Thursday, 8 October 2015 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 5-13

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to his house in the middle of the night and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine who is travelling has just arrived, and I have nothing to offer him.’ Maybe your friend will answer from inside, ‘Do not bother me now; the door is locked, and my children and I are in bed, so I cannot get up and give you anything.'”

“But I tell you, even though he will not get up and attend to you because you are a friend, yet he will get up because you are a bother to him, and he will give you all you need. And so I say to you, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.'”

“If your child asks for a fish, will you give him a snake instead? And if your child asks for an egg, will you give him a scorpion? If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”

Saturday, 23 May 2015 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Romans 8 : 22-27

We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth. Not creation alone, but even ourselves, although the Spirit was given to us as a foretaste of what we are to receive, we groan in our innermost being, eagerly awaiting the day when God will give us full rights and rescue our bodies as well.

In hope we already have salvation. But if we saw what we hoped for, there would no longer be hope : how can you hope for what is already seen? So we hope for what we do not see and we will receive it through patient hope.

We are weak, but the Spirit comes to help us. How to ask? And what shall we ask for? We do not know, but the Spirit intercedes for us without words, as if with groans. And He who sees inner secrets knows the desires of the Spirit, for He asks for the holy ones what is pleasing to God.

Thursday, 22 January 2015 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Hebrews 7 : 25 – Hebrews 8 : 6

Consequently Jesus is able to save for all time those who approach God through Him. He always lives to intercede on their behalf. It was fitting that our High Priest be holy, undefiled, set apart from sinners and exalted above the heavens; a Priest who does not first need to offer sacrifice for Himself before offering for the sins of the people, as high priests do. He offered Himself in sacrifice once and for all.

And whereas the Law elected weak men as high priests, now, after the Law, the word of God with an oath appointed the Son, made perfect forever. The main point of what we are saying is that we have a High Priest. He is seated at the right hand of the Divine Majesty in heaven, where He serves as Minister of the true temple and sanctuary, set up not by any mortal but by the Lord.

A high priest is appointed to offer to God gifts and sacrifices, and Jesus also has to offer some sacrifice. Had He remained on earth, He would not be a Priest, since others offer the gifts according to the Law. In fact, the ritual celebrated by those priests is only an imitation and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary. We know the word of God to Moses with regard to the construction of the holy tent. He said : “You are to make everything according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain.”

Now, however, Jesus enjoys a much higher ministry in being the Mediator of a better covenant, founded on better promises.

Friday, 12 December 2014 : Second Week of Advent, Memorial of our Lady of Guadalupe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (our Lady of Guadalupe)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast day of the Church, celebrating the feast of Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, who manifested and showed herself about five hundred years ago, to a simple, humble but holy man in what is now Mexico, at the site called Tepeyac hill, now where the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe stands proudly as the centre of devotion and pilgrimage, and source of salvation for many in the centuries past since its establishment.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the name given to this apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appeared to St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the first native saint of the New World, now known as the American continent. According to the tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. John Diego and revealed herself to him at a place known as the Tepeyac hills, as the Mother of our Lord and as the Mother of us all. She asked St. John Diego, if there is anything he needed, and that if there was anything he needed, he would have to just ask her, and through her intercession, everything would be made full.

St. John Diego immediately sought the local bishop and told him about what he had witnessed, but the bishop was skeptical, and did not believe him at first. Therefore, the bishop asked St. John Diego for a proof that the apparition was authentic, and thus, St. John Diego then rushed back to see the Lady once more for this purpose. The Blessed Virgin Mary had indeed mentioned to St. John Diego at their first meeting, of the time she would appear again.

But on the way, St. John Diego was told that his father was very sick, and thus he was forced to miss the meeting with the Blessed Virgin Mary, rushing to his home to be at the side of his sick father instead. However, on the way home, at the very exact time that he was to meet Mary once more, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him on the road, and told him that his father has been healed, and indeed, when St. John Diego reached home, he found that his father had been healed.

For the proof that the bishop asked St. John Diego, the Blessed Virgin Mary asked him to go to the hill, and there he found a cluster of flowers, Castilian roses, which are not naturally found in that land, but in Europe. Then St. John Diego gathered the flowers in his cloak, or also known as tilma, and then rushed back to show them to the bishop.

When St. John Diego showed the bishop what the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Lady of Guadalupe had shown him, what surprised the bishop was not so much the flowers, but in fact that when St. John Diego opened his tilma or cloak, there he saw the glowing and very beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which we now know as our Lady of Guadalupe, in reference to the occasion and the place where this had taken place.

So whenever we see an image or pictorial representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cloak and adorned by beautiful flowers, it is likely to be a representation of our Lady of Guadalupe. And it is in her honour that we celebrate this day with great joy, for through this great woman, many good things have been made possible for mankind, the greatest of all is, the freedom of mankind from the tyranny of sin and the promise of everlasting life through Jesus, her Son.

Many of the heretics and those who misunderstood the Faith wondered why we honoured Mary so much, if she was just a mere human, perhaps more special in a way because she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. But surely that is as far as things should go right? Do we Catholics and members of the Faith commit idolatry by worshipping and adoring Mary as if she is a goddess? No, and this is where all of us the faithful must be very clear in our Faith, lest we allow the same confusion to lead us astray.

Like the song of Hannah showed in the Psalm today, the song of joy and thanksgiving by Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, who was granted her wish of having a son by God after years of barren marriage, and being ridiculed by the other wife of her husband. She was given Samuel, whom she gave up to be consecrated to God, and then she was given even more children, as the fulfillment of God’s love.

Hannah was humble, and she sought the Lord’s help through sincere prayers after she was bullied constantly by the first wife, who was proud of her many children. The proud was therefore rejected by God, but the humble, the meek and most importantly, the faithful ones are rewarded richly by God. He blesses those who are not proud with themselves and their achievements, but those who put their trust completely in the Lord.

Thus, Mary is truly blessed and she was honoured beyond any other men. Thus, Elizabeth her cousin said about her, ‘Blessed are you amongst women,’ for indeed, Mary was special and honoured, not just because she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and not just because she was prepared to be special by the Lord, free from the taint of sin as the Immaculate Conception, but also because of her exemplary faith, humility, devotion and total trust in God and in His plans.

Therefore, on this feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, we look up to the Blessed Virgin Mary who had given her grace to appear before St. John Diego, so that all of us mankind may know more about her and her exemplary faith, and through her therefore, for us to find Jesus our Lord, and that we may be granted rich graces of God, the same grace which God had blessed Mary with, the one who is called blessed among all men and women, for all ages.

What we can learn from this sacred occasion is that, while Mary was created special by God, and prepared by the Lord to be the Mother of the Lord, but it is her examples, her faith, her actions and her loving dedication to God which all of us can emulate. God’s grace flows through Mary by her devotion and faith, and her undying dedication towards her Son, even unto following Him on the path of suffering to the cross at Calvary.

Thus, God had also given us all the singular and most important of all the saints, as the greatest among our intercessors, the one who prays for us without cease, for the sake of all of us sinners who still dwell in this world. That is why Mary, our Lady of Guadalupe, asked St. John Diego, ‘Is there anything that you still need’ and gave him her assurance that whatever he asked through her, he will get it, so long as it is within the bounds of the will of God.

She is the closest among all to the throne of her Son in heaven, and hers is the words which her Son will listen to the most. Remember the wedding at Cana? Jesus listened to the request by Mary, for Him to help the wedding couple in trouble, and performed His miracle of changing the water into wine, His very first miracle. If He would listen to His mother’s request there, then the same too will be the case for us, if we ask Mary, our mother, to help with our needs.

Mary is also our mother, for our Lord Jesus had entrusted His disciple John to His own mother, just as He entrusted her to him to be cared for. Through the entrusting of John to Mary, Jesus our Lord also entrusted all mankind to the care of His mother, who then becomes our Mother too. And if she is our mother, will she not care for us, fight for us and intercede for us? She loves all of us, and she does not want any of us to be lost to her Son.

Hence, let us all from now on reflect on our own lives. Have we done what the Lord had asked of us to do? Have we all been faithful as Mary our mother had been faithful? When we err, let us all correct our ways and also seek help. Our mother Mary, just as when she appeared to St. John Diego as our Lady of Guadalupe sincerely sought our salvation and liberation from sin. Therefore, shall we all accept her offer of grace, which may then flow from the Lord through her, and into us?

Let us all be righteous and be faithful in our actions, showing the love which we ought to show our Lord and which we also should show one another. May our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary our mother intercede for us sinners before the throne of her Son, the Divine Mercy, that He shall forgive us our sins, and in our sincere faith, may He grant us all eternal life. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/11/friday-12-december-2014-second-week-of-advent-memorial-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/11/friday-12-december-2014-second-week-of-advent-memorial-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/11/friday-12-december-2014-second-week-of-advent-memorial-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 28 September 2014 : 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr, and St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we hear very, very clear message from the Lord through the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels we have heard from, that it is important for us to distinguish between acts that please God and the acts that are disapproved by God, as things evil and unworthy for us as the children of God. And indeed, we are also called to reflect on the obedience and the works of Jesus Christ our Lord, the new Adam, as compared to what our first ancestor, the old and original Adam had done.

And it is also important for us to take note the kind of faith that we have, whether we have the faith of hypocrites or instead if we have the faith of those who sincerely desire to follow and seek the Lord in their lives, amidst all the difficulties and challenges, and despite the fact that we mankind are often sorely tested and tempted by sin. The importance of sincerity in our faith, and the crucial nature of our desire to seek God’s forgiveness cannot be overlooked.

The key idea here is that we are all always first of all, sinners and sinners among sinners. This is because ever since Adam, our ancestor and Eve, his partner, disobeyed God and His will, and instead following Satan into his rebellion, mankind have fallen into sin, and the sins of our fathers also passed down to us, as our original sins, which continued to be on our way in our effort to seek out the Lord and His forgiveness.

But God who loves us very much, did not let us to languish and suffer in the darkness and pain. Instead, He sent us the greatest help He could give, that is to give His own Son, part of Himself and His Trinity, to be our Saviour and Redeemer, and by no other means than to give up Himself and offer Himself as a worthy sacrifice as the Lamb of God, to shed His Blood, and thus gain salvation for all of us who believe in Him.

Jesus Himself showed the kind of obedience which all of us ought to emulate, that is obedience unto death and perfect obedience without doubt and interference of our own self-interest. This is the kind of obedience we need to have on the matters pertaining to our faith in God, and indeed, this is the kind of faith we need to have, and not the kind of faith which the Pharisees and the elders of the Israelites once had.

Their faith is an empty and superficial faith, which did to them no good and brought them no closer to salvation and grace in God. In fact, their actions did not reflect what they professed to believe. What they did was in contrary to what they preached to the people, that they truly deserved their title of hypocrites, as Jesus said of them.

Their hypocrisy was made clear when they paid mere lip-service to their faith and to their God. They did not love God, and neither did they love their fellow men as the Lord had asked them to. Instead, they loved only themselves, and in their actions, they oppressed the people of God entrusted to their care, and misguided them to follow their wicked examples. Therefore, their sins were even greater, for not only that they did not do as they should have done, but they also misled others into the darkness.

They were exactly like the son who said to his father, that he will obey and do his desires, but in the end he never acted as what he had said. This is the essence of hypocrisy, on faith that is not based on real action and genuine love, as well as devotion to God, but based on lip-service and superficial actions, designed to show off their piety and supposed obedience to God, where in fact they served only their own ego and human desires.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our faith cannot be merely just superficial in nature. Instead, it must be alive and vibrant, based soundly on the centre tenets of our faith, as Jesus had taught His disciples and passed down to us through His holy Church. And thus, as we all believe, that our faith must be based on action and real deeds, as we justified not by faith alone, but through faith made strong, living and reinforced through the acts of love and devotion, to both God and our fellow men.

I would also like to share with you the lives of two saints, whose feasts are traditionally celebrated on this day, namely that of St. Wenceslaus, the Duke of Bohemia and martyr of the faith, as well as St. Lawrence Ruiz or also more commonly known as St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who together with many other of the faithful were martyr saints of the faith in the persecution of the faithful in the Shogunate era Japan.

St. Wenceslaus was the Duke and thus ruler of the area known as Bohemia, now the modern day Czech Republic and parts of Slovakia, which at that time was still a mixture of pagans and Christians, and the opposition from the pagan worshippers to the conversion to the true faith was still great and truly was a great challenge facing St. Wenceslaus.

Nevertheless, St. Wenceslaus, as the ruler of his people and as a servant of the One True God did not give up amidst the difficulties, and he continued good works to establish the faith in his lands, building up churches and properties to help the evangelising works of the Church, and devoutly committing himself to many acts of charity and pious celebrations, leading more and more people to embrace the true faith and be saved.

Opposition and challenges faced St. Wenceslaus throughout his life and reign as Lord over Bohemia. Squabbles between the nobles and lords, and uprisings by the pagan believers were occurring frequently, but St. Wenceslaus handled all of them with patience and with firm faith in the Lord. Yet, this is where also he met his ultimate end, though he faced it with firm faith in God.

St. Wenceslaus was murdered by the plotting of his own brother, later known for his bloodshed and vile acts, together with many barons and nobles who were displeased with the pious and good actions of St. Wenceslaus. Thus the holy servant of God met his end at the hands of pagans, and even these were Christians who professed to have faith in God but proved the contrary through their actions and deeds, whereas St. Wenceslaus remained faithful and true to the faith till the end, walking righteously in the way of the Lord.

Meanwhile, St. Lawrence Ruiz or Lorenzo Ruiz was a Filipino layman faithful, who lived in the Philippines in the early days of the Spanish colonisation of the Philippines. He was raised as a devout faithful and a pious servant of God by his parents. He lived a peaceful and normal life, raising a family in good faith, until the day when he was framed for the murder of a Spanish, which was a capital offense at that time.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz therefore sought refuge and boarded a ship destined for Japan together with several missionaries bound for that country as well. At the time, the Japanese people were ruled by the military governor, the Shogun, as the supreme ruler of the country. Japan had just gone through a long period of warfare and instability, which was ended by the new shoguns, of the Tokugawa family, taking over power in Japan.

In previous years, the various Japanese warlords and lords had been sympathetic to the faith and the missionaries, which managed therefore to gain salvation for many thousands of souls, and the Church was indeed growing rapidly at that time. However, the coming of the new order brought with it a very intense wave of rejection and persecution of the faith.

Thousands upon thousands were tortured, persecuted and forced to choose between abandoning their faith and their life. Many abandoned their faith, leaving behind their salvation for the sake of their temporary life and happiness, condemning themselves to an eternity in hell, but there were also many who remained strongly faithful to the Lord, and chose suffering and death rather than to succumb to the temptation of pleasure and safety offered to them.

Similarly, St. Lorenzo Ruiz and his many fellow martyrs refused to allow themselves to be tempted and persuaded by Satan and his allies, and they remained true to their faith, shedding their blood for the sake of the Lord, and in the process became holy martyrs of the faith, and became inspiration for countless faithful, especially many of those who were also enduring persecutions and oppositions from the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples of the two saints which I shared with you just now are truly should be what can inspire us all to follow their examples to live our lives with faith, but not just with any faith, but a genuine and living faith, found firmly on piety and real action, that is charity and love, hope and perseverance, and in actions that truly show that we practice what we believe in and not just paying lip-service to God, as the Pharisees and the elders of Israel had done.

Let us all follow the examples of the saints and holy men of God, and the example of the great piety and obedience of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and finally the very obedience of Jesus Christ our Lord Himself, the new Adam, whose perfect and complete obedience to the will of God counteracted the actions of the first Adam who had brought us into sin and destruction.

May Almighty God therefore free us from our bounds to evil and death, and through the actions of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, let us therefore be made worthy and be glorified in Him, so that we may be justified and receive our eternal glory through what we have done in this life, in living our faith graciously and with full obedience in the Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are exhorted yet again, to be faithful and dedicated followers of our Lord, through our real and concrete actions, and not just empty promises and dedications. In the first reading from the Book of Proverbs, we are also reminded of the very fact, that what God desires from us is our love and commitment, and not just mere sacrifice.

And today, we commemorate the feast of a great and renowned saint, one who lived just less than a hundred years ago, and in fact he passed away just less than five decades ago. His deeds were still renowned throughout the world and the Church, as a holy man and servant of God, thoroughly dedicated in the service of God and the love he possessed both for God and for his fellow men.

That holy servant of God was St. Pius of Pietrelcina, more commonly known by his name of ‘Padre Pio’, a Franciscan monk and priest who was renowned for his great piety and devotion to God, and for his gift of the stigmata, or the wounds of Jesus Christ that appeared on his feet and his hands, which became for him a source of both great inspiration and strength, as well as of pain and suffering.

St. Padre Pio was a simple man and a simple priest, humble and unassuming, noted for his great piety since early in his youth. He joined the Franciscans and dedicated his whole life to the Lord. He was noted for his dedication to his calling and his work as the servant of God Most High. His charitable acts were numerous and his zeal unquestionable. He would have been perfectly satisfied in his condition and life at the time, if not for God having another plan for him.

Through St. Padre Pio, God wanted to reawaken the spirit of faith that have long been laid dormant in the hearts and minds of men, and through His servant, He revealed His glory and majesty, as He revealed them through the actions and deeds of St. Padre Pio, who worked faithfully and zealously, even though he faced many difficulties, challenges, oppositions, and even ridicule and doubts by the people around him.

St. Padre Pio was therefore like the ones who had obeyed and followed the Lord in His laws and precepts, and as such, he was honoured and glorified through the miracles which He performed through the person of Padre Pio. Through this example, we know that the Lord loves and cares for His people, and all who place their trust in Him will not be disappointed.

This is just exactly like what Jesus said to the people, when He referred to those who do the will of God as His brothers and sisters, and as His relatives. This was said when His mother Mary and His relatives came to visit Him and wanted to meet with Him in the midst of His teachings. Indeed, if one were to just look at the words Jesus said literally, this would be quite an insult to His own mother and also to His relatives, by apparently snubbing at them and rejecting them in the public.

However, if we look at it closely, there is no greater honour that Jesus could do, other than what He had done. As a matter of fact, Jesus had praised and honoured Mary in public, for the very devotion and actions that she had done, the most faithful and devoted of all the servants of God. In the same way, God had also honoured St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio for his piety and great service, and obedience to the Faith. The same therefore, will also be our due if we honour our part in the covenant with Christ and follow His ways in all of our deeds and actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, from what we have heard today, and from what we had reflected in the life of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, and in the faith and devotion which the Blessed Virgin Mary had shown in her life, as the mother of God and the most faithful servant of all the servants of God, we are therefore also urged to follow their examples, which means for us to reject all forms of evil and impiety in all of our actions, words and deeds.

In this way also, our faith will be real, concrete and living, so that we can avoid committing sins in our lives which will corrupt our hearts, minds and soul and therefore end up subverting our true goodness and undermining our effort to seek out the Lord. We must intensify our own efforts to walk in the footsteps those who have walked before us in the path of the Lord, namely the holy saints, and model our own lives after theirs.

May Almighty God guide us on our way, so that all of us may turn ever closer and more convincingly towards Him, that we may find our way towards Him, and together with those who are still lost, receive justification and salvation through our dedicated actions, which are based on the laws and ways of the Lord. God bless us and guide us, and may the prayers of St. Pius of Pietrelcina be upon us always. St. Padre Pio, pray for us! Amen.

Sunday, 20 July 2014 : 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 26-27

We are weak, but the Spirit comes to help us. How to ask? And what shall we ask for? We do not know, but the Spirit intercedes for us without words, as if with groans.

And He who sees inner secrets knows the desires of the Spirit, for He asks for the holy ones what is pleasing to God.

Thursday, 22 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the love of God is eternal, and it is non-discriminatory, for God loves all, without looking at whether we are this or that certain race or upbringing or background. He knows all of the things inside our hearts and minds, and He knows all of us perfectly, and thus to those whom He know that we are obedient and true to His will, He will grant us His love and grace.

The Apostles in the first reading, revealed to the people, how the Lord loved all without differentiating between them, and how He loved the Gentiles as much as He had loved the Jews, so long as they believe in the Lord, and trust in His ways. The Lord blesses all who put their trust in Him and walk in His ways. He shows His favour to all of them.

Brethren, this is why it is essential for us to listen to God’s will and be with Him in all our dealings and actions in the future. We must adhere to the commandments and precepts of the Lord that we may always remain in the favour of God. Focus on the obedience of our hearts and minds more than the obedience of our bodies. This is because as I mentioned yesterday, the purity of the heart matters much more than mere purity of the exterior.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Rita of Cascia, a holy, pious and fervent religious who was also a wife and a mother, who decided to join the consecrated life to God after the death of her husband and her sons. St. Rita of Cascia is truly an example to all peoples through her actions, as although she had a very wicked and immoral man as a husband, and enduring the torture and abuse that her husband heaped on her, she managed to convert him through her exemplary actions and deeds, which brought about a conversion in her husband into a much better man.

St. Rita of Cascia had quite a difficult life, as she lived through a period in Italy when feuds were very common among leading aristocratic families in different city-states of Italy. The feuds claimed the life of her husband, and while her husband’s family desired for revenge and they encouraged her sons to take revenge for their father, but St. Rita of Cascia tried in vain to persuade them not to do so.

She prayed to God to take her sons away rather than seeing them commit a mortal sin in their revenge and risk falling into hell. Her prayers were answered by the Lord who took them away when they died of dysentry just a year after that. In that, they were taken away to God’s presence and did not commit a sin that would have resulted in them falling into hell.

St. Rita of Cascia devoted herself to God after all that, and in her love, she united and reconciled the feuding families that had been involved in the death of her husband and many others in the city where she lived. She lived as a religious nun faithfully until the end of her life on earth. She received in a vision, the mystical and spiritual wound of Christ, the stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ, on her forehead, at the site where the Lord wore His crown of thorns during His Passion.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Rita of Cascia showed us, that we have to love, and propagate that love, and also promote forgiveness of others, especially those who had hurt us and caused troubles for us. We too should ask for forgiveness from others whom we have hurt and caused troubles for. We must not discriminate between peoples, but love all equally, for we are all children of the same God.

Let us now therefore pray, and with the intercession of St. Rita of Cascia that we may be genuinely transformed into beings of love, who follow the Lord in all His ways, seeking to love and to forgive, that we may ever bring goodness into this world. May God be with us and keep us in His grace, always. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the Second Sunday of Easter, or since a few years ago, we also celebrate the greatness of our Lord’s merciful heart and love for us, in the Feast of the Divine Mercy. We celebrate today not just the joy of Easter and the resurrection of Christ, but the very love and mercy that God had shown us in giving us Jesus to be our Saviour and redeem us from certain death because of sin.

Today we have to reflect on this great mercy God had shown us through Jesus. Without this mercy, mankind would still dwell in darkness of this world and engulfed in sin, and therefore, condemned to damnation with Satan and his fellow fallen angels in the eternal torture of hell, bereft of God’s love and mercy in its entirety, where there is no longer any hope for us.

Instead, God who loves us resolved to let Himself be humiliated, scourged, tortured and mocked for our sake. He let Himself to be wounded and punished with the entirety of the weight of our sins, no matter how heavy they are. For our sins are the wounds that He bear, and His cross is our rebelliousness that He bore for our sake, that we may not suffer the consequences of our sins.

Today we celebrate the rising of two great and yet humble men to the Altar, that is our beloved Popes, the Successors of St. Peter, Blesseds Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. The now Saints Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II were great workers of love and mercy, proclaiming to the world the virtues of the Most Divine Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope St. John XXIII was the great proponent and champion of peace, seeking peace in a world beset by conflicts and hatred between one another, building bridges of dialogue and reconciliation where there were anger, hatred and violence. This is one of the great aspect and essence of mercy, showing to the world that we mankind should shun evil and hatred, as well as violence and dispute, in favour of love, forgiveness, cooperation and genuine mercy.

Divine Mercy of our Lord was truly at work, when Pope St. John XXIII carried out his mission as the Successor of St. Peter as the head of the Universal Church. Even in his life prior to his election as Pope, Pope St. John XXIII had been the embodiment of our Lord’s Divine Mercy, by acting in accordance to the Lord’s love, reaching out in particular to those who are bereft and longing for the Lord’s beautiful mercy.

Pope St. John XXIII as Angelo Roncalli prior to his election as Pope was sent as the diplomat of the Holy See, representing the Pope and the Church in various countries where strife was rampant, and divisions were evident among the faithful people of God, as the Apostolic Delegate to Bulgaria, he helped to bridge the differences between the faithful belonging to the Church and our separated brethren of the Constantinopolitan communion or the Eastern Orthodox. He helped foster a good relationship among the faithful and did not fear to help out a fellow brethren in need.

In essence, therefore, he had exercised the merciful aspect of the Lord who is the Divine Mercy. Pope St. John XXIII has also emulated the same example of Christ’s mercy by helping the Jews who were hunted down by the NAZIs to be exterminated by working hard to arrange their escape when he was the Apostolic Delegate to Turkey, and when a trainload of Jewish exiles attempted to escape death through Turkey.

There were much mercy in this new saint’s actions, and that is why he is today elevated to the glory of the Altar and officially recognised by the Church as a saint worthy of heavenly glory and honour. The other saint elevated today, Pope St. John Paul II whom many if us dearly and fondly remembered as the Pope of our time, also was a great man of mercy and love.

Pope St. John Paul II and his predecessors worked on the vision of a religious sister, who is known now as St. Faustina Kowalska on the Lord as the Divine Mercy. The Lord appeared to St. Faustina Kowalska asking for mankind to repent and change their sinful ways, and cling to His most merciful heart, which became the origin for the devotion towards the Divine Mercy of God, and the origin for today’s celebration on the Feast of the Divine Mercy, which falls on the second Sunday of Easter.

Pope St. John Paul II himself, as many of us know, is a man of great mercy, whose works of love and perseverance for the sake of the faithful is well known throughout the world. When he met an assassination attempt in 1981, on the day of the Feast of our Lady of Fatima, he forgave his to-be-assassin, and visited him in the prison, reconciling himself with the assassin in love.

This is one of the many examples of his acts of mercy, which is firmly founded on the foundations of faith, and his perseverance in fighting for the rights of the faithful against the Communist regime in Poland, his country, was truly remarkable. He did not fight the violence of the atheistic government with violence of his own, even when the people were on his side. He fought for the people with prayers and activism, promoting and championing for the faith through real action firmly grounded on the Christian faith.

Pope St. John Paul II was also well known for his championing of the Universal Call to Holiness, in which the faithful and people of God are encouraged to be models of the faith and walk in a life of holiness, which he helped encourage by the elevation of many holy men and women whose lives had been exemplary to be the role model for the faithful, that is for all of us to follow. These are the examples of the manifestation of the Lord’s love and mercy which came true in the lives of these holy men and women, including that of Popes St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II themselves.

In celebrating the elevation of these two great and yet humble Popes to the holy sainthood, we celebrate together with the entire Church for the propagation of the Lord’s Divine Mercy and love to all the peoples of all the nations, that from today on, through the examples in the lives of these two new saints and countless other holy men and women of God, we may learn of the Lord’s Divine Mercy and understand this great act of mercy.

God did not want us to suffer for the consequences of our sins, which entered our hearts and bodies and minds ever since Adam and Eve our first ancestors disobeyed the Lord and His will. That is why He sent us the greatest gift and help that He can provide us, in Jesus His Son, who suffered in our place, bearing our sins and all their burdens on His shoulders to the cross, where He laid down His own life for us, and by rising from the dead, He gave new hope of a new life to all of us who believe and who are ready to cast away our old lives of sin.

Yet we also have to remember at all times that God hates sin, in all its forms, no matter whether it is a small or a large sin. A sin is still a sin, and it separates us from being able to be perfectly reunited with the Lord who loves us. Sin is the barrier that prevents mankind from being free from the bonds and chains of death, and therefore, it is imperative for us to take the initiative to get rid of our sinfulness.

And the Lord who is also the Divine Mercy as He had revealed to St. Faustina Kowalska, has offered much mercy and opportunity for all of us to repent and turn again towards Him from our past sinful lives. It does not mean that God hates sin then we who have sinned will be condemned to perdition and death. It does not mean that we will be cast into hell immediately for our sins. Mankind are often very aware of their sins, but the danger of this is that because of this awareness, mankind became fearful of God and were afraid to seek God’s forgiveness and therefore fall deeper into sin.

We must not have this mentality or attitude towards God, because we know that the Lord is rich in mercy and slow to anger. Yes, just as much as He is wrathful and hateful against sins that we commit. What matters is for us to open our hearts to Him and allow His mercy to work wonders in us, and allowing His mercy to pierce to the greatest depths of our hearts that He may dwell in us and work His forgiveness in us.

Remember what Pope St. John Paul II had said to us? That we must not be afraid and open the doors wide to the Lord? And yes, therefore, we have to heed the words of this wise saint, and open wide the doors of our hearts to the forgiveness and mercy of God. Do not be afraid indeed, or else God’s mercy and forgiveness will not work its wonders on us, and we will remain in sin.

The problem with many of us and therefore mankind in general is that, not only that we fear the Lord and His wrath, but we also have great pride in us that we do not want to seek the Lord for forgiveness because of our ego. We keep our ego and heads held high, but for what? In the end, keeping our ego and pride will cost us dearly and we may be thrown into hell to suffer for eternity just because we refuse to lower ourselves before the mercy of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we rejoice with the entire Universal Church for the elevation of the two new saints from among our Popes, let us follow their examples and heed their words, that we show mercy in our own actions and open our hearts to the Lord, that His mercy and love may be poured into us, and make us all truly worthy and holy children of His, showing the examples of mercy in all our words, actions and deeds.

O, Pope St. John XXIII, pray and intercede for us that we may be agents of peace in this world, to show love and mercy of God to all through our actions, that may all hatred and violence cease, and that men will be brought closer to God, just as you had once worked hard for the sake of peace and equality for all mankind before God.

O, Pope St. John Paul II, pray and intercede for us that we may have our hearts opened for the Lord to enter, that we will not shut tight our doors before the Lord who knocks daily at them. Pray for us that we will not be afraid to open ourselves for others and show love and mercy in all of our actions, that we will be witnesses of the Lord’s most Divine Mercy.

May the Lord show His infinite mercy to us on this day, that we who have sinned before Him may turn our back against our past and sinful lives, that we may take concrete and real steps towards full reconciliation with our God. O, most Divine Mercy and loving Jesus, forgive us sinners and bring us closer to Your most loving heart. Amen.

Thursday, 13 March 2014 : 1st Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

We often forget, brothers and sisters, in our busy life and hectic schedules, that first and foremost, we should have no need to worry about this and that at all. We tend to forget this basic fact, and ending up to worry without end, and to fill our days with endless concerns and wants.

Brethren, our Lord provided us with all the things we need, and He provides us along the way, to help us with our respective lives. We may not realise this because He did so secretly, quietly helping us to make through things. It is often ourselves who screwed things up, because of our worries and concerns, which made us to take wrong decisions in life which may cost us dearly in the future.

And we know and should know that our Lord loves us very much, and He is willing to bless us and help us, but what He needs from us is that for us to ask Him and beseech Him for that help. It would be as simple as asking Him and knocking at His door, to seek for the Lord’s help, simple indeed or so it may seem to be.

But, we often forgot about this and did not realise this fact, and we often ended up depending solely on our own human power and based our decisions on our flawed judgment, which led to problems and uncertainties in our own lives. All these because we failed to recognise that in life, we cannot succeed if we do not depend on God, His love and loving help.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God knows our needs and He will give us what is good, only if we go to Him and ask Him for it. He will not makes us to fall into a disaster or destroy us purposely simply because He cares and loves us very much. It is entirely against His character and will to cause trouble and problems for us. It is we ourselves who make problems for ourselves.

The Lord provides for all of His servants, to those who keep to His laws and commandments, for those who did not look away from His ways and keep themselves always in His grace. He gives all of them the best of His blessings and inheritance, as He had proven to the Queen Esther of Persia, His servant, when she asked Him for His help.

In today’s first reading, the prayer of Queen Esther, to put things into context, the Queen Esther of Persia, the wife of the then Emperor of Persia, Xerxes the Great, the greatest of the Emperors of Persia, was a Jew with a Jewish background, and a great enemy rose in the court of the Emperor, in the person of Hamman the Agagite, who despised Mordechai, the Queen’s uncle.

Hamman devised a plan and gained the heart of the king, and this plan, which was devised against all the people of Mordechai, that is the Jews, were to be slaughtered and killed without mercy and have their possessions taken away from them. This was where Queen Esther came into the scene, as she, as the Queen, tried to use her position and relations with the Emperor, to prevent that catastrophe from facing her own people.

That was what she was praying for, she prayed for strength, guidance and help, that she may be guided in her dangerous attempt to prevent the plans and devices of those who hated God’s people. And God heard her and the prayers of His people, by first destroying Hamman the great enemy, and by delivering the enemies of His people into the hands of justice.

Now you see how powerful God’s help is, and all we need to do is to sincerely and genuinely ask for His help, seeking for Him to show mercy towards us. If we do so, He will certainly come to help us, and provide us with all that we will need. May God help to open our minds and our hearts, that we may, in great humility, always seek for Him and ask for His mercy. Amen.