Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 13 : 54-58

Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?” And so they took offense at Him.

Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Thursday, 1 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 31-36

He who comes from above is above all; He who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and his words belong to the earth. He who comes from heaven speaks of the things He has seen and heard; He bears witness to these things, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever does receive His testimony acknowledges the truthfulness of God.

The One sent by God speaks God’s words, and gives the Spirit unstintingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything into His hands. Whoever believes in the Son lives with eternal life; but he who will not believe in the Son will never know life, and always faces the justice of God.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

 

Matthew 13 : 54-58

Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas not His brothers? Are not all His sisters living here? How did He get all this?”

And so they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Monday, 2 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about how Christ was rejected and mocked by His own people, the people of Nazareth His hometown. They rejected Him when He came to proclaim the truth about Himself, as the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy of the prophets of God, including Isaiah, who made a lot of predictions about His coming, which was indeed fulfilled at that moment when Christ proclaimed the very completion of that prophecy to His own townspeople.

Why so? Why did they reject Christ? Why did they reject the very Messiah sent to save them? Precisely because of familiarity and their failure to look beyond what is apparent to them, and the failure to overcome their own prejudices and judgements, which they imposed on Christ without mercy. They knew Him to be the lowly son of a carpenter, though an upright job, but a job of the poor, and therefore, in their minds, prophets, even less so the Messiah could ever come from such backgrounds.

Yet, indeed, the Lord who is King of kings and the Messiah of all mankind, was born of a humble carpenter’s family, of Joseph His foster father, and of Mary, the humble and loving mother He had. Yet, He is truly the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, whom His own people had rejected. Yes, the people of Israel had often rejected their own prophets sent to them by God over the centuries before the coming of Christ, and they turned deaf ears to their warnings and reminders of the need to follow the Law of God and turn from their evil and wicked ways.

The same too therefore happened to Christ, that He was rejected in Nazareth, His own hometown, and even long before that, before His birth, He was rejected everywhere in Bethlehem, because all the inns were full, and He had to be born in a humble and dirty stable. He was rejected even by the people, by the Pharisees and the chief priests who saw Him as a threat to their authority and their power over the people, as a rival.

And just as the people had tortured and slaughtered the prophets of old without mercy, they too slaughtered the Lamb of God, the Messiah who was sent to ensure their own salvation and redemption from death. They had rejected Him for a lowly criminal, Barabbas. They preferred a criminal to a king, a criminal to the One who had to suffer for all of their sins, He who forgave them even fully knowing of their actions in bringing about His suffering.

Yes, brethren, our Lord Jesus bared His love and mercy to all of us, and as He lay hanging on that cross, looking with great love and mercy upon all of His people, even those who called for His death, thos who crucified and tortured Him. Why so? That is because He loves all of us so much, that He does not want us to be separated from Him by our sins, our wickedness, and our unworthiness. He died for us and shed His blood that through that sacrifice, our sins may be erased from us and that we have a new hope for a new life, a new life, eternal life of joy in Christ our Lord.

Just as St. Paul had elaborated in the First Reading that the faithful, both those who are still alive and those who have already passed away when the Lord comes again, will rise with Him into heavenly glory He had promised us who believes in Him and accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. However, the question here is, are we ready? Are we ready to welcome and greet our Saviour, when He comes again, or during our lives? Or are we going to be like the people of Nazareth, the Pharisees and the chief priests in rejecting Him?

It is clear, brethren, that we have need to open our doors for Christ, and to welcome Him into out hearts, that He may remain in us, just as we remain in His love and grace. Do not harden our hearts with prejudice, stubbornness, and fear, as the Lord comes and approaches us, and reveals to us the truth about His glorious and yet humble self. Do not be like the people of Nazareth who dismissed Him merely because he’s familiar to them as a carpenter’s son.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today in our world, there are still many people who do not welcome Christ into their lives, and even many among those are they who call themselves as Christians, which I am sure including some of us here. Let us introspect ourselves and look into ourselves, whether we have kept the doors of our heart locked tight against the love of Jesus.

If the doors are closed, then let us have the courage to open it, let Christ in, bare everything to Him, just as He had bared all of His heart and love as He lay dying on the cross out of His great love for all of us. Let the Lord come into our hearts, healing it of our afflictions, of our wickedness, of our unworthiness, erasing from them the spirit of pride, of wrath, of gluttony, of lust, of greed, of hatred, of desire, and of all evils.

In their place may the Holy Spirit of love, peace, hope, and compassion come and reside within each one of us, that we may be truly and completely transformed into a people of love, a people of hope, and a people of faith, belonging to the Lord our God who will be pleased at our faith and who will raise us up on the last day. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 2 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 16-30

When Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah. Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.” All agreed with Him, and were lost in wonder, while He spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, “Who is this but Joseph’s Son?”

So He said, “Doubtless you will quote Me the saying : ‘Doctor, heal Yourself! Do here in Your town what they say You did in Capernaum.’” Jesus added, “No prophet is honoured in his own country.”

“Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet, and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian.”

On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought Him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw Him down the cliff. But He passed through their midst and went His way.

Thursday, 4 July 2013 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Gospel Reading)

Matthew 9 : 1-8

Jesus got back into the boat, crossed the lake again, and came to His hometown. Here they brought a paralysed man to Him, lying on a bed. Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, “Courage, My son! Your sins are forgiven.”

Then some teachers of the Law said within themselves, “This Man insults God.” Jesus was aware of what they were thinking, and said, “Why have you such evil thoughts? Which is easier to say : ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Stand up, and walk’? You must know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

He then said to the paralysed man, “Stand up! Take your stretcher and go home.” The man got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were filled with awe, and praised God for giving such power to human beings.