Sunday, 3 January 2021 : Second Sunday after Christmas (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 1-18

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light; for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him.

He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness. John bore witness to Him openly, saying, “This is the One Who comes after me, but He is already ahead of me, for He was before me.”

From His fullness we have all received, favour upon favour. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made Him known : the One, Who is in and with the Father.

Thursday, 31 December 2020 : Seventh Day within Octave of Christmas, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 1-18

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light; for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him.

He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness. John bore witness to Him openly, saying, “This is the One Who comes after me, but He is already ahead of me, for He was before me.”

From His fullness we have all received, favour upon favour. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made Him known : the One, Who is in and with the Father.

Friday, 25 December 2020 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Mass at Day (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 1-18

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light; for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him.

He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness. John bore witness to Him openly, saying, “This is the One Who comes after me, but He is already ahead of me, for He was before me.”

From His fullness we have all received, favour upon favour. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made Him known : the One, Who is in and with the Father.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

John 1 : 1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

For the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him.

He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness.

Sunday, 20 March 2016 : Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Holy Week (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Philippians 2 : 6-11

Though He was in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in His appearance found as a Man.

He humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted Him and gave Him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth, and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 57-66, 80

When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.

When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!” and they asked the father, by means of signs, for the name he wanted to give him.

Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John,” and they were very surprised. Immediately Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God. A holy fear came on all in the neighbourhood, and throughout the hill country of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?” For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.

As the child grew up, he was seen to be strong in the Spirit; and he lived in the desert until the day when he appeared openly in Israel.

Monday, 10 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White (Virgins)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God loves us all so much, and this world so much, that He wanted to be involved with us, and He wanted to enter into our lives, and indeed, He came to dwell among His people in His love. He cannot deny the love He has for us, because the love He has for all of us is pure love, the purest of all love. It is not lust or desire, but a true desire and wish for all of us to be one with Him, and for us to be freed from all the chains and fetters of sin that had separated us from Him.

That was why He sent the people prophets after prophets and messengers after messengers, to reveal both the love He has for us, and the designs He had planned for each one of us. He gave them law to obey and follow, that they may walk always faithfully in His ways, and not be corrupted by the ways of this world ruled by Satan, the father of evil and sin.

And He chose to involve Himself with His own people, first by freeing them from their slavery in Egypt, and delivering them from their oppressors into the Promised Land. Through Moses His servant He gave them the true physical manifestation, in short, a proof of His love for them. He gave them His own laws, the law of love, written by Himself on the two stones as the sign of the Covenant He had made with them, a Covenant of love, that the people of God would love their God and God would love them equally back.

Yet, the people of God did not remain always faithful, and many times they rebelled against Him and His love. They followed other gods, did things wicked in  His eyes and even killed His prophets and messengers sent to remind them of the need for them to love God as part of their Covenant with Him. But God did not give up on His love for the people.

That was why He chose to even dwell among them, to dwell in the Temple which His faithful servant David had planned for Him and his son Solomon built for Him. The Temple marked yet another physical proof of God’s love for all of His people, His beloved children, and a clear proof of His desire that He wanted all of them to be with Him and He, in them.

And as the final proof of love, He gave of Himself, through Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, the Divine made Man. Jesus was the true, perfect, and complete manifestation of God’s love surpassing even the previously mentioned examples of God’s love. After all, who would have abandoned all the glory and power of heaven and all creation, to descend upon this world and become a lowly Man?

Jesus our Lord and God emptied Himself of His divinity and assumed our humanity, that He might dwell among all of us, as one of us. Yes, indeed, God who is Love was manifested in the flesh! In the flesh and blood of Jesus our Lord indeed! Through the intermediary role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, God made clear His love to all mankind.

Jesus showed God’s infinite love for us by ministering to us, being a servant to His people, healing them from their afflictions, and empowering them with the revelations of God’s love. Jesus shared the love of God to His disciples, and from them we receive God’s love as well as the revelation on its nature. Yes, Christ showed His ultimate love for all of God’s creations by becoming the Lamb of sacrifice, hung on the cross and died for the sake of all of us.

There is no love greater than for someone to give up his life for his friend. Indeed, this was what Jesus meant, and He showed it by His own action. He died to save us, and through His glorious resurrection, He picked us up, and made us to stand up again, now on the solid foundation of faith and on the solid foundation of hope of eternal life, and on the solid foundation of love. This is the new Covenant of love that Jesus had made with all of us, sealed with the outpouring of His own Blood.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Scholastica, who was a renowned religious figure, and the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the order of the Benedictines. Together, the siblings founded the order, and helped many to find their way to love God and dedicate themselves to Him. St. Scholastica was known for her great piety and dedication and she often spent long hours in prayer.

The dedication and devotion that St. Scholastica had for the Lord is an example for all of us in how we should respond to the love that God had shown to us. Just as the Lord had loved us so much, then we too should respond in the same way and respond to Him with our own love. We should dedicate ourselves to the Lord following the example of this pious and holy saint.

Brethren in Christ, let us therefore pray for one another, that we all may grow in love, and grow to love our Lord more and more, that we may be able to fulfill our part of the Covenant God had established with us, that we love Him just as He had loved us. May our Lord continue to love us, watch over us, and bless us. Amen.

Friday, 3 January 2014 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 2 : 29 – 1 John 3 : 6

You know that He is the Just One : know then that anyone living justly is born of God. See what singular love the Father has for us : we are called children of God, and we really are. This is why the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Beloved, we are God’s children and what we shall be has not yet been shown. Yet when He appears in His glory, we know that we shall be like Him, for then we shall see Him as He is. All who have such a hope try to be pure as He is pure.

Anyone who commits a sin acts as an enemy of the law of God; any sin acts wickedly, because all sin is wickedness. You know that He came to take away our sins, and that there is no sin in Him. Whoever remains in Him has no sin, whoever sins has not seen or known Him.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)

 

Philippians 2 : 1-11

If I may advise you in the Name of Christ and if you can hear it as the voice of love; if we share the same Spirit and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you make me very happy : have one love, one spirit, one feeling, do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit.

On the contrary let each of you gently consider the others as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but rather that of others. Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had :

Though He was in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in His appearance found as a Man.

He humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted Him and gave Him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 : Seventh Day of the Christmas Octave, Memorial of Pope St. Silvester I, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 1-18

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light; for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone.

He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him. He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness. John bore witness to Him openly, saying, “This is the One who comes after me, but He is already ahead of me, for He was before me.”

From His fullness we have all received, favour upon favour. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made Him known : the One, who is in and with the Father.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 : Mass of Christmas Day, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 1-18

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light; for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone.

He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him. He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness. John bore witness to Him openly, saying, “This is the One who comes after me, but He is already ahead of me, for He was before me.”

From His fullness we have all received, favour upon favour. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made Him known : the One, who is in and with the Father.

 

Alternative Reading (Shorter version)

 

John 1 : 1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.

For the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was in the world, and through Him the world was made, the very world that did not know Him. He came to His own, yet His own people did not receive Him; but to all who received Him, He empowers to become children of God, for they believe in His Name. These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man : they are born of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father : fullness of truth and loving-kindness.

Monday, 9 November 2013 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a great feast for the Church, and for all of us. Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was declared by Pope Pius IX over one and a half century ago, after our Lady showed herself to St. Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes in France.

She revealed to St. Bernadette, the truth about her Immaculate Conception, that is, Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus, was born without sin, pure and immaculate, because as the mother of our Lord, it is only fitting that His mother, just as He is, free from all kinds of defilement of sin.

The Church and the tradition of the faith had for long held a view somewhat similar to the concept of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, even since the early Church, but the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to St. Bernadette in Lourdes confirmed the teachings of the Church, and that was how we come to have this Solemnity, the great feast in honour of the Immaculate Conception of the mother of our God.

All of these, brothers and sisters, were part of the grand plan of salvation God had planned from the very early beginning. Ever since mankind fell into sin, the Lord had planned it all, even to the smallest of details, on how He is going to save us all. He knew everything even long before the things actually happened, simply because, He is God.

Then one may ask, how come then God did not try to stop Adam and Eve from disobeying Him by eating the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? He is God right? Certainly that is within His ability? If He knows everything, then He should have known that His most beloved creations would disobey Him because of the trickery of the devil, right? Then why did He not act for the sake of our ancestors?

Yes, these are the natural questions that will undoubtedly come to our minds as we read this passage. Certainly if God had prevented them from disobeying Him, then we will all live in paradise today right? After all mankind had been created and given the world as their dominion, and the beautiful Garden of Eden to live in. But sadly no, that is not how things are supposed to be.

God can easily impose His power and make things according to what we had thought, but most importantly, God gave mankind free will, and it is that free will that God has bestowed on us, the freedom to choose, whether to do something in line with God’s laws and ordinances, or to do things against the Lord and His laws.

And mankind chose to disobey the Lord and listen to the temptations of devil. They were then still innocent, pure without any trace of sin, for sin was unknown to mankind when they were created. But they made the wrong choice, out of their curiosity, and suffered the consequences. Sin entered into the world of men.

God punished mankind and the devil for their disobedience and the rebellion against His will, but He did not leave men empty-handed. For He loves all of His creations, from the smallest to the largest, and from the lowliest of all creations, to us, the most beloved ones that He created, the ones He created in His own image.

That is why He gave to us hope, by saying to our ancestors, that despite the difficulties that they and their descendants, including us, have to suffer, as a consequence for our disobedience, and despite that the devil will continue to hound us and try to trap us into damnation, note the words : “the snake will clutch at your children’s heels”, God gave us a hope.

That the woman will crush the head of the serpent, and in that sentence, lie the secret of God’s ultimate plan for salvation. That woman, as you all should be able to guess, is Mary. And in another passage it is said that the woman will bear the child, and the child will be named Emmanuel, which means God-is-with-us. And yes, that Emmanuel is indeed Jesus, because Jesus who is God and with God, has descended through Mary to be with us, as Man like us, and hence, God-is-with-us.

Through Mary, the salvation of the world was born, and through her, the final defeat was dealt on Satan and his plans to doom mankind into damnation in hell with him. For Satan was jealous of the power of God, and aspired to sit in His place, but he was defeated and cast down, and he planned his revenge on mankind, God’s most beloved creation, but God did not just let Satan have his ways, out of His love for all of us.

Mary, the woman, became the conduit, the vessel, through whom God made salvation possible for mankind. It was Mary’s complete trust and obedience in God that made all these possible. Her answer to the Archangel Gabriel showed her perfect faith in God and the purity of her heart, soul, and being. “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me as God wills it.”, such an answer indeed.

And because she was to bear the Lord Himself in her, in flesh, it is not right for Mary herself to be tainted with sin as we are. This is because you all know the intimate bonds present between mothers and their child. Indeed, it is truly flesh from the mother’s flesh to the flesh of the infant’s flesh. Therefore, if Jesus who is Lord incarnate as Man is without sin, His mother too must be free from any kind of sin, no matter how small or insignificant the sin is.

That is why today we celebrate this solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lord made it since the very beginning according to the plan of salvation, that Mary was made special, set apart from any other human, that is without the taint of sin. Is it possible for God? Certainly. The Lord definitely has the power to do so, as after all, He is indeed God. He made Elizabeth to conceive a child in her old age, John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, the Messiah.

What is important today, brothers and sisters in Christ, is that while we rejoice and celebrate the conception of this wonderful woman, through whom the world would later get its salvation from, we too should reflect on our own sinfulness, reflecting on the unworthiness that kept us separated from the Lord. And let us remember that our sins have been redeemed by the sacrifice of the Son of this wonderful woman, yes, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross as the Lamb of sacrifice, taking away our sins and replacing them with grace and blessings.

Hence, as we go deeper into the season of Advent, preparing for the celebration of the birth of our Lord at Christmas, let us seek to be prepared for the coming of Jesus. Remember that He promised that He will come again at the time of His choosing, to judge the living and the dead, all of us included, and He will pick those whom He considered worthy, that is those who had turned away from their sinfulness and look up towards God and strive to reach out to His grace.

Let us all make best use of this Advent season, and let this blessed season be an opportunity for us to be closer than ever to our Lord Jesus, through His mother Mary, the pure and immaculately conceived woman, the promised salvation of our God. Mary, Mother of God, holy and pure, immaculate as snow, pray for us, and intercede for us before your Son. Amen.