(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 1 : 1 – Genesis 2 : 2

In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘Day; and the darkness ‘Night’. There was evening and there was morning : the first day.

God said, “Let there be a firm ceiling between the waters and let it separate waters from waters.” So God made the ceiling and separated the waters below it from the waters above it. And so it was. God called the firm ceiling ‘Sky’. There was evening and there was morning : the second day.

God said, “Let the waters below the sky be gathered together in one place and let dry land appear.” And so it was. God called the dry land ‘Earth’ , and the waters gathered together He called ‘Seas’. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, fruittrees bearing fruit with seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And so it was. The earth produced vegetation : plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees producing fruit which has seed, according to their kind. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the ceiling of the sky to separate day from night and to serve as signs for the seasons, days, and years; and let these lights in the sky shine above the earth.” And so it was. God therefore made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the smaller light to govern the night; and God made the stars as well. God placed them in the ceiling of the sky to give light on the earth and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning : the fourth day.

God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth under the ceiling of the sky.” God created the great monsters of the sea and all living animals, those that teem in the waters, according to their kind, and every winged bird, according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the waters of the sea, and let the birds increase on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning : the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living animals according to their kind : cattle, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals according to their kind.” So it was. God created the wild animals according to their kind, and everything that creeps along the ground according to its kind. God saw that it was good.

God said, “Let us make man in Our image, to Our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the wild animals, and over all creeping things that crawl along the ground.” So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God said, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree that bears fruit with seed. It will be for your food. To every wild animal, to every bird of the sky, to everything that creeps along the ground, to everything that has the breath of life, I give every green plant for food.” So it was.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning : the sixth day.

That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array. By the seventh day the work God had done was completed, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done.

Friday, 14 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is again repeated and emphasized today the imminent and urgent nature of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, which may happen at any time. It was mentioned how the coming of the Day of Judgment, when God will come to take His people, is like a thief entering and breaking into a house, without the owner knowing what had happened.

Therefore, it will be the same with us all, as when the Lord comes again, as He had promised, it will be like a flash and all of us will be caught unaware and unprepared, that is if we do not take the steps necessary to prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord Jesus. The evidence and the warnings are ample, and if we regularly read the Holy Scriptures and go about in our Faith, we can realise how imminent it is to be, and how dangerous it is for us if we come unprepared.

Yet, as with the timing of His second coming, none of this are under our control. When I say that it is imminent, it does not imply that it will be today or tomorrow, but rather that it can happen any time, and therefore we should not be complacent in our Faith. Every day, every moments of our life, we must use them well to live out our faith in God to the very fullest.

And how do we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? St. John in his second letter which is our First Reading today gave us a hint, which also reaffirmed the teachings of Christ, that all of us should be righteous and walk faithfully in the ways of the Lord. And what is this way? That is to fully and genuinely fulfill His commandments, which is love.

This can be done by loving our neighbours, one another, our brothers and sisters around us without prejudice and without fear. And this love must be genuine and real, cannot be just because we want to be praised by others for our actions, but because we have the love that pours forth from our hearts like torrents of water that no dam can stop.

And indeed, with the illusion of dams, we must stop damming ourselves, and the love that is in us. We have been given the seeds of faith, hope and love within us by the Lord who gave us life through His Spirit. But if we do not act on these in our lives and instead lead a debauched and wicked lifestyle, succumbing to our desires and ignoring the plight of others, then the seeds will remain just that, seeds, with no fruits to be shown as the concrete proof of our faith.

If we allow the love in ourselves to grow, then it will grow so great that it will not be able to be contained in ourselves, and it will enrich others around us. If we love each other, believe me, that many of this world’s problems will disappear and be solved. Wars, violence, injustice and prejudice all stemmed from our inability to love one another, and instead we fall into the traps of sin, as we engulf ourselves in hatred, bias, jealousy, greed and many other vices in our lives.

And the lack of love and respect for the Lord, in those who think that they are better than others, in those who are proud and thinking only of themselves, stem from the same root of the lack of action infused with love. If we have put love ahead of ourselves, and if we practice our faith with full sincerity and genuine intention, then that is why we are not capable of recognising the generous love of God for us.

And if we are not able to recognise the love which God has for us, then that is why we grow selfish and thinking only of our own benefits. In the end, this will become our downfall. Do we all remember what did Jesus say about the Last Judgment? The Last Judgment is the time when the Lord Jesus, who is the Judge of all the living and the dead will pronounce the final judgments on the fate of all mankind.

To those who have been righteous and just, and to all those who have loved one another and loved the Lord with all of their hearts, even if they do not know it, the Lord praises them and gives them the gift of eternal life, for they have been justified by love and by their faith. He told them that whenever they do something good and show love to the least and the smallest in their society, they have done it also to Him.

In the psalm today, it was written how are the types of the people desired by the Lord, namely those who are upright and who seek the Lord in all things, and who are righteous in all of their actions and faithfully obeyed God’s commandments, by loving their fellow brothers and sisters and ultimately, to show love and devotion to God Himself, all these without fear or reservation.

If we fail to achieve these, then the Lord at the Last Judgment will cast us out to be with Satan and his angels, as we have not loved Him, and neither that we have loved our brothers and sisters in the way which He had described in His Laws and commandments. If this happens, and if we are also caught unaware and unprepared, then we have no more hope with us. It is eternal despair and suffering for us.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, the second coming of our Lord will be sudden and unexpected, and if we are not prepared, despite the numerous reminders and warnings He had given us, then it is eternal regret for us. And there is no escape, brethren, so do not wait until it is way too late for us. Let us all begin today, from now on, to know what is love and how to show genuine love.

May our Lord Jesus Christ bless us and strengthen us with His love, so that we may be proactive in our actions, to be filled with love. That we may be justified by our actions, showing our real, genuine and living faith, through which we resolve our devotion to the Lord, and be committed to Him, as our only Lord and our only God. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/13/friday-14-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/13/friday-14-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-psalm/

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/13/friday-14-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us through the readings of the Holy Scriptures we are all shown the virtues of obedience and proper behaviours according to the teachings and the ways of the Lord. In the first reading, in continuation of the letter which he sent to Titus while he was in captivity in Rome, St. Paul exhorted the faithful ones of God to follow the rules and expectations for each members of the Church, be it man or woman, old or young.

Meanwhile, in the Gospel reading, Jesus told a parable to His disciples, about a servant and his master, and the relationship between them, which ought to be proper, as how a master should be, and the servant should also act and do things as is expected of him. In this, we also see a clear link with the exhortations of St. Paul, on how the Church consists of many members, made up of many different kinds of peoples, all of whom should behave as they are expected to behave.

Mankind had the nature to rebel and disobeying others. It is often difficult for us to listen to others and follow what they want us to do. Ever since the beginning, we have rebelled against our Divine Master, the Lord God, who was so generous with His love and care for us, His servants, and yet we still chose to walk on our own path, disregarding the commandments of God, and rather, we listened to our own hearts’ desires.

Just look at the people of Israel, the chosen people of God, who for generations continued to rebel against the Lord’s will, and even after the Lord had given them His Law, from time to time, they continued to follow their own paths, worshipping pagan gods and idols, sacrificing to these idols, and also committing other forms of debauchery and wickedness in their lives.

And they wanted a king to rule over them, and God gave His permission for them to do that, and they had kings, some of whom were good, but many were wicked and disobedient to God, acting not as they should. The kings of Israel were the vicars and regents for the Lord’s true reign over His people, Israel, and yet they misappropriated and abused their powers and authority, serving their own purposes, leading the people even deeper into sin and rebellion against the Master of all.

And even in the world today, we still see such rebellious attitudes running rampant among us. It is difficult for many of us to know who we are and what we are expected to do, as a member of God’s Church. That is why, if we look at the various issues at hand, we can see that there are many dissenting voices trying to disturb and in fact destroy the order of things, as God had ordained.

Each of us has our role to play in the Church of God, as the presbyterate, the members of the ordained priesthood, or as the laity, the people of God who live on their daily lives as normal. And the men and women, each of whom had their own unique and complementary roles in the Church, as the members of God’s people. Yet, many people who did not understand how the order of things is like, are trying to disrupt the harmonious way of things is working.

Therefore, we ought to stand up against those who cry out for gender equality in the Church in any of its forms, and the subversion of the roles of the priest and the laity, by the blurring of the differences in their roles. Those who called for such horrendous changes are not educated and ignorant in the truths of our Faith, and as St. Paul had said in his letter, we should help them to learn the truth, find their roles in the Church and act accordingly according to those roles.

The truth is that, each members and parts of the Church have unique roles and expectations, and their roles are distinct and complementary to each other. One cannot usurp the function and role of another without disrupting the proper and good order in the Church.

The priests are the ones who celebrate the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, and also are the ones authorised to give the Holy Sacraments to the people of God. Meanwhile, the laity are not allowed these roles, but instead, what are their roles? Their roles are to help the priests in their ministry and works, and in living their daily lives, they ought to be exemplary and faithful, and in building up their families, they should lead a true Christian way of life, creating good and faithful Christian families.

None of them can function without the other, as they support each other and becoming pillars, strong pillars of the Church and the Faith. And then, with regards to the roles of men and women in the Church, each of them have their own complementary roles, that support each other and perfect each other in the running of the Church.

Only men can become priests, as chosen by the Lord, and it is an unchangeable and unalterable Law of the Lord, given that the Apostles were men. But this does not mean that women are sidelined or discriminated against in the Church. Instead, women also occupy very special role in the Church, as the guardians of the Faith in the family, by her faith and dedication to God, she became role model for her family.

And we also know that there are many female religious, as nuns and others, who dedicated themselves fully to the Lord in prayer and loving service. These religious support the good works of the priests, by assisting in their missionary and loving works, and through dedicated service to mankind, showing a great example of faith to be followed by others. There had been many saints who were holy women, both religious and the laity who had dedicated themselves to the way of the Lord.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a renowned saint and Bishop of Tours during the late Roman Empire. St. Martin of Tours was once a Roman soldier, who was pious and devoted to the Lord. He was born of a pagan family, but he attended Christian services since youth and became a believer against the wishes of his father.

The qualities of St. Martin of Tours had been evident even since his youth. When he was still a centurion in the Roman Army, he met a poor beggar in a town, who was freezing to death on the cold road. St. Martin of Tours was moved with love and pity, cutting his own centurion’s army cloak in half, and giving that half of a cloak to cover the body of the poor beggar.

At night, St. Martin of Tours had a vision of the poor beggar, who brought the half cloak to him, and revealing himself to be none other than the Lord Jesus Himself. He rewarded St. Martin for his actions, and this vision and event simply pushed St. Martin further in his zeal, and it also brought him into the faith completely, for he was still a catechumen at that time.

As a member of the Roman Army, he was often intrigued by the need for him to shed the blood of others, of his enemies, which he felt was against his conscience as a Christian and follower of the Lord. Therefore, eventually he renounced his part in the Army and became a full time follower and servant of the Lord, by becoming disciple of another famous saint, St. Hilary of Poitiers.

As the bishop of Tours, this holy man carried out numerous good works for his flock, building up churches and places of worship, setting numerous standards to be followed by the followers of Christ, and establishing strong foundations of the faith in his diocese. Through his various works as bishop and shepherd to the people of God in Tours, he brought many blessings and goodness to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, on this holy day of St. Martin of Tours, let us all take home two messages, and two important things which we need to heed in this life. First, is that all of us should play our roles actively in the Church, not by trying to be what we are not supposed to be, but to be faithful to the Lord and His will, just as He had said in the Gospel today, that we fulfill the will and wishes of our Lord and Master, without succumbing to our desires and pride.

And then second, we have to emulate the example of St. Martin of Tours in how he had lived his life. We have to show mercy and charity to others, helping those who are in need of help, so that our faith in the Lord will not be just merely empty faith, but will instead be alive and vibrant, filled with the love of God. And after we have done all these, remember that we have done it not for ourselves, but as the actions of the loving servants of our God.

Let us all say to the Lord, that we have all done our duties faithfully and as a servant of God should have done. Let us grow richer and stronger in our humility, so that we may learn how to live according to the role which God had given us, and not to seek to gain more for our own purposes. And we hope that He who sees all and knows all that we do, will reward us with His everlasting grace and love. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-first-reading/

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-psalm/

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-gospel-reading/

Friday, 7 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the parable of the wicked and dishonest servant, whom the master punished for his dishonesty with his properties. Jesus told this parable to the people, so that they may understand that, the ways of this world are diametrically opposite to the ways of the Lord. And in the first reading, St. Paul told us how there are many those who did not follow the way of the Lord, as the enemies of the Lord, and there are then others who walk in the way of Christ.

It was mentioned that those who did not put their trust in God think only of earthly things, and their belly was their god. And this is indeed what the unfaithful and dishonest servant had done, as he was first of all, serving his own purposes and desires. The dishonest servant was not honest in his activities, and he was clearly not faithful to the charge given to him by his master.

It is likely that what the dishonest servant had done, that he was reported to his master, was exactly what he is doing afterwards to save his own neck. He lied to his master even more, corrupting the funds which is supposed to be under his care and responsibility. A steward is charged with taking care of his master’s wealth and property, and he is supposed to oversee all transactions done in his master’s name.

Thus the debts which the master collects from the people, were the responsibilities of that dishonest steward. And what did the steward do, according to Jesus? He was not trying to defend his innocence or try to do something good to atone for his mistakes. Instead, what he was doing, was exactly what he knew how to do, that is the wicked way of corruption. He went about to secure his own livelihood after his firing from his job.

He made the debts of those who owed money and things to his master to become lesser, for what purpose? It is so that when he was out of job, he would have people who were grateful for what he had done, even though it was wicked and dishonest, so that he would be taken care of properly. And this is indeed the way of the world, how the people of this world commonly act, to preserve their own well-being and safety, over that of the concerns for others, and over the principles of justice and righteousness.

But are we children of this world? Yes, we once were children of this world, and we lived according to the ways of this world. But ever since we were baptised in the Lord, and when we were immersed in the holy water of baptism, we were made the children of God, and as the children of God, we are no longer bound to the ways and customs of this world, but we are bound to the ways of the Lord.

And what the wicked servant had done, will not save him when he goes to face the Lord for judgment. Why is this so? It is indeed right that when Jesus said that the children of this world is good with the ways of the world, and indeed they do, for they know how to deal with the world. But all these are useless when we talk about the life that is to come. These ways may endear us to the world and its inhabitants, but it is not right and good in the sight of God.

Instead, the actions that conform to the desires of this world are contrary to the ways of the Lord, and they bring about condemnation rather than safety. Remember what Jesus said in one of the occasions? He said that it is better for us to build up and store riches for the afterlife, the world that is to come, rather than to build up wealth for ourselves in this world.

Why is this so? That is because whatever we have in this world, we will not carry over into the next life, that we will have with the Lord. Nothing that we have in this world, all the riches and wealth will help us to attain the glorious promises of God. Instead, what will truly help us on our way, is by obeying the will of God and His teachings, that is to love, to be merciful and forgiving, and to be faithful.

And we also have to be righteous and just in all judgments and in all the dealings we make with others. We must have love in all of our actions, and indeed if we have love, we would not even do anything that cause any discomfort for others and benefit only ourselves, which is exactly what the dishonest steward had done. Many people corrupted the funds in this world, which would have gone to help the poor and the less fortunate, and instead, they corrupted the funds to serve their own purposes and made themselves richer at the expense of others.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore what the master of the house praised the unworthy and dishonest servant was because that his cunning had saved him from the troubles of this world, and indeed, through what he does, he will certainly do well and thrive in the world. However, it does not secure him the passage to the life that is to come. To cheat and to be dishonest, and to be infatuated with money and possession are behaviours that will lead to damnation, or eternal death in hell.

Therefore, we are all presented with a clear choice. Should we strive to do well in this world, by being cunning, selfish and filled with desires? Or should we rather focus on building up our wealth in the life to come? Certainly, the answer is clear, that we have to do the latter. It does not mean that we have to reject or shun the world completely, but rather that we have to mind our actions, that they be based not our own human and personal desires, for wealth, possessions or anything else, but based on love which we ought to show first for God, and then also to our fellow brethren, our neighbours.

We cannot serve both God and money, and we cannot be both devoted to the Lord and to the possessions we have. Rather, what we should do is that, whatever blessings and graces we have received in the possessions we have, and what excess we have with us, we should dedicate it to helping those around us in need.

May Almighty God therefore awaken in us the love which we need to have, that in our actions, we may grow less and less selfish, and become ever more selfless. We hope that at the end of the day, we will be able to gain justification through our actions, and be found worthy of the glory of heaven, through what we have done well in this life, in accordance with the will of God. Amen.

 

First Reading : 
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/06/friday-7-november-2014-31st-week-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

Psalm :
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/06/friday-7-november-2014-31st-week-of-ordinary-time-psalm/

Gospel Reading : 
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/06/friday-7-november-2014-31st-week-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Luke 12 : 39-48

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”

Peter said, “Lord, did You tell this parable only for us, or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Imagine, then, the wise and faithful steward, whom the master sets over his other servants to give them wheat at the proper time. Fortunate is this servant if his master on coming home, finds him doing his work. Truly, I say to you, the master will put him in charge of all his property.”

“But it may be that the steward thinks, ‘My Lord delays in coming,’ and he begins to abuse the male servants and the servant girls, eating and drinking and getting drunk. Then the master will come on a day he does not expect, and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him off, and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.”

“The servant who knew his master’s will but did not prepare and do what his master wanted, will be soundly beaten; but the one who does unconsciously what deserves punishment, shall receive fewer blows. Much will be required of the one who has been given much, and more will be asked of the one who has been entrusted with more.

 

Alternative reading (Mass for Popes)

John 21 : 15-17

At that time, after Jesus and His disciples had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” And Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”

A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” And Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Look after My sheep.”

And a third time He said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Jesus then said, “Feed My sheep!”

Saturday, 27 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ecclesiastes 11 : 9 – Ecclesiastes 12 : 8

Rejoice, young man, in your youth and direct well your heart when you are young; follow your desires and achieve your ambitions but recall that God will take account of all you do.

Drive sorrow from your heart and pain from your flesh, for youth and dark hair will not last. Be mindful of your Creator when you are young, before the time of sorrow comes when you have to say, “This gives me no pleasure,” and before the sun, moon and stars withdraw their light, before the clouds gather again after the rain.

On the day when the guardians of the house tremble, when sturdy men are bowed and those at the mill stop working because they are too few, when it grows dim for those looking through the windows, and the doors are shut and the noise of the mill grows faint, the sparrow stops chirping and the bird-song is silenced, when one fears the slopes and to walk is frightening; yet the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper is fat and the caperberry bears fruit that serves no purpose, because man goes forward to his eternal home and mourners gather in the street, even before the silver chain is snapped or the golden globe is shattered, before the pitcher is broken at the fountain or the wheel at the mill, before the dust returns to the earth from which it came and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Meaningless! Meaningless! The Teacher says; all is meaningless!

Monday, 22 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 8 : 16-18

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lampstand, so that people coming in may see the light. In the same way, there is nothing hidden that shall not be uncovered; nothing kept secret that shall not be known clearly.

“Now, pay attention and listen well, for whoever produces will be given more, but from those who do not produce, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.”

Friday, 5 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

1 Corinthians 4 : 1-5

Let everyone then see us as the servants of Christ and stewards of the secret works of God. Being stewards, faithfulness shall be demanded of us; but I do not mind if you or any human court judges me. I do not even judge myself; my conscience indeed does not accuse me of anything, but that is not enough for me to be set right with God : the Lord is the One who judges me.

Therefore, do not judge before the time, until the coming of the Lord. He will bring to light whatever was hidden in darkness and will disclose the secret intentions of the hearts. Then each one will receive praise from God.

(Usus Antiquior) Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 August 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s readings clearly highlighted the need for all of us to have a good and proper way of prayer and living our faith, namely one that is not tainted with our personal and human desires, hubris and sins of our heart. The Pharisee prayed not with the wholeness of his heart, mind and soul, and his being is not entirely focused on the Lord as he prayed, which is truly not the way for us to communicate with our Lord and God.

For prayer is indeed a communication between us and the Lord, and it is important that in prayers, we talk with the Lord from our heart to His heart, but we must also be able to listen, and therefore we may listen to the words of the Lord speaking in our hearts. The Pharisee was engaged in a litany of self-praise and self-aggrandisment, and not only just praising his own goodness, as he also looked down on others and thinking of others as being not as good as himself. This is what we must not do.

We are all sinners, brethren, like that of the tax collector, or the publican. And he knew the full weight of his sins before him, and that was why he was so repentant and felt so unworthy before the Lord. He did not put down others, and he certainly did not boast about his achievements, but rather, he allowed God to work His wonders in him, by opening his heart, mind and soul wide open for the Lord to bring light back into his darkened self.

And the Lord had given us much to build up on during this life we have on earth. Why is this so? Because God had given us the spirit of life and that is why we are living now in this world. However, we who have believed in the Lord and have given ourselves to be baptised in the Most Holy Name of the Most Holy Trinity also received in us the gifts of the Holy Spirit, just as the disciples of Christ had received that day on the occasion of Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit, as we all know have seven cardinal features and seven types of fruits that can be born out of the Spirit in us. And the Holy Spirit also gives us various abilities and endowments, all according to our needs and to the will of the Lord in giving us those gifts and blessings. But there are those among men who claim to be able to get all the numerous gifts of the Spirit, without understanding what they are truly about.

Yes, I am talking about those common practices of ‘speaking in tongues’ practiced often by our heretical and unrepentant brethren in the so-called Evangelical and Pentecostal tradition of the Protestant ‘churches’, who often go so far as to make the practice of tongue-speaking as the mainstream of their worship. They pronounced babbling sounds as if they are speaking in tongues, mimicking the speeches of the Apostles, but this is in vain. In fact, they do not proclaim and praise the Lord in doing that, but instead invoking Satan to be present among them to tempt them.

The way to serve the Lord is not through this method, as when we do that, we have to remember the action of the Pharisee and the publican or the tax collector in their respective prayers. What is the intention of speaking in tongues? This is a dangerous practice that if done without understanding, and it is also already prevalent even among certain sections of the Church, that this will lead the faithful not towards the Lord, but towards the self-aggrandisement of the Pharisee.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I am also talking about those who in the Church, are claiming to represent the will of certain peoples, claiming that they are fighting for equality among different groups, some representing the women and some the laity as a whole themselves. Let me ask you this question, brothers and sisters in Christ, why did the Lord created us men and women in the first place? And why was there the division between the priesthood and the laity in the Church?

The answer to the first question is clear, as we are intended by the Lord to complement each other. Women were born from men, and without men, women are incomplete, and so therefore, men are incomplete without women. That is why, we can never have any equality in literal sense between the males and females in our society and in our Church, because each of us, man and woman are born with a particular purpose in life, and we have been given the specific gift, much like that of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Then regarding the priesthood and the laity, it is also similar. Those who are in the laity are those who choose to have an ordinary life, following the routines of this world that is to have a family and beget children for the love and glory of God, and those in the priesthood dedicated their whole life in devoted service both to God, their Lord, Master and Bride, as well as to the whole mankind.

We cannot stand for this kind of irresponsible movements and notions, and they are tantamount to challenging the Holy Spirit and God Himself, as if they are asking for the wholeness of the gifts that God had given mankind, which is a sign of hubris and human pride, which had once made Satan fall from his place of honour and glory, and which will also bring about our downfall if we are not careful.

Let us all reflect on this, and let us all lay down our pride, our arrogance, our human desire for fame, greatness and glory. Let us instead be like the tax collector, opening our hearts wholly and sincerely to the Lord, so that He may speak to us in the depth and in the silence of our hearts. Let us all build a culture of prayer, and not just any prayer, but prayer deeply rooted in our faith and in our desire to love both mankind and the Lord our God beyond all other things.

May Almighty God bless us and our endeavours, and strengthen the faith within us that we may all be examples for the world, becoming beacons of light in the darkness. Amen.

Monday, 11 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 17 : 22-27

While Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, He said to them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. But He will rise on the third day.” The Twelve were deeply grieved.

When they returned to Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, “Does your Master pay the Temple tax?” He answered, “Certainly.”

Peter then entered the house, and immediately Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tribute to the kings of the earth : their sons or the other people?”

Peter replied, “The other people.” And Jesus told him, “The sons, then, are tax-free. But so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it. Take the coin and let it pay for you and for Me.”