Friday, 30 December 2016 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great Feast of the Holy Family, the Holy Family of our Lord Jesus Christ with His mother Mary and with His foster-father, St. Joseph. On this day we remember that holiest of all holy families, centred on our Lord Himself, and surrounded by the loving and tender care of Mary and Joseph, as He was born into this world, which we celebrate as Christmas.

And perhaps today, on this Feast, we should look into the examples set by that holiest and most blessed of all families, and in each of its members. Each and every one of them can show us all how we all should live as Christians, and how each and every one of us should behave as Christian families, as they are role models for our very own families. When we follow their examples surely then our families too will be holy and will be blessed by God.

Jesus was the Son, the One to Whom Mary and Joseph as His parents showered their love, care and concern. He was the Baby born in a manger to Mary His mother, which we celebrate at Christmas, as the moment when the Saviour of the world, the Son of God was born into this world. But although He is the Son of God, He is also the Son of Man, and as all babies are, at that time, when He was just born, as we heard in the Gospels, the Baby Jesus was in danger from His many enemies, first of which was King Herod of Judea, who felt that his throne was under threat from the coming of the True King, Who is Christ.

And that was where Joseph and Mary protected Him, and with the guidance of the Angel of God, Joseph as the father led the Holy Family on the journey to Egypt, in order to hide the Child Saviour from His enemies, king Herod first of all, and waited there until the danger was over, before returning to the land of Israel. And in this we see Joseph as the foster-father of Jesus, acting as the head of the family, as all fathers would have, and he did so dutifully even though Jesus was not his biological Son. He loved and cared for Him regardless.

Joseph worked hard as a carpenter, most likely to provide for himself and his family, for Mary and Jesus. His family was not a rich one, and indeed most likely was a poor one, since carpenters worked hard but they were hardly appreciated, and their income were often low. And yet, he worked hard and was known for his upright attitude and devotion. He was also certainly a devoted father and a faithful husband.

Mary meanwhile, was the mother of the family, the one who provided food and love for the family, including for Jesus her Son. She showed us all the life of a faithful wife and a good woman and daughter of the Lord, who obeyed the Lord in all of His laws and commandments, and lived righteously and justly, obedient to her husband and caring and loving for him and for her Son.

Both Mary and Joseph must have been crucial in their respective roles in guiding and leading Jesus through His growing years, during which time, just as all parents do, and indeed should do, they must have brought Him up well, as well as a man and a woman can do together to raise up their children. And that family was therefore blessed and filled with as much love and joy as they could have.

Jesus Himself as the Son also obeyed His parents, as was evident when He was twelve years old and were left behind in the Temple, because He wanted to stay there in the place where His Father is. Yet, He obeyed His earthly parents when they looked for Him and showed their care and concern, being very worried when they could not find Him in the company of their relatives.

In the Holy Family, all of us can see how we all should live our Christian lives beginning from our own families. Family is a basic unit of our Christian faith and the Church, and without strong foundation in our families, and if our families do not show the true Christian character akin to that found in the Holy Family of our Lord Jesus Christ, Mary His mother and St. Joseph His foster-father, then that is where the beginning of the downfall of many Christians began.

We often blame the Church and its members, the faithful priests and servants of God for the troubles that befell the Church, as well as for the loss of its members, but in reality, that is because many of us do not realise that a strong and Christian family foundation are often the cause for these troubles. Have we asked ourselves, if we have prayed together as a family daily, during the time when we have meals together, and when we are about to do our activities?

Have we done all these? Or are we instead too busy and too preoccupied with many other things such as work, other attractions, things that often cause our families to drift apart? Have we ever thought that all the things we thought we were doing for the sake of our families, such as working extra hard for the extra money but at the expense of our interaction with our youths and children had made families to be broken and weak?

Let us all reflect on all of these, and look upon the examples of the Holy Family, that each and every one of us, in our own families, may be able to grow better in faith together as families blessed by God. Let us also remember to put Christ at the centre of our family lives, or else, our families will be easily unravelled, because Christ should and indeed is the foundation of our Christian families.

May the Lord bless our families, and make them holy, in the imitation and following the example of His own most blessed and holy Family, so that each and every one of us may practice the same love and care that Mary and Joseph had shown Him, and also have peace and harmony in all the things we do together. May the Lord be with us and our families, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 30 December 2016 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 2 : 13-15, 19-23

After the wise men had left, an Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon be looking for the Child in order to kill Him.”

Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and left that night for Egypt, where He stayed until the death of Herod. In this way, what the Lord had said through the prophet was fulfilled : I called My Son out of Egypt.

After Herod’s death, an Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the Child and His mother and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the Child are dead.” So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother and went to the land of Israel.

But when Joseph heard that Archilaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. Joseph was given further instructions in a dream, and went to the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way, what was said by the prophets was fulfilled : He shall be called a Nazorean.

Friday, 30 December 2016 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

Friday, 30 December 2016 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Sirach 3 : 3-7, 14-17a (Greek Septuagint – Sirach 3 : 2-6, 12-14)

For the Lord established that children should respect their father; He confirmed the right of the mother over her children. Whoever honours his father atones for his sins; he who gives glory to his mother prepares a treasure for himself.

Whoever honours his father will receive joy from his own children and will be heard when he prays. Whoever glorifies his father will have a long life. Whoever obeys the Lord gives comfort to his mother.

My child, take care of your father in his old age, do not cause him sorrow as long as he lives. Even if he has lost his mind, have patience; do not be disrespectful to him while you are in full health. For kindness done to one’s father will never be forgotten, it will serve as reparation for your sins.

Alternative reading
Colossians 3 : 12-21

Clothe yourselves, 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. Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as you should do in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not get angry with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, because that pleases the Lord. Parents, do not be too demanding of your children, lest they become discouraged.

Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 11 : 8, 11-12, 17-19

It was by faith that Abraham, called by God, set out for a country that would be given to him as an inheritance; for he parted without knowing where he was going.

By faith Sarah herself received power to become a mother, in spite of her advanced age; since she believed that He who had made the promise would be faithful. Therefore, from an almost impotent man were born descendants as numerous as the stars of heavens, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.

By faith Abraham went to offer Isaac when God tested him. And so he who had received the promise of God offered his only son although God had told him : ‘Isaac’s descendants will bear your name.’ Abraham reasoned that God is capable of even raising the dead, and he received back his son, which has a figurative meaning.

 

Alternative reading (from Readings for Year A)

Colossians 3 : 12-21

Clothe yourselves, 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.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as you should do in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not get angry with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, because that pleases the Lord. Parents, do not be too demanding of your children, lest they become discouraged.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/26/sunday-28-december-2014-feast-of-the-holy-family-of-jesus-mary-and-joseph-and-feast-of-the-holy-innocents-martyrs-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Saturday, 26 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of two saints, St. Joachim and St. Anne. And in case you do not know who they are, they are actually the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the father and mother of the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and thus, they are the grandparents of our Lord. They truly had a great significance, especially in moulding Mary, born immaculate without sin, into the great servant of the Lord she is now.

In an age and time when mankind lived in sin, and lived in a world filled with uncertainty, greed and endless desires, St. Joachim and St. Anne were simple people, who lived humbly and righteously before God, following Him in all of His precepts and were totally obedient to His will. The light that was in them, was truly crucial, as this light became a guiding light for the one whom they bore into this world, the Mother of our Saviour.

It is perhaps that St. Joachim and St. Anne themselves did not realise how great an impact they would have on the world through Mary their daughter. However, it is through their commitment and devotion to God, and in their loving and tender care for their daughter Mary, that they imparted the love of God to her, and from her, eventually to Jesus, her Son, and eventually to all of us.

The role of St. Joachim and St. Anne cannot be diminished or be ridiculed or be made less important, for we all should know what kind of responsibilities that parents may have, or are expected to have. It is through their careful and dedicated work on Mary their daughter, that our Blessed Mother grew great in her faith. She was conceived without sin and any taints of darkness like that of her Son, Jesus, but this alone will not be good, if she did not have loving parents as that of St. Joachim and St. Anne to care for her and to provide for her spiritual growth and well-being as she grew up.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is imperative now that we talk about the family, and yes, the family itself as a sacred and crucial unit of the Christian society and the Church, and the dangers that are facing the family as an institution of the Christian faith. We all know that our world today and the currents of our times are not exactly favourable or friendly to the family. In fact, it was an outright hostility, if not direct conflict between the family and its values, and the contemporary ways of this world.

All of us have to understand this, by first understanding the importance of marriage, and its sanctity, being a Holy Sacrament of the Church. Marriage is a holy occasion, when a male and a female adult are joined together in matrimonial agreement and Sacrament before God, and promised to be together till death separates them. And remember that, in marriage, God made man and woman into one, one in body and spirit, and no bond that God had made sacred, man may divide.

And yet, marriage is increasingly becoming a plaything and a ridicule for the world. Marriage is no longer considered by many as sacred and holy, and many have forgotten that it is not something to be taken lightly. We have to look at how many people had decided to dissolve their marriage because of various reasons, but if we look at all those reasons, they are truly mankind’s selfish desires and their inability to reject the temptations and the lies of Satan.

Marriage inevitably leads to family, for marriage is not just for the sake of pleasure, and in particular, it should never be seen for the sake of the pleasures of the flesh and for the enjoyment of this world. If this is the case, then we have truly failed to understand the value and importance of marriage. Marriage is to bring about a holy union intended towards the creation of life. Yes, marriage inevitably leads to family, with child-bearing the grace of God to all mothers.

Therefore the family itself too is an important institution, especially because we have to realise that in our faith, we need a strong and firm foundation from the very beginning, if we are to be able to resist Satan and all of his advances on us. Without a strong foundation of faith in the family, we will not be able to reject him with full certainty, and may end up failing miserably and fall into sin.

Following the examples of St. Joachim and St. Anne, and in how they brought up Mary, the mother of our Lord, let us all remember, those in the family and with children in particular, that our familial bond must be strong, and that it must be based on love, as well as on faith in God. We have to always remember the saying, that a family that prays together will stay together.

Therefore, let us all renew our commitments to the Lord, beginning from our own families, making the effort to come together, pray together and glorify the Lord together through our actions as a family. Let us keep holy our family, respect one another in the family, and together let us help one another, as well as in the great family of the Church of God, to come ever closer to the Lord our God, seeking Him always at all times.

May God bless all families, keep them holy and in love, so that all peoples may grow forever stronger in love, in hope and in faith. Amen.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the readings that we heard, we see the nature of love that is in the family. In the first reading we heard how Absalom, the rebel son of king David met his end at the end of his rebellion, and his father David grieved greatly for his death, indeed the sorrow of a father losing his son to death.

And in the Gospel, we heard how the temple official, Jairus, asked Jesus to heal his daughter for she was about to die, due to her grievous illness. And Jesus was moved with compassion and love for the faith the father had in Him, and He resurrected the dead daughter of Jairus when she had died before Jesus reached her home. And the family was once again reunited in happiness and love.

And not to forget the woman with the hemorrhage issue, whom the Lord healed by the touch of the woman’s hand on fringe of the cloak of Jesus. Her faith in God made her whole again, and her trust in the love of God who is Father made her healed from her afflictions. The woman trusted in Jesus and her faith was made an example to everyone.

Family is a unit in our society, which is often under attack these days. The sanctity of the family had often been under attack these days, by the forces of evil in this world, who like to see the family unit disbanded and destroyed. And yet family remained as one of the greatest bastion of the faith and love, in which many people were taught for the first time of the faith in God and how to love just as God has loved us.

And I am very sure that all of us can remember our own families and each members in the family, how each members has his or her own roles in the family. One is the father or the husband, who protects the family and provides for the family by working hard. The other is the mother, or the wife, who sometimes may also work, but whose primary role is in the upbringing of the family, and the children born out of the holy union of marriage.

And of course, there are the children, the gift of God’s love to us. Indeed, children are gifts of love, and therefore should not be taken lightly. Caring and loving the children are the primary duties of the family members, the father and the mother in particular. They are supposed to love one another and show the example of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in all events.

Losing a family member is not an easy thing to endure. Many of us would have endured this one way or another in our respective lives. How our loved ones no longer physically remain with us, as death claimed them and they passed on to the afterlife. And it is often only when we have lost someone that we realise how precious that someone is for us, and only when it is already too late.

David had had many wives, and he had many children. It was common for kings of his time, and even many up to recent days, especially in the Eastern cultures to have many wives and even concubines, and scores of children. The more wives and children they have, be it the sons and daughters of their wives or concubines, the more prestigious and powerful the kings would be regarded.

In such families, including that of David, there were often no love. Much of the interactions in fact were based on rivalry and hatred for each other, as well as based on greed and human desire for power and glory. Each sons would fight with each other for power and influence, and often even would try to claim the kingdom for himself. And that was exactly what had happened to Absalom.

Family not based on love will likely not survive long, and sadly, that is what afflicts many families today. Families often have become mere formality and even at times, considered as obstacles and hindrances by many. That was also why there are so many divorces and abortions of innocent babies, and the numbers are increasing without slowing down.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why Jesus came to this world, in order to teach us of the importance of love, including that of family love. His works and miracles bring happiness and joy to the people, and new hope to those who were afflicted with illness or sorrow. And God is our Father, and He sees us as His children. And Jesus wanted to show us, how much God our Father has loved us.

Indeed, so great is His love that He sent us Jesus, His Son, that through Him, and His death no less, we may have new life in Him. To those who had been sealed with the waters of baptism, we have been made the children of God. God is our Father and we are His children. And if we, as His children, remain faithful and continue to follow His ways, as children ought to obey their parents, then we will have no need to worry at all.

If we make mistakes, do not be scared or afraid. We should be brave to step forward as the woman had done, after she was cured from her bleeding issue. Even though she certainly trembled from head to the feet when she made that confession, but the Lord saw her faith and reward her.

If we make mistakes, then God our Father will chastise us. But He will not destroy us or cast us aside, because just as all fathers, He still loves us very much no matter what, unless if we continue to defy and disobey Him. Listen to our God, our Father, and pay attention to His calling and His guide. Follow Him and walk always in His ways.

May our Lord Jesus Christ continue to bless us, that we may love God our Father ever more, imitating the love that Jesus Himself had shown us, His people and His children. Keep us in Your favour, o Lord, and remind us when we err and walk away from Your path, o God our Father. Amen.