Sunday, 5 March 2017 : First Sunday of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Matthew 4 : 1-11

At that time, the Spirit led Jesus into the desert that He might be put to the test by the devil. After spending forty days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry. Then the devil came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, order these stones to turn into bread.” But Jesus answered, “Scripture says : One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city, set Him on the highest wall of the Temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for Scripture says : God has given orders to His Angels about You. Their hands will hold You up lest You hurt Your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered, “But Scripture also says : You shall not put to the test the Lord your God.”

Then the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the nations of the world in all their greatness and splendour. And he said, “All this I will give You, if You kneel down and worship me.” Then Jesus answered, “Be off, Satan! Scripture says : Worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone!”

Then the devil left Him, and Angels came to serve Him.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor of the Church, and Pope St. Gregory VII, Pope, and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests, Popes and Virgins)

Mark 10 : 32-45

At that time, Jesus and His disciples were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and He was walking ahead. The Twelve were anxious, and those who followed were afraid. Once more Jesus took the Twelve aside to tell them what was to happen to Him.

“You see we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be given over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. They will condemn Him to death, and hand Him over to the foreigners, who will make fun of Him, spit on Him, scourge Him, and finally kill Him; but three days later He will rise.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to Him, “Master, we want You to grant us what we are going to ask of You.” And He said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They answered, “Grant us to sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, when You come in Your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptised in the way I am baptised?” They answered, “We can.” And Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptised in the way that I am baptised; but to sit at My right hand or at My left is not Mine to grant. It has been prepared for others.”

On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John. Jesus then called them to Him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations act as tyrants, and their great ones oppress them. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all.”

“Think of the Son of Man, Who has not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Friday, 29 January 2016 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Samuel 11 : 1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17

In the spring of that year, when kings usually set out to fight, David sent out Joab, his officers and all the Israelite troops. They slaughtered the Ammonites and attacked Rabbah, while David remained in Jerusalem.

One afternoon, David got up from his siesta and took a walk on the roof of the royal house. From the rooftop, he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful. David sent to inquire about the woman, and was told, “She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah, the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to have her brought to him.

As the woman saw she was with child, she sent word to David, “I am with child.” David then sent a message to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came, David asked him about Joab, how the people were and how the war was proceeding; then he told Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.”

Uriah left the palace and the king had a portion from his table sent to him. Uriah, however, did not go down to his house but slept by the door of the king’s palace with all the servants of his lord. David was told that Uriah did not go down to his house.

David invited him to table and he ate and drank until he was drunk. When evening fell, however, he went to lie down on his couch with the guards of his lord instead of going down to his house. The next morning, David wrote Joab a letter to be taken by hand by Uriah, in which he said, “Place Uriah in the front row where the fighting is very fierce and then withdraw from him so that he may be struck down and die.”

When Joab was attacking the city, he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew was being defended by strong warriors. And the defenders attacked the men of Joab. Some of David’s soldiers and officers were killed; Uriah the Hittite also died.

Monday, 19 October 2015 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Luke 12 : 13-21

At that time, someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance.” He replied, “My friend, who has appointed Me as your Judge or your Attorney?” Then Jesus said to the people, “Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “There was a rich man, and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought, ‘What shall I do, for I am short of room to store my harvest? Alright, I know what I shall do : I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger ones, to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I will say to myself : My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself.'”

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you. Tell Me who shall get all you have put aside?’ This is the lot of the one who stores up riches for himself and is not wealthy in the eyes of God.”

Monday, 16 February 2015 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the readings of the Scriptures which told us about how the first sons of mankind, Cain and Abel, got into conflict between them out of jealousy and due to the taint of sin in mankind’s heart. And in the Gospel we heard how Jesus refused to give the sign which the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had demanded from Him as a proof that He came from God.

Today’s readings are truly about us all, brothers and sisters. It is truly about ourselves and how we act in this life with regards to our own selves. We mankind are always by our nature selfish and thinking only about ourselves and acting for our own benefit. How many times in a day we utter the word ‘I’? Certainly in a lot of scenarios and circumstances we like to defend ourselves first and gain something for ourselves.

The same therefore happened in the case of Cain and Abel. Both of them gave their respective offerings and sacrifices to God on the altar. However, Abel’s sacrifice was more pleasing to Him than that of Cain’s. As a result, Cain was jealous of his brother, Abel, and in his mind he already plotted mischief and evil things for his brother. The rest of the story we have heard it, on how Cain murdered his brother and pretended not to know about it when the Lord asked him.

But God sees all and He knows all things that happen in this world. He knows all the thoughts of men, and whatever Cain had planned in evil thoughts and purposes against his brother Abel, the Lord knew them all. There is no escape for mankind to think of evil without the Lord knowing about it. Thus, it was the same as well when the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law tried to embarrass Jesus by asking Him for a sign. Jesus knew it all, and that was why in His heart, He was so deeply moved and disturbed.

Indeed, imagine what the Lord would have thought of this wayward creation of His, who have disobeyed Him so many times and broke His covenant so many times so that they all would have deserved annihilation and total destruction. But yet, the Lord was still willing to help them and He continued to love them nevertheless. Such is the greatness of His love for us! And yet, so many of us continue to ignore His love, reject His mercy and act in the same way as Cain had done, and as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done.

The psalm today indeed rightly criticised the latter, as if to foretell the actions of those who would hamper the works of the Lord. They pretended to love the Lord and obey Him, by the disguise of following and observing the laws, rites and customs which they also imposed on all others. In reality, in their hearts, there is not a place for God, but only their ego and their self-serving nature.

Thus, today we are all reminded to throw far, far away our ego and pride, which often will become a great stumbling block in our way to achieve salvation. Like Cain, who was older than Abel, it was likely that his pride and the attempt to preserve his ego that led him to contemplate such a great sin like murder, and a murder of one’s own brother no less. How many of us have harmed others around us, both intentionally or unintentionally because we are unable to control ourselves?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to grow stronger in faith and also in the grace of God, and become reduced in the self. Christ always taught us to love one another just as we love ourselves, and therefore, our consideration of the self, while it should still be there, should not come in the way of how we should love one another.

May Almighty God bless us always and may He guide us to live faithfully and serve Him with love, that we will grow less in our selfishness and individuality, growing more in our humility and desire to love each other, all brothers and sisters in the presence of God, and to love the Lord Himself with all of our strength. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 14 February 2015 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril, Monk and St. Methodius, Bishop, Patron Saints of Europe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard of the fall of mankind and how mankind had been tainted by sin and evil, because of their disobedience against the Lord’s will and commandments, which He had established with them earlier on when He created them. Sin came into the hearts of men due to the vulnerability of us all mankind against the temptations which Satan arrayed against us.

Mankind received the punishment for their disobedience, and at first it might seem that they would forever be condemned and sundered from the goodness and the graces intended for them from the beginning of time. Yes, God intended not harm for us, but happiness, joy and everlasting fulfillment in Him, as the Garden of Eden was to show us all. Life before sin was perfect and complete, where mankind have all the things that they needed, and above all else, they had their Lord with them, who gave them all that they would ever need.

But mankind fell into the temptation of the evil one, who played upon our natural desire and curiosity, and when he offered our ancestors the opportunity to become equal with God, by getting beyond our boundaries and disobey the Lord, we forever therefore, all of mankind, had been tainted by that rebellion which Satan has brought upon us all mankind. Satan himself had fallen into evil because of his own pride and vanity, which he then passed on to mankind.

And by our nature, it is difficult to satiate our desire and wants. And ever since we ate of the tree of knowledge of the good and evil, our desire to know more and have more for ourselves only increased. And in that, we committed ever more sins, and ever greater in wickedness. How many times we can recognise greed and desire behind the actions of men when they sought to gain more in terms of material goods as well as other things?

And that is why our Lord want to liberate us from our slavery to our desires and wants. He came to show us that all that we need truly is to be faithful to our Lord and put our complete trust in Him, and He will provide us with all the things that we will ever need. He is our Lord, our Creator and our loving Father, and as such, He knows every one of us, in all that we need and in all the things we do.

He cares for all of us, and through Jesus, He made it all clear to us. The feeding of the hungry four thousand men in today’s Gospel tells us all about how God cares for our needs. We all naturally get hungry and we want to eat, and our Lord provided them with food, from the seven loaves of bread He gave His grace and power, and made the bread sufficient for all of them to eat until full.

Yet, one bad trait of mankind is our inability to know the limits to our desires. We always desire for more and more, and the more we are given, even more things we desire for ourselves. The people of Israel when they were on their way from Egypt out of their slavery and into the Promised Land, complained and protested against the Lord that the food that they had when they were in Egypt was much better, even though God had made large birds to come and provide them with those as food, and also with even the bread from heaven itself, that is the manna.

And God also provided them with sweet and crystal-clear pure water which He made to pour out from the earth itself. Such was the love and care that God had poured upon His beloved people, that He gave the best of all things to them. But they spurned that love and rejected Him, complaining and resisting with obstinate hearts. And destruction and ruin were what they deserved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the holy saints and servants of God who were the evangelisers of the Faith in many countries and areas now known as Eastern Europe. They standardised the language used in those regions, the languages used for the means of the Church. And using those languages and the Scriptures translated into those languages, they managed to bring many people who used to be in the darkness and bring them into the light of our Lord.

St. Cyril and St. Methodius should both give us an inspiration to carry on the knowledge which we have received on the love which our God has for us, to more and more people who have yet to receive it, to those who have yet to witness it, and to all those who still lay in the darkness of the world. They have brought the light of Christ and bring about their salvation.

So much and so great is God’s great love for us that He sent us His faithful servants and called them from the world to bring about our salvation and safety. Thus, shall we all cast aside all of our pride, our greed and our stubbornness, and then carry up our cross and follow Christ our Lord? He has provided us all freely with the salvation that He bought for us through His sacrifice and death on the cross.

May Almighty God bless us all, guide us all on our way, and protect us from harm of the evil one, and while awakening in us the love which we all ought to have for Him. Let us all be thankful and grateful for the rich love and mercy which our Lord had shown us, and be grateful for all He had provided us, knowing how to say enough when we have enough for us, for what we need. God be with us all. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 1 February 2015 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 20 : 1-16

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis parabolam hanc : Simile est regnum caelorum homini patrifamilias, qui exiit primo mane conducere operarios in vineam suam. Conventione autem facta cum operariis ex denario diurno, misit eos in vineam suam.

Et egressus circa horam tertiam, vidit alios stantes in foro otiosos, et dixit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam, et quod justum fuerit, dabo vobis. Illi autem abierunt. Iterum autem exiit circa sextam et nona, horam : et fecit similiter. Circa undecimam vero exiit, et invenit alios stantes, et dicit illis : Quid hic statis tota die otiosi?

Dicunt ei : Quia nemo nos conduxit. Dicit illis : Ite et vos in vineam meam. Cum sero autem factum esset, dicit dominus vineae procuratori suo : Voca operarios, et redde illis mercedem, incipiens a novissimis usque ad primos. Cum venissent ergo qui circa undecimam horam venerant, acceperunt singulos denarios.

Venientes autem et primi, arbitrari sunt, quod plus essent accepturi : acceperunt autem et ipsi singulos denarios. Et accipientes murmurabant adversus patremfamilias, dicentes : Hi novissimi una hora fecerunt et pares illos nobis fecisti, qui portavimus pondus diei et aestus.

At ille respondens uni eorum, dixit : Amice, non facio tibi injuriam : nonne ex denario convenisti mecum? Tolle quod tuum est, et vade : volo autem et huic novissimo dare sicut et tibi. Aut non licet mihi, quod volo, facere? an oculus tuus nequam est, quia ego bonus sum? Sic erunt novissimi primi, et primi novissimi. Multi enim sunt vocati, pauci vero electi.

English translation

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the marketplace idle, and he said to them, “Go all of you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just.” And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But at about the eleventh hour, he went out, and found others standing, and he said to them, “Why do you stand there all the day idle?”

They said to him, “Because no man has hired us.” He said to them, “You all also go to my vineyard.” And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, “Call the labourers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.” When therefore they came, those who came at about the eleventh hour, they received for every person a penny.

But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more, and they also received for every person a penny. And receiving it, they murmured against the master of the house, saying, “These last have worked barely for one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the heat.”

But he answered and said to one of them, “Friend, I did you no wrong, did you not agree with me for a penny? Take what is yours, and go your way. I will also give to this last even as to you. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is your eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”