Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day after the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated, reminding us all of the special link and connection that Jesus our Lord has with His mother Mary, and just how the loving, Immaculate Heart of Mary is truly a reflection of her own Son’s Most Sacred Heart. Mary’s heart is full of love for all of us, her adopted children, as we all have been entrusted by the Lord to her to be our own mother, and as we also become her own children by faith.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, in which the Lord spoke to the people of God through the prophet Isaiah regarding the coming of God’s salvation to this world. The Lord sent His deliverance to this world, the salvation which He has promised us from the very beginning of time, in the Son that He has begotten, the Divine Word of God incarnate in the flesh through His mother, Mary, whose Immaculate Heart and love we remember today, as our own loving mother and guide. We are reminded as we celebrate the Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, of God’s own love for us, that He has generously given and offered to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the Lord Jesus and what happened when He was only twelve years old and remained in the Temple of Jerusalem while His parents, Mary and St. Joseph went on their way back to Nazareth and not knowing that Jesus had remained behind in the Temple. I am sure we are all aware of what happened in that story, and we heard how Mary and St. Joseph went all the way back to Jerusalem in search of the young Jesus, and found Him at the Temple. We saw how concerned Mary and St. Joseph were, in looking for and being worried for the young Lord, Who told them that He wanted to be in the House of His Father.

Such were the strange and yet truthful words of the young Lord Jesus, as He was indeed in the House and Presence of His heavenly Father. Yet, man could not have possibly comprehended that truth there and then. We heard how Mary heard all these and kept them all deep within her heart. She had certainly remembered how the Archangel Gabriel came to her and proclaiming the Good News that she was to become the Mother of the Son of God Most High, and everything had come true as the Lord had said and proclaimed to her.

Mary kept everything in her Immaculate Heart, believing in what God had told her and guided her to, and she entrusted herself in His love and providence, continuing to care for her Son, and doing her part in supporting Him for the upcoming ministry and works that the Lord Jesus would be called to do, and she watched Him grew, while gaining more and more Wisdom and power, and she loved Him with all her Immaculate Heart. This same love brought her all the way to walk and journey with Him even to the foot of the Cross. It was this same Immaculate Heart that was akin to being pierced with swords when she saw and witnessed how her own Son was suffering and dying on His Cross.

Mary’s heart was truly pure and immaculate as her title suggests to us, as the Lord Himself had made her Immaculate and pure, as the Immaculate Conception, free from the taints of original sin, and as such, her heart remained pure and free from the blemish of those sins that corrupted many others. That Immaculate Heart is filled with love for all of us just as much as she has loved her Son wholeheartedly. After all, is she not our mother as well? I have mentioned earlier that through the Church and by her Son’s works, all of us have been made to be Mary’s own children, her adopted ones, to be loved by her and cared by her passionate love and care.

Therefore, today, as we commemorate this Feast in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God and also our own mother, let us all hence commit ourselves anew to love the Lord, our God and Saviour, through the examples that our beloved mother herself had shown, in how Mary had dedicated her whole life to love her Son, and how she had dedicated her whole life to obey God’s will and becoming the perfect example for all of us in how we should live our own lives as Christians.

Let us all henceforth renew our faith in the Lord our God, entrusting ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His Mother, as well as in His Most Sacred Heart, that we may strive from now on, in our best ability and effort to walk ever more faithfully in His presence, distancing ourselves from sin, and turning once again into the path of righteousness and justice, following the path that God has shown us. May God be with us always, and may His mother Mary continue to pray for us and guide us in our journey of faith through life, that we may always ever be faithful, at all times. Amen.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them. As for His mother, she kept all these things in her heart.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Samuel 2 : 1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd

My heart exults in YHVH, I feel strong in my God. I rejoice and laugh at my enemies for You came with power to save me.

The bow of the mighty is broken, but the weak are girded with strength. The well-fed must labour for bread, but the hungry need work no more. The childless wife has borne seven children, but the proud mother is left alone.

YHVH is Lord of life and death. He brings down to the grave and raises up. YHVH makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and He exalts.

He lifts up the lowly from the dust, and raises the poor from the ash heap; they will be called to the company of princes, and inherit a seat of honour.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Official English Text of the Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (25 March 2022)

Source: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2022/03/23/0202/00434.html
(Available in multiple languages, including original Italian, in English and 34 other languages)

O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you.  As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you.  Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence!  You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace.  We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars.  We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations.  We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young.  We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns.  We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons.  We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home.  We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters.  We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves.  Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life.  He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity.  By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart.  We are your beloved children.  In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion.  At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort.  Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?”  You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times.  In you we place our trust.  We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs.  To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3).  Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded.  We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace.  We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness.  How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.
Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.
Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.
Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.
Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.
Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.
Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.
Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.
Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts.  May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew.  Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace.  May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs.  May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land.  May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26).  In this way he entrusted each of us to you.  To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27).  Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history.  At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ.  The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine.

Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love.  Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world.  The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace.  We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more.  To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days.  Our Lady of the “Fiat”, on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God.  May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts.  In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion.  You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace.  Amen.

Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is always celebrated on the day after the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We remember therefore the loving heart of the Mother of the Lord just after we remember and celebrate the love of our Lord, Who has poured out His love for us from His wounded and bleeding Heart, as He lay dying on the Cross.

Mary was there at the moment of the death of her Son, and she witnessed so many events that had happened throughout her whole life and as she journeyed and followed her Son’s path and ministry. She has always patiently followed Him and kept everything in her heart, all that she had heard and witnessed, including what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, regarding the moment when Jesus was lost to her and St. Joseph, at the age of Twelve as He remained behind in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Again in that occasion we heard how Mary patiently listened and kept everything in her heart, as she heard the Lord Jesus speaking even as a Child, that the Temple of Jerusalem is the House of His Father, His true Father in Heaven. Mary knew in her heart just as she remembered the words of the Archangel Gabriel and all the other signs and words given to her, that her Son Jesus was meant for very great things, and as the old servant of God Simeon spoke to her at the moment of the Presentation of the Lord, that a sword would pierce her own heart, and all secret then shall be revealed.

Mary truly loved her Son, and seeing Him suffering on the Cross must truly be heartbreaking for her, as after all, who would not be in pain to see one’s own child suffer and die? Yet, Mary endured it all with love and faith, knowing that everything is part of God’s plan. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary’s Immaculate Heart is truly so pure and filled with so much love for God, for her Son, and from there also, for all of us. This is because from the Cross, Jesus has entrusted all of us to her, and at the same time, He has also entrusted her to all of us.

That is why, just as much as Our Lord has constantly reached out to us with love, Mary, His beloved mother and our mother, has also constantly reached out to us, asking us and pleading with us to turn away from our path of sin, and be reconciled with God and be forgiven from those sins we have committed. She knew what suffering her Son had gone through for our sake, and the punishment that is due for our sins. And as her own adopted children, certainly she does not want us to fall into an eternity of suffering in hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, do we realise just how fortunate and how beloved we are to be loved not only by Our Lord, Who poured out for us His loved from His Most Sacred Heart, bleeding, bruised and broken, but also by His mother, Mary, from whose Immaculate Heart pours forth the most wonderful motherly love? Have we realised this and have we been grateful for such great love that we have received? And yet, so many of us still live in the path of sin, in the way of disobedience against God that made Him and His beloved mother, our mother, so sorrowful?

Let us all discern carefully our path in life, brothers and sisters in Christ, that each and every one of us may find consolation and forgiveness through the guidance of our blessed and loving mother Mary, to her Son’s most wonderful mercy and compassionate Heart. Let us all imitate the faith and commitment that Mary had, in obeying the Lord and in loving Him so thoroughly and completely in our own lives, resisting the many temptations to sin and to disobey against His Law and commandments.

May the Lord continue to be with us and bless us in all things, and may He strengthen us and give us the courage to live virtuously and faithfully in accordance to His will. May He guide us towards His path, and may His Blessed Mother, Mary continue to show us the way, through her most loving Immaculate Heart. O, Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us sinners! Amen.

Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them. As for His mother, she kept all these things in her heart.

Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Samuel 2 : 1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd

My heart exults in YHVH, I feel strong in my God. I rejoice and laugh at my enemies for You came with power to save me.

The bow of the mighty is broken, but the weak are girded with strength. The well-fed must labour for bread, but the hungry need work no more. The childless wife has borne seven children, but the proud mother is left alone.

YHVH is Lord of life and death. He brings down to the grave and raises up. YHVH makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and He exalts.

He lifts up the lowly from the dust, and raises the poor from the ash heap; they will be called to the company of princes, and inherit a seat of honour.

Saturday, 12 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Saturday, 20 June 2020 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the day after the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we celebrate then the feast of the Immaculate Heart of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day, just as we have recalled the great love which God has poured out from His most loving Heart, we also recall the tender, compassionate and motherly love shown by Mary to her Son, her beloved One, from her Immaculate Heart.

We recall Mary’s great love for God, her faith and piety, her commitment to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, and how she loved her Son dearly from the moment before He was born, and even up to the way of the Cross, when Mary followed her Son faithfully as He picked up His Cross and bore that burden of the Cross with Him to Calvary. It must indeed have pained her a lot to see her Son treated in such a way, and suffered in such a terrible manner.

And this was what the man of God Simeon spoke of at the Temple when the Lord Jesus was presented there after His birth. Simeon told Mary, the mother of the Lord that her Son was a Sign that would be the cause for the rising and downfall of many, and then, prophesied that ‘a sword will pierce your own heart’. It was at that moment of great anguish and sorrow, seeing her own Son’s suffering and journey towards His death that the ‘sword’ pierced Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

This was a heart that beats with love and filled with genuine faith in God, a heart blameless and immaculate because Mary herself had been conceived without sin, and pure from any taints of evil and wickedness. Yet, this loving and gentle Immaculate Heart has to endure such bitter wound and hurt. But all these did not stop her from loving, and instead, she loved with even greater sincerity and effort. And the same love which she has shown to her Son, she has also showed to all of us.

The Lord has entrusted us all to the loving care of His own mother when from the Cross, at the moment of His suffering and death, symbolically entrusted St. John to Mary’s care, and also vice versa, Mary to the care of St. John. Ever since then, all of us have been truly blessed to have Mary, not just as a great saint and role model, but also as our own adopted mother, and we have all been placed under her loving care and embrace.

That was why we have had many moments when the Blessed Virgin Mary, our loving mother appeared to us in different occasions, most famous of which occurred in Guadalupe, in La Salette, in Lourdes, in Fatima among others. And in all occurrences, Mary, the loving Mother of God and our mother always emphasised on repentance and for all mankind to turn once again towards God, towards her Son and to be forgiven from all of our sins and be reconciled.

Having seen the pain and suffering, the sorrow and troubles her Son endured on the Cross, it is not surprising that first of all, Mary as a loving Mother would not have wanted her Son’s sacrifice for our sake to be wasted on account of our stubbornness and refusal to turn towards God and remain in sin. And of course, then as a loving mother to all of us, she also certainly does not want any one of us to be lost from her due to our sinful ways.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must really consider ourselves truly fortunate, to have received such abundant love, care and compassion not just from the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, but even also from the Immaculate Heart of His own mother Mary, who is also our loving mother. Do we not want to listen to our mother’s loving words calling upon us to turn to her and from her towards Jesus Christ, her Son, Our Lord and Saviour?

Let us all therefore turn towards God with renewed faith, and devote ourselves from now on with greater zeal. Let us all commit ourselves to the path shown to us by our mother, Mary, through her loving Immaculate Heart, and follow this path faithfully to our complete reconciliation and forgiveness in God. O Blessed Mother Mary, help us all to be more like you in faith, and to share the love overflowing from your Immaculate Heart. Pray for us all sinners, and bring us ever closer to Christ, your Son, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.