Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th 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, part of our celebration of the Marian month of October, when the daily recitation of the rosary is highly encouraged as part of our devotion to God through His mother, Mary. And we remember today, this loving mother, whom the Lord had entrusted to us as our own mother, through the rosary which she had granted us and revealed to us, as the means to help to achieve our salvation.

The origins of this feast came about from the historical moment of a great battle that raged over four centuries ago, at the time of great danger to the Christian world and the faithful, when the forces of the enemies of the Church and the unbelievers were arrayed against it, attacking the Church both from within and without. The Church was divided and assailed by the heresies and divisions that threatened to destroy the faithful.

But the greatest threat then came from the forces of the mighty Ottoman Empire, which armies and ships had risen up against Christian nations and states, overpowering them one by one. Christendom at that time came under very great threat, the threat of destruction and martyrdom. Yet, at the same time, salvation came as the Christian forces gathered together and met the Ottoman forces at the Battle of Lepanto in the year 1571.

While the Ottoman fleet outnumbered the Christian fleet, but through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who apparently according to some eyewitnesses, made her apparition among the clouds with many other saints of God, the Ottoman forces were driven back and vanquished. And in thanksgiving for the great battle, which occurred on the seventh day of the month of October that year, the Pope then, Pope St. Pius V declared that day as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

Before the battle, the Pope called for all of Christendom to pray the rosary, and led a rosary procession through the city of Rome himself. The great victory and triumph of the forces of the faithful at Lepanto was therefore commemorated on this day, also as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, in remembrance of the power of the holy rosary in calling upon the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary.

Now, back to our present day, there is still a great reason to celebrate this Feast of the Holy Rosary, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary herself. For there is always a great challenge and opposition facing the Church and all of us the faithful, by Satan our great enemy, and all of his forces of fallen angels and demons, arrayed against us. The devil is always active at work, trying to persuade, cajole, force and pressurise us to abandon our faith and commit sin instead, disobeying God’s laws and commandments.

Through the praying of the holy rosary, we reorientate ourselves to the Lord through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. The rosary is a great tool through which Mary desired to help all of us, whom God had entrusted to her as her own children. Surely, a mother who loves her children will not want any of them to be lost from her. For the price of sin is death and damnation in hell, as we are sundered forever from God’s grace and love.

St. Louis-Marie de Montfort once said that Mary is the surest, straightest and easiest path for us to reach out to God. And this cannot be further from the reality and the truth, as it is by imitating Mary that we will come closer to God, by following the examples of Mary, the mother of our God. Mary was faithful and obedient, and it was by the same obedience to God’s will that she accepted her role as the mother of God and Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The rosary when prayed with genuine devotion and faith is a constant reminder of the faith of Mary, through which she had devoted her entire life to the service of God. The rosary is the means through which mankind, fallen into sin, are able to climb their way back up to the light, from the darkness which had enveloped us through sin. And Mary is rightly feared by Satan and his allies, not just because of her great faith and commitment to God, her piety and holiness, but also because of the rosary.

Let us think of how many souls the devil has lost because of the rosary. Let us reflect on how many souls have gone to heaven instead of going to hell with the devil, just because they piously pray and recite the rosary prayers from their hearts, dedicating themselves to God through His mother Mary. Those who pray the rosary daily and with devotion, shall not fall into damnation, but instead go towards eternal life.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, if we do not yet have the habit of praying the rosary daily or at least regularly, let us begin praying it every day, especially during this month of October, the Marian month of the rosary. Let us all pray the rosary, believing that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we will be able to find the surest and most straightforward path to our Lord, through her guidance.

May the Lord continue to bless us and guide each one of us, so that we may continue to draw closer and ever more towards His salvation. Let us pray, asking for the continued intercession from our Blessed Mother, that she will continue praying for the sake of us sinners, for the salvation of our souls, and through the rosary, may we find the way towards righteousness in God. Amen.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th 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.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th 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.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th 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.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd 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 we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is related to the Feast which we have just celebrated the day before, that is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And while yesterday we rejoice in the glory of the Holy Cross and the triumphant victory which our Lord Jesus Christ had won because of His sacrifice on the Cross, today we remember that behind the Cross, precisely at the foot of the Cross, was Mary, the mother of our Lord.

For Mary was ever faithful and devoted to her Son, Whom she followed throughout His life and ministry in this world, ever loving Him and caring for Him at all times, even to the point of following Him to the Cross at Calvary. It must have been painful and unbearably excruciating for a mother to have to witness her Son being made to suffer, tortured and rejected by the people whom He had loved, and the pain which Mary had felt upon seeing the nails piercing the hands and the feet of her Son must have been tremendous.

This was what the prophet Simeon had foretold to Mary and Joseph, at the time when they brought the Baby Jesus to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. He foretold that a sword would pierce the heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord, but through that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. It is the thought which Mary always had for her Son, ever placing Him at the forefront of her mind, and the care and love He had for her, which she now shows us from her wounded heart.

Therefore, today, all of us look upon Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God, whom her Son had entrusted to us as our Mother, and vice versa, that we have also been entrusted to her as her adopted children. And in her we see the sorrowful eyes which have gazed on the suffering of her Son, as He took up His cross, walking the long path from Jerusalem to Calvary, seeing her Son rejected and trampled upon, loathed and made to suffer, bearing the burdens of our sins, the entirety of mankind’s unimaginably huge burden of sin.

Therefore, that is why the sorrow of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows is clear, even unto this very day, because even though God had loved us and He even willingly laid down His life for our sake, sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, but we continue to sin and commit what is evil in the sight of God, refusing to obey God and His laws, and continuing to do what is against the Law of God.

Every single sin that we commit, every single one of our failure in doing what we could have done to obey God’s will, are every wounds that have been inflicted on our Lord Jesus Christ, the wounds and the whiplashes that tore at His Body, which made Him to suffer and to bleed. And all of these brought more sorrow to our loving mother, who loves each and every one of us just as she loves her Son.

Yet, we mankind continue to walk down our path towards destruction, by our ignorance of the Lord’s ways and teachings, by our refusal to repent and to turn away from all of our sinful ways. That is also why Mary made so many appearances in various times and places, including at Fatima, which centenary of her Apparition we celebrate this year.

Every time Mary, our mother made her appearance, she called upon her children to repent from their sins and to turn away from their wicked ways. She showed them the horrors of hell and what awaits those who are not faithful to God. That is because each and every one of us are precious to her, for she is our mother, and she loves us just as she loves and tenderly cares for her Son Jesus. She does not want even a single soul to end up in the damnation of hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the great sorrows of Mary, our loving mother and the mother of our Lord, who have witnessed just how great the love God had for us, that for our sake, He was willing to die for us, that each and every one of us may have life in us, let us all therefore spend some time to think about what we have done in our lives thus far, and what we have not done in accordance with God’s ways and teachings.

Let us from now on turn ourselves wholeheartedly and completely towards the Lord, our God, and through the guidance shown upon us by His mother Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, may all of us be able to find our way to the salvation and eternal life found in Him alone. Let the sorrowful heart of our loving mother Mary remind us of the need for us to reject all forms of sin, and live with faith, zeal and devotion from now on.

May all of us draw our attention to the Blessed Mother Mary, and through her may all of us find our most direct path to her Son. May the Lord continue to bless us and be with us all the days of our life. Amen.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd 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.”

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o YHVH, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o YHVH, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o YHVH, I said : “You are my God.” My days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!