(Usus Antiquior) Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 19 October 2014 : Gradual and Alleluia

Psalm 140 : 2 and Psalm 104 : 1

Dirigatur oratio mea, sicut incensum in conspectu Tuo, Domine.

Response : Elevatio manuum mearum sacrificium vespertinum.

Alleluja, alleluja.

Response : Confitemini Domini, et invocate Nomen ejus : annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus. Alleluja.

English translation

Let my prayer be directed as incense in Your sight, o Lord.

Response : The lifting up of my hands as evening sacrifice.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Response : Give glory to the Lord, and call upon His Name. Declare His deeds among the Gentiles. Alleluia.

Monday, 23 June 2014 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 5-17

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah, belonging to the priestly clan of Abiah. Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, also belonged to a priestly family. Both of them were upright in the eyes of God, and lived blamelessly in accordance with all the laws and commands of the Lord, but they had no child. Elizabeth could not have any and now they were both very old.

Now, while Zechariah and those with him were fulfilling their office, it fell to him by lot, according to the custom of the priests, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. At the time of offering incense, all the people were praying outside; it was then that an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

On seeing the angel, Zechariah was deeply troubled and fear took hold of him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, be assured that your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall name him John. He will bring joy and gladness to you, and many will rejoice at his birth.

This son of yours will be great in the eyes of the Lord. Listen : he shall never drink wine or strong drink, but he will be filled with Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Through him, many of the people of Israel will turn to the Lord their God. He himself will open the way to the Lord with the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah; he will reconcile fathers and children, and lead the disobedient to wisdom and righteousness, in order to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Saturday, 29 March 2014 : 3rd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 18 : 9-14

Jesus told another parable to some people, fully convinced of their own righteousness, who looked down on others : “Two men went up to the Temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector.”

“The Pharisee stood by himself, and said, ‘I thank You, God, that I am not like other people, grasping, crooked, adulterous, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and give the tenth of all my income to the Temple.”

“In the meantime the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.'”

“I tell you, when this man went back to his house, he had been reconciled with God, but not the other. For whoever makes himself out to be great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be raised up.”

 

Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 140 : 1-2, 3 and 8

Lord, I call on You, hasten to help me! Listen to my plea when I call to you. Let my prayer rise to You like incense, as I lift up my hands as in an evening sacrifice.

O Lord, set a guard at my mouth, keep watch at the gate of my lips. But my eyes are turned to You, o God, my Lord; strip me not of life, for You are my refuge.

Sunday, 5 January 2014 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, a great feast commemorating the divinity and Lordship of our Lord and God Jesus Christ. On this feast we remember the faith of the great men from the east, the three wise men, or often known as the three ‘kings’, who come from a far-off land to honour and glorify the Saviour who was born in Bethlehem.

They came to praise the Lord, whose birth was foretold by the prophets, and whose birth was marked by the appearance of the great star in the heavens. The Light of the world had indeed come into this world, and no more appropriately marked by a sign of great light. That was why the wise men came to Him who is Lord, bearing with them great gifts worthy of our Lord Jesus.

The wise men brought with them the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These were great and precious gifts, each of which had a deep, symbolic meaning, each of which also highlighted the truth about Jesus, who is both King and Lord God of all, who came into this world, so that through Him all may be saved.

Gold is the offering fit for a king. Ever since ages past, due to its appearance and its rarity, gold had been used for many important purposes, especially as money or decorations, or as works of art. They were so precious that they fetched a great price, and this is true even until today. So why is gold given as a gift to our Lord? That is because He is indeed a King, the One and True King of all, the King of kings, whose authority encompasses all of creations.

In giving the Lord Jesus the gift of gold, the wise men honoured the Lordship and kingship of Jesus, of the authority and power which He wields over all things, in all of creations. They honoured the Lord as King of glory, the One from whom ultimately all power and authority originate from. The Lord’s power and rule is absolute, and this is what this gift of gold is meant to teach us.

Then frankincense, just as the incense we use at our celebration of the Mass, is meant to be used for worship. Frankincense is in particular the best and the greatest among incense, the best quality of all. And indeed, the gift of frankincense highlighted the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Lord and Almighty God, who alone is worthy of worship.

The Lord Jesus is divine, and this fact cannot be refuted or denied, despite the attempts of many to do so. Jesus is not just merely a holy man or a prophet, because He is truly far greater than all of that. He is the Logos, the Word of God made personal in Jesus, as the Divine incarnate. As such, He is one with God and is God, and through Him the world was created. He was present before the beginning of time and before all things came into being.

We should not have any other gods except God, and we should worship Him and Him alone. And Jesus is divine, and as such is worthy of worship, and indeed we are actually obliged to give Him the proper honour and worship. That is the message and understanding behind the gift of the frankincense to the baby Jesus, man but also fully divine at the same time.

But it is not all about majesty and glory that Jesus came into the world. The last gift of the three, that is myrrh, highlighted this reality. The myrrh is a precious material used to help preserve the dead bodies, and to prepare them for burial. It is indeed a weird gift, is it not? Who would give a baby a gift that is used to preserve and prepare a man’s burial?

But that is how wonderful the feast of Epiphany is, because just as the meaning of the word Epiphany, this feast marks the opening of our understanding to the true nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, that first He is King, as represented by the gift of gold; and that He is Lord and God, as represented by the offering of frankincense; and last but not least, the gift of myrrh, which symbolises the singular important event, for which Jesus Christ came into the world.

That event was the Passion of our Lord, when He suffered, persecuted, punished, and eventually died on the cross, all for the sake of the reparation of our sins. He died and was buried, and it is this burial which was highlighted by the gift of the myrrh. For it is important that the Lord Jesus die, that in His death, we too will join Him in dying to our old, sinful selves, and then risen in glory together with the resurrection of Jesus.

The gift of myrrh signified this great event, when our Lord made Himself the Lamb of sacrifice, to bear the sins of the world. He who is Divine was willing to come down into this world, and to suffer human rejection and condemnation, and to suffer a most humiliating death, that is death on the cross. All these so that we, the most beloved among those He had created, can be once again reunited with Him.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as the Epiphany and the gift and offerings of the three wise men highlighted the true nature of God and the centre important issues of our faith, let us all use this opportunity, to reflect on our own relationship with God. Have we realised the great love that God has for all of us? Do we then choose to obey and follow Him? Or do we instead prefer to reject Him and continue to walk in the darkness?

Christ is the Light of the world and He has come to liberate us from darkness. Just as the three wise men had followed Jesus from afar and came to worship and pay their obeisance to Him, we too should follow their examples. Offer God our love, obedience, and devotion, and offer Him the gifts from our hearts. Be faithful to God, and follow His ways, for in His love, He had given much love for us and show us how to lead a faithful life to Him, that we may be saved. God be with us all. Amen.

Sunday, 5 January 2014 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 60 : 1-6

Arise, shine, for your Light has come. The Glory of YHVH rises upon you. Night still covers the earth and gloomy clouds veil the peoples, but YHVH now rises and over you His glory appears.

Nations will come to Your Light and kings to the brightness of Your dawn. Lift up Your eyes round about and see : they are all gathered and come to You, Your sons from afar, Your daughters tenderly carried.

This sight will make Your face radiant, Your heart throbbing and full; the riches of the sea will be turned to You, the wealth of the nations will come to You. A flood of camels will cover You, caravans from Midian and Ephah. Those from Sheba will come, bringing with them gold and incense, all singing in praise of YHVH.

(Special) Sunday, 23 June 2013 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Luke 1 : 5-17

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah, belonging to the priestly clan of Abiah. Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, also belonged to a priestly family. Both of them were upright in the eyes of God, and lived blamelessly in accordance with all the laws and commands of the Lord, but they had no child. Elizabeth could not have any and now they were both very old.

Now, while Zechariah and those with him were fulfilling their office, it fell to him by lot, according to the custom of the priests, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. At the time of offering incense, all the people were praying outside; it was then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

On seeing the angel, Zechariah was deeply troubled and fear took hold of him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, be assured that your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall name him John. He will bring joy and gladness to you, and many will rejoice at his birth.

“This son of yours will be great in the eyes of the Lord. Listen : he shall never drink wine or strong drink, but he will be filled with Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Through him, many of the people of Israel will turn to the Lord their God. He himself will open the way to the Lord with the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah; he will reconcile fathers and children, and lead the disobedient to wisdom and righteousness, in order to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”