Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 1-15

At that time, it was before the feast of the Passover. Jesus realised that His hour had come, to pass from this world to the Father; and as He had loved those who were His own in the world, He would love them with perfect love.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had entrusted all things to Him, and as He had come from God, He was going to God. So He got up from the table, removed His garment, and taking a towel, wrapped it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel He was wearing.

When He came to Simon Peter, Simon asked Him, “Why, Lord, do You want to wash my feet?” Jesus said, “What I am doing you cannot understand now, but afterwards you will understand it.” Peter replied, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you can have no part with Me.”

Then Simon Peter said, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus replied, “Whoever has taken a bath does not need to wash (except the feet), for he is clean all over. You are clean, though not all of you.” Jesus knew who was to betray Him; because of this He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When Jesus had finished washing their feet, He put on His garment again, went back to the table, and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me Master and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet. I have just given you an example, that as I have done, you also may do.”

Monday, 29 September 2014 : Feast of the Holy Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 47-51

At that time, when Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.”

Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?” And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.”

Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that.”

“Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Thursday, 5 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 5 : 1-11

One day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around Him listening to the word of God, He caught sight of two boats, left at the water’s edge by fishermen, now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There He sat and continued to teach the crowd.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if You say so, I will lower the nets.” This they did, and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. They signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came, and they filled both boats almost to the point of sinking.

Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made, and so were Simon’s partners, James and John, Zebedee’s sons.

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on.” So they brought their boats to land and followed Him, leaving everything.

Saturday, 31 August 2013 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Matthew 25 : 14-30

Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each according to his ability; and he went away.

He who received five talents went at once to do business with the money, and gained another five. The one who received two talents did the same, and gained another two. But the one who received one talent dug a hole, and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents, saying, “Lord, you entrusted me with five talents, but see, I have gained five more.” The master answered, “Very well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

Then the one who had received two talents came and said, “Lord, you entrusted me with two talents; with them I have gained two more.” The master said, “Well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said, “Master, I know that you are a hard man. You reap what you have not sown, and gather what you have not scattered. I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours!” But his master replied, “Wicked and worthless servant, you know that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered; so you should have deposited my money in the bank, and on my return you would have given it back to me with interest.”

“Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who are unproductive, even what they have will be taken from them. As for that useless servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Friday, 30 August 2013 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the well-known story, the parable of the five careless and five wise women, of whom the careless ones lose out against those who are wise, by not preparing ahead of their time, that they would be ready when the bridegroom comes. Those women truly represent mankind, brethren, that is all of us, in our daily lives and in our waiting for the great bridegroom, none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.

The wise and sensible women made ample preparations and brought with them backup of fuel that might be necessary for the event, and their hard work earned them with the welcome and entry into the banquet of the bridegroom, while the careless and unwise women did not made ample preparations beforehand, and ran out of oil when the bridegroom came late to the event.

The wise women gained entry to the party when the bridegroom came at midnight, with their lamps lit with the extra oil they had prepared beforehand. The unwise women, the careless women did not have enough oil and as they could not greet the bridegroom without their lamps lit, they had no choice but to go and buy the oil first. When they went away, the bridegroom came, and the unwise women were therefore late to the party.

The unwise women knocked in despair and pleaded to be allowed entry into the party, but the bridegroom rebuked them and rejected them, and that he did not know them, because they were not there when he came to greet him. The end result is that while the wise women enjoyed in happiness inside the party with the bridegroom, the unwise women were left out, outside the party, in bitter cold and suffering.

We can easily draw parallel between this parable and our own experiences in this world, and the things expected from us, as Christ had told us through His parables and through His teachings to His disciples passed down to us through the Church and the Scripture. As mentioned, Jesus is truly that bridegroom, the wise and unwise women waiting for the coming of the bridegroom are all of us, all mankind, all seeking for the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord, in His glorious second coming into this world, indeed, pretty much like that of the coming of the bridegroom in the parable.

This is where it gets very important, and what differentiates who will end up becoming those unwise women and perish, and who will end up being in joy for being the wise women, ever ready and ever prepared. As Jesus had often reiterated to His disciples over and over again, including in this parable, that the coming of the bridegroom, that is His second coming, is totally and completely unpredicted by any power of men. No one is able and will ever be able to discern the precise moment when the Lord will come again in glory at the end of time. Even that end of time moment is undefined, except the warnings that it is indeed close at hand.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, to our God there is no such thing as being early, on time, or late. We can never box Him up in such categories, because we certainly will have no knowledge at all about the time of His coming. He had also specifically said that He will come again at the time when everyone is at their most unprepared, at the moment when no one on earth expects that He will come again at that precise timing.

We must indeed be like the wise women, who brought with all of them extra oil for use, that when the bridegroom came very late at night, their lamps would have sufficient oil for the entirety of the long vigil of waiting. Do not be like the unwise women, who came unprepared, and when the time comes, their lamps were without oil.

What is this oil and extra oil that the wise women bring therefore? It is not the physical oil that Christ truly referred to, when He taught us how to prepare for His coming. It is the love that is within us that burns brightly as the fire of love, that Christ will come and find that we are there when He comes, and He will recognise us and welcome us into His kingdom. But love is not meant for us just to be kept within ourselves and remain hidden from the world. Like fire, it requires fuel in the form of oil, and also oxygen to burn. If the fire is placed in enclosed space, it will eventually die out, and without fuel, the fire will also die out.

The fuel that inflames our fires is our own actions, words, and deeds, infused with the love we have within us, the love God had given to each and every one of us. If we open our hearts and let loose the love within us, that every word, every deeds, and every actions of our hands, legs, and others result in love for others, and for God, the love within us will multiply, like a fire brightly lit, well-supplied with fuel, yes, the fuel of love itself. If we keep our hearts closed, that love will grow dim and will die out eventually. Love is something that cannot be measured, but it can only grow when we share that love with one another, and with God.

If we keep ourselves from sharing our love, and if we remain idle and do no good for the sake of others, for the sake of God, we end up being like the unwise women, who will be too late for the coming of Christ, and at His coming, we will all be caught unprepared, and He will cast us out from His presence, because the fire in us has died out, running out of the fuel of love due to our own failure to act, our failure to love.

St. Paul had reminded the Church people in Thessalonica, that they ought to live according to the will and the commandments of God, that is love, in our First Reading today. Indeed, we are urged to love, to love God first and foremost before anything else, before even ourselves. We are ought to give ourselves, our heart, and our entire being to the Lord in complete and total dedication. And then, we also must give ourselves to our fellow mankind, to those who are in need for our love, for our help, for our care, especially the unloved ones, the ostracised, the prejudiced ones.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, having listened to the parable of the talents, and now in full knowing how we can make sure that we become like the wise women instead of the unwise ones, let us thus, from this moment onward, strengthen our acts of love, and commit ourselves more strongly and deeper into the cause of love, by making sure that all our words, our deeds, and our actions are based on love, that the fire of love within each one of us will burn ever brighter, and the Lord who comes unpredicted in His own time, will come and find our faith worthy, and reward us eternal life with Him. Amen.

Saturday, 24 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 1 : 45-51

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the One that Moses wrote about in the Law, and the prophets as well : He is Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

Nathanael replied, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.”

Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?” And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.”

Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that. Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Monday, 12 August 2013 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Matthew 17 : 22-27

While Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, He said to them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. But He will rise on the third day.” The Twelve were deeply grieved.

When they returned to Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, “Does your Master pay the Temple tax?” He answered, “Certainly.”

Peter then entered the house, and immediately Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tribute to the kings of the earth : their sons or the other people?”

Peter replied, “The other people.” And Jesus told him, “The sons, then, are tax-free. But so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it. Take the coin and let it pay for you and for Me.”

Sunday, 11 August 2013 : 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 12 : 32-48

Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, and an inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!

Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.

Peter said, “Lord, did You tell this parable only for us, or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Imagine, then, the wise and faithful steward, whom the master sets over his other servants to give them wheat at the proper time. Fortunate is this servant if his master on coming home, finds him doing his work. Truly, I say to you, the master will put him in charge of all his property.”

“But it may be that the steward thinks, ‘My Lord delays in coming,’ and he begins to abuse the male servants and the servant girls, eating and drinking and getting drunk. Then the master will come on a day he does not expect, and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him off, and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.”

“The servant who knew his master’s will, but did not prepare and do what his master wanted, will be soundly beaten; but the one who does unconsciously what deserves punishment, shall receive fewer blows. Much will be required of the one who has been given much, and more will be asked of the one who has been entrusted with more.”

 

Alternative reading (Shorter version)
Luke 12 : 35-40

Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!

Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.

Monday, 22 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of one of the greatest saints of Christendom, that is of St. Mary Magdalene, the faithful and close disciple of Christ. St. Mary Magdalene had gone through a lot in her life, and the story of her journey of faith and return to the Lord ought to touch many of us indeed, and many of her life examples can still be practiced even today.

St. Mary Magdalene was a great sinner, who lived in sin, earning her living by selling her own body to others through prostitution. She was occupied by many, some say seven evil spirits, who corrupted her and kept her away from following the path of the Lord. She seduced many men into sin and became the tool of the devil to destroy mankind.

Yet, the Lord who had come to heal the sick and forgive sinners, had also come to St. Mary Magdalene, in the depth of her sinfulness, and rescued her from both the darkness and the evil spirits that resided within her. He casted them out of her, and made her once again the proud daughter of the Lord, returned her to the path of salvation to God.

Nevertheless, her previous occupation as a prostitute did leave a significant social stigma on her, and on many occasions, she was prejudiced against, even by Christ’s own disciple, most evidently Judas Iscariot. St. Mary Magdalene was the one who anointed the feet of Jesus with a jar full of precious nard perfume, and dried His feet with her own hair, as an anointing before the death of Christ, which was lambasted by Judas as being wasteful. The Lord rebuked him, because He saw the true good and sincerity in St. Mary Magdalene’s heart in loving the Lord and in her commitment, and the devil that dwelled within Judas, waiting for his betrayal of Jesus.

She followed Christ through His Passion and suffering, walking through the Way of the Cross to Calvary, accompanying Mary, the mother of Christ. She accompanied Christ through the darkest hours unto His death. Her faith in God had become so strong, that although her faith was shaken by the death of Jesus, she remained a strong and faithful servant of the Lord.

Such is her devotion to the Lord that when the Lord was Risen and His earthly Body disappeared, she was in great sorrow, because she thought that someone could have stolen the body of Christ. She searched for the Lord and could not find Him, and her anguish can be illustrated as what the first reading today from the book of Song of Songs had mentioned, like a maiden searching for the love of her heart and could not find him.

The Lord granted her His grace by showing Himself to her first among all the disciples, and revealed to her all of His Resurrected glory. He showed her a new hope, that is salvation, that through Christ, who has died and risen from the dead, all mankind should have hope of transcending our fate that is death, and into a new and everlasting life with Christ at the end of time.

St. Mary Magdalene is a great role model for all of us, all of us sinners who are still awaiting and searching for God’s mercy and forgiveness. She had gone through much suffering and rejection, as what we will certainly also face, if we turn ourselves from our life of sin into a new life filled with the Holy Spirit and walking on the path of Christ, the only way to salvation.

And even today, many would try to discredit St. Mary Magdalene by spreading lies about her and also Christ. I am sure that all of you would have known the ‘acclaimed’ story by Dan Brown on the supposed story between St. Mary Magdalene and Christ in his bestseller ‘The Da Vinci Code’, how they secretly were married and St. Mary Magdalene bearing the child of Christ. Not only that this insulted the memory and the goodness of St. Mary Magdalene, but it also insulted the very person of Christ, our Lord.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is very important for all of us, not to be fooled by the devil into believing these stories made to confuse us and steer us away from the path of Christ, that is the only path to salvation. Remember brethren, that the devil has many tools in his pocket, and this is just yet another way he used to deceive mankind that they will remain in the state of sin and impurity so that we will fall to hell to be tortured with Satan for eternity.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us strengthen our faith and affirm our dedication and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, whose great conversion would have inspired many of us to do the same in our own lives. Let us repent brothers and sisters, and present a humble, contrite heart from each of us sinners, on the feet of our Lord Jesus, as the true offering of ourselves, that He will heal us and bring us up from the trap of sin and the depth of the sea of darkness, into a new life in the light of Christ, a new life worth living because we have Christ. God bless us all, and may St. Mary Magdalene continue to pray for us for our own redemption. Amen.

Monday, 22 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Gospel Reading)

John 20 : 1-2, 11-18

Now, 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.”