Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day when we celebrate the moment when Mary, the Mother of God visited Elizabeth, her cousin, who was also the mother of St. John the Baptist, the Herald who would bring forth the news about the Messiah and proclaim Him to the world. Mary visited Elizabeth who was with St. John the Baptist in her womb while she has also already had Jesus in her Immaculate womb. Mary and Elizabeth’s moment together also revealed to us more of the truth of both infants present in their wombs.

Mary came to Elizabeth after hearing the news about her miraculous pregnancy that happened in her old age, a sign of God’s blessings, which happened to her as well because she had also conceived a Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Word and Son of God incarnate in the flesh through her. Jesus was already in Mary’s womb when she went to visit Elizabeth. It is a truly joyous occasion when two women affirmed and supported each other, both having been blessed by God and through whom the salvation of God would come for all of mankind, one to proclaim the coming of that salvation, while the other One is the Saviour Himself.

Both Mary and Elizabeth showed us the virtues of their faith and dedication to the Lord. Both were righteous and anchored themselves on the Lord. They have been faithful to the Lord and obeyed the Lord’s commandments and allowed themselves to be part of God’s plan of salvation. Elizabeth was willing to become the mother of the Saviour’s Herald, and in her old age, the Lord took away from her the shame of her barrenness. And by the will and power of God, Mary also conceived the Son of God in her, willingly accepting the role that the Archangel Gabriel had proclaimed to her, to become the Mother of God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, after all of us hearing what had happened during the Visitation and all that Mary and Elizabeth had done, and what they represented, all of us are reminded that we should follow the Lord faithfully in the way that those two amazing women had done. We are all, as Christians, called to be role models and inspirations to one another in faith, and in how we should live our lives as Christians, as the holy people of God so that all those who witness our works, hear us and see us in our daily living, our interactions and our activities may come to share our faith in Christ and to believe in Him as well.

Elizabeth’s joy and proclamation upon seeing Mary, her cousin, saying that the Mother of her Lord had come to see her, and all the joy accompanying their encounter should also be our response when we come to seek the Lord through Mary, His mother. We should rejoice and desire to come to the presence of the Lord, whenever we come and enter into His House, the Church and where He is truly present, enthroned in His Real Presence in the Tabernacle and in the Holy Mass. And we should rejoice to come to see Him, to glorify the Lord and strive such that more and more people may come to know the Lord.

Yet, many of us are lukewarm in faith, not being excited to come and see the Lord, and we end up spending a lot more time doing things that are against God and His truth. We did things that scandalise our faith in God and His Church, and even the sanctity of His Name and Presence. This is what caused others to turn away from the Lord, and to be hesitant to come and follow the Lord as well. Often times, the answer given by those who were asked why they did not become Christians or refuse to become one and be baptised is that they had seen Christians doing sinful things and living wickedly, and hence, those things discouraged and hindered them from believing in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us all remind ourselves of the faith that we should have in the Lord, and how Mary, the Mother of God showed us, each and every one of us should give our lives to God and to commit ourselves to His path, doing God’s will and walking in the path that He has shown us and called us to go through. We are all called to embody our faith in our every words, actions and deeds, so that we can lead more people to come closer to God and to inspire others to remain strong in their faith and belief in God.

May the Lord bless us all in our every day moments and lives, and may through His Blessed Mother Mary, and all the great saints, holy men and women who had dedicated their lives to God, all of us may also be more inspired to live in the same way that they had done, be ever more worthy of God in all of our actions, words and deeds. May God be with us always, now and evermore. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners and help us to live our lives in the manner you have lived yours. Amen.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 39-56

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour! He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed.”

“The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name! From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”

“He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid. YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me. You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation.

Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.

Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18

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, and you will no longer be ashamed.

Alternative reading

Romans 12 : 9-16b

Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God.

Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep.

Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary things.

Monday, 30 May 2022 : 7th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are presented with the revelation of what all Christians are expected to do, in proclaiming the truth of God to all people, so that more people may come to know of God through us, and know Him well and correctly, that we share the same Christian truth we have upheld for all these while through the Church. Each and every one of us are called to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, in proclaiming the love and truth of God. This is our calling as Christians.

In our first reading today, we heard of the story of how St. Paul evangelised to the people of Ephesus, continuing his ministry to the people of God. As mentioned, it was there that St. Paul spoke and preached to some of the faithful there who had followed and learnt through St. John the Baptist, the one who heralded for the coming of the Messiah, the One true Lord and Saviour of all. St. Paul revealed more of the truth of God to them and made them true believers as well, calling on them to follow Christ, and then, they received the Holy Spirit, beginning to proclaim God’s truth on their own.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord revealed to His own disciples, more of the things that He would do before all of them, the truths and revelations that He had brought unto their midst. The Lord spoke to them at that time just before He was about to suffer and die, at the time of the Last Supper, when He revealed to them not just that He would be betrayed and abandoned by His own disciples, but that He would be handed over to His enemies and suffer a most painful and humiliating death. Everything would eventually come true as the Lord went on through His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross.

The Apostles themselves had been witnesses of everything that had happened, while those who did not witness them firsthand received the same revelation through the Holy Spirit and through the words and traditions passed down to them by the Apostles and their successors. The Church has always kept those traditions as one of its fundamental pillars together with the Scriptures and the teachings of the Magisterium, the leadership of the Church. They henceforth delivered that same message and truth to all those whom they encountered and ministered to, in every possible opportunities and places they went to.

Now, each and every one of us as Christians have also been called to follow the footsteps of St. Paul and all others who have devoted their lives and service to the Lord. We are all given the wisdom and courage of the Holy Spirit, and we have been the recipients of the same truth and traditions through the Church. And we have to realise that we all thus share the responsibilities to carry on the works of evangelisation, spreading the word of God to all those who have not yet known Him, or those who have been separated from Him, so that hopefully through us, we may bring back many more souls to God and His salvation.

How do we do that then, brothers and sisters in Christ? First of all, we have to live our lives as true Christians, spending the time and effort to live well in accordance with the way of the Lord. It means that we cannot just be Christians in words alone, but also through deeds and actions. In fact, if we profess and claim to believe in Christ, and yet, our actions speak otherwise, and what we do in our lives do not match that of our words and proclamations, then not only that we are making empty proclamations and words, but we in fact have scandalised the Lord and our faith in Him, His Church and the whole body of the faithful.

That is not what we should be doing. On the contrary, we should try our best to be good role models for one another, living our lives as best as we can, so that in all that we do, we will be inspiration for our fellow men and women, our brothers and sisters, leading everyone closer to God. We should not do things that instead make people to distance themselves away from God. Remember, brothers and sisters, that each and every one of us have been entrusted with this same mission, and whatever we do, to fulfil it or to do things contrary to our mission, will be held on our account, and if we and our faith are found wanting, then let us not be full of regret later on if we find ourselves on the wrong side of the fence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all ask the Lord to help and guide us so that we may be courageous and strong enough to proclaim His truth and love in our respective communities today. May the Lord be with us always and may He bless all of our efforts and works, that we will always do our best in every opportunities that God has provided us. Amen.

Monday, 30 May 2022 : 7th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 29-33

At that time, the disciples said to Jesus, “Now You are speaking plainly and not in veiled language! Now we see that You know all things, even before we question You. Because of this we believe that You came from God.”

Jesus answered them, “You say that you believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me. I have told you all this, so that in Me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but courage! I have overcome the world.”

Monday, 30 May 2022 : 7th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 67 : 2-3, 4-5ac, 6-7ab

Arise, o God, scatter Your enemies; let Your foes flee before You. As smoke is blown by the wind, so blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before You.

But let the righteous be glad and exult before God; let them sing to God and shout for joy. Sing to God, sing praises to His Name; the Lord is His Name. Rejoice in His presence.

Father of orphans and Protector of widows – such is our God is His holy dwelling. He gives shelter to the homeless, sets the prisoners free.

Monday, 30 May 2022 : 7th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 19 : 1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples whom he asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered, “We have not even heard that anyone may receive the Holy Spirit.” Paul then asked, “What kind of baptism have you received?” And they answered, “The baptism of John.”

Paul then explained, “John’s baptism was for conversion, but he himself said they should believe in the One Who was to come, and that One is Jesus.” Upon hearing this, they were baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came down upon them; and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of them in all.

Paul went into the synagogue and for three months he preached and discussed there boldly, trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God.

Sunday, 29 May 2022 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communications Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday marks the seventh Sunday in the season of Easter, and we are all reminded that as the glorious season of Easter is coming to a close soon, with the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday next week, we are all called as Christians to be always full of Easter joy and hope, and to carry out the mission which the Lord has entrusted to us, the mission to bring forth His truth and love to all the nations, to all the peoples of every race and every origins, so that everyone may come to know the Lord, His salvation and grace, His love and most generous mercy for us all, His beloved ones.

In our first reading today, we heard of the account of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, one of the first martyrs of the Church. St. Stephen was falsely accused by the opponents of the Lord and all those who resented him and his efforts in proclaiming the Christian faith and truth to the people. St. Stephen despite facing such an opposition and persecution, going up against the whole assembly of those who have been full of determination to persecute and destroy him, did not fear for his life. On the contrary, encouraged and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, St. Stephen courageously proclaimed the Lord and all that He had done for our salvation before those same people.

St. Stephen spent the time to reveal to them the truth of God and he spoke very convincingly guided by the Wisdom granted to him through the Holy Spirit. Yet, the people refused to listen to him, close off and shielded their ears, rushing towards him and angrily stoning him to death. And despite everything that happened to him, St. Stephen did exactly the same as the Lord had done, forgiving and praying for the sake of all those who had persecuted him, asking the Lord not to hold their mistakes and faults, their sins against them, but to forgive them and to show mercy on them. That is what each and every one of us as Christians are asked to emulate in our own lives.

In our second reading today, we heard from the Book of the Revelations of St. John the Apostle, the vision that St. John received while he was exiled at the island of Patmos. St. John received the vision of the things that will happen in the future, and today, we heard the conclusion of that account of his vision of the future. After having seen all that will transpire and happen in the end of times, the Second Coming of the Lord and the final triumph of the Lord against Satan and the forces of evil and sin, St. John saw the Lord speaking to him and telling him that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, and that He will come again at the end of time, everything to happen just as St. John had seen them.

That is why the Lord told him and through him, His Church, all of us to be His faithful witnesses, and to speak of this same truth, the truth that St. Stephen had spoken courageously about, and had died defending. St. Stephen died defending the same truth that has been entrusted to us all, and which we all also ought to defend and proclaim courageously in our own present day and time. This is what each and every one of us have been called to do, and God has given us all various gifts, talents and opportunities for us to be inspirations to each other, so that by our lives and actions, we may all inspire more people to come to believe in God and be saved.

That is why today, this Sunday we also commemorate the occasion of World Communications Sunday. In the context of our faith, we are all called to be good communicators of our faith, as faithful and devout witnesses of our Christian truths, of the Lord’s love and kindness. This is our mission as part of the Church of God, the Great Commission that our Lord had entrusted to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven. And although He has ascended into Heaven and is no longer physically visible in our midst, but He is in truth always with us, guiding us along the way, and the Holy Spirit that He has granted to us through the Church, gave us the wisdom and courage to proclaim Him just as St. Stephen had done.

Nonetheless, in order for us to do this properly, we have to be connected to the Lord and we have to regularly in communication with Him. As we heard in our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus praying to His Father in Heaven, asking Him to bless His disciples and to give them strength and guidance, we should always look up to the Lord and keep ourselves connected to Him, just as the Lord Himself often prayed to His Father. Jesus has showed us the example of how we all should pray and stay connected to our loving Father and Creator, and we should heed and emulate His examples in our own lives.

That brings us to think of what a prayer truly is. Prayer is not like what some of us may think it is. Prayer is not the means for us to attain or achieve what we wanted, that just by asking the Lord what we want through prayer, then God will then give us what we wanted. That is among some very common misconceptions that we normally had on what a prayer truly is. Prayer is not a litany of demands or petitions made by us, demanding that God does something for our sake or on our behalf. Let us not forget that God does not owe us anything or in any way beholden to us, that He has to accede to our demands.

On the contrary, true prayer is our way of communicating wholeheartedly to the Lord, our loving Father and Creator, in the manner how the Lord Jesus Himself prayed to His Father, and how the Apostles and saints like St. Stephen prayed. Prayer is about opening ourselves and our hearts and minds, entering into genuine communication and dialogue with God, speaking to Him and letting Him speak to us as well, in the depths of our hearts and minds. Unfortunately, more often than not we allow ourselves to be distracted and we were also unwilling to listen to God, while forcing God and demanding on Him to listen to us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why on this Seventh Sunday of Easter, the World Communications Sunday, each one of us as Christians are not only just reminded of our calling and mission in life, to evangelise and proclaim the truth of God in our world today, but we must also learn to be good communicators in order to do so. As mentioned, first of all we must be connected to God and know how to communicate with Him, through prayers and other means, and not only sporadically, but as often as we are able to, from our hearts and allowing God to speak to us, so that we may know of His will and what He intends with our lives.

And in our work of evangelisation and proclaiming the words of God’s truth, we must also be good and effective communicators as well. We cannot convince others to believe in God unless we also listen to them and communicate with them, reaching out to them and their hearts. Imposing our will and demanding others to listen to us only do not make use good evangelisers and examples of our Christian faith. Not only that, but we can even risk causing others to distance themselves further away from God and His Church, as we must be mindful that our actions can both bring people closer to God, as well as driving people away from Him.

Hence, as Christians, we have truly great responsibilities, to proclaim the Word of God and the Christian teachings and truths through our lives. We should not just speak with our words, but we must embody our Christian faith through our way of life, in every single moments of our lives, so that others who see us, witness our actions and way of life may come to believe in God through us. In fact, if we do not live our lives according to what we profess or proclaim, then we are no better than hypocrites who do not live their lives and practice what they themselves had preached. And in that way, hardly anyone will believe in us, no matter what we tell them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, let us all renew our commitment to the Lord, to be the bearers of His Good News and truth to the nations. We do not have to seek to do great things in life, but rather, even in the smallest things we do, in our every interactions with each other, we should do our best to live up to our Christian faith and beliefs. We have to allow the Lord to lead and guide us, through the wisdom and courage of His Holy Spirit, that we do not end up falling into the wrong path in life, or mislead others into the path of sin. Let our lives be good examples and let us communicate our faith well to others, and strengthen each other’s faith through examples of our own lives.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our own respective journeys of life. May He empower us all to walk ever more faithfully in His path. May God bless us in our every actions and way of life, and may He remain in our midst and lives, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 29 May 2022 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communications Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 17 : 20-26

At that time, Jesus prayed to God His Father, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who through their word will believe in Me. May they all be one, as You Father are in Me and I am in You. May they be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”

“I have given them the glory You have given Me, that they may be one as We are One : I in them and You in Me. Thus they shall reach perfection in unity; and the world shall know that You have sent Me, and that I have loved them, just as You loved Me.”

“Father, since You have given them to Me, I want them to be with Me where I am, and see the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me.”

“As I revealed Your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal it, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and also may be in them.”