Wednesday, 1 July 2020 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 8 : 28-34

At that time, when Jesus reached Gadara, on the other side, He was met by two men, possessed by devils, who came out from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one dared to pass that way. They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. So the demons begged Him, “If You drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” Jesus ordered them, “Go!” So the demons left the men and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and was drowned.

The men in charge of the pigs ran off to the town, where they told the whole story; and also what had happened to the men possessed with the demons. The whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their region.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Matthew 8 : 23-27

At that time, Jesus got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a fierce storm burst upon the lake, with waves sweeping the boat. But Jesus was asleep.

The disciples woke Him up and cried, “Lord save us! We are lost!” But Jesus answered, “Why are you so afraid, you of little faith?” Then He stood up and rebuked the wind and sea; and it became completely calm.

The disciples were astonished. They said, “What kind of Man is He? Even the winds and the sea obey Him.”

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Timothy 6 : 11-16

But you, man of God, shun all this. Strive to be holy and godly. Live in faith and love, with endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith and win everlasting life, to which you were called, when you made the good profession of faith, in the presence of so many witnesses.

Now, in the presence of God, Who gives life to all things, and of Jesus Christ, Who expressed before Pontius Pilate the authentic profession of faith : preserve the revealed message to all. Keep yourself pure and blameless, until the glorious coming of Christ Jesus, Our Lord, Who God will bring about at the proper time; He, the magnificent Sovereign, King of Kings and Lord of lords. To Him, alone, immortal, Who lives in unapproachable light, and Whom no one has ever seen or can see, to Him, be honour and power, forever and ever. Amen!

Sunday, 23 September 2018 : Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom 2 : 12a, 17-20

Let us set a trap for the Righteous, for He annoys us and opposes our way of life. Let us see the truth of what He says and find out what His end will be. If the Righteous is a Son of God, God will defend Him and deliver Him from His adversaries.

Let us humble and torture Him to prove His self-control and test His patience. When we have condemned Him to a shameful death, we may test His words.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Genesis 32 : 23-33

Jacob took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons, and sent them across the stream and likewise everything he had. And Jacob was left alone. Then a Man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the Man saw that He could not get the better of Jacob, He struck him in the socket of his hip and dislocated it as He wrestled with him.

The Man said, “Let Me go, for day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go until you have given me Your blessing.” The Man then said, “What is your name?” “Jacob” was the reply. He answered, “You will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have been strong-with-God as you have been with men and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked Him, “What is Your Name?” He answered, “Why do you ask My Name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Penuel, saying, “I have seen God face to face and survived.” The sun rose as he passed through Penuel, limping because of his hip. That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the hip socket because the sciatic nerve in Jacob’s hip had been touched.

Monday, 9 March 2015 : 3rd Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Frances of Rome, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

2 Kings 5 : 1-15a

Naaman was the army commander of the king of Aram. This man was highly regarded and enjoyed the king’s favour, for YHVH had helped him lead the army of the Arameans to victory. But this valiant man was sick with leprosy.

One day some Aramean soldiers raided the land of Israel and took a young girl captive who became a servant to the wife of Naaman. She said to her mistress, “If my master would only present himself to the prophet in Samaria, he would surely cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to tell the king what the young Israelite maidservant had said. The king of Aram said to him, “Go to the prophet, and I shall also send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman went and took with him ten gold bars, six thousand pieces of silver and ten festal garments. On his arrival, he delivered the letter to the king of Israel. It said, “I present my servant Naaman to you that you may heal him of his leprosy.”

When the king had read the letter, he tore his clothes to show his indignation, “I am not God to give life or death. And the king of Aram sends me this man to be healed! You see he is just looking for an excuse for war.”

Elisha, the man of God, came to know that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, so he sent this message to him : “Why have you torn your clothes? Let the man come to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stopped before the house of Elisha.

Elisha then sent a messenger to tell him, “Go to the river Jordan and wash seven times, and your flesh shall be as it was before, and you shall be cleansed.”

Naaman was angry, so he went away. He thought, “On my arrival, he should have personally come out, and then paused and called on the Name of YHVH, his God. And he should have touched with his hand the infected part, and I would have been healed. Are the rivers of Damascus, Abana and Pharpar not better than all the rivers of the land of Israel? Could I not wash there to be healed?”

His servants approached him and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had ordered you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? But how much easier when he said : ‘Take a bath and you will be cleansed.'”

So Naaman went down to the Jordan where he washed himself seven times as Elisha had ordered. His skin became soft like that of a child and he was cleansed. Then Naaman returned to the man of God with all his men.

Friday, 29 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the memorial feast of St. John the Baptist and his passion, that is when he faced his sufferings and last moments on this world, enduring imprisonment and incarceration by Herod, the king of Galilee, son of Herod the Great, the king who once tried to kill Jesus in His infancy. St. John the Baptist was imprisoned as he spoke bluntly and harshly against the king’s adulterous behaviour with the wife of his deceased brother.

In the Jewish society and according to the laws of Moses, the wife of one’s brother is the same as one’s own sister, and this is related to how in marriage, the man and the woman are no longer separate peoples, but had been joined together by God to be one, and that what God had made one, let no one separate, as Jesus had said it. And even when the brother of king Herod died, that does not mean that the bonds of marriage and unity blessed by God had been broken. This is why the action of Herod in making her brother’s wife as queen is considered adultery.

But one may then ask, is not according to the laws of Moses that the brother of a deceased man ought to take care of and marry the deceased man’s wife, taking her as his own? This is what happens when people did not understand the purpose of the Law, as it is clear that Herodias and Philip, the brother of king Herod had a daughter, the one whom the king was pleased with in the festival and celebrations we heard in the Gospel today.

The Law stated that the allowance for this practice is such that the deceased man may have a child that will continue his name and inheritance even after he died, and that child will be his brother’s child biologically, but legally considered as the deceased man’s child. But this was created in fact to cater and accommodate to the obstinate and hard-headed behaviours of the people of Israel, who constantly and continuously complained against the Lord during their forty years journey in the desert.

Jesus came to perfect the Law of God and to reveal the fullness of truth about them, that the Law truly was meant for the good of mankind, and to guide them in the ways of the Lord, that they would not steer away from it, and thus fall into the corruption of sin and the flesh. And through this, it was why the actions of Herod and Herodias were truly abominable before the Lord, as not only that Herod and Herodias committed an inappropriate relationship before the Lord, but also that they committed many other sinful deeds on their own persons.

Today we are reminded that courage which was shown by St. John the Baptist in defending the truth of the Lord, by speaking up not just against the corrupt Pharisees and elders of Israel, but even against a king and his queen, who was engaged in adultery. St. John the Baptist did not flinch or be afraid to do and say what is right, and speak out against what is wrong.

It is exactly what the Lord had said to the prophet Jeremiah in the first reading today, where we heard how God called him out of the people of Judah, to be his spokesperson and representative, to be the one who spoke His words and judgments to the people of the kingdom of Judah. The kingdom of Judah was then a shadow of its former glory, and the people of God had not been faithful, often they worshipped pagan gods and did not remain true to the commandments and laws of God.

Hence, Jeremiah was called and sent to speak to this rebellious and unfaithful people, so that they hopefully might listen to the Lord speaking through Jeremiah and repent from their sinfulness. Jeremiah suffered and was persecuted, opposed and imprisoned for his works and devotions to God and His people. The people to whom Jeremiah had been sent to, continued to rebel and disobeyed the Lord ever more, which eventually led to their destruction at the hands of the Babylonians.

The same too had happened to St. John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, who was none other than Jesus, the Son of God Himself. St. John the Baptist was sent to make straight the path for the coming of Christ, and He did his duties responsibly and filled with zeal and faith to God. He too was rejected and doubted by the Pharisees and the elders, and these people refused to listen to the word of God and repent, just as they would later refuse to listen to Jesus.

Yet, what we can learn from this is that, while those to whom these saints were sent to did not listen and persecute these holy servants of God, God did not leave these holy servants of His alone. He gave them strength and encouragement to continue to persevere through the difficulties and oppressions they had to go through in life. And in that, they become an example for us to follow.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all reflect on our lives, on whether we have been righteous and faithful in our actions, or whether we have erred and walked away from the path of the Lord. We should avoid the actions of king Herod who gave in to his desires and human weaknesses, submitting to the power of the temptation of the flesh. Instead we should strengthen our faith and solidify within us the faith that God had placed in our hearts, like what Jeremiah and St. John the Baptist had done.

May Almighty God bless us and keep us, that in all things we may be ever faithful, that we may be ever ready to defend our faith, this faith, devotion and love we have for God, that the Lord will find us worthy at the last day when the Lord will judge us for our actions and deeds, and bring us into the everlasting glory He promised for us. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 29 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 6 : 17-29

For this is what had happened : Herod had ordered John to be arrested, and had had him bound and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Herod had married her, and John had told him, “It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife.”

So Herodias held a grudge against John; and wanted to kill him, but she could not, because Herod respected John. He knew John to be an upright and holy man, and kept him safe. And he liked listening to him, although he became very disturbed, whenever he heard him.

Herodias had her chance on Herod’s birthday, when he gave a dinner for all the senior government officials, military chiefs, and the leaders of Galilee. On that occasion the daughter of Herodias came in, and danced, and she delighted Herod and his guests.

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want and I will give it to you.” And he went so far as to say with many oaths, “I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” The mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried to the king and made her request, “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist, here and now, on a dish.”

The king was very displeased, but he would not refuse in front of his guests because of his oaths. So he sent one of the bodyguards with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded John in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl. And the girl gave it to her mother.

When John’s disciples heard of this, they came and took his body and buried it.

Friday, 29 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my hope, my trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Friday, 29 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Jeremiah 1 : 17-19

But you, get ready for action; stand up and say to them all that I command you. Be not scared of them or I will scare you in their presence! See, I will make you a fortified city, a pillar of iron with walls of bronze, against all the nations, against the kings and princes of Judah, against the priests and the people of the land.

They will fight against you but shall not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue you – it is YHVH who speaks.