Monday, 7 October 2019 : 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, the seventh day in the month of October we annually celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which began with the devotion to Our Lady of Victory, in commemoration of the great victory of the forces of the Christian faithful in the great battle of Lepanto against the forces of the infidels and those who persecuted the faithful and threatened Christendom at that time.

At that time, Christendom was threatened from all sides, from external forces and enemy as mentioned, as well as from internal disputes and divisions, heresies and lack of faith. But there were those who strived to put the effort to bring the Church back on its feet, as part of the Counter Reformation movement, renewing the zeal of many of the faithful and many heeded God’s call to serve Him in purifying His Church.

And when faced with the great external threat in the form of the mighty Ottoman Empire, which then was the superpower of the known world, and threatened much of Christendom, it was several brave leaders who took up the Cross and endeavoured to fight back against those who sought the destruction of the faithful. And thus, under the leadership of Pope St. Pius V and other leaders like Don Juan of Austria and many others, the Christian forces rallied itself and sought for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin for victory against their enemies through the devotion of the Rosary.

In the end, despite the great odds and supremacy of the enemy, the Christian forces prevailed in the end, and the faithful dealt a major blow on their enemies. It was also told that a great miracle occurred during the battle, as it appeared that the Blessed Mother of God was there guiding the faithful as they struggled against their enemies and helped through her intercession to bring them to a great victory.

In thanksgiving for the great victory, the day of the triumphant Battle has ever since been declared by Pope St. Pius V as a day of great celebration, initially attributed to Our Lady of Victory, but eventually developed into the celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary as how it happens today. Nonetheless, the key message of the celebration remains, in how the faithful managed to overcome their great oppressor and enemy through the help and intercession of Mary, by the devotion of the Rosary.

Now, let us all look at the Rosary itself. The rosary is a form of prayer in which a series of prayers of Ave Maria or ‘Hail Mary’ as we all know it, are prayed together in a chain, forming a chain of prayers which we use the rosary chain as a guide as we pray. The word rosary itself came from the root word ‘rosa’ meaning rose in Latin, that is a symbolic representation of how we actually offer a bouquet of lovely roses to our loving mother Mary as we pray the rosary.

The rosary is shown to us by Mary herself as she appeared to St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, many centuries ago, and centuries before the fateful battle in Lepanto. She asked St. Dominic to propagate the use of the rosary as a devotion to help in the salvation of souls. For through the prayers of the rosary, the faithful can become closer to their loving mother through their prayers, and in turn, Mary will intercede for their sake before her Son in heaven.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary loves us just as much as she loves her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is because she had been entrusted to us by the Lord Himself from His Cross to be our mother, as He entrusted her to St. John, His disciple, representing the whole body of the Church. And vice versa therefore, we have also been made to be her adopted sons and daughters. Which mother then does not love her own children?

She does not want us to fall into sin that eventually lead us into damnation and separation from her Son, Our Lord and God. That is why through the Rosary, our blessed mother wants to help us to reconnect spiritually to God through her. She wants us to deepen our relationship with God through prayer and through contemplation. Through better relationship with God we can develop stronger faith and be more resistant to the temptations of the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord’s call through His blessed mother calling us to a greater devotion and closer relationship with Him through His mother. On this day we are called to remember how through our close interaction and relationship with God through Mary we can be brought into a new existence in God and also receive His grace and blessings as those who won at Lepanto by the grace of God has shown us all. And we ourselves are in constant spiritual struggle and warfare, against the devil and the fallen angels who are trying to drag us into sin and hell with them.

Therefore in this month of October, the Marian month of the Rosary, let us all spend the time to pray more fervently especially that of the devotion of the rosary, so that we may grow to love God more and attune ourselves to Him more, and be more capable of resisting the temptations to sin in our daily living. And let us all trust in God more deeply for everything, knowing that He has loved us all these while and will not let us all to fall into eternal damnation through sin.

May the Lord, through His blessed mother Mary, who is also our loving mother, continue to love us all dearly and guide us to Himself in our journey of faith throughout life. Let us all deepen our spirituality and connection to God through His mother Mary by our devotion of the holy rosary daily that we may be triumphant in this constant struggle for our souls in the constant and daily spiritual warfare. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 7 October 2019 : 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.

Monday, 7 October 2019 : 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.

Monday, 7 October 2019 : 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.

Thursday, 12 September 2019 : 23rd 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, on this day the Church celebrates yet another important feast in honour of Mary, the mother of God. On this day we focus our attention to the Most Holy Name of Mary, a name that is the terror of demons and all evil spirits just as her Son’s Name is even feared more by the same enemies of the Lord. At the mere mention of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, even Satan in all of his power and might cringe and have to submit in total fear.

And why is it that Satan fears the Name of Mary so much? It is understandable for him to fear the Holy Name of Jesus for He is God and the Master of all universe and creation, and even Satan and all the fallen angels have to submit to Him and obey Him and worship Him, no matter how reluctant they are. God’s authority over all things is absolute and therefore Satan fears the mere utterance of the Name of the Lord. But what about the Name of His blessed mother?

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all think about it for a moment. In our world, if someone who is not known and yet related to another person of great power and majesty, and that person’s relationship to the latter is known and revealed, is it not that all will also fear and give the same respect to the former just as they fear and respect the latter? There have been cases in the history of our world when kings and rulers have come from humble origins, and when they rose to kingship and rulership, even their relatives, especially their parents and mothers were brought up to a great position and esteem too.

It is therefore the same with the case of Mary and our Lord Jesus. If we have known and believed that truly, the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Master of all the universe and Omnipotent Almighty God, then by virtue of Mary being the mother of Our Lord, she is therefore also accorded the great honour of being His mother. In the historical past and even up to today, the mother of a king is accorded with great honour.

Therefore, first of all, whenever Mary’s name is mentioned in fact, it is almost equivalent to invoking the Name of her Son as well. That is why no wonder that Satan and his wicked allies and forces fear her Name so much, as the mention of her Name is also a mention of the Name of her Son, Jesus. And if Satan fears the latter, it is just right that he also fears the former. That is why we celebrate this feast of the Holy Name of Mary, our mother and our protector.

And Satan did not just fear Mary because of her being the Mother of God, but also because he has also had no power over her at all, as she was not just immaculate and conceived without the taint of original sin, but throughout her whole life she has remained faithful to God and placed her focus on Him alone, and Satan has no means by which to ever be able to corrupt her or to bring her under his power.

As such, Satan fears her precisely because in her, Satan had seen his ultimate defeat and inability to harm the sons of man, because not just that the salvation of this world came through her womb, in the form of Our Lord and Saviour, but also because Our Lord has entrusted all of the sons and daughters of mankind under her care and love. From the cross, Christ has entrusted His mother to us, and vice versa, all of us to her.

That is why Mary has appeared many times before us in her many apparitions, in Guadalupe, in Fatima, in Lourdes, in La Sallete among many others, as she constantly reminded us all to repent from our sins and to turn towards her Son with faith. She has done a lot in trying to help us all to be closer to God and to be closer to the path of salvation through her Son. For all that she has done, in being our help and also in being our role model in faith as the one whom many of us are looking up as example, the mere utterance of her Name therefore terrifies all the demonic forces in this world and beyond.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be thankful that God has given us such a wonderful means towards our salvation by giving us none other than His own beloved mother to help us in our journey of faith and in our struggles of life, by her constant intercession and reminders for each and every one of us. Let us all as Christians be inspired by her role model and example in how she has obediently lived her life with fullness of faith.

May the Lord through His mother Mary continue to help us to draw ever closer to Himself, by our ever growing love and devotion towards Him, being inspired by the love and faith which Mary herself had throughout her whole life. Let us all seek to be ever more committed and faithful from now on in all things, and glorify God by all of our words, deeds and actions in life. Amen.

Thursday, 12 September 2019 : 23rd 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 6 : 27-38

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “But I say to you who hear Me : Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you badly. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek; from the one who takes your coat, do not keep back your shirt. Give to the one who asks, and if anyone has taken something from you, do not demand it back.”

“Do to others as you would have others do to you. If you love only those who love you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do favours to those who are good to you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners do the same. If you lend only when you expect to receive, what kind of grace is yours? For sinners also lend to sinners, expecting to receive something in return.

But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend when there is nothing to expect in return. Then will your reward be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High. For He is kind toward the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

“Do not be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”

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!”

Thursday, 12 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Psalm)

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

Psalm 150 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the vault of heaven. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him for His own greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with lyre and harp. Praise Him with dance and tambourines; praise Him with pipe and strings.

Praise Him with clashing cymbals; praise Him with clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praise to the Lord. Alleluia!

Alternative Psalm (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.