Thursday, 22 September 2016 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Psalm 89 : 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

You sow them in their time, at dawn they peep out. In the morning they blossom, but the flower fades and withers in the evening.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us; may He prosper the work of our hands.

Saturday, 6 December 2014 : First Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Nicholas, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the readings of the Holy Scriptures today have one clear theme, that is healing and reconciliation. The Lord our God came into the world as our Messiah, to release us from our bondage to sin, which is the disease and sickness of our soul, corrupting it and preventing us from sharing the joy in the Lord. Therefore, He came Himself, into the world out of His great love for us, to heal us from this affliction.

Indeed we have been sinful and wicked in our actions. Sin separates us from God, and it is the reason for mankind’s downfall from grace. Our ancestors, our forefathers and all of us, all mankind were created with love by God, not to suffer and die, but to live forever in complete harmony, joy and bliss with the Lord our God, to enjoy forever all of God’s wonderful creations. It was our pride, our greed and our sinfulness that caused us to disobey God, sin and therefore had to endure the punishment for our sins.

And yet, God did not intend to punish us forever for our sins. This is because, just as much as He hates our sins and all the wickedness which we have committed in our lives, He still loves us as much as He hates our sins. After all we are the most beloved of all His creations, created in His very own image. But this is where He wants us all to know His intentions, that is for us all to be healed from our afflictions, to be lost no more, and to return back to His loving embrace.

Yes, that means, while God loves us all, it does not mean that He condones our sinful ways, and He does not want us to remain in sin. Remember, what is at stake is none other than the salvation of our souls. If we do not make a difference and change our ways, then we are truly in great danger of losing our souls to eternal damnation and the suffering in eternal hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why in the Gospel today, very importantly, we heard how Jesus commissioned His disciples and the Twelve Apostles to go out and be the witnesses and preachers of the Good News of the Lord. It was indeed just as what He had witnessed, that the people were like lost sheep, directionless, confused and confounded, like sheep without a shepherd. It is therefore our Lord’s priority to bring a new and clear direction to all the people, to guide them so that they will no longer be lost.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas, also known by the name of St. Nicholas of Myra, who was a bishop in the approximately fourth century after the birth of Christ in Anatolia, what is now the Asian part of Turkey. St. Nicholas of Myra is also much more famously known as the source of inspiration for the ubiquitous Santa Claus, the elderly figure with red and white winter sweater, whom we know as the one who gives children numerous gifts at Christmas time.

Yet, what we think of Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, was truly a distortion, manipulated version of what St. Nicholas of Myra had once done. It was told that St. Nicholas of Myra loved children and often blessed them and gave them gifts. This seems to be where the legend of St. Nicholas of Myra evolved to what we now know as Santa Claus. Yet, unfortunately, what we have today is a false representation of the bishop and an attempt by the world to tempt us with materialism and human desires.

Christmas celebrations which we have now in our world, in the society around us is a celebration centred on human desires, on the culture of waste and excess. Christ is no longer at the centre of the celebrations but instead, what we have money and wealth at the centre of our joy. The perpetuation of the false image of St. Nicholas also helped to fuel our human desires, by promoting a culture of excess among us, and a culture of entitlement.

By feeding on our desires, the world is trying to fuel more and more demands for our greed and desire, and therefore helping to create a materialistic nature, where everything is done in order to satisfy our demands and our wishes, and a place where our greatest concern is how to satisfy ourselves. This is part of the sin which have separated us from our Lord and condemn us to a life in eternal suffering unless we change our ways.

Remember, brethren, our ancestors sinned before God because they were not able to restrain themselves and their desires. They chose to satisfy their curiosity and desire rather than to obey the Lord and therefore they were cast down from heaven. Hence, it is important for us to use this opportunity provided for us in life, particularly in this special season of Advent, the season of preparation for the coming of Christ, to change our sinful ways, sin no more and embrace the fullness of God’s love and mercy.

Do you know, brothers and sisters, that St. Nicholas of Myra once punched a heretic directly in the face for spreading his heresies? Yes, brethren, just as much as he loved children and was gentle towards them, he showed no mercy to those who had tried to mislead the people of God and lead them towards darkness. As a bishop, he had a great responsibility for the souls of the faithful entrusted to him, and that was exactly he did in order to fulfill that great responsibility.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we proceed further into the season of Advent, let us all realise that we are sinners, and we have not deserved the goodness of God, and yet He came to save us all and heal us from the afflictions of our sins. And therefore, let us all be thankful and be grateful for all that our Lord had done for us. Let us accept His generous offer of healing and mercy, and most importantly, sin no more and live in His grace from now on always.

And let us also realise, that all of us have the responsibility, as the followers of Christ, just as Christ sent His Apostles and disciples to the nations to preach the Good News to them and to find all the lost sheep and those lost to the darkness, therefore, all of us can also play our part in the Lord’s plan of salvation for all mankind.

Hence, that is why we need to be role models of the faith, by first changing our ways and abandoning all the wickedness we had done. We have to practice and live out our faith sincerely and devoutly, so that all those who see us may believe in the Lord and be saved together with us. Let us ask the Lord for the gift of courage and strength, so that inspired by the faith and examples of St. Nicholas of Myra, emulating his love and charity for others, and also his steadfastness in faith, we too may be worthy to receive eternal glory in Him. God bless us all. Amen.


First Reading :


Psalm :


Gospel Reading :

Saturday, 8 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded of the need for us to stay true to our faith. We cannot be lukewarm and be passive in our faith, and we cannot just pay a mere lip service and obedience to the Lord. This is what Jesus meant that we cannot be servant to both God and money, as when we serve one, we will loath the other, and refuse to follow the other.

Why is this so? That is because the ways of the Lord and the ways of this world are diametrically opposite to each other. While one is filled with love, with genuine care and devotion to the Lord and to one’s fellow brothers and sisters, and filled with forgiveness and mercy, truth and justice, the other is filled with the desires of the flesh, that is our human desires and the things of this world, filled with not love but hatred, filled with jealousy and vanity rather than humility and harmony and peace.

The people of the Lord lives according to the ways of God and desires things that reflect the teachings of Christ. Meanwhile, the people of the world lives according to the ways of this world and desiring things that belongs to this world. But if we notice, we mankind are never easy to satisfy, and in fact, in many cases, we are often unable to be satisfied.

It is in the nature of mankind that we often ask for even more when we have received some things for ourselves. We always feel that we do not have enough and always wanting for more to satisfy our ever growing desires. And there is no better example than our own contemporary culture and livelihood, in the world around us today. Our world is thoroughly filled with the materialistic and consumeristic culture, which pervades all aspects of our lives.

Materialism and consumerism are the vile aspects of our world and our society today, in which we live in a world obsessed with the earthly materials and possessions. We can ask ourselves, and remember every time when we watch the television and access the internet these days, on how many advertisements we see every single moment we do these?

Those advertisements are promoting materialistic behaviours, as they play directly into our desire for more of the material goods and possessions. Some are dealing with food, which may lead us into greed and gluttony, desiring always the best of foods in our lives. We have to note, though, that food is not something to be shunned from, and it is not wrong for us to enjoy our food.

However, the problem is when we start to eat our foods lavishly without abandon, and without proper consideration for our brethren who are less fortunate than us and have less to eat than us. Greed is the undoing for many people, as we desire for ever more things, and in the process, we often trample at the rights of others and even cause suffering to them.

Hence, if we walk in the ways of the world and follow our own desires, we are likely to come into confrontation and clash with the ways of the Lord. If we do so, then at the day of judgment we will be found wanting by the Lord, for not only that we failed to do as we supposed to do, as the children of God, but also because we are likely to have caused pain and suffering for those around us.

Certainly this is not the fate that we want in this life. And that is why, we need to learn to follow the true path as shown by the Lord, that is the path of love, the path of peace, the path of humility, and the path of temperance. All of these are important if we are to seek the Lord’s salvation and His promised salvation for us, the eternal life which He had promised all those who believe in Him.

It is important for us to have temperance in us, that is to be able to restrain ourselves and know the limits of our desires, so that we know how to limit our wants such that we will not fall into greed. Temperance is also knowing the truth, how our Lord and God cares so much for us, that He provided us all with everything that we will ever need, in all His various ways, which we often do not realise. He gives us His grace and blessing, and just as St. Paul had mentioned in his letter, we too need to learn to know how to be satisfied with what we have, the blessings of the Lord.

And following the Lord means for us to know how to love, first that is to love God our Lord who had first loved us very much, and then to love one another just as much as we loved our Lord and just as much as we loved ourselves. If we have loved in that way, certainly we will no longer commit whatever evils that are the ways of this world. How is this so?

It is because if we know love, how can we stand when someone is being hurt and being cheated out of his or her money and possessions? And indeed, how can we even contemplate causing pain and suffering to others for our own benefit? And how can we contemplate doing something that bring goodness and riches to us, but bring about poverty and pain to others?

And if we know justice, how can we stand when injustice happen to others, and how can we even contemplate acting in a way such as to disadvantage others around us, for our own personal advantage? That is why, as I have mentioned, that the ways of the Lord are diametrically opposite to the ways of this world, and we cannot serve both at once, as our heart and our conscience will soon lead to contradict one action from the other.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all no longer be lukewarm in our faith, and let us all no longer be on the fence. We have to make a conscious and clear choice to stand up for the Faith and be firmly at the side of the Lord. And when we do so, we will find ourselves becoming more attuned to the ways of Christ, and as such, we will grow better and stronger in the faith, and in love within our actions.

May Almighty God guide us to be loving in all of our actions, rejecting all forms of hatred and violence, rejecting all forms of fornications of the flesh and the soul, the ways of this world, and exchange it for the ways of our Lord. Let us all seek salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, by being righteous and just, as well as loving in all of our actions, and live our lives fully in genuine faith in the Lord. God bless us all. Amen.


First Reading :

Psalm :

Gospel Reading :

Friday, 7 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 16 : 1-8

At another time, Jesus told His disciples, “There was a rich man, whose steward was reported to him for fraudulent service. He summoned the steward and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? I want you to render an account of your service, for it is about to be terminated.'”

“The steward thought to himself, ‘What am I to do now? My master will surely dismiss me. I am not strong enough to do hard work, and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do : I must make sure that when I am dismissed, there will be people who will welcome me into their homes.'”

“So he called his master’s debtors, one by one. He asked the first debtor, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write fifty.’ To the second debtor he put the same question, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ Then the steward said, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.'”

“The master commended the dishonest steward for his astuteness : for the people in this world are more astute, in dealing with their own kind, than are the people of light.”


Homily and Reflection :

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Monica (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented yet again with the great necessity for us to truly live in the faith, walk in the faith, and act according to our faith. It is necessary for us to embody what we believe in, not in just our external dispositions and appearances, but even more importantly that even in our heart, mind and soul we may be utterly transformed to conform the way of our Lord.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law claimed to represent the faith, and they claimed to have great piety and devotion to God, but their hearts were in fact devoid of the love of God. What was in their heart is the love for their own selves and the concern for their own well-being, status, fame and influence. This was why Jesus rebuked them so harshly, for they misused and abused the authority they had been entrusted with.

Then St. Paul in his letter to the faithful in Thessaly also emphasized on the need for action and work rather than mere inaction or passivity in life and in how the faith is lived on. We cannot be mere bystanders or have a passive attitude in living our faith, or else we can indeed be grouped together with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, as hypocrites and lazy people who neglected their responsibilities and duties to the Lord and His people.

As we all know, faith without good works is a dead faith, and it does us no good nor help us in our way towards salvation. For those who believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation, then they have failed to understand that faith itself cannot exist without a concrete and deliberate act on our part to live that faith in reality, through our words, deeds and actions. Faith is real and living only when we have taken steps to implement what we believe in our daily actions and deeds.

Otherwise, faith by mere thinking and understanding alone is not enough, as this kind of faith, not only that it is weak and shaky, but it is also not capable of inspiring others to also follow our suit in faith. Worse still, if our actions and deeds do not match that which we believe in, then we are truly hypocrites, who believe and say one thing in this manner, but do not act on it in the same way, and instead in ways contradicting what we profess to believe.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Monica, a great woman and saint, who lived during the time of the late Roman Empire. St. Monica was renowned especially because she was the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the four great original Doctors of the Church, and one of the most crucial pillars and builders of the Church, particularly the Church of the Western Roman Empire, centred in Rome, the heart of Christendom.

However, the virtues of St. Monica did not just come about because she was the mother of a great saint. In fact, it was in her role as a mother and a servant of the Lord that St. Monica had been found worthy of heaven as a holy saint together with her son, whose works and ministries for the Church inspired many around the world at that time, and brought about the salvation of many souls. If that was the role of St. Augustine of Hippo, then St. Monica’s role was equally important, that is the salvation of her son’s soul.

St. Monica was married to a rich Roman nobleman, Patricius, who was still the follower of the traditional Roman religion, the worship of the pagan gods of the Roman Pantheon. St. Monica herself was a Christian, and she was very devoted in her faith, which she showed through her generous charity and works. Her husband had a very bad temper and he was easily angered, but St. Monica worked and prayed hard for his eventual repentance and turning to the way of the Lord.

She also had three children, one of which was to be St. Augustine. St. Monica cared for him greatly and prayed for his sake, that he would grow to be a faithful and devoted servant of God, like that of his mother, having been baptised in early age. However, St. Augustine would go on to disappoint her greatly by immersing himself in the hedonistic and materialistic pleasures of the world, and went on to follow the practice of the syncretist and heretical Manichaean religion.

Although St. Monica was greatly saddened by the actions of her son, she continued to pray and did her best to convince him to return to the faith and repent. It was said that St. Monica wept daily because of her son, and she ceaselessly prayed for his sake, showing the true love of a Christian mother. She followed her son as he went for his journey, and working with another holy saint, St. Ambrose of Milan, she eventually succeeded in turning her son back towards the Lord, who eventually became a great pillar of the Church and the faith.

St. Monica did not give up, and every day, she thought only of her son, and she prayed fervently and without end for the salvation of his soul. This is the kind of faith that we need, one based on dedication, hard works, filled with prayers, tears, hope and action, as what St. Paul had written in the first reading today, and which Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law for, due to their inactivity and hypocrisy in faith.

As we can see, the actions of St. Monica would go on to bring much good for the Church and for countless among the faithful. If not for her hard work, we would not have the wonderful works of St. Augustine, who in turn inspired countless people throughout the ages, and even today, who also followed in the footsteps of St. Augustine and repent their past ways and turn back towards the Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the Scripture readings today, and on the actions of St. Monica, let us all think about our own lives, whether we have been truly active in living our faith and dedicating ourselves to God, not just by mere words, but also through actions and deeds. Let us all from now on, live our faith truly and concretely if we have not done so, for the good of all the faithful, that more may turn back towards the Lord and be saved. God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.

Monday, 18 August 2014 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented with the story of a rich man who found it difficult to follow the Lord completely because he was unable to part with his considerable wealth and possessions, even though indeed he had done as the commandments of the Lord had asked him to do.

It is important to first note that Jesus did not mean to condemn the rich man or to humiliate him in any way. The purpose of His conversation with the rich man, as we heard in the Gospel is to show what we need to expect if we want to follow the Lord, in that our hearts and minds cannot be divided to both the Lord and to this world, and whatever that is in the world.

In our world today, it is no different, we still live in a world filled with desire and greed. We live in a world dominated by material goods, materialistic and hedonistic attitudes, where the pursuit of worldly possessions and goods are predominant in the minds of many people. The temptations of wealth and possession are all around us. And in many parts of the world, violence and death still often occur because people desire more of these.

Jesus did not testify against the rich and those who has plenty of possessions, and neither did He condemn them for being rich or endowed with money and wealth. What He wanted to point out was instead how these people often tend to have less ability to detach themselves from even a small part of their possessions, and also the tendency to want more, to seek more of the same wealth, to increase them to satisfy their human wants.

It is in fact the same with us who have less possessions, but nevertheless we often find it hard to even share what we already have less with those who are even less fortunate than us. We can also succumb to the same kind of prejudice and attitude which separates us from the Lord, because of our selfishness and inability to love and be charitable to others.

We ought to realise that there are many of those who are rich, and yet they use what they can do best with their possessions, and what they have excess in, so that they can help others who are in need. On the other hand, there are many of those who are poor and yet they persecute others who are poorer than them, and extort them for their money and possessions.

The key here therefore is to not condemn the wealth or the possession, or the ones who possess them without a credible reason. Condemn instead those who deny the poor any help or extort from them anything of value. Condemn instead those who remain idle when there are those who need help around them. Condemn instead those who worship wealth and possessions more than they should worship God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all should reflect on our own lives. Money and possessions are good, and they are indeed capable of both good and evil, as I have often mentioned. However, have we put them to good use, for our own benefits and when there are those who need help, have we offered some to help and aid them, and to soothe their sufferings?

May our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen our faith and awaken the spirit of generosity and love within us, that we may love our brethren in need and each other with true sincerity and love. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we clearly heard the account of how Jesus rebuked and cast out the demons at Gadara from two men, that the Lord is good, and as perfect goodness that He is, He is the antithesis and opposite side of evil and all forms of sin. And therefore, we too, as the children of God and His beloved ones, have our clear-cut obligations, to shun and be free from all forms of evil in sin.

There can be no compromise to sin and evil, and we should not delude ourselves by thinking that we can get cordial and friendly with the devil and all of his persuasions, and end up falling into sin and thus condemnation. We cannot be children of both God and Satan, and as Jesus had taught His disciples, we can neither be servant of both God and money. We cannot therefore be servant of both good and evil, and either we will be attracted in the end to either one or we will totally hate the other in the end, as our Lord had taught us.

This however, does not mean that we should hate and shun sinners and those who had committed grievous errors before God and mankind. Remember the saying, hate the sin but not the sinner? This is exactly the case, as we must hate and avoid the evils in the works of sin, but we must never hate the person, who has the capacity to do both good or evil. We must instead embrace and welcome them into the Lord and His love through us, that we may help each other to escape the clutches of sin.

We must work together to live holy and worthily of God, and avoid blaming or being prejudiced against anyone on the basis of their sinfulness, for we ourselves are sinners, no matter how small or big our sins are. God is merciful and loving, but He also hates sin, and sin no matter how big or small, has no place in His presence. That is why we believe those who had died righteously in the faith but still were tainted by some venial or non-mortal sins, go through the fires of purgatory to cleanse themselves from those sins before they are admitted into heaven.

Sin, brothers and sisters, is the root of all evil, and if we expose ourselves willingly to sin, we will open the doors of our hearts to all forms of evil, corrupting them for the purpose of Satan, and keep us away from the love of God. And ever since our forefathers listened to the words of Satan to disobey the Lord, we have been prone and weak towards the corrupting nature of sin. Mankind are therefore predisposed to sin, and if we do not make the active effort to avoid committing sin, we will likely commit one before God and men.

And Satan is growing in his power and in his cunningness, in his plethora of means and arsenal of things he can utilise against us, through his agents and his hands in this world. Mankind has grown accustomed to the pleasures and the growing comfort in this world, and it is through this that Satan decided to strike against men, leading them to sin by turning them towards the path of desire and greed.

Our world today is rife with individualism, egoistic and materialistic behaviour. Yes, these behaviours are prone to sin, and in our world today, we can see the direct impact, in how money and material possessions are chased after by many who seek to have more and more of them, and sadly often with disregard to the plight of others, and we even often seek to gain more, at the expense of others around us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we need to commit ourselves to a new life. Yes, a new life that is no longer based on sin and human desire, and instead based on love, justice and peace, namely a life that is based on God and on His principles and laws. Let us together help one another to reject sin and all the sinful ways of this world, and from now on resolve to love and lead a righteous life as the Lord had taught us.

May we all be truly children of God, and be like Him in all of our actions, words and deeds. May He guide us in our ways and lead us to Him, that we may be purified and absolved of our sinfulness, and emerge from the darkness of our world into a blissful life in the light. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 30 May 2014 : 6th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, sorrow is part and parcel of our lives as we walk in this world. It is our due, as the Lord had mentioned, that we are now in sorrow, because precisely we are in a world filled with darkness and lacking God. It is because we are distant from God then we are filled with sorrow, since within us, we have this innate desire to be reunited to God, our loving Father and Creator.

But our sorrow is not eternal, and neither will it be a completely hopeless situation. In fact, as we all know, that Christ is our hope and our joy, the Easter Lamb, through whom we have been given new hope in order to come closer to the Lord and gain the wondrous blessings and joy, which only God can give, and not the world.

We are in this world today, and we are in the time when we labour for the eternal joy. Life is difficult and full of opposition, if we choose to remain faithful to our calling in life, that is to serve God. There is an alternative indeed, a quick escape and a shortcut, which the devil provided for us. This is exactly to immerse ourselves in the wicked pleasures of the world, that is the pleasure of the flesh, and enjoying the fruits of the world’s earthly desires and goods.

We mankind are naturally predisposed and vulnerable to sin, as we have sinned before the Lord and ever since our ancestors disobeyed Him, we have tasted the sweet fruits of sin. Mankind finds joy and happiness in the pleasures and abundance offered by the world, but are these true happiness and joy, or are they just mere illusions?

The joy and happiness are real, but these are not true joy, which I have to again emphasise that only God can give us true joy. The joy that we experience in this world is fleeting and temporary, and those joy and happiness will not satisfy us forever, and indeed, they may instead lead us away from the Lord and the ability to understand what is true joy and happiness.

In this era in particular, especially in the developed countries, and increasingly apparent in the rapidly developing countries, that we have grown to be pampered even since when we were very young, and still yet continue until when we have reach adulthood. Our lives are growing more and more comfortable and filled with ever-increasing desires and wishes.

The world feeds this desire and lifestyle, by directly feeding our wants and our longings. We have in us the negative emotions such as sloth, greed, pride and many others, which helped to prevent us from escaping the endless cycles of desire and consumerism, which are increasingly becoming more and more prevalent in our world today. Just look at the amount of advertisements in our television, and you will know how decadent and hedonistic our world is becoming today.

It does not mean that we should abstain and avoid every kind of worldly attachments and live like an ascetic, but we should take everything in moderation, including the pleasures of the world. Sure, it is very tempting for us to want this and that, but it should not make us slaves to our will and desires, but rather, we have to control ourselves and our wants. Do not let our desires control us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not be trapped in the pleasures of the world, but let us seek the pleasures that last everlasting. Yes, the true pleasure and the happiness that only God can give us. Let us resist our temptations and our desires, and do not allow the devil to influence us. Resist the goodness of this world, in that while we may enjoy them, but they should not be excessive.

May the Lord guide us on our way, and help us to seek Him, and seek the joy and happiness that He can give. Let us remain focused on our way, and commit ourselves completely to Him, that we may in the end, receive eternal and everlasting glory in heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 1 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, which also falls on the same day as the day set aside for the celebration of the right of workers and labourers around the world, commonly known as either the Labour Day or May Day. On this day, workers around the world celebrate their right to equal pay, treatment and rights, as well as even protesting to demand for more, if they did not receive enough.

Today we celebrate the memory of St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, who was also a very diligent worker as a carpenter in the village of Nazareth. St. Joseph is the role model for all workers, not only that he is so diligent and hardworking, but he is also very upright in his actions and did not do things that were in opposition to the Law of God and the teachings of the prophets.

St. Joseph reminded all of us, not just the workers of who we are, namely the children and most beloved of all the creations of the Lord. We were created last by the Lord in creation, and we were made in His image, and as if that is not enough, He also endowed us with His own Spirit that bears life inside each one of us. And yet, we are at the same time, as the first reading from the Book of Genesis mentioned, also made of dust, which the Lord used to craft our mortal bodies of flesh and blood.

Thus the well-known saying that ‘We are dust, and to dust we shall return, which the priest utters every Ash Wednesday as he applies the ash onto our forehead. This is to remind us of our humanity, fragility and mortality, which should keep us to realise that we are in this world as its caretakers and everything that we do, we ought not to do it for our own sake and benefits, but for the sake of the Lord and all our brethren around us.

St. Joseph showed that above all, we should be the bearers of the good will of the Lord, and walk always in the way of God, be righteous in all of our actions and deeds, not turning left or right, or be persuaded or tempted by the world’s persuasions and temptations. As we work, we should always remember to have good work attitudes and openness to suggestions and advice, and not to close ourselves off from cooperating with others.

A truly major problem with our world and its working force is that we no longer work for the good of one another, but we ended up to be in the sole pursuit of one thing, that is money and even other forms of material possessions. As I have often mentioned, money is not necessarily evil, and indeed, it is perfectly neutral and is completely not a vice that we should avoid. The evil lies in us, that is in how we attempt to gain it, how we gain it, and eventually how we use it, and what we use it for.

This world has increasingly become a commercialised and materialistic world, where you can almost literally say that money is king, for those who have more will not just tend to have even more, but that they also are likely to have a better and more enjoyable life. For many of us, working and our actions in work had become nothing more than literally slaving away our lives and our precious time for money, and more money.

We forget that when we work we should be more like St. Joseph, who worked with great simplicity and humility, and while being serious and dedicated to his works, he dedicated it out of love towards God and to his fellow men. As a carpenter, he certainly did not earn much from his works, but certainly from every single furniture he crafted for those who ordered them from him, he gained much gladness and satisfaction, seeing the happiness on their faces seeing the completed product.

Surely we all can visualise and imagine how St. Joseph had worked hard to help provide for the Holy Family, for Jesus our Lord and Mary His mother. It is this kind of simple and yet genuine devotion to one’s work based in love that is the kind of work attitude that we need to have and follow. Sadly the truth is indeed that we have been so caught up in our busy life schedules and careers that we end up forgetting what is the most important thing in our lives.

As St. Joseph has shown us, we cannot discount God out of our lives, as without God our lives will be meaningless and empty, and this is also the reason why so many of us lost our true purpose as we work, that we no longer work for the benefits of others around us, and instead, for our own benefit, that is for our own selves, in our great ego, desire and greed.

It is easy these days to be tempted, brethren, for the temptations of goodness of this world is basically all around us, from all the promotions and commercials that we are exposed to every single day of our lives, that we really cannot escape but notice how much good that this world can grant us. Therefore we are prone to fall into this trap of materialism and commercialism, where we desire more and more the goods of this world, while forgetting that the true purpose we have in this world is to love and to dedicate ourselves completely to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate today’s occasion on the feast of St. Joseph the worker and the day of celebration of labour, let us always be reminded that we should not be working for the sake of working and to seek for more and more material goods. Instead, as we work, let us have a good purpose to it, especially praising and glorifying the Lord our God.

St. Joseph the worker, the foster-father of our Lord, pray for us all, that we will seek less of our own glory and pleasure when we so something or work, that we do not become creature of ego or the servant of material possessions. Help us through your prayers that we may instead work for the good of one another, and be dedicated to our work just as you had been dedicated to yours. May God be with us all and bless our work at all times. Amen.

Saturday, 22 March 2014 : 2nd Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Today we heard the well-known parable of the prodigal son, which I am certain that at some point of your life, you have heard it at least once. In this parable, God is compared to a loving and forgiving father, whose younger son had gone wayward and lost, and when that son returned to him, the father rejoiced and welcomed him back with full of love.

And indeed our God is like that, and He is indeed our Father, who loves us and cares for us, whose thoughts are centred ever on us every day and every moment in time. He looks always onto us, and wants us to be once again reunited with Him. And we are the prodigal sons, and also like the elder son of the father.

For we all have sinned before God, and committing what is evil in His eyes, and very often in our lives, we have disobeyed His law and His will, and instead following our own desires and our own forged path, which we built on our desires as well as on the foundations laid down by Satan. We were corrupted by the world and brought away from the way of truth.

It is easy for us to relate with the younger son, for we know that in this world, there are plenty and indeed almost limitless availability for human pleasures and goodness to satisfy our desires and our greed for such things. And that was exactly what happened to the younger son, who squandered the hard-earned wealth of his father, which was his inheritance, on loose living.

I am sure that in one way or another, this also happened to us. We gave in to the increasingly aggressive world, which indeed increases its attacks on us and our faithful living, by multiplying the number of pleasures and goodness that it tries to bring to us, seducing us to a lifestyle that is signified by excessive consumption and blatant disobedience of God’s will.

In this world, it is increasingly difficult for us to live without being bombarded daily by the increasing amount of advertisements and promotions on the good things of this world, the amenities and joys of life, all the components of a materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle. How many of us are not aware of the offers on the latest gadgets and jewelries? How many of us are not aware of the lucrative deals being offered?

But the key message that we ought to know today is that, regardless of all these, we all have hope, because God who is our Father is always waiting for us, like the father of the prodigal son, ever eager to see his long lost son to return to his side. The prodigal and sinful son realised that he had sinned against God and his father, by committing all that he had done. And this is indeed a very important moment that we all have to note.

It is this realisation, and coupled by the desire to return to his father, which propelled the prodigal son on his difficult journey home, to return to the love of his father. But had the son not realised his sinfulness, even in his difficult times, he would just be dead in that foreign land, and his death would not have been mourned by any. He would have died among the animals, without honour and be shamed forever in darkness.

The same therefore will happen to us, if we do not realise the depth and gravity of our sins, and if we continue to walk in the path of the wicked, following our hearts’s desire rather than following the Lord our God. We will suffer for eternity in shame, regret and hopelessness in hell, where there will be no light, no pleasure, and no happiness but only sorrow, regret and darkness.

So it is important for us to realise our sins, know them, and seek God for absolution and forgiveness, humbly asking Him to forgive us and promise to change our ways and sin no more, just as the prodigal son sought the forgiveness of his father, and then be received back into the fullness of love that his father has prepared for him, which God too had prepared for us.

And lastly, we who have been saved by our baptism and faith in Jesus Christ, are also like the elder son. We have been deemed as righteous and we remain in the house of the father, God our Father because of our faith in His Son. But that does not mean that we have the right to condemn all those who are still wayward. Remember that we are all sinners who still need to be saved by the grace of God through our actions.

Instead, let us help one another, especially those who are still in the darkness. Let us bring them to the light of God, by showing it through our own deeds and actions, that they may believe in us, children of the light, that they too will follow our path, to become children of God.

May our Lord who loves us, and who forgives and welcomes His prodigal sons back to His side, continue to love us, watch over us, and guide us that we may always walk righteously and faithfully on His path. Amen.