Saturday, 21 November 2020 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which celebrates the moment when Mary, the Mother of God was presented at the Temple of God, as prescribed by the Law, as her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne offering their firstborn child to the Lord. Mary, the one who would become the Mother of God and Saviour, the Ark of the New Covenant of God.

On this day we rejoice and recall the faith of Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God as we remember her piety and dedication, her virtues and humble commitment to serve the Lord with her whole life. Mary has always been a great example and inspiration for all of us, not just because she is the Mother of God but also because she is such a paragon of faith and virtue by her obedience to God and her genuine love for Him.

Mary has dedicated herself to the Lord and symbolised by her presentation to Him, and her whole life is a life of prayer and love, as she accepted her role to be the Mother of God, caring for the Lord from the moment when He was still in her womb, when He was still a baby and young, and followed Him through life and through His ministry until He endured His Passion and sufferings, and was there when He died on the Cross, faithfully standing by His Cross to the very end.

In our Gospel today we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and the people, when someone who told Him that His mother and family were there waiting for Him. And the Lord said to the people that all those who obey the Lord and follow Him are His mother, brothers and sisters, essentially His family members and those who are close to Him and beloved by Him.

On the surface it might have seemed rude for the Lord to dismiss His family members, His own mother Mary in particular. However, we have to understand and appreciate the intention of the Lord and the context of what He had said. He wanted to show that His familial relations are not definitive and does not exclude all the others, the faithful children of God. The Lord considers all to be His family members.

That is why through the Church, by our baptism, all of us have been made to be the adopted children of God. Through the Church the Lord unified us to Himself, in a family of the faithful, united through love. And by showing us all Mary, His own mother, as the perfect example of faith and the exemplary child of God, He Himself concluded it by saying, that all those who follow the Lord’s path, are all members of this beloved family.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why today we are all called to reflect on our lives and how we have lived through them thus far. And we are called to consider the path that we ought to walk forward in life. Are we able and willing to commit ourselves to lives that are just like Mary’s, that is to be obedient to God, ever listening and adhering to His will, and virtuous and just?

Today, as we rejoice in the memory of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, let us all be inspired by the examples that she had set before us, that we shall also be righteous, virtuous and good in faith as she has shown us. Blessed Mother Mary, our loving mother, pray for us all sinners, and lead us all towards your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, 21 November 2020 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Saturday, 21 November 2020 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Saturday, 21 November 2020 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.”

The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again. Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, commemorating with joy this month in which we are encouraged to pray the rosary, asking for the prayers and intercessions of Our Blessed Mother, Mary. But the origins of this feast day came from the famous victory of the forces of the Christian faithful against the enemies of the Church in the Battle of Lepanto.

Originally this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory from this battle, in which, at the time, as the growing power of the Ottoman Empire and its forces began to threaten Christendom, having subjugated quite a few Christian populations under its rule, the situation of the Christian faith and Church were truly dire, as the Christians themselves were bitterly divided by the various heresies and splinter groups appearing at the time due to the reformation movement.

As the day of the decisive battle and conflict comes close, the Pope then, Pope St. Pius V called all of Christendom to pray the rosary fervently, asking for the intercession of the Mother of God that her Son would be with the forces of the faithful fighting for the survival of the Christian faith under persecution and trials. And through the efforts of all those who dedicated the prayers of the rosary, through the power of their prayer, God was moved to intervene on the side of His faithful people.

Although the forces arrayed by the enemy forces at Lepanto were extensive and immense, outnumbering the forces of the faithful, but the Lord was with those who were faithful to Him, fighting by their side against the enemy. And through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Victory, the forces of the Christian faithful triumphed against the enemy forces, defeating them utterly and showing the power of God’s providence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that was the historical origin of the celebration of this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the dedication of the month of October as the month of the Holy Rosary. But even more significantly, brothers and sisters, do you all know that our prayers, when made with devotion and genuine faith, are powerful tools and weapons against the attacks and insidious plans of the evil one and all of his forces? A genuine prayer is feared more by Satan than the clang of weapons and swords.

We heard in our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, on the Apostles and disciples of the Lord after the Lord ascended into Heaven, in how they continued to gather and pray together, spending their time as they awaited the coming of the Helper, the Holy Spirit that has been promised by God to them. And even after the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and the Christian faithful often gathered together and pray as a community, and even when they were on their own, they also often spent their time in prayer.

And rosary is truly a special form of prayer, as the prayers often associated with the rosary help to remind us of the important events in the history of our faith and in the story of our salvation by God. And through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, our prayers will be raised even closer to God’s Throne, for Mary is at the side of her Son in Heaven, praying and interceding for our sake, at each and every moment. The rosary is indeed like its name, implying a ‘rose’ or flower, a bouquet of prayers that we offer to God through His mother, who is also our beloved mother, Mary.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in these particularly difficult times and challenging moments in life, as we faced so many bitter trials and difficulties in these past few months this year, we need to deepen our spiritual and prayer life, and the rosary is one way how we can deepen our prayer life and spirituality. Are we willing to commit ourselves to be more prayerful Christians, in each and every moments of our lives? The choice is ours to make, and as God has called us all, let us devote ourselves ever more faithfully to Him, from now on, with the guidance from His blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Rosary.

Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us all sinners, just as we make our prayers of the rosary dedicated to you, out of our love for you, our blessed and ever loving Mother. Pray and intercede for us, and help us to follow your examples, and be faithful to God as you have been faithful yourself, in all things. Amen.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these, together, gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women, and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrate the feast of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows. It is interesting that after the high of the celebrations of the joyful exaltation and triumph of the Holy Cross yesterday, then we come to the remembrance of the sorrows of our Blessed Mother, who was sorrowful at the suffering and death of her Son.

But in truth, this is an important reminder that the Cross of Christ, while it is a sign of great victory and triumph against sin, evil and darkness, but it is also where our Lord and Saviour suffered grievously for the sins and faults that He had willingly bore for our sake, every blows and wounds that He bore up to the Cross, as a most worthy offering to God, for the redemption of all mankind and atonement of all of our sins.

And in all these, His mother, Mary, grieved as a mother should when the mother sees the suffering of the child. As the mother grieved in seeing her son suffers, Mary saw her own Son, born of her womb and Whom she took care all her life, suffering so much for the sake of the whole world, fulfilling the task which had been entrusted to Him as the Saviour of the world. And Mary saw all of that, and faithfully walked beside her Son, following Him as He took the last steps of the journey towards His crucifixion.

It must have been painful for Mary to witness such a horrific scene happening before her, as she saw her Son suffering in such a manner, deprived of all dignity and honour, betrayed and cast aside by the authorities and the people, condemned to death for faults that were not His. Yet, Mary obeyed perfectly and completely to the will of God, and bore her sorrows with the faith and knowledge that everything would happen as God willed it.

It must have indeed been most sorrowful for a mother to witness her own child’s death, but that was exactly what happened as Mary beheld the lifeless body of her Son, at the foot of the Cross. This is most commonly depicted as Our Lady of Sorrows, the most sorrowful and sad depiction of Mary, as a loving Mother holding her Son, His mission fulfilled and completed, but with sorrow piercing her heart seeing all that happened.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can just see how great Mary’s faith and dedication is, that despite her sorrows and the trials she had to endure, she remained firmly committed to the cause and mission that has been entrusted to her. And seeing her Son suffered in such a way, certainly brought Mary to shown great concern and love for each and every one of us, whom by adoption into the Church, has become her own children and beloved ones.

That is why, if we notice, Mary has appeared many times to many people in various times and places, all with the similar message imploring us mankind to turn away from our sins, to repent sincerely and to embrace God’s forgiveness and most generous mercy. That is because she knew full well the suffering that we all will endure for our sins, in the suffering that her Son had endured and which she had witnessed herself as she followed Him faithfully right up to the foot of the cross.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we commemorate this Feast of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, let us all look up to Mary, our loving Mother for her exemplary faith and dedication to God. Let us all be ever more faithful and turn away from our wickedness, from our actions that had brought scandal to our faith, and genuinely seek God’s forgiveness so that we may be forgiven our sins and be worthy of the eternal glory, life and joy that will be ours in God’s presence.

Let us turn to our sorrowful and loving Mother and comfort her by our dedication and desire to lead a more Christ-like life, to obey the Law of God and to follow His will in every actions and deeds we have, and to be shining beacons of Christian faith for one another in this darkened world. Let us all sin no more, and strive to follow our Mother’s faithful examples, so that we may receive the crown of eternal life and glory, and triumph with the Holy Cross of Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

May the Lord, our crucified Messiah and loving Saviour continue to bless and guide us, and may His ever loving Mother continue to show her tender care towards us all. O Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us all sinners, and pray that we may all endeavour to turn away from our wicked sins, and enter into God’s mercy and forgiveness. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.”

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign; a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”