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.

Saturday, 8 June 2013 : Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, just yesterday we celebrated the great feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, but at the same time, we cannot forget Mary, His mother, who is often also depicted with a flaming heart just like that of Jesus. But while Jesus’ heart in the Most Sacred Heart iconography shows a wreath of the crown of thorns, the heart of Mary was pierced with a sword, which depicted the prophecy of Simeon the prophet, who predicted that Mary’ heart would be ‘pierced’ by a sword, that is her Immaculate Heart.

Yes, just as Christ is loving and filled with love, in His Most Sacred Heart, so does His mother too, with her Immaculate heart, for she was born without sin, in immaculate condition, and her heart was filled with pure joy and love of the Lord. That is what we are celebrating today, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Yet, just as I had mentioned it, that same heart, which is immaculate, pure beyond reasoning and filled with love, would have to be ‘pierced’ with a sword. Not in the literal meaning of course, as this sword represents the heart of Mary that was rendered to pieces in great pain as she watched her Son, our Lord Jesus in His Passion on the way to Calvary, suffering the sins of all mankind unto His death on the cross.

Imagine for all of you mothers out there, that when your children encounter something dangerous, or their lives are in great danger, I am sure that those who are mothers will immediately be faced with the greatest fear of their life. You all will be seized with fear, but even more so, with the feeling of love for your children, that great love bonded by ties of blood that is stronger than anything else, which links between mothers and their children. No mother will want to see her children suffer or face pain. True and loving mothers would even give themselves in place of their children, so that they may live instead of her.

Then, therefore, imagine Mary herself, our Lady, the Mother of Jesus, who had been given the good news by the Archangel Gabriel, that she would bear the great Son of God Most High, whom was to be the Messiah and Saviour of all mankind, the promised salvation that was pronounced through the countless prophets of the ages past. She bore Jesus for nine months in her womb, and with Joseph, her husband, she braved the pain of childbirth at that night in Bethlehem, until she gave birth to Jesus, our Lord and God.

She nurtured Him with love and compassion, and as perfect as a care that a mother can give to her child. With Joseph as the head of the family, they protected the infant Jesus from external dangers such as Herod by escaping to Egypt, and eventually settling down to a happy life in Nazareth, as a simple carpenter family.

But even from the very beginning, the baby that she had is indeed not any ordinary being, but the Lord Himself incarnate into a human being, the vessel of salvation, for through Jesus, the Lamb of God, salvation would come forth to all mankind. Ever since His birth, kings and wise men had pledged their fealty and praise by bringing Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna told her of the greatness that her Child would become and Simeon also foretold her about the sorrows that she would face later.

Mary watched Jesus grew up from being an infant, into an adolescent, during which time he was left behind in Jerusalem, when Mary in great fear, searched for her Child with Joseph, until they found Him in the Temple in Jerusalem. When Mary told Jesus about why He had made things difficult for His family, that was not a chastisement at all, neither was it a scolding. It was in fact the love that Mary has for her Son.

So much that she loves Him that she fears if anything were to happen to Jesus, a feeling that surely all the mothers out there would understand. None of us wants our children to be hurt or lost somewhere. We would do our best to galvanise all available forces until our child can be found, as if a great treasure had been lost.

Mary experienced a lot of strange occurences and happenings throughout her grooming of Jesus, but she did not question the Lord nor did she waver in her faith, but instead, she kept her faith strong, and kept everything in her heart. Indeed, such a great heart that our Blessed Virgin Mary has, to store all that feelings, anxiety, and emotions that she had for her Son in her Immaculate Heart!

She accompanied Jesus through His adulthood, through His ministry after the baptism at the Jordan, and she became the catalyst that allowed Christ to perform His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. Through her help, and her great concern for the wedding couple, she managed to persuade Christ to give them aid by performing the transformation of the water into wine, saving the wedding of the couple.

She accompanied Jesus through His last days on earth, in His Passion, and followed Him through the scourging and the condemnation, and unto Calvary below the cross, on which hung the Saviour of the world, made to suffer all the weight of the sins of the entire world, of all mankind past, present, and future. It is at that point, that the prophecy of Simeon came true, that a sword would indeed pierce her Immaculate Heart.

That great loving heart, and the heart that had accompanied the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, ever since His birth, now had to witness the cruelty through which Christ died on the cross for the salvation of mankind. She understood it as a part of God’s plan for salvation, for without the death of Christ, the Lamb of God, there can be no salvation. But imagine the great amount of pain that must have been inflicted to our Lady, seeing her Son mocked and insulted, and condemned to a criminal’s death on the cross.

And yet, despite all of that, she remained faithful to the Lord, and was as firm as ever in her mission entrusted to her by God. She had been faithful since the very beginning, when she accepted God’s will in making her the vessel through which the Saviour of the world would be born, and all the way until the end, she remained faithful. Truly, how great is our Lady and her Most wonderful Immaculate Heart, pure and loving, filled with all the warmth of God’s love, and in this heart we can see the great journey and struggle that our Lady had to go through, along with her Son, Jesus Christ, all the way to the end at Calvary.

Yet, as we know, everything did not end at Calvary, as Jesus our Lord rose again in glory on the third day after His death, and through His glorious resurrection, the salvation of mankind was fulfilled completely, and indeed, our Lady had a great part in this. Just as what we saw in the coat-of-arms of our late Blessed Pope John Paul II, of a cross with a letter M at the bottom. That ‘M’ is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who supported Jesus in His life, since His infancy, all the way to that sorrowful day on Calvary.

Jesus entrusted His mother to His disciple, John on that day, and also entrusted John to His mother. Through that act, therefore, He also made all of us, all mankind, the children entrusted to Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, all the love and warmth of the heart of Mary will be poured out to us, and her love will help us and guide us in a straight path to her Son, Jesus. It is indeed true, the saying that, “To Jesus, through Mary”.

Mary is our mother too, and just as she had cared for her Son, Jesus, she will also love and care for us. Pray to our Lady often, and ask her for her intercession for all of us sinners who are still suffering in this world, that just as at the wedding in Cana, she will also help intercede for our sake before her Son, that Jesus would show us His wonderful mercy.

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, the most wonderful heart of Mary, pierced by a sword of sorrow at the cruel death of Your Son, be with us and guide us in our own paths towards Your Son, that we will stay faithful, and that we will not inflict ever more wounds to increase the suffering of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for every sin that we commit is another wound that we add to the wounds of Christ.

Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you amongst women and blessed is the Fruit of your womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Saturday, 8 June 2013 : Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

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, 8 June 2013 : Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

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, 8 June 2013 : Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

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.