Monday, 12 September 2022 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are also reminded that today we mark yet another celebration of Mary, the Mother of God, after her Nativity celebrations just a few days ago. Today we mark the celebration of her Most Holy Name, the name that even the devil and other demons and evil spirits fear, for this is the name of the Woman through whom the salvation of the whole world had come from, in the person of Jesus Christ her Son, the Lord and Saviour of all the whole world. Through Mary, her obedience to God and active participation in the works of God’s salvation, the Lord had made our salvation into a tangible reality.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Galatia or Ephesus, with regards to the coming of the salvation of this world in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Who assumed the likeness and the tangible reality of human flesh by the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, and borne into this world through the womb of His mother Mary, who therefore became the Mother of God. Through Mary’s obedience and faith in the Lord, and her willingness to follow the will and commandments of God, and by entrusting herself totally to the Lord, she has actively participated therefore in the works of God’s salvation. Mary has brought the Saviour Himself into this world.

That perfect obedience which she had shown to the Lord and to all of us was indeed the perfect contrast with what the devil managed to get our ancestors to do, in disobeying the Lord’s commands and in causing our ancestors, both Adam and Eve, to succumb to the temptations of their pride and desire. The devil, Satan, the great enemy tempted man with the temptations of knowledge, glory and power, by saying that should they eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then they would become like God Himself, knowing all things good and evil. That allure for knowledge, power and glory was too much for them.

However, the devil could not have his way with Mary, who humbly submitted to the will of God, listening to Him and obeying Him wholeheartedly, just as she said to the Lord through the Archangel Gabriel, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to Your Word.’ That is the solemn profession of her faith, commitment and dedication by which Mary showed that she is truly one worthy of bearing the Messiah, the Saviour of the whole world. That while our ancestors rebelled against God, and while Eve succumbed to the temptations of Satan in disobeying God’s words, Mary as the New Eve obeyed the Lord perfectly and completely.

That is why rightfully, Satan feared Mary so much, just as he feared her Son all the more. Satan feared Mary because he was unable to have his way with her, and he was unable to tempt her, being one that is full of the grace of God and full of love and obedience to Him, full of commitment to her Son, following Him throughout His life and ministry, even right up to the foot of His Cross. Mary showed us all what a true believer and follower of God should do, in following the commandments of the Lord and in doing God’s will. Through her faith and humble obedience, Mary has struck fear to the heart of the devil and the other evil spirits.

That is why the mention of Mary’s name alone would have made the devil to run away, and the demons and evil spirits to scatter, because invoking her name means that we put ourselves to her care and we call on her for her powerful intercession, just as she has constantly pleaded on our behalf before her Son’s Throne all this time. Ever since we have been entrusted by the Lord to His own Mother, and she has been entrusted to us as our Mother, Mary has always reached out to us and showed us her love and concern. That was why she made so many appearances, calling on us, her beloved children to stop sinning and return towards the Lord.

That is yet just another reason why Satan and the other evil spirits fear Mary all the more, because she has managed to bring so many souls away from their clutches and dominion, through her ceaseless dedication to us, through her loving examples and faith, through her inspiration and role model and through the Holy Rosary that she herself has instituted and given to us, by which many people found their way back to the Lord, to His grace and salvation. That is why each and every one of us are called to look up upon our beloved Mother Mary, and follow her examples in faith and ask her to intercede for our sake, we who are sinners and are in need of her help, and in need of the mercy and forgiveness from her Son, Our Lord and Saviour. Let us invoke her most holy name with faith, to defend us from the attacks of the evil one.

May the Lord continue to watch over us all, and may the constant intercession and guidance that His mother Mary has shown us continue to help us in our journey towards Him. May all Christians everywhere always be inspired to live their lives in obedience to God just as Mary herself had done. May God bless us always in all things, and may He continue to guide and strengthen us in all things, and help us to persevere through the many challenges of life. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us too, and listen to us when we call upon your most holy name, and protect us from the evil ones. Amen.

Monday, 12 September 2022 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 7 : 1-10

At that time, when Jesus had finished teaching the people, He went to Capernaum. A Roman military officer lived there, whose servant was very sick and near to death, a man very dear to him. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent some elders of the Jews to persuade Him to come and save his servant’s life. The elders came to Jesus and begged Him earnestly, saying, “He deserves this of You, for he loves our people and even built a synagogue for us.”

Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house, when the Roman officer sent friends to give this message, “Sir, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy to welcome You under my roof. You see, I did not approach You myself. Just give the order, and my servant will be healed. For I myself, a junior officer, give orders to my soldiers, and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to the other, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

On hearing these words, Jesus was filled with admiration. He turned and said to the people with Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” The people, sent by the captain, went back to his house; there they found that the servant was well.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 1 : 39-47

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!”

Monday, 12 September 2022 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Psalm 39 : 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17

Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire; this, You had me understand. Burnt offering and sin offering You do not require. Then I said, “Here I come!”

As the scroll says of me. To do Your will is my delight, o God, for Your law is within my heart.

In the great assembly I have proclaimed Your saving help. My lips, o YHVH, I did not seal – You know that very well.

But may all those who seek You, rejoice, and be glad in You; and may all who love Your saving grace continually say, “YHVH is great.”

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Monday, 12 September 2022 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

1 Corinthians 11 : 17-26, 33

To continue with my advice, I cannot praise you, for your gatherings are not for the better but for the worse. First, as I have heard, when you gather together, there are divisions among you and I partly believe it. There may have to be different groups among you, so that it becomes clear who among you are genuine.

Your gatherings are no longer the Supper of the Lord, for each one eats at once, his own food, and, while one is hungry, the other is getting drunk. Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or perhaps you despise the Church of God and desire to humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say? Shall I praise you? For this I cannot praise you.

This is the tradition of the Lord that I received, and, that, in my turn, I have handed on to you; the Lord Jesus, on the night that He was delivered up, took bread and, after giving thanks, broke it, saying, “This is My Body which is broken for you; do this in memory of Me.” In the same manner, taking the cup after the supper, He said, “This cup is the new Covenant, in My Blood. Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of Me.”

So, then, whenever you eat of this bread and drink from this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord, until He comes. So then, brothers, when you gather for a meal, wait for one another.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Galatians 4 : 4-7

But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son. He came born of woman and subject to the Law, in order to redeem the subjects of the Law, that we might receive adoption as children of God.

And because you are children, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son which cries out : Abba! That is, Father! You yourself are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and yours is the inheritance by God’s grace.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Ephesians 1 : 3-6

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 His beloved might finally receive all glory and praise.

Thursday, 8 September 2022 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates together the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which marks the birthday of Mary, the Mother of God, the moment when she came into this world, as the future Mother of the Saviour of the world. Today the whole Church rejoices in this anniversary of the birthday of this most blessed Woman through whom the salvation of this world has come from. The Lord has fulfilled His long-awaited promise to His people through Mary, the simple young woman living in the unassuming small town of Nazareth in Galilee, and who would become the great Mother of our Saviour and also the greatest among all the saints. That is what we are celebrating today, the memorial of our blessed Mother Mary on her birthday.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Micah, we heard the Lord’s reassurance for His people that His salvation would come to them just as He has promised previously through the other prophets. We heard how the Lord proclaimed that Bethlehem, the city of David, would be the place where His Saviour and Deliverance came from, and although that city might have been a small and insignificant one among the other cities of Israel and Judah, but it was through this place that the Lord’s great plan of salvation would be accomplished, through the Woman whom the Lord Himself proclaimed to be the bearer of the Messiah or Saviour.

That was how the Lord brought His salvation into this world, through a humble woman from a small little town at the periphery of the Jewish community at that time, someone utterly unremarkable in the eyes of the world. And yet, it was through Mary that God willed to bring His salvation into this world, Christ, His own Begotten and Beloved Son, the Divine Word Incarnate, born of the House of David through Mary’s marriage to St. Joseph, the one who was descended and also the rightful heir of David. According to Scriptural evidence and Apostolic traditions, Mary herself also belonged to the House of David as well.

Through Mary and her motherhood, the Lord made manifest His love for each and every one of us mankind in the flesh, as He embraced us all through Jesus Christ His Son, the Divine Word of God Incarnate. Mary has been prepared by God’s will and grace, made Immaculate and conceived without the taint of sin, and throughout her life, she has always been full of grace, free from the taint of sin because she has been full of love for her Son, and for the Lord, obeying Him and following Him in whatever He has told her to do, and she followed her Son throughout His later ministry and even to the foot of His Cross and beyond.

It was through Mary and her full and active participation in the Lord’s work of salvation which allowed us to see the light of God’s hope as revealed to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, born into this world through Mary’s womb. Thus, today as we celebrate the birthday of Mary, the Mother of God, it is also a celebration of the hope of our Light and Salvation in Christ. And today all of us are also reminded that Mary is truly the surest path for us towards God and His salvation, as she is the one closest to her Son, and she is also truly close to us, as she has never forgotten to think about us all daily, all the time.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because the Lord Himself has entrusted Mary, His mother to us, from His Cross just as He has also entrusted us all to her, that we may be her children just as He is her Son, and that she may also be our mother just as she is His Mother. And that is why we celebrate all the more joyfully because we remember our own beloved mother’s birthday today, as we remember the love she has for us, all the intercessions she had made on our behalf, whether we realise it or not. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, as our mother, Mary has always gazed upon us and wanted us all to be saved through her Son, and she certainly never ceased reaching out to us with love.

She has appeared to many throughout the past centuries, most famously at Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima, and there were many more approved apparitions of Mary throughout history, highlighting just how much beloved we are to her, and how concerned she has been regarding us. Mary our mother often made her appearances especially after a period and time of strife and chaos, during a time of crisis and spiritual troubles in our human history, and she wanted to help us all find our way to return back to her Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. That is why today, just as we commemorate and celebrate her birthday or Nativity, we ought to remind ourselves to follow her examples in faith.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, each one of us should remember to dedicate ourselves to the Lord through following His mother’s examples, her dedication and faith, the great obedience and love she has shown throughout her love for the Lord and His precepts, her humble nature and submission to God’s will and willingness to allow herself be led to the path that God wants her to go through, showed us that Mary is truly a prime role model and example for all of us in how each one of us should live our own lives with faith and dedication, with humility and the desire to serve the Lord and to glorify Him by our every actions, words and deeds throughout our lives.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our journey, and may He empower each one of us that we may continue to walk ever more faithfully in His path, guided through the patient love of His mother Mary, who is our loving mother too, and may her constant intercession and care for us continue to inspire us to persevere in faith in each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us all in our every good efforts and endeavours. Amen.

Thursday, 8 September 2022 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 1-16, 18-23

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 1 : 18-23

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Thursday, 8 September 2022 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 12 : 6ab, 6cd

But I put my trust in Your unfailing love, my heart will rejoice on seeing Your salvation.

I will sing to YHVH, for He has been good to me!

Thursday, 8 September 2022 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Micah 5 : 1-4a

But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, so small that you are hardly named among the clans of Judah; from you shall I raise the One Who is to rule over Israel. For He comes forth from of old, from the ancient times.

YHVH, therefore, will abandon Israel until such time as she, who is to give birth, has given birth. Then the rest of His deported brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand, and shepherd His flock with the strength of YHVH, in the glorious Name of YHVH, His God.

They will live safely, while He wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace.

Alternative reading

Romans 8 : 28-30

We know that in everything, God works for the good of those who love Him, whom He has called, according to His plan. Those whom He knew beforehand, He has also predestined, to be like His Son, similar to Him, so, that, He may be the Firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

And so, those whom God predestined, He called, and those whom He called, He makes righteous, and to those whom He makes righteous, He will give His glory.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day after the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated, reminding us all of the special link and connection that Jesus our Lord has with His mother Mary, and just how the loving, Immaculate Heart of Mary is truly a reflection of her own Son’s Most Sacred Heart. Mary’s heart is full of love for all of us, her adopted children, as we all have been entrusted by the Lord to her to be our own mother, and as we also become her own children by faith.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, in which the Lord spoke to the people of God through the prophet Isaiah regarding the coming of God’s salvation to this world. The Lord sent His deliverance to this world, the salvation which He has promised us from the very beginning of time, in the Son that He has begotten, the Divine Word of God incarnate in the flesh through His mother, Mary, whose Immaculate Heart and love we remember today, as our own loving mother and guide. We are reminded as we celebrate the Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, of God’s own love for us, that He has generously given and offered to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the Lord Jesus and what happened when He was only twelve years old and remained in the Temple of Jerusalem while His parents, Mary and St. Joseph went on their way back to Nazareth and not knowing that Jesus had remained behind in the Temple. I am sure we are all aware of what happened in that story, and we heard how Mary and St. Joseph went all the way back to Jerusalem in search of the young Jesus, and found Him at the Temple. We saw how concerned Mary and St. Joseph were, in looking for and being worried for the young Lord, Who told them that He wanted to be in the House of His Father.

Such were the strange and yet truthful words of the young Lord Jesus, as He was indeed in the House and Presence of His heavenly Father. Yet, man could not have possibly comprehended that truth there and then. We heard how Mary heard all these and kept them all deep within her heart. She had certainly remembered how the Archangel Gabriel came to her and proclaiming the Good News that she was to become the Mother of the Son of God Most High, and everything had come true as the Lord had said and proclaimed to her.

Mary kept everything in her Immaculate Heart, believing in what God had told her and guided her to, and she entrusted herself in His love and providence, continuing to care for her Son, and doing her part in supporting Him for the upcoming ministry and works that the Lord Jesus would be called to do, and she watched Him grew, while gaining more and more Wisdom and power, and she loved Him with all her Immaculate Heart. This same love brought her all the way to walk and journey with Him even to the foot of the Cross. It was this same Immaculate Heart that was akin to being pierced with swords when she saw and witnessed how her own Son was suffering and dying on His Cross.

Mary’s heart was truly pure and immaculate as her title suggests to us, as the Lord Himself had made her Immaculate and pure, as the Immaculate Conception, free from the taints of original sin, and as such, her heart remained pure and free from the blemish of those sins that corrupted many others. That Immaculate Heart is filled with love for all of us just as much as she has loved her Son wholeheartedly. After all, is she not our mother as well? I have mentioned earlier that through the Church and by her Son’s works, all of us have been made to be Mary’s own children, her adopted ones, to be loved by her and cared by her passionate love and care.

Therefore, today, as we commemorate this Feast in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God and also our own mother, let us all hence commit ourselves anew to love the Lord, our God and Saviour, through the examples that our beloved mother herself had shown, in how Mary had dedicated her whole life to love her Son, and how she had dedicated her whole life to obey God’s will and becoming the perfect example for all of us in how we should live our own lives as Christians.

Let us all henceforth renew our faith in the Lord our God, entrusting ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His Mother, as well as in His Most Sacred Heart, that we may strive from now on, in our best ability and effort to walk ever more faithfully in His presence, distancing ourselves from sin, and turning once again into the path of righteousness and justice, following the path that God has shown us. May God be with us always, and may His mother Mary continue to pray for us and guide us in our journey of faith through life, that we may always ever be faithful, at all times. Amen.

Saturday, 25 June 2022 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them. As for His mother, she kept all these things in her heart.