Saturday, 24 December 2022 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Eve (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 16-17, 22-25

So Paul arose, motioned to them for silence and began, “Fellow Israelites and also all you who fear God, listen. The God of our people Israel chose our ancestors, and after He had made them increase during their stay in Egypt, He led them out by powerful deeds.

After that time, God removed Saul and raised up David as king, to whom He bore witness saying : I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all I want him to do.

It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Saviour of Israel, Jesus. Before He appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life’s work, he said : ‘I am not what you think I am, for after me another One is coming Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.'”

Wednesday, 21 December 2022 : 4th Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Song of Songs 2 : 8-14

The voice of my Lover! Behold He comes, springing across the mountains, jumping over the hills, like a gazelle or a young stag. Now He stands behind our wall, looking through the windows, peering through the lattice.

My Lover speaks to me, “Arise, My love, My beautiful one! Come, the winter is gone, the rains are over. Flowers have appeared on earth; the season of singing has come; the cooing of doves is heard. The fig tree forms its early fruit, the vines in blossom are fragrant. Arise, My beautiful one, come with Me, My love, come.”

“O My dove in the rocky cleft, in the secret places of the cliff, let Me see your face, let Me hear your voice. Your face – how lovely! Your voice – how sweet!”

Alternative reading

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18a

Cry out with joy, o daughter of Zion; rejoice, o people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! YHVH has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. YHVH, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.

On that day, they will say to Jerusalem : Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for YHVH your God is within you, YHVH, saving warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for He has revived His love. For you He will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the feast. I will drive away the evil I warned you about.

Monday, 5 December 2022 : 2nd Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 35 : 1-10

Let the wilderness and the arid land rejoice, the desert be glad and blossom. Covered with flowers, it sings and shouts with joy, adorned with the splendour of Lebanon, the magnificence of Carmel and Sharon. They, my people, see the glory of YHVH, the majesty of our God.

Give vigour to weary hands and strength to enfeebled knees. Say to those who are afraid : “Have courage, do not fear. See, your God comes, demanding justice. He is the God Who rewards, the God Who comes to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unsealed. Then will the lame leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing and shout. For water will break out in the wilderness and streams gush forth from the desert. The thirsty ground will become a pool, the arid land springs of water. In the haunts where once reptiles lay, grass will grow with reeds and rushes.

There will be a highway which will be called The Way of Holiness; no one unclean will pass over it nor any wicked fool stray there. No lion will be found there nor any beast of prey. Only the redeemed will walk there. For the ransomed of YHVH will return : with everlasting joy upon their heads, they will come to Zion singing, gladness and joy marching with them, while sorrow and sighing flee away.

Monday, 28 November 2022 : 1st Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 4 : 2-6

On that day the Shoot of YHVH will be beautiful and glorious; and the Fruit of the earth will be honour and splendour for the survivors of Israel. Those who are left in Zion and remain in Jerusalem will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem, when YHVH washes away the filth of the women of Zion and purges Jerusalem of the bloodstains in its midst with the blast of searing judgment, the blast of fire.

Then will YHVH create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its assemblies a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of fire by night. For the Glory of the Lord will be a canopy and a pavilion for all, a shade from the scorching heat by day, a refuge from the storm and rain.

Alternative reading

Isaiah 2 : 1-5

The vision of Isaiah, son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In the last days, the mountain of YHVH’s house shall be set over the highest mountains and shall tower over the hills. All the nations shall stream to it, saying, “Come, let us go to the mountain of YHVH, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and we may walk in His paths. For the teaching comes from Zion, and from Jerusalem the word of YHVH.”

“He will rule over the nations and settle disputes for many people. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not raise sword against nation; they will train for war no more. O nation of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of YHVH!”

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday which is the last Sunday in our current liturgical year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, also known as the Solemnity of the Kingship of Jesus Christ. On this Sunday we commemorate our Lord Jesus not just as our Saviour but also as our King. This does not mean that we owe no obedience or loyalty to any earthly powers, nations or rulers. Instead, we must realise that the ultimate source of all power and authority in this world is the Lord, our one and true King and Master, and all the nations, all the rulers of this world are truly under our Lord’s dominion. That is why we are still supposed to obey the laws of the land and our respective countries, as good Christians are supposed to be, as far as they do not directly contradict the Law and commandments of God.

Our Lord is King, not just in spiritual manner but also in real and tangible manner. He is truly the King of all Kings, the Lord of lords and Master of all, and yet, unfortunately, many among us still behave as if the Lord is nobody, and that He has no place in our hearts and in our lives. We act as if the Lord is One Who is far and distant, and we remember Him only when we have need of Him. How many of us remember the Lord only when we have something that we hope He can solve for us, or when we want Him to answer our prayers. And it is not uncommon that we become angry at God when He does not seem to answer our prayers, and even if He does answer our prayers, we are often then quick to forget about Him once again and return to our daily preoccupations, with the Lord sidelined again until the next we have need of Him. Is that how we treat our King, brothers and sisters? Let us hence ponder through our Scripture passages this Sunday to understand our King better.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Samuel, we heard of the story of the time when King David of Israel was accepted as King by the whole nation of the Israelites, having reunited the whole tribes of Israel under his rule and dominion. David was God’s chosen King over His people, and he had to struggle for a number of years against the supporters of his predecessor King Saul, and his son Ishbosheth or Eshbaal, in a civil war that eventually ended up with David being victorious and triumphant, and was finally welcomed to be King over all of Israel. That moment marked the beginning of the glorious time of the United Kingdom of Israel, of the great kingdom of David and his son, Solomon, which many later generations would look up to as a time of great glory and nostalgia, as the days when God’s rule over His people through His righteous servants David and Solomon were at its best.

Those were the days when the people of God still obeyed God faithfully and when their kings still followed the Lord wholeheartedly. When the prophet Samuel agreed to choose and anoint a king over the Israelites because of their demands, he did tell them that they had no need for a king, because the Lord Himself was already their Lord and King, and yet the people insisted. The prophet warned the people that the kings eventually would make their lives difficult, and like the other rulers and kings of the world, they might end up being tyrannical and wicked, and might lead the people of God down the path to ruin if they did not remain faithful to God or did not exercise faithfully what the Lord had entrusted them to do as the rulers, shepherds and guides for His people, and instead following their own selfish desires for glory and power in this world.

Indeed, that happened even with David himself, the model and most righteous among the Kings of Israel at times when he sinned against God as he desired power and glory at times, and when he forgot his place as the Lord’s vicar and guide in this world. When he desired a woman, Bathsheba who was already married to another man, Uriah, David sinned against God by plotting Uriah’s death and taking up Bathsheba to be his own wife. The same happened when he desired to conduct a census of the Israelites, which was done in a moment of pride in desiring to know the vastness of his power and worldly dominion. Then Solomon, David’s son, while mostly faithful and just throughout his reign, was led into sin as well at the end of his reign when he allowed his many pagan wives and concubines to mislead him and the kingdom into the path of sin and rebellion against God, which eventually led to the division of the united kingdom into two halves of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Nonetheless, their authority and power did come from God, and God was indeed the true King of the Israelites, that when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were eventually crushed and destroyed by their enemies, the Lord still ruled and reigned over all of His people. He told them all that just as He has promised David that his house and kingdom will last forever, then He would send a Messiah or Saviour to His people, to be born of the House of David, to be the Son and Heir of David. That was the Messiah long awaited by the people of God and the One proclaimed by the many prophets and messengers of God. The people believed that this Messiah would then lead them to victory and freedom from their oppressors and foreign rulers, and would reestablish the kingdom of His ancestors, David and Solomon, of the glorious past days of the united kingdom.

Little did they know that, the Lord Himself would actually come into their midst to be wit them, to dwell among them in the flesh, and to be born as the Son and Heir of David, born of the Virgin, Mary, His mother just as the prophets had prophesied about. This King was born into the world, the Son of God and Son of Man, born as the Divine Word Incarnate, having two natures of Divine and Man, united in perfect love in the person of Jesus Christ, Whose Kingship we are commemorating today, acknowledging Him truly as the King of Kings, the Lord and Master of all, just as He has revealed Himself to be the Saviour of the whole world, and the one true King Who has come to claim all of His people and to gather them all to be His own one flock, with Him as the Shepherd, the Shepherd Who loves all of His flock and cares for them.

That was where then, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, that this same Saviour and King chose to willingly suffer and die for the sake of His beloved flock and people, as He willingly took upon Himself the most heavy burdens of our sins and the punishments and consequences due for those sins and wickedness we have committed. He took upon Himself the heavy burden of the Cross so that by His suffering and then death, He might offer on our behalf, as our Eternal High Priest and King, the most worthy sacrifice that will be the source of our salvation and redemption. He offers on our behalf, this perfect offering of love, that gathering us all as our King, He may lead us all towards righteousness and eternal life through Him, and His most loving sacrifice on the Cross.

For that, as we heard in our Gospel passage today and as we all know, the Lord Jesus our King suffered most terribly at the hands of those who persecuted and hated Him. He was mocked and ridiculed by the Romans as the King of the Jews, and it was for this reason that the chief priests and the Sanhedrin persecuted and condemned him through the Romans to death, for back then, it was a capital offence for someone under the Roman dominion and rule to claim kingship and to be a king. Yet, at the same time, ironically, it was by this action that even those same chief priests and all those who persecuted the Lord said that the Lord Jesus was indeed a King. And at that occasion, the Lord also said to Pontius Pilate, that He is indeed a King, and His kingdom is not of this world.

It means that the Lord’s kingship and rule is not bound like any other kingdoms and rulers of this world. His kingship is a Universal Kingship, one that is outside any limits of time, space and place. He rules over all the whole Creation, of all Universe, of all time and beyond time. And this is our King, our Lord and true Master, Whom we celebrate today, and we ought to be blessed and thankful for the Lord has loved us so dearly and wonderfully. He is the One Whom St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians in our second reading today spoke of as the Image of the Unseen God. Through Him, we have seen the manifestation of God, Who has become tangible and approachable by us, and we have therefore seen, witnessed and experienced the presence of our King, our Lord and Master.

He has also gathered us all to be one people and one flock, with Him as our King and the Head of this Church which He has established over in this world, to be a visible presence of the kingdom He has brought unto us, the kingdom of God manifested in this world as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. And as members of this same Church of God, each and every one of us are indeed invited to examine ourselves and our actions, our dealing and our way of life, whether we have truly appreciated and obeyed the Lord as our King, or whether we have ignored Him, abandoned Him and rejected Him for other things in life which we find more important and desirable than to listen and be obedient to our King’s commands, His Law and will. This Sunday as we celebrate this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, this is what each one of us as Christians are called and expected to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves today to our King anew, renewing our pledge to serve Him, to follow and obey Him wholeheartedly from now on and honour and worship Him as our Lord and King, and enthrone Him in our hearts, in our homes and in our workplaces, in everywhere we are, as our true King and Master, even as we obediently continue to be good and law abiding citizens of this world, and of whichever states we belong to. Let us all be true followers and servants of our King, He Who truly cares for and loves us His people, and Who has given Himself so completely to us, that we may have life through Him, and that we may be reconciled and reunited with Him, in the glory of Heaven and His everlasting kingdom.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the whole Universe, Our Lord and Master, be with us always, and may He remain with us by our side, strengthening and encouraging us that we may always persevere and be strong in faith no matter whatever challenges and trials may come our way. May the Lord bless us all in all of our good efforts, hard work and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 23 : 35-43

At that time, the people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Jesus, saying to one another, “Let the Man Who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the Chosen One of God!”

The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the King of the Jews? Free Yourself!” Above Jesus there was an inscription in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this Man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 1 : 12-20

Constantly give thanks to the Father Who has empowered us to receive our share in the inheritance of the saints in His kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In Him we are redeemed and forgiven.

He is the Image of the unseen God, and for all creation He is the Firstborn, for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible : thrones, rulers, authorities, powers… All was made through Him and for Him. He is before all and all things hold together in Him.

And He is the Head of the Body, that is the Church, for He is the first, the first raised from the dead that He may be the first in everything, for God was pleased to let fullness dwell in Him. Through Him God willed to reconcile all things to Himself, and through Him, through His Blood shed on the cross, God establishes peace, on earth as in heaven.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 121 : 1-2, 4-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stands the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Samuel 5 : 1-3

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your bone and flesh. In the past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel. And YHVH said to you, ‘You shall be the shepherd of My people Israel and you shall be commander over Israel.'”

Before YHVH, King David made an agreement with the elders of Israel who came to him at Hebron, and they anointed him king of Israel.

Monday, 24 October 2022 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Ephesians 4 : 32 – Ephesians 5 : 8

Be good and understanding, mutually forgiving one another as God forgave you in Christ. As most beloved children of God, strive to imitate Him. Follow the way of love, the example of Christ Who loved you. He gave Himself up for us and became the offering and sacrificial victim Whose fragrance rises to God.

And since you are holy, there must not be among you even a hint of sexual immorality or greed, or any kind of impurity : these should not be named among you. So too for scandalous words, nonsense and foolishness, which are not fitting; instead offer thanksgiving to God.

Know this : no depraved, impure or covetous person who serves the god ‘Money’ shall have part in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for these are the sins which God is about to condemn in people who do not obey.

Do not associate with such people. You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Behave as children of light.