Friday, 7 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Friday, 7 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

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.

Friday, 7 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these, together, gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women, and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Thursday, 6 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called to heed the Lord’s truth and His teachings, and ask Him for help whenever we are needing any assistance and help. We cannot struggle alone in this journey of faith, or else we will quickly realise that we will falter and be easily tempted, falling deeper and deeper into the path of sin, from which we may realise that there is no path out from. Unless we conscientiously follow the path of the Lord and remain firmly faithful to this path, striving to walk as good and devoted Christians, we may realise that we will be drawn into the ways of the world, and be tempted by sin.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Galatia, the words of the Apostle chiding and the rebuking the people of God there for their erroneous ways and wicked living, for having followed the ways and the teachings proposed and preached to them by the false prophets and by all those who did not adhere to the true deposit of the faith and the truth as preserved by the Apostles. Back then, there existed many variations of the teachings of Christ, with some people likely making use of those teachings as excuses to establish their own school of thought and ideologies, or by syncretising them with the pagan beliefs and customs.

As such, St. Paul reminded the people of God not to be easily swayed by those worldly temptations, and to adhere closely to what they have received, the pure truth as what St. Paul and the other authentic witnesses and missionaries had proclaimed to them. St. Paul reminded the faithful not to allow their desires and the weakness of their flesh to sway them to the wrong paths. Otherwise, they would end up losing their way and might even fell off away from the path towards God and His salvation. That is why, St. Paul told them not to listen to those who proclaimed different messages from what he and the other faithful servants of God had preached.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples about the matter of someone who asked a friend for a favour, and how a father would care for his children in the same way that a friend would have cared for his or her friend’s requests or pleas for assistance. The Lord used that as an example to highlight to His disciples and therefore to all of us that, often times we do not realise that we have such a great opportunity to ask the Lord for help at any moment in time, but for various reasons, we chose not to seek for His help, and preferred to do things our own way, which in the end led to us doing the wrong things and choosing the wrong paths.

And why is it that we did not seek God’s help? First of all, the most often reason was that we allow our pride and ego to get in the way. We let ourselves be swayed by our ego that we refused to allow the Lord to speak to us, and we refused to listen to Him and we chose rather to do things our own way rather than to admit that we can be wrong or mistaken in our ways, or that we want to preserve that semblance of face and strength, and we chose to press on in our erroneous ways of life rather than to submit to God’s will or to look for help from Him. That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, our human pride and ego are such dangerous things that we must be ever vigilant against.

Then, another reason is that we are reluctant to ask, because we are afraid that God will punish us if we ask, and that He will chide and refuse to listen to us for our pleas and prayers. That, brothers and sisters in Christ is yet another reason why so many ended up getting further and further away from God. They rather chose to hide rather than to face the Lord, their loving God and Father. They did not have enough faith in God and in His mercy, that they chose to rather run away from Him and avoid Him, instead of entrusting themselves to His love and care. And this is what we must remind ourselves, that our Lord is our Father, and like all fathers, they will indeed chastise their children when they err, but they do so with love, and not hatred.

Which one should we rather choose, brethren? To be chastised by God and to be reminded to atone for our many sins and wickedness, for an eternity of joy and true happiness, filled with God’s love and grace because we have been reconciled to Him, or to run and hide away, to keep our pride and ego and then suffer an eternity of suffering and regret, because we keep on rejecting God’s ever generous mercy and love? Let us all not forget that all those countless souls in hell, all suffer because they have consciously rejected God’s offer of mercy and love, and chose to remain in the path of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on all these and discern carefully our paths going forward. Today, we have one saint whose feast we are celebrating, namely that of St. Bruno, whose life and devotion to God hopefully can inspire us to lead a better, more holy and committed life to God. St. Bruno, also known as St. Bruno of Cologne, was the founder of the Carthusian religious order. He was a devout priest and servant of God, whose tenure as the Chancellor of the Diocese of Reims in what is today France was well-known for his upright attitude and holiness, and despite facing challenges and trials from those who opposed him.

Not only that, but St. Bruno was also remembered for his conscious rejection of fame and public office, at the time when everyone would have wanted them. When he was offered and had a very likely chance to become a bishop, St. Bruno instead renounced all of that and all forms of worldly glory, and withdrew from the world, preferring to dedicate himself to the Lord, inspiring some others to follow his examples, which eventually led to the foundation of the Carthusians. Despite repeated efforts to make him an Archbishop afterwards, St. Bruno deferred to other candidates and those whom he recommended instead of himself. He remained committed to God, living simply and humbly to the end of his earthly life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we see in St. Bruno a genuine Christian faith and dedication, a great humility and passion to serve the Lord. At a time when many people, and even those within the Church, were tempted with worldly glory and power, St. Bruno showed them all, as well as all of us today, what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ, to be committed fully to God and to serve Him wholeheartedly, and not to be swayed and distracted by the temptations of worldly glory, power, fame, ambition, desire and especially by our pride and ego. We have discussed about it earlier, how our own ego and pride can easily lead to our downfall.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves anew to God, and strive to be ever better and more committed disciples and followers of Christ. Let us all draw ever closer to God and to His love and mercy, entrusting ourselves ever more to Him, and learning to humble ourselves and to be more willing to listen to Him, and ridding ourselves of the excesses of our desires, ego and pride. May the Lord be our guide and with the intercession of St. Bruno, may all of us remain firmly faithful to our Hope and salvation in God, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 6 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

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.”

Thursday, 6 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Luke 1 : 69-70, 71-72, 73-75

In the house of David His servant, He has raised up for us a victorious Saviour; as He promised through His prophets of old.

Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of our foes. He has shown mercy to our fathers; and remembered His holy Covenant.

The oath He swore to Abraham, our father, to deliver us from the enemy, that we might serve Him fearlessly, as a holy and righteous people, all the days of our lives.

Thursday, 6 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Galatians 3 : 1-5

How foolish you are, Galatians! How could they bewitch you after Jesus Christ has been presented to you as crucified? I shall ask you only this : Did you receive the Spirit by the practice of the Law, or by believing the message? How can you be such fools : you begin with the Spirit and end up with the flesh!

So, you have experienced all this in vain! Would that, it were not so! Did God give you the Spirit, and work miracles among you because of your observance of the Law, or because you believed in His message?

Wednesday, 5 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Faustina Kowalska, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded of our Christian obligations to seek the Lord and to remain faithful to Him, and to follow the good examples of faith set by the Lord Himself and His many saints. Each and every one of us are called to devote our time and attention to God, and we are all encouraged to proclaim the word of God in our lives courageously, through our words and actions, and to be genuine in our interactions with one another, so that our lives may become good examples for many others who witness our works and interact with us.

In our first reading today, as we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and faithful in Galatia, we heard the Apostle recounting his past experiences, as he grew in the faith and followed what the Lord asked him to do. We heard of the deeds of the Apostles, of St. Paul himself and his companions like St. Barnabas the Apostle and others, as well as with Cephas, that is St. Peter the Apostle, the leader of the Church and all the Apostles. St. Paul recounted his works and his interactions with the other Apostles, and how the Lord worked through their interactions, as they helped and assisted each other, and St. Paul himself reminded St. Peter in the spirit of fraternal correction, that he should not give in to those who advocated for the imposition of un-Christian rules and regulations on the Gentiles.

Back then, we have to understand that during the time of the early Church, there existed great tensions and divisions among the members of the faithful as they were still maintaining their past distinctions in terms of their race and origin, their prior identities and beliefs, their status and ideologies, among others. The Jews and the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people, in particular, were often divided in their opinion and ways in the early Church, with some among the Jewish Christian converts advocating the imposition of Jewish laws and customs in their entirety on the entire body of the Christian faithful.

The Jewish people made up a significant proportion of the early Christians as the disciples of the Lord preached first to the Jews and the people in Judea and Galilee before they began their outreach to the Gentiles both in the lands of Judea and Galilee and in distant lands. The Apostles and many other disciples of the Lord were themselves Jewish, and that naturally made many of the early Christians to hold certain ideas and viewpoints, with some among them desiring to impose their will on others. The non-Jewish people however would find adopting such practices and customs to be very difficult, as many of them were difficult to enforce even among the Jews themselves, and some of those customs were also seen as abhorrent by the non-Jewish communities.

As such, St. Paul, who had often reached out to the Gentiles and worked among them, spending many years in ministering to the Gentile converts to Christianity and more, he stood by the Christian Gentiles, that the Church ought to understand their position and difficulties, and also understand better the true wishes of the Lord, Who called on everyone to follow Him, Jews and Gentiles alike. There should be no prejudice or bias in the path of following God, and all the faithful people of God should have been treated equally without certain preferences to a particular race, culture, customs and ways of living.

What is important is for all Christians to embrace the true core of our faith and belief in the Lord, that all of us ought to love the Lord our God, with all of our hearts and minds, with all of our strength and abilities, and then to love one another, our fellow brothers and sisters in the same way that we have loved the Lord and ourselves. What some of the Jewish converts back then tried to impose on the whole Church especially on the Gentile Christians were excessive and unnecessary, and could have even turned many people away from the Lord, and worsen the instances of elitism and self-righteousness among the Christian people, just as what had happened among the Pharisees and the Jewish elites.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord teaching His disciples how to pray, through the prayer that I am sure all of us know very well, that is the Lord’s Prayer or Pater Noster. As we listened to the words of this prayer that I am sure we have often prayed for, we are once again reminded of our purpose and obligation as Christians, that is as those whom God had called and chosen, and having responded to His call, each one of us have been made the children of God. And because of this, each and every one of us should do our best to live our lives in the way that the Lord had taught and shown us to do. All of us should not behave in ways that will bring disgrace and dishonour to the Name of the Lord and to His Church.

We should also deepen our relationship with the Lord through prayer, just as the Lord Himself had taught us. And praying is one of these ways, as we are reminded to keep in contact with the Lord our God. As in any relationships we have in this world, we have to maintain them through constant contact and interactions, and we cannot be close to the Lord unless we really make the conscious efforts to do so, and to bring ourselves nearer to Him, through prayers and by following His will, obeying His Law and commandments. The Lord has called us all to follow Him, and it is really up to us to renew our relationship with Him and commit ourselves to Him, through our efforts at each and every moments.

Then, we should also be inspired by the examples and good things done by our holy predecessors, just as on this day we celebrate the feast of St. Faustina Kowalska, the Polish religious sister who was the visionary and the inspiration for the very popular Devotion to the Divine Mercy of God. St. Faustina Kowalska joined religious life at an early age and began receiving visions of the Lord, especially that of the suffering Jesus, calling upon the people of God to return to Him and to embrace His mercy and love. St. Faustina Kowalska recorded her experiences and mystical visions, especially when the Lord appeared to her in the now famous Divine Mercy form, with rays of red and white light emanating from His Most Sacred Heart.

St. Faustina Kowalska spent a lot of time in prayer and devoted herself in humble submission to the will of God. She also related her visions and told them to her superiors and others, as per instructed by the Lord Himself in her visions. Despite the challenges and oppositions that she encountered throughout her life, and in her work of spreading the message and truth of the Devotion to the Divine Mercy of God, St. Faustina continued to persevere nonetheless, and eventually, this Devotion gained tract and popularity among Christians worldwide, especially after her passing not long after she received those visions of the Divine Mercy. This Devotion is now among the most popular among Christians all over the world. St. Faustina Kowalska might have lived just a short life, and yet, in that short moment, she had touched the life of so many people.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all emulate the good faith and examples as shown by St. Faustina Kowalska and many other saints, our holy predecessors, holy men and women of God. Let us all live up to our faith and do whatever we can to fulfil our obligation and calling as Christians, living our lives to the fullest as role models and the good examples of Christian discipleship, loving God and loving one another with all of our strength and might. Let us all inspire one another and be the good examples to help more and more people to find their way to God, to embrace the Divine Mercy and His love for us, that we may be forgiven from our multitudes of sins.

May God be with us always and may He continue to empower us all, that we may always persevere with faith. May God be glorified through our lives, our actions and deeds, and may our every interactions help to proclaim His truth and love to others, and bring more souls ever closer to God and His loving embrace. In the words of the prayers to the Divine Mercy, ‘Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.’ Amen.

Wednesday, 5 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Faustina Kowalska, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Luke 11 : 1-4

At that time, Jesus was praying in a certain place; and when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught His disciples.”

And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say this : Father, may Your Name be held holy, may Your kingdom come; give us, each day, the kind of bread we need, and forgive us our sins; for we also forgive all who do us wrong; and do not bring us to the test.”

Wednesday, 5 October 2022 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Faustina Kowalska, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.