Sunday, 19 November 2017 : Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Proverbs 31 : 10-13, 19-20, 30-31

The woman of character, where is she to be found? She is more precious than any jewel. Her husband has complete confidence in her; she will be of great benefit to him. She brings him only good and not evil, all the days of her life. She has obtained wool and flax, and works them with skilful hands.

She puts her hand to the distaff and her fingers hold the spindle. She reaches out her hand to the helpless and gives to the poor. Charm is deceptive and beauty useless; the woman who is wise is the one to praise. May she enjoy the fruits of her labour and may all praise her for her works.

Thursday, 12 February 2015 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented with the readings which tell us about the relationship we have with one another, from the Book of Genesis which is our first reading that tells us about the creation of man and woman, and how woman was made as a companion to man, to help him and that she can also be helped by man. It is therefore a mutualistic relationship, where man complement woman and vice versa.

And that is why we have marriage and the institution of the holy matrimony and the holy institution of the family. That is because the union between man and woman had been decreed and ordained by God since the beginning of time, when He first created man and woman to complete each other and make each other perfect in the sight of God. And He had also given this world to our care, and blessed us all to bear children and spread all around the world.

The union of man and woman had been blessed by God, and indeed God had said that what God had made one, no man shall divide and separate. And from that blessed union, the gift of children came, and many young ones were born, to continue the legacy of mankind, as the new generation of humanity to walk in this world. However, unfortunately, sin entered into the hearts of men, and we became defiled by its darkness.

The people of God had been disobedient, and repeatedly they had abandoned the Lord their God to worship the horrible idols of the world, and allowed themselves to be corrupted by sin. They disregarded the commandments of the Lord and allowed their lives to be filled with the wickedness of sin and evil. But God did not give up on them, just as much as He hated their sins and evils, so much so and even more so that He loved them all and desired their salvation.

That was why He gave Jesus, His own Son, who became Man and incarnate in flesh, to walk as one of us and dwell in this world. He came into the world to reveal the truth to a people who have long walked in the darkness of the world, and bring them into the fullness of God’s love, mercy and salvation. But yet, His own people rejected Him, because they were so full of themselves, so immersed in their pride, and so reluctant to let go of the possessions and things of the world which they had accumulated in their earthly life.

This is where this attitude is contrasted with the attitude of the faithful Syro-Phoenician woman, whose daughter was afflicted and possessed by an evil spirit. She had great faith in Jesus, and knowing and accepting who Jesus was, she poured out her heart to Him, and in great humility, she beseeched Him to help her daughter. She did not even mind being insulted by what Jesus apparently said to her when she asked Him for help.

What Jesus said to the woman was in fact the prejudice and bias which the people of Israel often had of those around them who did not belong to the race of the Jewish people. They have always taken pride of the fact that they were the chosen people, and as the recipients of God’s planned salvation, they took great pride and thought lowly of those who did not belong to their race.

Thus, it is truly a surprising fact and occurrence when the Syro-Phoenician woman, considered to be among the Gentiles, or the non-Jewish people, had so great a faith for the Lord, when the very chosen people of God had refused to believe in Him and hardened their hearts against Him. And for her faith, she was rewarded and her daughter was cured from her afflictions.

Jesus did not intend to demean or insult her at all, but instead, He was rebuking the Jews and the people of God, who was so haughty and proud to the point that they lost their focus in the Lord, and thus they were unable to recognise Him in Jesus. He wanted to chastise His prodigal people, the unfaithful people, that they would be awakened from their long and deep slumber, and follow what the Syro-Phoenician woman had done, that is to be truly and genuinely faithful to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, today, let us all follow the Lord with all of our hearts and with our entire being focused completely at Him. Let us also be faithful to Him and follow all of His ways and teachings. In this era, we know that the institution of marriage and holy matrimony, as well as the family itself are under great threat. Let us be brave and courageous defenders of marriage, the sanctity of the union between man and woman as ordained by God.

May all of us strive to be holy and pure just as our Lord is. Let us all shun all forms of sin and become righteous as we were all intended to be. Reject Satan and all of his lies, and reject all forms of worldliness. May Almighty God be with us all and bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 16 November 2014 : 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Proverbs 31 : 10-13, 19-20, 30-31

The woman of character, where is she to be found? She is more precious than any jewel. Her husband has complete confidence in her; she will be of great benefit to him. She brings him only good and not evil, all the days of her life. She has obtained wool and flax, and works them with skillful hands.

She puts her hand to the distaff and her fingers hold the spindle. She reaches out her hand to the helpless and gives to the poor. Charm is deceptive and beauty useless; the woman who is wise is the one to praise. May she enjoy the fruits of her labour and may all praise her for her works.

 

Homily and Reflection : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 44 : 11-12, 14-15, 16-17

Listen, o daughter, pay attention; forget your father’s house and your nation, and your beauty will charm the King, for He is your Lord.

All glorious as she enters is the princess in her gold-woven robes. She is led in royal attire to the King, following behind is her train of virgins.

Amid cheers and general rejoicing, they enter the palace of the King. Forget your fathers and think of your sons, you will make them princes throughout the land.

Friday, 15 August 2014 : Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 39-56

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour! He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed.”

“The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name! From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence.”

“He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”

“He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and His descendants forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Lord and His profession of faith and devotion to us, as He told us how a shepherd would go all out of his way, leaving those sheep which are secure with him, and find the one lost sheep until that sheep is found. Our Lord is the Good Shepherd, as He Himself had said, and therefore, we are His sheep, in the pasture that is this world, and He will devote Himself in the same way as the shepherd is devoted to his flock of sheep.

In the first reading today, Ezekiel, the prophet of Israel called when the people of God was exiled at Babylon, received a vision showing God in all of His majesty, who commissioned him to speak His words on His behalf to the people of God, and particularly those who had rebelled against God and walked in ways contrary to the way of the Lord.

Thus, both readings essentially talked about the same thing, that God is concerned with the fate of mankind, particularly those who are lost in the darkness of this world, which is caused by our sinfulness and disobedience to the will of God. God wants those sheep that are lost, to be able to find their way back to Him before it is too late, and thus He sent His servants, the prophets like Ezekiel and ultimately Himself through Jesus His Son.

God did not take our case and fate lightly, as He knows that there are only two end points for us all, that is either eternal goodness or eternal damnation. Satan and his supporters are ever active in our world, dragging mankind and all those who are not vigilant into the trap of sin and evil, much like how wolves drag and trap their unsuspecting preys, the lost sheep into harm’s way and death.

That is why He sent on our way, so much help and assistance, that is the assistant shepherds which He gave us to be our shepherds and leaders to help us on our way to the Lord, to guard us and help us to evade the wolves. These were the prophets, and then followed by the disciples of Christ and their successors, our priests and bishops today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of a saint, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, a French noblewoman who lived during the late Renaissance era. She led a relatively normal life for the people of her age in that time, building up a family with her aristocrat husband, until she was widowed at the young age of twenty-eight with several of her children.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal then experienced a turn in her life, when she devoted herself to a life in devotion to God through charity and works, meeting up with saints and then established a congregation of women committed to the service of the poor, which she herself dutifully carried out for the sake of these lost ones of the children of God.

She was so devoted in her works, that despite all the opposition and challenges against her, even ridicule and obstacles would not allow her to give up her good works for God’s lost and weak children. It was indeed the same as how our Lord painstakingly worked hard to gather back all of His sheep, the lost ones, namely all of us, who had been sundered from Him ever since sin entered into the hearts of men.

We too have to follow her example, and the very example set up by our Lord, who as the Good Shepherd, did the ultimate act of love and devotion, by laying down His own life for His sheep, through the crucified Christ, that we all may live. It is important for us to realise how great is the love that God has for us, and therefore try our best to love Him back and seek Him with the best of our abilities.

Let us help one another on our way towards the Lord. Let us seek Him who is the Shepherd of all things living, and of all creations. He loves us all, and we should also all love Him back in the same way. Let us never be separated again from Him, and let us ask for the intercession of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, that our faith in the Lord will always be blessed by God. Amen.

Monday, 7 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. John Baptist de la Salle, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Daniel 13 : 1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

There lived in Babylon a man named Joakim, who was married to a very beautiful God-fearing woman, Susanna, Hilkiah’s daughter, whose pious parents had trained her in the law of Moses. A very rich man and greatly respected by all the Jews, Joakim was frequently visited by the Jews in his house adjoining a garden.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, in whom this word of the Lord became true, “Wickedness has come forth from Babylon, through the elders appointed judges, who were supposed to govern the people.”

These men frequented Joakim’s house, and all who had legal disputes used to come to them. After the people had left at noon, Susanna would go into her husband’s garden for a walk. The two old men began to lust for her as they watched her enter the garden every day. Forgetting the demands of justice and virtue, their lust grew all the more as they made no effort to turn their eyes to heaven.

One day, as they were waiting for an opportune time, Susanna entered the garden as usual with only two maids. She decided to bathe, for it was a hot day. Nobody else was there except the two elders watching her from where they had hidden themselves. She said to the maids, “Bring me oil and ointments, and shut the garden doors while I bathe.”

When the maids had left, the two elders hurried to her and said, “Look, the garden doors are shut and no one sees us. We desire to possess you. If you refuse to give in, we will testify that you sent your maids away for there was a young man here with you.”

Susanna moaned, “Whatever I do, I am trapped. If I give in to your desire, it will be death for me; if I refuse, I will not escape your persecution. I would rather be persecuted than sin in the eyes of the Lord.” Susanna shrieked, but the old men shouted, putting the blame on her. One of them ran and opened the garden doors.

Hearing the noise in the garden, the household servants rushed in by the side entrance to see what was happening. They were taken aback when they heard the elders’ accusation, for never had anything like this been said of Susanna.

The next day a meeting was held at Joakim’s house. The two elders arrived, vindictively determined to have Susanna sentenced to death. They ordered before all the people, “Send for Susanna, Hilkiah’s daughter and Joakim’s wife.” They sent for her, and she came with her parents, children and all her relatives.

Her family and friends and all who saw her wept. The two elders stood up and laid their hands upon her head. Completely trusting in the Lord, she raised her tearful eyes to heaven. The elders started making the accusation, “We were taking a walk in the garden when this woman came in with two maids. She ordered them to shut the garden doors and dismissed them.”

“Then a young man came out of hiding and lay with her. We were in a corner of the garden, and we saw this crime from there. We ran to them, and caught them in the act of embracing. We were unable to take hold of the man. He was too strong for us. He made a dash for the door, opened it and ran off. But we were able to seize this woman. We asked her who the young man was, but she refused to tell us. This is our statement, and we testify to its truth.”

The assembly took their word, since they were elders and judges of the people. Susanna was condemned to death. She cried aloud, “Eternal God, nothing is hidden from You; You know all things before they come to be. You know that these men have testified falsely against me. Would You let me die, though I am not guilty of all their malicious charges?”

The Lord heard her, and as she was being led to her execution, God aroused the Holy Spirit residing in a young lad named Daniel. He shouted, “I will have no part in the death of this woman?”

Those present turned to him, “What did you say?” they all asked. Standing in their midst, he said to them, “Have you become fools, you Israelites, to condemn a daughter of Israel without due process and in the absence of clear evidence? Return to court, for those men have testified falsely against her.”

Hurriedly they returned, and the elders said to Daniel, “Come and sit with us, for you also possess the gifts bestowed by God upon the elders.” Daniel said to the people, “Separate these two from one another and I will examine each of them.”

When the two elders were separated from each other, Daniel called one of them and said, “How wicked you have grown with age. Your sins of earlier days have piled up against you, and now is the time of reckoning.”

“Remember how you have passed unjust sentences, condemning the innocent and freeing the guilty, although the Lord has said ‘The innocent and the just should not be put to death.’ Now, if you really witnessed the crime, under what tree did you see them do it?”

The elder answered, “Under a mastic tree.” Daniel said, “Your lie will cost you your head. You will be cut in two, as soon as the Lord’s angel receives your sentence from God.”

Putting the first one aside, Daniel called the other elder and said to him, “You offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, you have long allowed yourself to be perverted by lust. This is how you have dealt with the daughters of Israel, who out of fear have yielded to you.”

“But here is a daughter of Judah who would not tolerate your wickedness. Tell me then, under what tree did you catch them committing the crime?” The answer came, “Under an oak.”

“Your lie has also cost you your head,” Daniel said. “God’s angel waits to cut you both in two.”

The whole assembly shouted and blessed God for helping those who hope in Him. They turned against the two elders who, through Daniel’s efforts, had been convicted by their own mouths. In accordance with Moses’ law, the penalty the two elders had intended to impose upon their neighbour was inflicted upon them.  They were sentenced to death. Thus was the life of an innocent woman spared that day.

 

Alternative Reading (shorter version)

 

Daniel 13 : 41c-62

The assembly took their word, since they were elders and judges of the people. Susanna was condemned to death. She cried aloud, “Eternal God, nothing is hidden from You; You know all things before they come to be. You know that these men have testified falsely against me. Would You let me die, though I am not guilty of all their malicious charges?”

The Lord heard her, and as she was being led to her execution, God aroused the Holy Spirit residing in a young lad named Daniel. He shouted, “I will have no part in the death of this woman?”

Those present turned to him, “What did you say?” they all asked. Standing in their midst, he said to them, “Have you become fools, you Israelites, to condemn a daughter of Israel without due process and in the absence of clear evidence? Return to court, for those men have testified falsely against her.”

Hurriedly they returned, and the elders said to Daniel, “Come and sit with us, for you also possess the gifts bestowed by God upon the elders.” Daniel said to the people, “Separate these two from one another and I will examine each of them.”

When the two elders were separated from each other, Daniel called one of them and said, “How wicked you have grown with age. Your sins of earlier days have piled up against you, and now is the time of reckoning.”

“Remember how you have passed unjust sentences, condemning the innocent and freeing the guilty, although the Lord has said ‘The innocent and the just should not be put to death.’ Now, if you really witnessed the crime, under what tree did you see them do it?”

The elder answered, “Under a mastic tree.” Daniel said, “Your lie will cost you your head. You will be cut in two, as soon as the Lord’s angel receives your sentence from God.”

Putting the first one aside, Daniel called the other elder and said to him, “You offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, you have long allowed yourself to be perverted by lust. This is how you have dealt with the daughters of Israel, who out of fear have yielded to you.”

“But here is a daughter of Judah who would not tolerate your wickedness. Tell me then, under what tree did you catch them committing the crime?” The answer came, “Under an oak.”

“Your lie has also cost you your head,” Daniel said. “God’s angel waits to cut you both in two.”

The whole assembly shouted and blessed God for helping those who hope in Him. They turned against the two elders who, through Daniel’s efforts, had been convicted by their own mouths. In accordance with Moses’ law, the penalty the two elders had intended to impose upon their neighbour was inflicted upon them.  They were sentenced to death. Thus was the life of an innocent woman spared that day.