Wednesday, 12 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, as we rejoice together for the great gift of God, Who has given us this wonderful gift of Mary, the Most Blessed Mother of God, His own mother, to be our mother as well. Mary has been our role model, our example and our inspiration, and we should continue to look up to her, each and every days of our life, as we strive to be true Christian modelled upon her own life.

And today we reflect on the significance of why Mary is so important in our faith life and development, and how she is so special, that she has this feast celebrated just for her most Holy Name. This is inseparable from the even greater honour accorded to her Son’s Name, Jesus Christ, upon Whose Name, every creature in heaven, earth, hell and in all of creation has to bow down and worship.

Satan fears the Lord the most, for He is still his true Lord and Master, and in the end of the day, no matter how mighty he is, he is still bound to the commands and to the will of God. As St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to the Philippians, at the Name of Jesus, all knees will bend and bow down, including even all the evil and wicked spirits and Satan himself. And because of that, they also feared Mary, the mother of God.

First of all, Mary is the one closest to her Son’s throne in heaven, sitting by His side, and blessed among all other women. And then, she alone by God’s singular grace, set apart and made free and immaculate, free from the taints of original sin. And then, with her free will, she chose to remain true and committed to the Lord throughout her life, in complete obedience and therefore purity from all sins.

Therefore, Satan has no power or authority over her, unlike that of any other men or women, who were under Satan’s power because of their sins. And through Mary and her intercession, her works and her apparitions throughout the centuries, many souls have been saved from certain eternal damnation and destruction. Many have turned away from their sinful path, embracing God’s love and mercy through Mary.

It is not a surprise therefore that Satan rightfully feared the Name of Mary. At every mention of her name, he trembled because of the fact that he had no control or power over her, and how many souls have been saved from his clutches through her actions and intercessions. And of course, through Mary came the deliverance and salvation which God has long prepared for His people, that is the Lord Jesus Himself.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have often been beset by Satan and his agents throughout our lives. He has battered us with temptations, persuasions and even coercions, pressures and efforts to turn us away from God’s salvation. Nonetheless, we should not be afraid of him, as we should instead look upon Mary as our hope and example, as the one whose commitment and devotion to God is an inspiration to all of us.

Let us therefore turn towards God with all of our hearts, our minds and our every attention and efforts, through Mary, His beloved mother. Let us all entrust ourselves to her care, the mother of us all, just as the Lord has entrusted her to us and us to herself. Let us all ask for her intercession, for the sake of all of us sinners, that God will be merciful and forgiving towards us. Let us all heed her messages, calling us to turn away from sin and towards God’s light.

O, most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and mother of us all, you whose name is so holy and glorious, that even the evil one feared in great anguish upon hearing it, may be the inspiration of our lives. Let us all be ever more faithful from now on, dedicating our whole lives to the Lord, Our God. May God bless us all, and be with us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 6 : 20-26

At that time, looking at His disciples, Jesus said, “Fortunate are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Fortunate are you, who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Fortunate are you, who weep now, for you will laugh.”

“Fortunate are you, when people hate you, when they reject you and insult you and number you among criminals, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. Remember, that is how the ancestors of the people treated the prophets.”

“But alas for you, who have wealth, for you have been comforted now. Alas for you, who are full, for you will go hungry. Alas for you, who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Alas for you, when people speak well of you, for that is how the ancestors of the people treated the false prophets.”

Alternative reading (Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 1 : 39-47

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 the 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!”

Wednesday, 12 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

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.

Alternative Psalm (Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

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.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

1 Corinthians 7 : 25-31

With regard to those who remain virgins, I have no special commandment from the Lord, but I give some advice, hoping that I am worthy of trust by the mercy of the Lord.

I think this is good in these hard times in which we live. It is good for someone to remain as he is. If you are married, do not try to divorce your wife; if you are not married, do not marry. He who marries does not sin, nor does the young girl sin who marries. Yet they will face disturbing experiences, and I would like to spare you.

I say this, brothers and sisters : time is running out, and those who are married must live as if not married; those who weep as if not weeping; those who are happy as if they were not happy; those buying something as if they had not bought it, and those enjoying the present life as if they were not enjoying it. For the order of this world is vanishing.

Alternative reading (Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Galatians 4 : 4-7

But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son. He came born of woman and subject to the Law, in order to redeem the subjects of the Law, that we might receive adoption as children of God.

And because you are children, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son which cries out : Abba! That is, Father! You yourself are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and yours is the inheritance by God’s grace.

Alternative reading (Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Ephesians 1 : 3-6

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, Who, in Christ, has blessed us from heaven, with every spiritual blessing. God chose us, in Christ, before the creation of the world, to be holy, and without sin in His presence.

From eternity He destined us, in love, to be His adopted sons and daughters, through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling His free and generous will. This goal suited Him : that His loving-kindness, which He granted us His beloved might finally receive all glory and praise.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together with the whole Universal Church the occasion when Mary, the Most Blessed Mother of Our God, Jesus Christ, was born into this world, after she was conceived in her mother’s womb and grew there for the nine months of pregnancy. She was born from her mother, St. Anne, pure without sin, just as she was prepared by God specially since the moment of her Conception.

In today’s readings we heard about the fulfilment of God’s long prepared plan to save His people, by the sending of the Messiah, through Whom He would gather all of His people and reconcile them to Himself, saving them from their predicament and fated destruction because of their disobedience and thus, their sins. And God would make this salvation a reality, through none other than the cooperation of Mary, a human being whom God had especially chosen and blessed, to be the Mother of Our God and Saviour.

In today’s Gospel passage, we heard the long citation of the genealogy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning from Abraham, the father of many nations and the ancestor of the Israelites, who himself was the descendant of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors. Through Abraham was born Isaac and then from Isaac, Jacob, and later on through the generations, king David and his successors, to whom God has promised that his descendants will rule forever and his kingdom will never end.

And in the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we have seen the perfect fulfilment of God’s promise to us mankind, first of all, to Adam and Eve, that the reckoning would come for the deceit of Satan who tricked them to sin, and to Abraham, as through the Lord Jesus Christ, all of mankind have been gathered together as one people, all who looked up to Abraham as their father in faith, to king David as mentioned, for Christ is the one true Heir of David’s kingdom.

All of these came about because of the plan and works which God had carried out to its perfect completion, by the cooperation, faith and commitment which one woman, Mary, showed before all of us, by her obedience to God’s will, and by her willing collaboration throughout her life that God’s saving works are carried out to its perfect completion through Christ, her Son.

As mentioned, Mary was prepared and designed to be special, distinct from all other men and women, by the singular grace of God, that she alone of the children of man is preserved from the taints of original sin that has affected all other men and women. She was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, pure and immaculate, free from sin and perfect, blameless and worthy, in the Dogma that the Church upholds as the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Therefore, as we remember Mary’s birth into this world on this day, we should reflect on the coming of this beacon of hope into our world. When Mary came into the world, it was the first time since the beginning of time, that a man walked in this world, free and unbound by the chains of sin and death. For ever since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and sinned against Him, sin has ever since enthralled us all mankind.

But sin has no hold or sway over Mary, for she was without any sin, and remained free from sin throughout her life. Mary lived an exemplary life, filled with love and faith in God, as evident in how she loved her own Son, the Divine Word incarnate. Mary’s love for God was so perfect, as shown by the perfect, motherly love she has shown for her Son, and her obedience to the will of the Father, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in her, that Satan and his wicked forces have no hold whatsoever over her.

Rightfully, Satan was afraid of her, as she was the fulfilment of what God had Himself declared to him at the moment of the fall of Adam and Eve into sin. God said that while Satan will strike at the children of mankind, but the Woman will crush him under her feet. This was a reference to what Mary, the Woman mentioned by God, would do to Satan, for through her role in the bringing of the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, into this world, she has crushed for eternity, Satan’s power and kingdom.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians are called to reflect on our own role in the works of God’s salvation. We should look upon Mary as the perfect role model and example for our own faith and in how we should live out our own lives in accordance with God’s ways. Mary has loved the Lord with all of her heart, and devoted herself so completely to God, in a state of total surrender to the will of God. Many of us can follow her example in how we should be faithful to God.

Why is that so? That is because many of us are still burdened by the temptations of our pride, our greed and human desires, and by all the temptations and hurdles that kept us from truly being able to dedicate ourselves to God. And many of us grew distant from God, because we did not build up a good relationship with Him, as we are often too preoccupied in life, by our careers, studies, and all other things that made us to forget to spend quality time with God.

Let us therefore turn towards God, through Mary, His most blessed and beloved mother, who is our perfect role model as the ideal Christian, in following the Lord’s ways and in how she has walked faithfully and obeyed God all her life. Let us all also ask Mary to intercede for us, for being the Mother of God, she is the greatest of all saints and the one who is closest to her Son, at the very side of His throne, interceding for us sinners.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived and born without sin, pure and immaculate, pray for us all sinners, and bring us all closer to your Son, that we too one day, may be worthy as you are, to be with God, your most beloved Son, Our Lord and Saviour. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 1-16, 18-23

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 1 : 18-23

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 12 : 6ab, 6cd

But I put my trust in Your unfailing love, my heart will rejoice on seeing Your salvation.

I will sing to YHVH, for He has been good to me!