Tuesday, 6 April 2021 : Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate together the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the closest and most faithful follower of Jesus Christ our Lord. St. Mary Magdalene was one of the holy and devoted women who followed at the side of Jesus even through His way of suffering towards His crucifixion at Calvary together with Mary, His mother.

St. Mary Magdalene was told to be a sinful woman before she followed Jesus and became His disciple. It was told in various traditions, that she was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons, and she was indeed a prostitute and thus a great sinner, selling herself out to the pleasures of the flesh and of the world. But after she had been healed from her afflictions, she had a great turnaround in life and became a devout follower of God.

In St. Mary Magdalene we saw the great transformation of a sinner who became one of the greatest disciple of our Lord, who was undoubtedly important in the early years of the Church, supporting the works of the Apostles in bringing the word of the Lord to the people, in the evangelisation of the Jews and Gentiles alike, and in the establishment of the Church.

In all these we saw how God called not those who are already healthy, but instead, He looked for those who were weak, rejected by others, those who were cast out because they were considered as sinners and unworthy, and by His grace and mercy, in conjunction with their desire to be forgiven and their sincere repentance, God made them worthy once again, and He calls them His sons and daughters.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is that spirit of longing and desiring for our Lord as exhibited perfectly in the Book of Wisdom that all of us should have as well. It is the problem we often face because we do not have that longing for the Lord, that desire to be with our God, the love of our heart. Yes, we actually we have that innate longing for the Lord, but all that have been buried underneath the concerns, worries, temptations and pleasures of the world.

We have become disoriented and lost our way, and when we are lost, it is easy for the devil to seek for us and to grab us, dragging us into the quagmire of sin. It is when we begin to sin and fall into further and further disobedience against God, a vicious cycle that will eventually lead up to our downfall if we are not careful with our actions. And indeed, unless we commit ourselves to a total transformation of ourselves as what happened to St. Mary Magdalene and other holy saints, I fear that the path forward for us is narrow.

We have to realise that God loves us all, and He truly loves all of us very dearly, even the greatest of sinners. But there can be no salvation and forgiveness for our sins if we ourselves refuse to be forgiven. After all, how can we be forgiven if we continue to live in sin and do not cease our wicked and vile behaviour? How can we expect God to forgive us if we remain stubbornly attached to the rebelliousness of our forefathers?

Therefore, as we celebrate this feast of the holy saint, St. Mary Magdalene, there are two key takeaways that we must take note of. First of all, no sinners are beyond redemption, unless they themselves have rejected the Lord and refused His mercy. But even so, secondly, it is also important for us to take note that God’s mercy and forgiveness is not something that will be easily attained, and indeed these require commitment and often sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us all heed the examples of the holy saints and all those who have gone before us. Let us all understand that God is looking for us sinners, and He is willing to forgive us and let us enjoy His love once more, but all these would require great effort on our side, that we shed off all the things and corruptions which prevented us from being able to obey Him and walk in His ways.

Let us all be renewed and let us all rediscover that joy we have for the Lord, be happy and rejoice for His loving mercy and tender care, and let us draw ever closer to His presence, mindfully remembering our sins and wickedness that had separated us from Him, and do our best to serve our penance, that we may be worthy of His forgiveness and find our way to His everlasting inheritance and joy. St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us. Amen.

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-2, 11-18

At that time, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.”

As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 62 : 2abc, 2d-4, 5-6, 8-9

O God, You are my God, it is You I seek : for You my body longs and my soul thirsts.

As a dry and weary land without water. Thus have I gazed upon You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.

I will bless You as long as I live, lift up my hands and call on Your Name. As with the richest food my soul will feast; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

For You have been my help; I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You, Your right hand upholds me.

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Song of Songs 3 : 1-4a

On my bed at night I looked for the One I love, I sought Him without finding Him; I called Him and He did not answer. I will rise and go about the city, through the streets and the squares; I will seek the love of my heart.

I sought Him without finding Him; the watchmen came upon me, those who patrol the city, “Have you seen the love of my heart?”

As soon as I left them, I found the love of my heart.
Alternative reading

2 Corinthians 5 : 14-17

Indeed the love of Christ holds us and we realise that if He died for all, all have died. He died for all so that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for Him Who died and rose again for them. And so from now on, we do not regard anyone from a human point of view; and even if we once knew Christ personally, we should now regard Him in another way.

For that same reason, the one who is in Christ is a new creature. For him the old things have passed away; a new world has come.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, Tuesday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard more about the testimony of faith by St. Peter the Apostle, after they have received the Holy Spirit, the Advocate God had promised to them. The disciples of Jesus were once afraid to even come out in the open, and after Jesus had died on the cross, they were really like chickens who just lost their mother hen, and they were in despair.

But the Lord showed them that there is always hope beyond the despair, light beyond the darkness. And despite the darkest moments, the light of God shone through, and hope blossomed. And it is this hope which we are all celebrating with great joy during this time of Easter. God will not abandon His beloved people to the darkness, and He will rescue them from all of their troubles.

In the Gospel we heard of how Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalene, one of the most faithful disciples of Jesus, was weeping, and she was filled with sorrow, uncertainty and fear, all because of the fact that the Body of her Lord and Master had gone missing, and she did not know who dared to come and take the Body away, and she had no clue to its whereabouts.

And certainly we have also felt the same feeling too, brothers and sisters in Christ? We have felt in the same manner whenever we feel and find that life is getting tough on us, when we thought that no one cares about us, or when we think that God has abandoned us. That was the same sentiment and feeling that Mary of Magdala, the Apostles, including Peter himself encountered in their own life journey in faith.

But God showed them that there is hope beyond the darkness, and if they persevered in faith, and continued to devote themselves to Him, then they shall receive great rewards indeed. This is the joy of our Easter celebrations, as we rejoice together, celebrating the victory of our God, and indeed, our own victory against all those who sought to bring harm and evil intention upon us.

It is in our human nature for us to feel fear, uncertainty, and it is indeed easier for us to look on despair rather than hope, especially in times of great difficulty. But we must remember that no matter how bad things are, and no matter how great the troubles facing us are, if we put our trust in the Lord, we should have no need for fear. It is precisely because we often put our trust in the strength of men that we get disappointed, because we are putting our trust in something that feeble and untrustworthy.

Let us all reflect on this even as we rejoice in our Risen Lord during this time of Easter. Let us all renew our faith and our commitment to Him, and open ourselves to welcome Him into our lives. May the grace and the love, the light and the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of us, strengthening us and giving us the strong resolve to carry on with great zeal and commitment.

May the Lord bless us all and bless all of our endeavours, and may He grant us rest and peace, for all of us who believed in Him, and all of us who have placed ourselves under His protection. God be with all of us, and may the joy of Easter be with us always. Amen.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, Tuesday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of one of the important figures in the Gospel, that is of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the women who followed Jesus constantly in His journeys and travels, and who was known as a sinner from whom Jesus cast out seven demons or evil spirits, and who thereafter followed Him and was one of the women who waited on Jesus as He hung from the cross.

She was also honoured to be one of the first to witness the Lord after His resurrection from the dead, to see Him in His glorious majesty which is revealed as the truth, that He has conquered death and sin. And this truly has a great significance for us all, just as it had a great significance on St. Mary Magdalene as well. This is how the Gospel today is very significant, as the culmination of our own journey in life.

If we look at the Psalm and the first reading today, all of them spoke about a certain longing for the Lord, for His wisdom and light, which all of us seek, for we all live in darkness and away from the bliss and true joy which is in God alone, and we long for it. But on our path to reach it, many of us were often distracted by false leads and false pleasures of this world, which Satan is offering us to keep us away from the true path towards salvation in God.

The story of the life and conversion of St. Mary Magdalene should be an inspiration to us all. In it we saw a woman whose life once was filled with vice, and demons dwelled in her, and no one would want to go near to her, for the debauchery and wickedness she committed and the demons within her kept most people away. But the Lord showed mercy on her, cast out those demons from her and liberated her from the tyranny of evil.

What He told her and her other contemporaries, sinful women condemned but then rescued by the Lord was that they ought to go and sin no more, for their faith had saved them. They have been reclaimed from the darkness and sin no longer has power over them. And the same applies to us all as well. This is why the scene of St. Mary Magdalene who witnessed the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is important, because Christ risen from the dead represents the triumph over the forces of sin and death.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on this day on our own lives, on whether we have been like St. Mary Magdalene and all the other repentant sinners who became martyrs and saints like St. Augustine of Hippo, a great sinner once but turned to be a glorious saint because he turned his back to his past life of sin and embraced the love of God anew.

Indeed, what matters to all of us is that God does not call great men to do great things. On the other hand, He called sinners and people who had gone wayward to be His disciples and followers. Many great saints were once great sinners too, but most importantly, they changed their ways, repented and followed the Lord with a renewed faith and zeal.

The same too should happen to us all. We should also be renewed in our faith, so that by our conversion to the truth, we may be like St. Mary Magdalene in all her glory, for she is known no longer as a sinner, but as a devoted and holy woman, whose faith and righteousness has pleased the Lord. The Lord is willing to overlook our past sins and wickedness, if only that we abandon them thoroughly and commit ourselves to a new life in God.

May Almighty God be with all of us, and may He strengthen our resolve to look for Him, to embrace Him and to find Him, and be freed of the darkness and evils that had tainted our hearts and souls. May all of us be reunited to Him, our Lord and Master, and may we all love Him forevermore. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-2, 11-18

At that time, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two angels in white, sitting where the Body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.”

As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, who is your Father, to my God, who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 62 : 2abc, 2d-4, 5-6, 8-9

O God, You are my God, it is You I seek; for You my body longs and my soul thirsts.

As a dry and weary land without water. Thus have I gazed upon You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.

Indeed they plan to topple Me. They take pleasure in telling lies; with their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Find rest in God alone, o my soul; from Him comes my hope.

On God rests my salvation and my honour, He is my refuge, my mighty rock. Trust in Him at all times, my people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is our refuge.