Saturday, 11 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together as the whole Church the celebration of Mary, whom we know to be the Mother of God, of our Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared to us mankind in various occasions throughout history, one of the latest of which is the famous apparition at the site of Lourdes in southern France.

Mary as Our Lady of Lourdes had appeared to the simple and humble woman, St. Bernadette Soubirous, a simple daughter of a miller to whom the Blessed Mother of our Lord had given the privilege of witnessing her apparition at Lourdes, then a garbage dump and a place of little importance. She appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in a series of visions, totalling eighteen times, in which she revealed to her, of the need for mankind to seek penance and forgiveness from their sins.

Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to St. Bernadette imploring mankind to atone for their sins and lead a prayerful and repentant life, and to that extent, she wanted St. Bernadette to pass on the messages she had given her to the people around her, that more and more people will heed her messages, and come to believe in the Lord through her. And through the spring which St. Bernadette dug up on the instruction from the Blessed Virgin, healing came upon many of those who came in faith.

Thus the famous healing miracles of Lourdes was brought forth, and many countless people had experienced the miracles of being healed by the holy and blessed water of the spring at the grotto of Lourdes. Through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, many have received the healing from the Lord, and many of them had been healed from their bodily and spiritual afflictions, and became whole again.

What is the significance of this, brothers and sisters in Christ? Many of us have deep spiritual devotion to Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Lord, but many of us may not understand fully or even misunderstood why we have such a devotion. In the Scripture readings specially selected for this occasion, we see how God fulfilled the promises He had made to all of us mankind through one woman, that is Mary, who was to become the new Eve, as a renewal over the old Eve.

While the old Eve, the first woman had sinned and failed to overcome the temptations of the devil, and therefore by that action, with the first man Adam, sinned before the Lord and fall into the darkness, bringing all of mankind with them, the new Eve, Mary, showed her steadfastness and faith before God and before men alike. She is the epitome of faith and commitment, of purity and righteousness, showing all others how to become a true disciple of the Lord.

And as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, she has the privilege of being a mother, to have her Son listening to her. As we see in the reading on the Wedding at Cana, which many of us should be quite familiar with, Jesus listened to His mother, who pleaded for the sake of the wedding couple who were in trouble as they ran out of wine during the celebrations.

At that time, for someone to not have provided enough wine and provisions for a celebration as important as a wedding would have been a very major mishap and a very embarrassing moment for both the bride and the groom and their respective families. That was why Mary wanted to help them, and she knew that her Son could help them, but at first He refused to do so, because it was then not yet His time to reveal Himself.

But Mary continued to persist in her attempt, and asked the servants to listen to what Jesus would tell them. And therefore, Jesus performed His first miracle there at Cana, turning the jugs of water into sweetest and highest quality wine, which saved the wedding couple from the predicament. That was how Mary saved the couple and through her intercession, they were rescued by the Lord, Who showed His love and mercy to them.

Mary is the one whom God had promised to us mankind, to our forefathers, when He stood before them and Satan, coming in between them and the deceiver, promising that while Satan would hound the sons and daughters of mankind, becoming a thorn at their side for many ages, but deliverance will come from God through the Woman, and through her, the Saviour Lord that was to come into the world, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Blessed Mary mother of God, who appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous over one and a half centuries ago, we are all called to heed her calling, that we should turn towards God, and do penance and reparation for our sins and wickedness. Today as we remember the moment of the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, we ask our Blessed Mother, Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, to intercede for the sake of all who were sick, suffering and dying.

And not least of all, for all of us as well. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, as although we may be perfectly healthy in the body and mind, but because of our sins, we have been made diseased and corrupted in our hearts and souls. We need help from the Lord to make us whole again, pure and clean from all the afflictions of our sins. We need to pray for each other, that God will come to us and bring us from the darkness of our sins and into the light of His grace.

Let us all follow the example of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, in her faith, piety and dedication to the Lord our God. Let us imitate her in all of her examples, in all that she had done to obey the will of God, that through her faith, so many good things had come into the world, the greatest of which is the salvation we find in our Lord Jesus, her Son. O, Our Lady of Lourdes, Mary, mother of our God, pray for us sinners and those who are sickened by sin, that we will be blessed with His healing grace and be made worthy of His glorious eternal life. Amen.

Saturday, 11 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Mark 8 : 1-10

At that time, soon afterwards Jesus was in the midst of another large crowd, that obviously had nothing to eat. So He called His disciples and said to them, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with Me for three days and now have nothing to eat. If I send them to their homes hungry, they will faint on the way; some of them have come a long way.”

His disciples replied, “Where, in a deserted place like this, could we get enough bread to feed these people?” He asked them, “How many loaves have you?” And they answered, “Seven.” Then He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, He broke them, and handed them to His disciples to distribute. And they distributed them among the people. They also had some small fish, so Jesus said a blessing, and asked that these be shared as well.

The people ate and were satisfied. The broken pieces were collected, seven wicker baskets full of leftovers. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand in number. Jesus sent them away, and immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)
John 2 : 1-11

At that time, three days after Jesus called Nathanael, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding with His disciples. When all the wine provided for the celebration had been served, and they had run out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus replied, “Woman, what concern is that to you and Me? My hour has not yet come.” However His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars, set there for ritual washing as practiced by the Jews; each jar could hold twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim. Then Jesus said, “Now draw some out and take it to the steward.” So they did. The steward tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing from where it had come; for only the servants who had drawn the water knew. So, he called the bridegroom to tell him, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and when people have drunk enough, he serves that which is ordinary. Instead you have kept the best wine until the end.”

This miraculous sign was the first, and Jesus performed it at Cana in Galilee. In this way He let His glory appear, and His disciples believed in Him.

Saturday, 11 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 5-6, 12-13

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

You sow them in their time, at dawn they peep out. In the morning they blossom, but the flower fades and withers in the evening.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will you be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Judith 13 : 18bcde, 19

My daughter, may the Most High God bless you more than all women on earth. And blessed be the Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has led you to behead the leader of our enemies.

Never will people forget the confidence you have shown; they will always remember the power of God.

Saturday, 11 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Genesis 3 : 9-24

YHVH God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?”

The man answered, “The woman You put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

YHVH God said to the serpent, “Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman, God said, “I will increase your suffering in childbearing, and you will give birth to your children in pain. You will be dependent on your husband and he will lord it over you.” To the man, He said, “Because you have listened to your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I forbade you to eat, cursed be the soil because of you! In suffering you will provide food for yourself from it, all the days of your life.”

“It will produce thorn and thistle for you and you will eat the plants of the field. With sweat on your face you will eat your bread, until you return to clay, since it was from clay that you were taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. YHVH God made garments of skin for the man and his wife, and with these He clothed them. Then YHVH God said, “Man has now become like one of Us making himself judge of good and evil. Let him not stretch out his hand to take and eat from the tree of life as well, and live forever.”

So God cast him from the garden of Eden to till the soil from which he had been made. And after having driven the man out, God posted Cherubim and a flaming sword that kept turning at the east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of Life.

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Isaiah 66 : 10-14c

Rejoice for Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her. Be glad with her, rejoice with her, all you who were in grief over her, that you may suck of the milk from her comforting breasts, that you may drink deeply from the abundance of her glory.

For this is what YHVH says : I will send her peace, overflowing like a river; and the nations’ wealth, rushing like a torrent towards her. And you will be nursed and carried in her arms and fondled upon her lap. As a son comforted by his mother, so will I comfort you. At the sight of this, your heart will rejoice; like grass, your bones will flourish.

Monday, 8 December 2014 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a great and joyful day, a great solemnity and celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the dogma of which had been promulgated by Blessed Pope Pius IX and confirmed just a few years later by the visions of St. Bernadette Soubirous at the now famous Marian site of Lourdes in France.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is about the fact that because Mary is the mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the Son incarnate into flesh through the Blessed Virgin, hence it is only fitting that because Christ is pure and without the taint of sin, being God of all goodness, then Mary, His mother, who bore Him in her womb for nine whole months, be made equally pure as well, so that she, as the vessel of the Holy Presence of God, is also without sin.

Thus, this is the meaning of the Immaculate Conception, immaculate which means pure and free from sin, and then conception, the moment when a baby, a human being is formed in the womb of the mother. This means that Mary has been prepared and created in such a way that set her apart from all other men, because while all other men were born with the ties of original sin, the original sin of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors, from the mark of their first disobedience against God, Mary was set free from that bond of sin.

Just as the first woman disobeyed the Lord and sinned, and therefore brought evil into the world and into the hearts of men, then the new woman, Mary, is full of grace and free from sin from her moment of conception, and she obeyed the Lord completely, following all of God’s commandments and lived righteously. Therefore, through her, God was willing to grant His blessings and graces to mankind, that is none other than the gift of His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

And just as the first men had sinned, and therefore brought the just punishment for sins to mankind, that is death, then through the new Man, born from the new woman, Mary, through His perfect obedience and love for the Lord God His Father, and through His suffering and love for us unto death, death on the cross, and by rising from the dead, He had gained for us a new life in God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, even as we await the coming of our Lord and as we continue our preparation for His coming in this holy season of Advent, we also celebrate with joy and great hope, the culmination of the long-planned plan of God’s salvation for all of His beloved people, that is all of us. Ever since mankind first sinned against God and fell into the darkness, He had made known what He planned to do, in order to save us from certain death.

He cursed Satan, the snake, for his involvement in tempting mankind to rebel against God and follow their own desires, which is a trait that we continue to carry on even until this day, a vestige of what happened that day in the gardens of Eden. He also punished men, both men and women for their disobedience. They had to suffer the consequences of sin, and that consequence, is death. That is why all mankind are mortals, destined to one day die, although indeed, we were not meant for death when we were created by God.

If we are therefore, able to overcome sin, then we will be able to transcend our fate that is death. And that is exactly what our Lord Jesus had come into this world to prove, and through His own mother too, both of whom were conceived without sin, and remained without sin thereafter. He is because He is God who is all good, and even though Jesus was fully Man, He was also fully Divine at the same time, and thus sin have no place in Him.

He was tested and tempted in every way possible, but He obeyed the Lord and the will of His Father to the fullest. And even at His most vulnerable during the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was tempted terribly to let the suffering of the cross pass from Him, but He remained completely faithful to the mission entrusted to Him. As the new Adam, therefore, He began a new beginning for mankind, where through obedience to God’s will, He had brought life to mankind, and in Him lies the hope of victory and final triumph against death and evil.

For Mary, His mother, as I have mentioned, she too overcame the power of sin, remaining holy, pure and immaculate throughout her life. Despite the great burden and responsibility placed on her, when she heard the Good News of the Archangel Gabriel, that she was to be the Mother of the Saviour and Lord, she accepted it with full faith and confidence in God, putting God’s will first before that of hers.

Today’s feast is a kind reminder to all of us, that through Mary and her example of faith, and also through the faith showed by her Son, Jesus Christ, we can be freed from our attachment to sin, and also to gain for ourselves the salvation which has been promised to us. Indeed, we may think that because Mary had been set aside by God, to be without sin for her role, then it may be impossible for us to do as she had done, but have we ever thought, brothers and sisters, that we too, have been called to the same mission as her?

Mary bore our Lord Jesus in her womb for nine months, and in this way, she became the new Ark of the Covenant, for the new covenant which Jesus was to make with all mankind, was in her, and for that purpose she had been made holy and pure. It is because she is also the Temple of God, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, for as the Archangel mentioned, the Holy Spirit itself would dwell in her, and bore the Christ Incarnate in her.

How about us then? We who have been baptised in Christ, and also confirmed in the Lord, have received the Holy Spirit, and through the Most Holy Eucharist, which is our Lord’s very own Body and Blood, we have received Christ Himself into us. Therefore, the Lord dwells in us, in a way very much the same as Mary had Him inside of her. What is it for us then? What does it mean to us?

That means, just as the Lord had set her to be special by preparing her, to be immaculate without sin ever since she was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, we too must be without sin, for the Lord is in us! Remember what our Lord Jesus told His disciples and what St. Paul further affirmed in his writings? That we are all the Temples of the Holy Spirit, for God dwells in us, and we in Him. If we allow sin, wickedness and fornication to be in us, be it in flesh or in spirit, then we have defiled this Holy Temple, and as I have said, the price for sin, is none other than death.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is imperative that we take this opportunity presented to us, in the holy season of Advent, a season of preparation and contemplation, to think about our way of life, so that we may abhor sin and avoid committing anymore sin in the future. Keep our lives in the Lord and listen to Him speaking in our hearts, by strengthening our prayer and spiritual life, so that He may guide us in the true path, and that we may not fall into the temptation of Satan. Jesus prayed a lot and He always sought to communicate with His Father, and that is an example we should follow too.

May our Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, born and conceived without sin, pure and immaculate, pray for us all sinners, that we may be given new strength and courage by God, to live this life faithfully without sin, and seek the Lord always in our life. God bless is all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/06/monday-8-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/06/monday-8-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/06/monday-8-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/06/monday-8-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-gospel-reading/

Monday, 8 December 2014 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

At that time, 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.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/06/monday-8-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Monday, 8 December 2014 : Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/06/monday-8-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-homily-and-scripture-reflections/