(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Sixth Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Baruch 3 : 9-15, 32 – Baruch 4 : 4

Listen, Israel, to the commands of life, give ear so as to learn prudence. Why, Israel! Why are you in the land of your foes? Why are you growing old in a foreign country, contaminated by pagans, counted among those who go to the pit?

You have abandoned the source of Wisdom. If you had walked in the way of God, peace would be your dwelling place forever. Learn where is Wisdom, where is Strength and Understanding, that you may know, at the same time, where are length of days and life, light of the eyes and Peace.

Who will find Wisdom’s dwelling? Who will enter her storage rooms? But He who knows everything recognises her. He has found her in His own intellect. He who created the earth, for all time, and has filled it with four-footed beings.

He who sends the light, and it goes, who recalls it, and trembling it obeys. The stars shine, full of joy, to keep their night watches. He calls them and they answer, “Here we are.” They shine with joy for their Creator.

It is He who is our God, no other can be compared with Him. He has found the way of understanding and has given her to Jacob His servant and to Israel His well-beloved.

Then Wisdom was seen on earth and lived among humans. She herself is the book of the commands of God, the law which endures forever. All who hold fast to her will have life, but those who abandon her will die.

Come back, Jacob, and embrace her, walk towards brightness under her light. Do not give up what is your glory or sell your privileges to any strange nation. We are fortunate, o Israel, for we know what pleases the Lord!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 7b-15

Jesus said, “You must be born again from above. The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus asked again, “How can this be?” And Jesus answered, “You are a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things! Truly, I say to you, We speak of what We know and what We witness to the things We have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. If you do not believe when I speak of earthly things, what then, when I speak to you of heavenly things?”

“No one has ever gone up to heaven except the One who came from heaven, the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”

Wednesday, 8 January 2014 : Wednesday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 6 : 45-52

Immediately, Jesus obliged His disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, towards Bethsaida, while He Himself sent the crowd away. And having sent the people off, He went by Himself to the hillside to pray.

When evening came, the boat was far out on the lake, while He was alone on the land. Jesus saw His disciples straining at the oars, for the wind was against them; and before daybreak He came to them, walking on the lake, and He was going to pass them by.

When they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought It was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But at once He called to them, “Courage! It is I; do not be afraid!” Then Jesus got into the boat with them, and the wind died down.

They were completely astonished, for they had not really grasped the fact of the loaves; their minds were dull.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Colossians 3 : 12-17

Clothe yourself, then, as is fitting for God’s chosen people, holy and beloved of Him. Put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience to bear with one another and forgive whenever there is any occasion to do so. As the Lord has forgiven you, forgive one another.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May the peace of Christ overflow in your hearts; for this end you were called to be one body. And be thankful.

Let the word of God dwell in you in all its richness. Teach and admonish one another with words of wisdom. With thankful hearts sing to God psalms, hymns, and spontaneous praise. And whatever you do or say, do it in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Alternative Reading (From the Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

 

Galatians 4 : 4-7

But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son. He came born of woman and subject to the Law, in order to redeem the subjects of the Law, that we might receive adoption as children of God. And because you are children, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son which cries out : ‘Abba!’ that is ‘Father!’

You yourself are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and yours is the inheritance by God’s grace.

Alternative Reading (From the Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

 

Ephesians 1 : 3-6, 11-12

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, who in Christ has blessed us from heaven with every spiritual blessing. God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and without sin in His presence.

From eternity He destined us in love to be His adopted sons and daughters through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling His free and generous will. This goal suited Him : that His loving-kindness which He granted us in His Beloved might finally receive all glory and praise.

By a decree of Him who disposes all things according to His own plan and decision, we, the Jews, have been chosen and called, and we were awaiting the Messiah, for the praise of His glory.

Thursday, 18 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Matthew 11 : 28-30

Come to Me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest. For My yoke is good, and My burden is light.

Saturday, 25 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor; Pope St. Gregory VII, Pope; and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we learn about God, that God is our Father, our creator. God shaped us from dust, in His own image, that we look like Him, and receiving His Holy Spirit through His breath, we gain life that is anchored in the Spirit that is in all of us.

He is our Father, and like our earthly father, He loves us, protects us, and grant us His grace, through His guidance and numerous blessings to us. He taught us many things through subtle means, and He opened our eyes to the knowledge of the world. He brought us up since the day of our conception and cares for us till the day of our death.

God who is our Father loves us, brothers and sisters in Christ, that He even sent His only Son, one of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, to be one of us, to be a lowly man like us, and in doing so, He brought us even closer to Himself, because we now, through Christ, truly become children of God, because Christ Himself, the Son of God, is our brother, just as He is our Lord and Saviour.

But we have rebelled against His love and His faithfulness to us, and we have rejected Him since the first days of creation, beginning with the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when they ate the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, trusting Satan in the snake more than they trust the Lord their God and their creator.

Yes, one weakness that mankind particularly has today is greed, my brethren, especially greed for knowledge, curiosity, and an excess of it, which resulted exactly in the rebellion of the first mankind, because of their curiosity of the knowledge of good and evil as tempted by Satan. The Lord has given each one of us wisdom and intellect, but we have never felt enough, and are always curious and wanting to know more.

This is how our modern world rapidly becoming less and less faithful to God, and many turn their hearts away from total obedience and love for God. Many question their faith, because they are curious about the truth behind it, and they trust more alternatives to God such as scientific discoveries, because in those discoveries, they gain more and more knowledge, and this displaces God in their hearts, because to them, science seems to offer them something tangible, as science itself represents something that must be verifiable and visible.

Yes, our God and Lord may not be visible to us, and His presence may not be easily felt, if you apply the standards of science, and the standards of our human stature to it, but God does exist in our hearts, brothers and sisters in Christ, and He is present in all of us, through the Spirit of life that He has given us. What mankind is lacking truly is the ability to transcend that greed for more knowledge and more understanding, but in the process, those greed transform them into a corrupted being.

That is why Christ asks us to be like the children, to have faith like the children, because children are pure and innocent, and in the children lie the fullness of the love of God, and they are beings that can truly love God with all their heart, their mind, and their soul, without being disrupted and clouded by the evils of this world, simply because, in the innocence of their heart, they know only the love of God.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we too should follow the children’s example, in their pure and unadulterated love for God. If you see a child pray, you can see that their prayer is pure, and not like many of us who utter litany of wishes in our prayer, because we have been tainted by greed and desire, desiring that God grant us our wishes, although prayer is in fact the bridge of faith, our pure connection, a two-way connection between us and God, instead of being a help line or a wishing line.

That is why those of you who are parents with young children, it is important to educate your children well, and ensure that they are protected from the evil influences that are ever present in our world, and in our surroundings. In a world where knowledge had become much more readily accessible and in the reach of even children through the media and the internet, there is a need for greater vigilance, brethren, that we, and especially young children, do not fall prey to Satan’s advances. Knowledge is good, and knowing more is good, but are we able to truly distinguish between truth or lies? and are we able to distinguish between what is good and what is bad?

Today, we also celebrate feast of saints, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Saints because we do not just celebrate one saint, but three saints! They are St. Bede the Venerable, a holy monk living in the seventh and early eighth century England, who contributed greatly to the development of the Church in Britannia, and we also have Pope St. Gregory VII, a great Pope, and a great reformer Pope, who championed the freedom and the authority of the Papacy against secular powers that try to usurp the Church’s authority from it, and finally St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, a virtuous religious sister who often received visions from the Lord, and was known for her great piety and love for God.

St. Bede the Venerable was a great author who wrote extensively on the early histories of the British Isles, but also made important chronicles of the development of the Church in the West and in Britain, especially in the well known history of the Church and people of England, that is the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. His works brought great advancement in the field of learning and knowledge. This shows the greatness of wisdom and intellect that God has given us, and if we utilise it right, we can bring about great good to mankind, just as St. Bede the Venerable had done.

Pope St. Gregory VII, is a great Pope of the medieval era, who championed Papal supremacy and authority over the rulers of Christendom. He persevered over the power of the secular ruler, in the person of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Christendom’s ruler at the time, over the appointment of bishops, which rightfully should belong to the successor of the apostles, the successor of Peter, that is the Pope, alone. He triumphed against those who in their pride think that they know it all and did not pay proper respect to the Lord out of their pride and arrogance.

St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi gained many visions which she received regularly from the Lord, and through her writings on her visions and experiences, many believed in the Lord. This is the proof that knowledge and wisdom indeed comes from God, and from God alone. We humans receive our knowledge and wisdom from the Spirit that is also our life, but we are prone to think that this knowledge and wisdom is our own, and disregard the Lord’s role in it.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us from now on, follow in the footsteps of these great saints, and pursue the true knowledge, the truth that is in the Lord. Do not be tempted by the falsehood that this world offers, that is Satan’s temptation. God who loves us will grant us truth, wisdom, and knowledge that is anchored in Him, that we will not fall like Adam and Eve once did. May God be our light of guidance, and steer us on the path to return to Him one day. Amen.

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 30 March 2013 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Sixth Reading)

Baruch 3 : 9-15, 32 – Baruch 4 : 4

Listen, Israel, to the commands of life, give ear so as to learn prudence. Why, Israel! Why are you in the land of your foes? Why are you growing old in a foreign country, contaminated by pagans, counted among those who go to the pit?

You have abandoned the source of Wisdom. If you had walked in the way of God, peace would be your dwelling place forever. Learn where is Wisdom, where is Strength and Understanding, that you may know, at the same time, where are length of days and life, light of the eyes and Peace.

Who will find Wisdom’s dwelling? Who will enter her storage rooms? But He who knows everything recognises her. He has found her in His own intellect. He who created the earth, for all time, and has filled it with four-footed beings.

He who sends the light, and it goes, who recalls it, and trembling it obeys. The stars shine, full of joy, to keep their night watches. He calls them and they answer, “Here we are.” They shine with joy for their Creator.

It is He who is our God, no other can be compared with Him. He has found the way of understanding and has given her to Jacob His servant and to Israel His well-beloved.

Then Wisdom was seen on earth and lived among humans. She herself is the book of the commands of God, the law which endures forever. All who hold fast to her will have life, but those who abandon her will die.

Come back, Jacob, and embrace her, walk towards brightness under her light. Do not give up what is your glory or sell your privileges to any strange nation. We are fortunate, o Israel, for we know what pleases the Lord!