Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 12 : 1-8, 11-14

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat. That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH!”

“The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Wednesday, 9 April 2014 : 5th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Daniel 3 : 52, 53, 54, 55, 56

Blessed are You, Lord, God of our fathers, be praised and exalted forever. Blessed is Your holy and glorious Name, celebrated and exalted forever.

Blessed are You in the temple of Your sacred glory, Your praises are sung forever.

Blessed are You on the throne of Your kingdom, honoured and glorified forever.

Blessed are You who fathom the depths, who are enthroned on the cherubim, praised and exalted forever.

Blessed are You in the firmament of heaven, praised and glorified forever.

Passing of Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, Cardinal-Patriarch Emeritus of Lisbon (Portugal) at the age of 78

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Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, Cardinal-Priest of S. Antonio in Campo Marzio has passed away on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at the age of 78. He was the Patriarch of Lisbon and therefore the Primate of Portugal, from 1998 to 2013, and was recently retired from his position.

http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-8.htm#126

Coat_of_arms_of_Jose_da_Cruz_Policarpo.svg

Cardinal Policarpo was created Cardinal in 2001 by Blessed Pope John Paul II in his eighth Cardinal creation consistory on 21 February 2001. His motto was Per Obedientiam ad Libertatem, which means “Through obedience, to freedom”. This means that through obedience to God, we will gain freedom from sin and death and gain eternal life.

Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo - Lisboa[1]

We pray for Cardinal Policarpo, that he will rest in peace, and God will reward him for all his hard and great work as the long time servant of God as the shepherd of the faithful in Lisbon, for all the ministries and good works he had done there for the sake of God and His people. May the Lord welcome him into His embrace in heaven and give him eternal rest and happiness that he deserved.

With the passing of Cardinal Policarpo, the College of Cardinals now stands at 217 members, with 120 Cardinal-electors and 97 Cardinal non-electors. The number of Cardinal-electors now is just at the specified maximum limit.

There are now 0 Cardinal-elector vacancy in the College of Cardinals, 0 vacant Cardinal Suburbicarian Sees (for Cardinal Bishops), 1 vacant Cardinal Title (for Cardinal Priests) and 6 vacant Cardinal Deaconries (for Cardinal Deacons).

Saturday, 15 March 2014 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Deuteronomy 26 : 16-19

On this day, YHVH, your God, commands you to fulfill these norms and these commandments. Obey them now and put them into practice with all your heart and with all your soul.

Today YHVH has declared to you that He will be your God, and so you shall follow His ways, observing His norms, His commandments and His laws, and listening to His voice.

Today YHVH has declared that you will be His very own people even as He had promised you, and you must obey all His commandments. He, for His part, will give you honour, renown and glory, and set you high above all the nations He has made, and you will become a nation consecrated to YHVH, your God, as He has declared.

Sunday, 2 March 2014 : 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 61 : 2-3, 6-7, 8-9ab

My soul finds rest in God alone; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and salvation; with Him as my stronghold, I shall not be overcome.

Find rest in God alone, o my soul; from Him comes my hope. He alone is my rock and my salvation; with Him as my stronghold, I shall not be overcome.

On God rests my salvation and my honour; He is my refuge, my mighty Rock. Trust in Him at all times, my people; pour out your hearts before Him.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Marian feast)

Mark 7 : 1-13

One day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus, and with them were some teachers of the Law who had just come from Jerusalem. They noticed that some of His disciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them.

Now the Pharisees, and in fact all the Jews, never eat without washing their hands, for they follow the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything, when they come from the market, without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe; for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates.

So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?” Jesus answered, “You shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote : ‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. The worship they offer Me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules.'”

“You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition.” And Jesus commented, “You have a fine way of disregarding the commandments of God in order to enforce your own traditions! For example, Moses said : ‘Do your duty to your father and your mother,’ and : ‘Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death.'”

“But according to you, someone could say to his father or mother, ‘I already declared Corban, which means ‘offered to God’ what you could have expected from me.’ In this case, you no longer require him to do anything for his father or mother, and so you nullify the word of God through the tradition you have handed on. And you do many other things like that.”

Alternative Reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

John 2 : 1-11

Three days later there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding with His disciples. When all the wine provided for the celebration had been served, and they had run out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus replied, “Woman, what concern is that to you and Me? My hour has not yet come.” However his mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars, set there for ritual washing as practiced by the Jews; each jar could hold twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim. Then Jesus said, “Now draw some out and take it to the steward.” So they did. The steward tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing from where it had come; for only the servants who had drawn the water knew.

So, he called the bridegroom to tell him, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and when people have drunk enough, he serves that which is ordinary. Instead you have kept the best wine until the end.”

This miraculous sign was the first, and Jesus performed it at Cana in Galilee. In this way He let His glory appear, and His disciples believed in Him.

Sunday, 9 February 2014 : 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

We are light of the world and salt of the earth. That is what our Lord had made us all to be, all those who believe in Him and has been welcomed and are now part of His Body, that is His Church. We are all called to be light and salt for all the nations, and to proclaim the kingdom of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the nations, to all the peoples, especially those who live in darkness and those who have no flavour in their lives.

Yes, we are called to bring light to those who had fallen into the darkness and to bring flavour to the blandness of people’s lives in this world. Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear in the first reading, from the book of the prophet Isaiah, of the examples of the things we can do, in order to accomplish this in accordance with God’s will.

In all of us, God has given seeds of faith, hope, and love, and many gifts of various types, which we can use to help one another, and bring indeed the light and flavour to the livelihood of many. Each one of us have different set of skills and abilities, granted to us by God, awaiting for us to use them for the good of our fellow men, our fellow brothers and sisters.

Yet, many of us did not use these gifts God had given us, and let them to be dormant. There are various reasons attributed to this lack of action, but the most important and common of which include, fear of failure and embarrassment, laziness and sloth, and finally, greed and desire for self-aggrandisement and glorification. All of these prevent us from utilising fully God’s gifts for each one of us.

And when this happened, the light that is in us becomes hidden, and the salt that is in us becomes tasteless and bland, and therefore the gifts in us become dormant and useless. We fear failure and embarrassment in the eyes of men, because we are concerned of how others view us and our actions, as we practice our faith in this world. We also have our own desires and temptations, that we use our gifts instead for the benefit of others, but for our own good and our own glory, often at the expense of many others.

We are often to take the first step, and have the initiative to embark on the mission of good works as the Lord had told us to do, because we are often uncertain, what will our actions do to ourselves. We often ask ourselves first many times, whether what we are doing or going to do will impact us in a way that disadvantages us, by making us look embarrassed or less preferable by our society and our friends in any way.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this world has its set of values, many of which do not necessarily agree or correspond to the values which our Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord in the Holy Scriptures had taught us. The world therefore will not necessarily see our actions based on our faith in good light, but our Lord who sees all, will see that whatever we are doing, to be good.

If we continue to be concerned about our image or standing in the society, as well as our friendships and relationships, then it may be difficult for us to be truly the light and salt of the world. To be light of the world, we have to throw far, far away our prejudices, our fears, and our uncertainties. Instead we should put our trust in God, and believe in Him only, trusting that He will guide our way to the truth.

We should also throw far away our desire and our greed, for power, for affluence, for pleasure, and for many other things of the world. If we are to become the true light of the world and salt of the earth, then we have to be truly selfless, that our beings be transformed to be conduits of God’s love and grace, that through us, the world will see the Light of our Lord and the beauty that He brings into this world, which brings flavour to all things.

We should not be worry or fearful, but yet we too should not be showy or seeking attention in any way. We have to make use of what God has given us, in faith, hope and love, and show them through concrete actions, out of pure and unadulterated and unconditional love for our brethren, just as the prophet Isaiah had said.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us from today onwards, resolve to seek out those in need, whether they are in need of material goods, basic survival items, or even as simple as needing love. Let us be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, showing this world that there is much good in God and in following God, that all mankind may be saved in the Lord. God be with us all. Amen.