Monday, 25 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 8 : 16-18

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather, he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people coming in may see the light.”

“In the same way, there is nothing hidden that shall not be uncovered; nothing kept secret, that shall not be known clearly. Now, pay attention and listen well, for whoever produces, will be given more; but from those who do not produce, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.”

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 5 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it.”

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Wednesday, 8 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Virgins)
Genesis 2 : 4b-9, 15-17

On the day that YHVH God made the earth and the heavens, there was not yet on earth any shrub on the fields, nor had any plant yet sprung up, for YHVH God had not made it rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the earth, but a mist went up from the earth and watered the surface of the earth.

Then YHVH God formed Man, dust drawn from the clay, and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life and Man became alive with breath. God planted a garden in Eden in the east and there He placed Man whom He had created. YHVH God caused to grow from the ground every kind of tree that is pleasing to see and good to eat, also the tree of life on the middle of the garden and the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

YHVH God took Man and placed him in the garden of Eden to till it and to take care of it. Then YHVH God gave an order to Man saying, “You may eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will not eat, for on the day you eat of it, you will die.”

Tuesday, 7 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Genesis 1 : 20 – Genesis 2 : 4a

God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth under the ceiling of the sky.” God created the great monsters of the sea and all living animals, those that teem in the waters, according to their kind, and every winged bird, according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds increase on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning : the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living animals according to their kind : cattle, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals according to their kind. So it was. God created the wild animals according to their kind, and everything that creeps along the ground according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.” God said, “I have given you every seed bearing plants which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day. That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done.

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day He rested from all the work He had done in His creation. These are the successive steps in the creation of the heavens and the earth.

Monday, 6 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Genesis 1 : 1-19

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered in one place and let dry land appear. And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’, and the waters gathered together he called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruit trees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well. God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.

Sunday, 5 February 2017 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day from the Sacred Scriptures all of us received a challenge from the Lord our God. He issued us all the challenge to be true Christians, that is to be His true followers, as all those who truly practice what He had taught us all through His Church, that we become those who live out our faith and not just merely reciting our Creed and pretend to believe, but yet in our hearts there is no place for God.

In the Gospel today, we heard the famous parable and teaching of Jesus, which is often known as the parable of the salt and the light, when Jesus explained using the example of salt and light, to urge all of His followers to be salt of the earth and to be light of the world. In our world today, so filled with good things, with convenience and pleasantries, we may often not realise just how significant these two things were for the people of that time.

Why is this so? In our world today, salt is ever present and are readily available, as the technique to make it easily and cheaply had been mastered by men, and we used it with abandon on our food, that we often do not realise the significance of salt. In the similar way, the prevalence of electricity and lightbulbs, and all other iridescent human-made light sources, light had been something that we often take for granted as something that is always available.

Salt and light are two very important commodities of Jesus’ time, at a time when refrigeration are not readily available and when electricity have yet to be discovered for more than a millennia. It was a world that constantly needed to deal with rotten foods as well as darkened nights without light. That was where salt and light came into the lives of those people, as the two things that made their lives much better.

For salt is used in preservation of foods just as much as they give good flavour to the food. With salt, food that used to be tasteless and easily spoil can be kept for longer and also tastes better. It has made mankind’s life much easier and indeed in some cases, could have become a lifesaver when there was no food at all in the middle of the desert. Thus in this context, the importance of salt as highlighted by Jesus in His parable cannot be underestimated.

And then how about light? Light was important because darkness exists when there was no light, when the sun was down and when the moon and the stars were not bright enough to sufficiently illuminate the dark paths and places. It was not like today when we live in a world saturated by light everywhere. As some of our brethren in some parts of the world are still experiencing to this very day, light was indeed very precious.

Many had to rely on candlelight for anything that they want to do after dark, and as we know candles can be a great fire hazard at the time when houses were made from wooden or any other easily flammable materials. To have light at that time would be a great privilege, but also could be a great danger. Candles were also expensive, and they needed to be replaced every time they were burnt out. That was why many poor people had to contend with living in the darkness for much of the half of the day during night.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, have we seen the significance of why Jesus our Lord used the example of salt and light in bringing about His points to the people? He used these two examples, calling all of the people to become salt of the earth and light of the world because these are among the things that people truly value at that time. And therefore what He taught them would be more easily accepted and understood.

Now, let us delve into what He had said in that parable, that when salt had lost its saltiness, it became useless. Indeed, as mentioned, salt is used because of its flavourful properties and preservative abilities, which is due to its saltiness. If somehow these properties are gone, then they are no more useful than grains of sand. No one will use salt that is no longer salty.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? This saltiness refers to our faith. Our faith must be living and real, and cannot be dead and dysfunctional. Faith cannot be just merely on paper alone, that we say that we are one of the faithful, and yet, in our actions we do things that are contrary to our faith and to the teachings of our Lord. This is our saltiness, the saltiness of our faith. Without faith, we are pretty much dead, and without good works, our faith is equally dead.

Then we should ask ourselves, whether we have this flavour of our faith ready inside us? If we have not had this saltiness inside us, then maybe it is time that we should renew our ‘saltiness’, that is by renewing our faith. Have we been obedient to God and have we done what He had asked us to do? To love our brethren and to show care and compassion for the weak, for the oppressed and for the unloved ones? This is what we exactly need to do, so that we may have that ‘salt’ of faith in us.

In the same manner, we must be light of the world as Christ had mentioned. We must be light in the sense that light penetrates the grip of darkness on our eyes, allowing eyes that once could not see because of the dark conditions to be able to see because of the light. And as light, we are guides for those who are still in the darkness, so that through our actions, we may inspire others to also follow in our footsteps, believing in God and therefore attain salvation together in us.

This is related to what we have just discussed about the ‘saltiness’ of our faith, in that, we must do good deeds and good works in accordance with what we believe in God, and then, as we do these, we must not be afraid, but must be forthcoming and be courageous in doing them, giving the example for many others to follow. This is what Jesus meant by the words He said, that a light ought not to be hidden, but instead should be put on a lampstand for all to see its light.

It means that our faith must be exemplary and good, and be visible for all to see. It does not mean that we must boast of our faith, but rather, we must not be afraid to lead others to follow the Lord as we ourselves had done, by leading them with good examples and teaching them with courage and zeal on how to become a good disciple and follower of our God. We must be good role models for one another, and help each other in keeping ourselves worthy and pure before God.

We should remember what the prophet Isaiah had mentioned in his Book, our first reading today, that we should share our food with the poor, bring to our house the homeless, caring for all those who are unloved and rejected. This is our mission as Christians, which unfortunately many of us have not been able to do because of our various excuses in life. We have always used fear, doubt, as well as laziness, pride and other irresponsible reasons to make excuses so as not to do what God had commanded us to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on this Sunday’s readings from the Sacred Scriptures, let us all therefore sincerely and fervently pray to the Lord, that He may give us the strength to renew our faith, that we may awaken in us the desire to care and love for one another, to stand up for our faith when the need arises, and therefore, give new ‘flavour’ and ‘saltiness’ to our faith, and then, be examples to one another, as light of the world, guiding many others on their way to God.

May the Lord bless us all and all of our good works. May He protect us and strengthen us, that we may continue to persevere and do what He had asked us to do, so that in the end of it all, we may receive the crown of eternal glory, having been found worthy by Him, Who sees in us the worth of the ‘salt’ of our faith and the unquenchable and strong light of faith and love present in each and every one of us who call themselves as Christians, God’s own beloved people. Amen.

Sunday, 5 February 2017 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Matthew 5 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it.”

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”