(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 10 : 34a, 37-43

Peter then spoke to them, “No doubt you have heard of the event that occured throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him; we are witnesses of all that He did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put Him to death by hanging Him on a wooden cross.

But God raised Him to life on the third day and let Him manifest Himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God – to us who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection from death. And He commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that He is the One appointed by God to judge the living and the dead.

All the prophets say of Him, that everyone who believes in Him has forgiveness of sins through His Name.

Friday, 7 June 2013 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Second Reading)

Romans 5 : 5b-11

The Holy Spirit has been given to us, pouring into our hearts the love of God. Consider, moreover, the time that Christ died for us : when we were still helpless and unable to do anything. Few would accept to die for an upright person; although, for a very good person, perhaps someone would dare to die.

But see how God manifested His love for us : while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and we have become just through His blood. With much more reason now He will save us from any condemnation. Once enemies, we have been reconciled with God through the death of His Son; with much more reason now we may be saved through His life.

Not only that; we even boast in God because of Christ Jesus, our Lord, through whom we have been reconciled.

Sunday, 28 April 2013 : 5th Sunday of Easter (Scripture Reflection)

God is love, this is the fundamental and the most basic nature of our Lord and God, my dear brothers and sisters. For love is the centre of being of our God, for His love is infinite, and in His infinite and boundless love, He willingly sacrificed Himself that all of us, unworthy and sinful mankind, may be saved from the eternal separation from Himself.

It may not be easy to see God in our daily lives today, since God is no longer walking among us, just as He did at the time of the disciples, to whom He appeared often after His resurrection. But do we then abandon God in the search of something more tangible, for something more real? That is why many of the faithful in Christ had lapsed in their faith in God, simply because they had been allured by the evil one and his myriad tools that he used to lure mankind away from God.

There are many means that the devil had used in his attempts to corrupt mankind, by offering many seemingly better alternatives to God, whom he tried to portray to many as being boring and inexistent. Instead, men loves his creations, that of worldly goods, wealth, affluence, and other false idols, solely aimed at the separation of men from God, and the ruination of Christ’ salvific mission in this world.

But Satan will never succeed, for God will ultimately triumph, and despite all the plots and the devices that Satan had used in his attempts to deceive mankind, God’s love and faith in us will be a key weapon in the fight against the devil and his fallen angels, who ceaselessly tried to divert us from the true path towards the Lord.

There are indeed many false gods and idols that our world offer us all today, my brothers and sisters, most obvious of which is money and material possessions, which many of us desire to the point of worshipping them instead of God, to whom only all honour and glory should go. Many of us are so embroiled and involved in our pursuit for success and wealth, that we forgot that the Lord is always with us. We enjoy the company of money and material goods more than we do for the Lord.

How many of us find it a great chore to just go and attend the Sunday Mass to worship our Lord? and how many of us then spend so much time in our career and our work, and in the attempt to secure more pay and more money? And even worse are those who employ underhanded and illegal means to secure these wealth and possessions, that is through corruption and nepotism, which had marred many of our high ranking politicians, businessmen, and many other people, and do not be mistaken that this happens only on the top, since corruption and all these vices also exist in the bottom rung of the society, with many of us seduced by the allure of money, and became obsessed in attaining more of it, that we forget the Lord and His love.

The Lord Himself had said, that we should not worry about our lives and what we are to have in our daily lives, since God Himself will provide all that we need, just like how He provided for the animals and other beings that He had created. For mankind, especially, there had been a blurring of distinctions between what we want, and what we truly need for our lives. Too often we seek something that we do not actually need, but out of our insatiable desire for things that we want to have.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us take a step back from our mindless pursuits of wealth, affluence, fame, and material possessions. Seek not what can bring us glory in this world, but seek for the true glory in heaven instead. How to do so? By loving one another as the Lord has loved us, just as He had commanded the apostles to do so. Love is the core tenet of our faith, since our very salvation is anchored on the great and infinite love that God has for us, that He wanted to endure death for our sake, that we may live.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us strive to love one another ever greater, and put love manifested in all our words, our thoughts, and our actions, that whenever we do something, or say something, or think of something, love will always form the core of our speech, our decisions, and our actions. Remember that God is love, and by doing so, we have already obeyed God’s will and commandments, allowing even others to see our actions and believe in the Lord, saving more people for Christ who died for them.

Let us pray, that we can be ever more loving and more compassionate in our society, helping those who are weakest and the least there, and reaching out to all in need, both physically and spiritually, that God’s love will be made manifest in this world, through us, and through our actions. May God bless all of us. Amen.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 31 March 2013 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (First Reading)

Acts 10 : 34a, 37-43

Peter then spoke to them, “No doubt you have heard of the event that occured throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him; we are witnesses of all that He did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put Him to death by hanging Him on a wooden cross.

But God raised Him to life on the third day and let Him manifest Himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God – to us who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection from death. And He commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that He is the One appointed by God to judge the living and the dead.

All the prophets say of Him, that everyone who believes in Him has forgiveness of sins through His Name.

Thursday, 14 March 2013 : 4th Week of Lent (Scripture Reflection)

It is not easy to believe in God. Too often we are distracted by other things, by temptations, and those that offer items that seems to be better than what God can offer. Many would think, why do we believe in God, who we can’t see and who we can’t touch? Is it not better to put our faith in something more tangible? Something that is closer to us?

That is the exact argument of the people of Israel, when they thought that God has abandoned them, on the Mount Horeb, when He called Moses up the mountain for a long time. The people of Israel chose to turn to worldly god, the golden calf, because it can be touched, it can be seen, and it can be said as ‘present’ among the people of Israel. Then God was angry, and He wanted to wipe this rebellious people out of the face of the earth, but Moses begged God for their sake and God relented.

How is this then different from what is happening in our world today? Many of us today also have our own false gods, not in the form of a golden calf, but in the form of the distractions that we have in our world today. From materialism, consumerism, emphasis on wealth and affluence, worldly power, and many other different forms of temptations.

With all these things surrounding us, we become less perceptive of the Lord God, and His presence in our world today. The attention which we should have given Him alone, is now divided towards the things that keep us away from His love. These are the golden calves that we have to face in our lives. Those false gods that have kept us away from enjoying the fullness of God’s love and graces.

That is why, at the time of Jesus, the people of Israel have failed to open their eyes and see, and even if their eyes were open, they could not see, because their hardened hearts have kept the Lord away from them. For Jesus, the Son of God, had been sent into this world, so that through Him, all the works and love of God will be made manifest to all mankind. Those who believe in Him and believe in the prophets who proclaimed His coming would believe, but many would not.

That is because for the many people, their pride and their arrogance had become their golden calves, that prevented them from seeing the Lord in truth, and instead accused and mocked Him. They preferred something tangible, like miracles and wonders, which they can see and believe in, so that they will worship Jesus as their Lord. But they have failed to realise that the true mission of the Lord is not such, and as we knew, God has shown many signs and others through His prophets before the comng of Jesus, but yet they have failed to listen.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us gathered here today have the benefit of listening the word of God, through the Holy Scripture, and through our priests, who teach us about the Lord and His mission in this world. And to all of us who had been baptised in the faith, we all have been promised great inheritance in heaven, if we remain faithful in God.

However, let us not be complacent, and let us strive to be not like the people of Israel, that is to remain faithful to God, and to turn not onto the false gods, in manner similar to that of the worship of the golden calf by most of the people of Israel. We should distance ourselves from these false gods, and began the path towards renewal in our faith towards our God.

To do that is to first be humble and be ready to lower ourselves before God, and not to blind ourselves with pride and arrogance, that with humility and faith in God, we will be able to see and recognise the Lord and His works in our daily lives. How to do this? None other than to have a constant prayer life, to pray continuously at all times, that God will empower us with faith in Him, that we can remain strong despite all the temptations the world places in our path.

And perhaps the best way is so that we will not be tempted to abandon God for something more ‘manifest’ and ‘tangible’ as in the false gods and the golden calf of Israel, is to make God truly manifest in our lives as well. There is nowhere better to make the Lord manifest, other than through the proper and solemn celebration of the Holy Mass. For in the Mass, we take part in the celebration of the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which the bread and wine are truly transformed into the very Precious Body and Blood of our Saviour, that the Lord becomes manifest, and this manifested Lord is who we receive into ourselves when we receive Holy Communion.

This is why it is important to have a proper and solemn celebration of the Mass, tainted as little as possible from external and worldly distractions, such as loud music, improper behaviour and conduct, and even the way we dress is important, since coming to the Mass is like coming to the Banquet of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Master of the Banquet, who is manifest in the Mass. As we are coming to be at God’s banquet, then we truly should prepare ourselves well, dress well and appropriately, and behave properly.

Remember the term ‘Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi’, which is when translated means, the way we worship determines the kind of faith that we have in us, and the faith that we have determines the kind of life that we will lead. If we do not approach the worship of the Mass with proper decorum and behaviour, how are we then to have a good faith in our Lord, who is indeed truly made manifest in the Mass through the Eucharist? Then if we have no faith, or little faith, our lives too will be barren, and we will be easily swayed and persuaded by the temptations of this world, to distance ourselves from our God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today, let us pray that we will be strengthened by God in our resolve to know Him better, to love Him more, and to have greater faith in Him. That we will be able to lead a strong prayerful life, that is supported by active participation in the Holy Mass, that we finally will know that we serve the living God, made manifest in the Eucharist, which He gives us to eat and drink, that we may have a part in His salvific mission. Amen.