how the disciples had been out fishing in the lake for the entire night without success, before that morning when the Lord appeared to them on the shore, but without them recognising Him at first. The Lord told them to follow His instructions, and they immediately captured a large number of fishes, more than what they could manage. It was there and then that St. Peter recognised the Lord and immediately, he jumped into the water to come to the Lord. It was there and then that the disciples yet again saw the Risen Lord, His love for them and the mission which He had entrusted to them to do.

We also heard of the Lord’s exchanges with St. Peter after their meal, in which the Lord asked St. Peter, ‘Peter, do you love Me?’ To which St. Peter responded with, ‘Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.’ And the Lord then responded with, ‘Feed My lambs’. This was repeated three times in a very symbolic mirror and reversal of St. Peter’s own three times denial of the Lord at the time of His Passion. It shows that the Lord had forgiven St. Peter and not only that, but He was entrusting His Church and all of His flock, the lambs that He had called and gathered from among the nations, to St. Peter, just as He had earlier on established His Church on the firm foundation of this ‘Rock’ that is St. Peter and his faith.

St. Peter might have been illiterate, brash and impulsive at times, doing things like cutting the ears of the High Priest’s servant when the guards were about to arrest the Lord, and he might have also been fearful and shaken in faith, as how he denied knowing the Lord three times, but in the end, the Lord chose him to be the leader of His entire Church and to be the leader of the Apostles, because He knew what his faith and love for Him were like. The Lord saw deep in the people’s hearts and minds, and He saw in St. Peter, a true faith and commitment, and which strengthened and encouraged by all that he himself witnessed, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, hence, he courageously led the Apostles in resisting the efforts of the Sanhedrin to silence them.

In our second reading, we heard of the reading from the Book of Revelations of St. John, in which St. John the Apostle saw the great heavenly vision, of the Lamb of God, Christ Himself, and His Throne in Heaven, and how all the twenty-four elders assembled, the Angels and all the countless millions upon millions of the faithful of all the ages praised and worshipped Him, glorious, triumphant and victorious, seated on His Throne, having conquered evil, sin and death, and in that vision, St. John related to us how the same triumphant Lamb of God will come again in His Second Coming, to claim all of His beloved and faithful ones to Himself. He will gather all of His faithful ones and lead them towards His light.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all that we have heard from the Scriptures today are what the Apostles had witnessed, experienced and received from the Lord throughout their labours and ministries among the people of God. They had seen the Risen Lord, all of His truth and wonders. The Lord was with all of them and His Church, and He would lead them to the ultimate victory, that despite all the challenges and trials that they would face, but He is with them, and He will never abandon them, and He entrusted to them the great mission to spread His love and truth to all the peoples of all the nations. Just as we heard in our Gospel today, the disciples managed to gather so many fishes upon the Lord’s arrival and them following His instructions.

All of these remind us that each and every one of us as members of the Church of God are part of the same mission which He has entrusted to His Apostles and disciples all those years ago. What is this mission, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord called His disciples to be the fishers of men, to gather all the people to Himself, all the lost sheep to be gathered once again. St. Peter was entrusted with the leadership of the Church, in ‘feeding’ the lambs of the Lord, in caring for all of them as the members of the Church, called and chosen from the world. His works and that of the other Apostles had been passed down to their successors, right to this very present day, in the bishops and priests.

But these works and ministries are not their responsibilities alone, brethren. As members of God’s Church, we also share part of the responsibility to be the witnesses and bearers of God’s truth. The Apostles and many others had witnessed this truth, and they suffered great persecutions for their faith, and yet they endured because they trusted in the Lord and they wanted all their fellow brothers and sisters to be saved in Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour. They passed this faith and truth to us so that we too may be moved and inspired to follow in their footsteps and do our part as Christians to be the Lord’s faithful disciples in our respective communities today.

This means that we are all sharers in the mission of the Church to reach out to those who have not yet known the Lord or are still living in darkness of sin, in denial of the Lord’s truth and love, and in rebellion against Him. We are all called to be courageous like the Apostles in proclaiming the truth about the Lord, His love and compassion for us, His resurrection and all that He had done for our sake as Our Lord and Saviour. We are all called to be exemplary in our actions and way of life so that by our works and deeds, our contributions and even in the smallest and simplest things we do, we may inspire others to believe in God as well.

We do not have to do great and wonderful things, brothers and sisters. As I said, even in the smallest and simplest things we do in life, we can touch the lives of others, inspire others to come to believe in God as well. It is in the ordinary things we do that God is glorified, and we must not forget that we cannot be idle and ignorant of our calling and obligations in life as part of the same Church of God. Remember brothers and sisters, that Our Lord Himself said that, unless we carry our crosses and follow Him, we cannot be His true disciples and followers. If we want to be truly Christians, then we have to commit ourselves to the Lord wholeheartedly.

Are we then willing and able to commit ourselves to God in the same way the Apostles and disciples of the Lord had done? Are we willing to spend the time and effort to follow the Lord and to do His will, in all the things we say and do? Let us do whatever we can as Christians, as Our Lord’s disciples, to proclaim Him in our communities and in whatever opportunities we have, that we may indeed be good role models and inspirations for others to follow just as we ourselves look up to the Apostles for inspiration. May Our Risen Lord be with us always, bless our works and efforts, and guide us in our journey and faith. May God be with us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter marks the Feast of the Divine Mercy, as instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in the Year of Our Lord 2000 based on the visions of the Divine Mercy by St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who received mystical visions and experienced the Lord’s Divine Mercy before her, showing His wounds and hurt, all that He had done in offering Himself, Body, Soul and Divinity for the salvation of the whole entire world. We are reminded today through this important Feast and also through the Sacred Scriptures, of the reason why we celebrate so joyfully this Easter, not just for one day but for one entire season lasting fifty days until Pentecost Sunday.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the works of the Apostles among the people of God as they had been entrusted with the mission by God to bring forth the salvation and the graces He has willingly bestowed to His beloved people. They performed many miracles and wonders among the people of God, in various places, courageously proclaiming the Risen Lord and Saviour by their words and actions. The people witnessed those miracles and believed in the Lord Jesus, Who has once also performed those same miracles, and healed the hurt of their body and soul. He has touched them, either directly or through His disciples and made them whole again.

The people were all seeking the Lord, all bringing their sick ones to Him, and they also brought the same sick ones to the disciples and the Apostles of the Lord. Through them, God continued the works of His love and mercy in our world, as He showed His generous mercy and compassion, by which He had desired to gather all the people to Himself, and to be reconciled with us. And that was why He sought even the worst of sinners, the tax collectors, prostitutes, criminals and all those who had been ostracised by the society, that He might touch their hearts and change their lives for the better. And it was proven well enough by the response that those people long considered sinners and unworthy had been giving the Lord.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard for ourselves that even among His own closest confidants, there were sinners and people who doubted Him, as I am sure we are all familiar with how St. Thomas the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles reacted to the news of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead. Throughout the Gospels, St. Thomas had always been a skeptic of the Lord, and he had a lot of doubts, even to the point of openly doubting the Lord and being sarcastic at Him, for example, when He was going to Judea to face His Passion and death, as St. Thomas sarcastically commented that they, the disciples, should all follow the Lord to their deaths.

We have to remember and take note how the Lord called interesting mix of people to be His followers and disciples. He had among them, a tax collector in Levi, who was later known as St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, and then four poor and likely illiterate fishermen from the lake of Galilee, the first ones whom He had called, namely St. Peter and his brother, St. Andrew, and then the brothers, St. James and St. John, the sons of Zebedee. Then of course we have St. Thomas himself, who always ever doubted the Lord, and St. Simon, a former zealot who was probably part of the rebellion against the Romans and thus was perhaps a fugitive or criminal in the eyes of the law, and Judas Iscariot, the traitor who betrayed the Lord.

We see that the Lord chose the poor, the marginalised, the ordinary and sinners to be His disciples. There were mix of different characters and personalities among His followers, and this represents exactly what the Lord wanted to do among His people. He came to gather all the lost sheep of the Lord, those who have fallen astray and fell into the wrong paths, scattered and lost from Him, so that through Him, and through the truth, light and hope that He has brought into our midst, He may restore us all to grace, and strengthen us to be once again a people that is holy and worthy of God.

Through His appearance before all the disciples in today’s Gospel, and before St. Thomas, who had defiantly proclaimed before all the others that he would not believe in the Lord’s resurrection unless he could directly prove it by touching His wounds and putting his finger into the wound at the Lord’s side. The Lord appeared before him and all the other disciples, surely as a direct response to what St. Thomas had said earlier on regarding the resurrection. And sure enough, He asked St. Thomas directly to do what he had said that he would do in order to prove the truth about the Lord’s resurrection.

We heard how St. Thomas responded immediately with faith, most likely both awed and ashamed at his own words, actions and doubts earlier on. He said, “My Lord and my God”, the same words that we always say at every moment after the Agnus Dei, or the Lamb of God segment in the Holy Mass. St. Thomas earlier on had been inflicted with doubt, with his own pride and ego became his own undoing. Why did he refuse to believe in God earlier on? That is because he operated on his own standards, and he placed a lot of trust in himself and in his own judgment rather than believing in God and His truth. He was skeptical because in his mind and logic, it was impossible for something like that to happen.

And yet, it did happen. The Lord, Who is God Incarnate, the Son of God, had descended into our midst, to be with us, and to suffer and die for us. And not only that, He rose gloriously from the dead, and all those things are impossible for man, and yet, for God, everything is possible. He came into our midst, and through His love, His patience and mercy, His compassionate care for us, His outreach even to the worst of sinners, and to those who doubt like St. Thomas and many others who still refused to believe in Him, the Lord revealed that He came to save us, to make us all to be reconciled with Him, He, the Divine Mercy, made manifest in the flesh.

In the Holy Mass, whenever the priest or any of the celebrants raised the consecrated bread and wine, the Most Holy Eucharist, which had been transformed by the power of God through His Holy Spirit and by the power and authority entrusted by the Lord through His disciples, and when the words are said, ‘This is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.’, we are presented with this seemingly impossible event, of a mere bread and mere wine, transformed completely into the reality and nature of Our Lord’s own Precious Body and Blood.

And yet, He is there, for us, on the Altar, just as at the Altar of His Cross at Calvary. The Holy Mass, as we all should know, is the same sacrifice and offering that Our Lord Himself had offered on the Cross, two millennia ago, which then, mystically and most wonderfully, is shown to us again and again, at every celebration of the Holy Mass. At the Mass, as the Lamb of God is presented to us, and we respond to the celebrant with the same words that St. Thomas had spoken, we are all reminded that by Our Lord’s most compassionate love and mercy, He, the Divine Mercy, had availed Himself to give unto us the finest path towards reconciliation to Him, through the Eucharist.

He broke His own Body and shed His own Blood at His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross, because He loved us all so dearly and tenderly. Each and every single one of us are so precious to Him, that His love for us transcends and surpasses even our sins and wickedness, which had kept us separated from God and the fullness of His grace and love. That is why this Sunday, on this Feast of the Divine Mercy, celebrated so close to the Easter Sunday, we are reminded of everything that Our Lord had done for us, all that He had done, because of the overflowing love and generous mercy which He had shown us, from the beginning right up to now.

At the same time, we have to realise that while Our Lord’s love and mercy are infinite and boundless, but our sins remain as obstacles in our path towards the full reconciliation with God. Sin is borne out of our disobedience against God and our refusal to listen to Him, and each and every single one of our sins have to be accounted for before we are to be fully reconciled with God, and enjoy the fullness of our joyful and wonderful inheritance. And God had given us plenty of means for us to find this, through His Church, in the Sacraments that He had provided for us, but which we often rejected and ignored.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask ourselves these important questions before we move on with our lives. As Christians, have we truly wholeheartedly believed in God, in all of His truth, in His love and His mercy? And in our actions and words, in our attitudes and dealings in life, have we truly reflect what a Christian is expected to be and what a Christian should do? Or have we instead been more like St. Thomas, doubting and refusing to believe in the Lord, full of pride and ego, to admit that we can be wrong and that we are in need of healing and forgiveness for our sins?

As Christians, all of us are called to be faithful and dedicated witnesses of Our Lord’s truth, His love and resurrection, His mercy and compassion. That is why in our daily lives, all of us must do our best to proclaim this truth, not just with mere words, but also through our actions. It is not enough for us to just believe in the Lord, but we must also be filled with the courage to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters around us, with the love and mercy of God shown through us and our actions. It means that in all of our interactions and dealings, we must indeed be missionaries of mercy, and to remind everyone of the love that God has for each one of us.

Let us all remind one another, that as long as our sins are not forgiven, because we still stubbornly refuse the Lord and reject His generous mercy, then we will be stuck in this state, separated from God, and in real danger of falling into eternal damnation. Let us remind one another that God is ever merciful, and He has always patiently loved us, despite our many transgressions. Let us stop being stubborn, humble ourselves and open our hearts and minds to allow God and His love to enter into us and transform us from beings tainted by sin and darkness, to be true children of the Light, and to be witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and resurrection.

May the Lord, the Divine Mercy, continue to shine His loving face and show His most merciful and compassionate love towards us. And may all of us draw ever closer to His love and mercy, and do our best in each and every moments of our lives to be ever more exemplary sons and daughters of God, and as genuine and faithful Christians, beloved ones of the Lord, at all times. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! Amen.