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.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Samuel 2 : 1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd

My heart exults in YHVH, I feel strong in my God. I rejoice and laugh at my enemies for You came with power to save me.

The bow of the mighty is broken, but the weak are girded with strength. The well-fed must labour for bread, but the hungry need work no more. The childless wife has borne seven children, but the proud mother is left alone.

YHVH is Lord of life and death. He brings down to the grave and raises up. YHVH makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and He exalts.

He lifts up the lowly from the dust, and raises the poor from the ash heap; they will be called to the company of princes, and inherit a seat of honour.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Monday, 6 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today on the day after Pentecost Sunday we enter once again into the season of Ordinary Time, which will continue until the end of this current liturgical year in November this year. And today, we also mark the celebration of Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, or Mater Ecclesiae. This celebration began in the recent years commemorating what had been widespread acknowledgement of the role of Mary as the Mother of the faithful people of God and hence, also the Mother of the Church. Just as St. Joseph was made the Protector of the Universal Church, it is only right then that Mary is officially accorded the honour of being the Mother of the Church.

As we listened in our Scripture passages today, Mary is the Woman who has been long awaited by the world, to be the one through whom the salvation of this world would come through. Mary is the New Eve just as Christ is represented as the New Adam, the New Man, through Whom the salvation of the world would come from. In our first reading today from the Book of Genesis we heard of the story of how mankind had fallen into sin because they chose to listen to the lies and false promises of Satan, disguised as a snake, and chose to follow him instead of keeping the commandments of God.

Our first ancestors, Adam and Eve fell into sin because they gave in to the temptations presented to them by Satan. Satan tempted them with the knowledge of good and evil that he said would make both of them to be like God. That desire and pride in our ancestors led them to be swayed to turn away from God and His righteous path. Hence, instead of obeying God, mankind instead chose to listen to Satan and his lies, committed sin against God and hence, were sundered off from the fullness of God’s grace and blessings, cast out from Heaven and forced to wander off in the wilderness of this world, to suffer the consequences of our sins.

However, God did not abandon us or cast us out into eternal damnation, as He could have done so if He wanted it. He could have crushed and destroyed us all by the power of His will alone. Yet, His love for us endured even though we had sinned against Him. He continued to love us, and just as He pronounced what man would have to endure for their sins and disobedience, He also rebuked Satan and proclaimed His triumph against the wicked one and the salvation of man which would come through the Woman. While Satan and his forces would have dominion and power over men for a while, this dominion and stranglehold they had over us would not last forever.

That was already foretold by the Lord Himself as He spoke of the coming of His salvation through the Woman, from whom the dominion of Satan and the forces of evil would be broken forever. This is the salvation that Mary had a role in bringing unto this world, that by the grace and will of God, Mary, as the New Eve, through her complete obedience to the will of God, as contrasted to the disobedience of the old and first Eve, would bring unto mankind, the salvation and new life, new existence in God that they truly needed. Christ, the Mediator of the New and Eternal Covenant between God and His people, was born through Mary, and through Him, God willed to reconcile us to Himself, once and for all.

And Mary committed herself thoroughly to the mission and calling entrusted to her, loving her Son wholeheartedly, following Him and being with Him even to the foot of the Cross. As we heard in our Gospel passage today, Mary followed her Son, Our Lord and Saviour, right up to the feet of the Cross, seeing her own Son suffering and dying for the salvation of the whole entire world. She saw it all, all of her sorrow and pain, sharing in the pain suffered by her Son on His Cross. She has always been with her Son, all the time, and the Lord entrusted her henceforth, to His beloved disciple, St. John the Apostle, while at the same time, also entrusting St. John to His own mother, Mary.

Through this act, we have to realise that the Lord was not only entrusting Mary, His mother to St. John the Apostle, and St. John to His mother. St. John was in fact representing the whole Universal Church, and all of us have been entrusted to Mary, to be our own Mother. We are all her children by this entrustment and adoption, and hence, Mary and her title of the Mother of the Church made truly perfect sense. Mary is truly our Mother, who cares for us and has always reached out to us, and through her many apparitions in the past centuries, Mary has always shown us her motherly love, always ever reminding us to turn away from our sinful path, and to return to her Son.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed heart, faith and commitment, following His own Mother, Mary, the Mother of the Church, who is also our own Mother. Let us all therefore also entrust ourselves to her, and remind ourselves to follow her good examples in faith, her dedication and love for God, in our own lives. Let us also continue to do the good works of the Church, in evangelisation of the whole world, revealing the truth that God has shown us, and guided by His Holy Spirit, to continue to spread the light and hope of God’s truth to more and more people. O Mother Mary, our mother and the Mother of the Church, pray for us sinners always, and guide us all towards your Son’s light and salvation. Amen.

Monday, 6 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-34

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.

Jesus knew all was now finished and, in order to fulfil what was written in Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of bitter wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a twig of hyssop, they raised it to His lips. Jesus took the wine and said, “It is accomplished.” Then He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit.

As it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus.

When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out Blood and water.

Monday, 6 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 86 : 1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7

He Himself has built it in His holy mountain; YHVH prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns.

Great things have been foretold of you, o city of God. But of Zion, it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And YHVH notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for you.

Monday, 6 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 3 : 9-15, 20

YHVH God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?”

The man answered, “The woman You put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

YHVH God said to the serpent, “Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”

The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

Alternative reading

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, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day when we celebrate the moment when Mary, the Mother of God visited Elizabeth, her cousin, who was also the mother of St. John the Baptist, the Herald who would bring forth the news about the Messiah and proclaim Him to the world. Mary visited Elizabeth who was with St. John the Baptist in her womb while she has also already had Jesus in her Immaculate womb. Mary and Elizabeth’s moment together also revealed to us more of the truth of both infants present in their wombs.

Mary came to Elizabeth after hearing the news about her miraculous pregnancy that happened in her old age, a sign of God’s blessings, which happened to her as well because she had also conceived a Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Word and Son of God incarnate in the flesh through her. Jesus was already in Mary’s womb when she went to visit Elizabeth. It is a truly joyous occasion when two women affirmed and supported each other, both having been blessed by God and through whom the salvation of God would come for all of mankind, one to proclaim the coming of that salvation, while the other One is the Saviour Himself.

Both Mary and Elizabeth showed us the virtues of their faith and dedication to the Lord. Both were righteous and anchored themselves on the Lord. They have been faithful to the Lord and obeyed the Lord’s commandments and allowed themselves to be part of God’s plan of salvation. Elizabeth was willing to become the mother of the Saviour’s Herald, and in her old age, the Lord took away from her the shame of her barrenness. And by the will and power of God, Mary also conceived the Son of God in her, willingly accepting the role that the Archangel Gabriel had proclaimed to her, to become the Mother of God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, after all of us hearing what had happened during the Visitation and all that Mary and Elizabeth had done, and what they represented, all of us are reminded that we should follow the Lord faithfully in the way that those two amazing women had done. We are all, as Christians, called to be role models and inspirations to one another in faith, and in how we should live our lives as Christians, as the holy people of God so that all those who witness our works, hear us and see us in our daily living, our interactions and our activities may come to share our faith in Christ and to believe in Him as well.

Elizabeth’s joy and proclamation upon seeing Mary, her cousin, saying that the Mother of her Lord had come to see her, and all the joy accompanying their encounter should also be our response when we come to seek the Lord through Mary, His mother. We should rejoice and desire to come to the presence of the Lord, whenever we come and enter into His House, the Church and where He is truly present, enthroned in His Real Presence in the Tabernacle and in the Holy Mass. And we should rejoice to come to see Him, to glorify the Lord and strive such that more and more people may come to know the Lord.

Yet, many of us are lukewarm in faith, not being excited to come and see the Lord, and we end up spending a lot more time doing things that are against God and His truth. We did things that scandalise our faith in God and His Church, and even the sanctity of His Name and Presence. This is what caused others to turn away from the Lord, and to be hesitant to come and follow the Lord as well. Often times, the answer given by those who were asked why they did not become Christians or refuse to become one and be baptised is that they had seen Christians doing sinful things and living wickedly, and hence, those things discouraged and hindered them from believing in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us all remind ourselves of the faith that we should have in the Lord, and how Mary, the Mother of God showed us, each and every one of us should give our lives to God and to commit ourselves to His path, doing God’s will and walking in the path that He has shown us and called us to go through. We are all called to embody our faith in our every words, actions and deeds, so that we can lead more people to come closer to God and to inspire others to remain strong in their faith and belief in God.

May the Lord bless us all in our every day moments and lives, and may through His Blessed Mother Mary, and all the great saints, holy men and women who had dedicated their lives to God, all of us may also be more inspired to live in the same way that they had done, be ever more worthy of God in all of our actions, words and deeds. May God be with us always, now and evermore. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners and help us to live our lives in the manner you have lived yours. Amen.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 39-56

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 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! 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.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.