Sunday, 14 January 2018 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

John 1 : 35-42

At that time, John was standing at the River Jordan, with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at Him and said, “There is the Lamb of God.” On hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. He turned and saw them following, and He said to them, “What are you looking for?”

They answered, “Rabbi (which means Master), where are You staying?” Jesus said, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where He stayed, and spent the rest of that day with Him. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard what John had said, and followed Jesus. Early the next morning, he found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah (which means the Christ),” and he brought Simon to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John, but you shall be called Cephas (which means Rock).”

Sunday, 28 February 2016 : Third Sunday of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 13 : 1-9

At that time, some people told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple : Pilate had had Galileans killed, and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus asked them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this? No, I tell you. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

“And those eighteen persons in Siloah, who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you : no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener, ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree, and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?'”

“The gardener replied, ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertiliser; perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it does not, you can cut it down.'”

Alternative reading (from Readings of Year A)

John 4 : 5-42

At that time, Jesus came to a Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there. Tired from his journey, Jesus sat down by the well; it was about noon. Now a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” His disciples had just gone into town to buy some food.

The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink?” (For Jews, in fact, have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift of God! If you knew Who it is, Who is asking you for a drink, you yourself would have asked Me, and I would have given you living water.”

The woman answered, “Sir, You have no bucket, and this well is deep; where is Your living water? Are You greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank from it himself, together with his sons and his cattle?”

Jesus said to her, “Those who drink of this water will be thirsty again; but those, who drink of the water that I shall give, will never be thirsty; for the water, that I shall give, will become in them a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to Him, “Give me this water, that I may never be thirsty, and never have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said, “Go, call your husband, and come back here.” The woman answered, “I have no husband.” And Jesus replied, “You are right to say, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you said is true.”

The woman then said to Him, “I see You are a Prophet; tell me this : Our ancestors came to this mountain to worship God; but you Jews, do you not claim that Jerusalem is the only place to worship God?” Jesus said to her, “Believe Me, woman, the hour is coming when you shall worship the Father, but that will not be on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is even now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for that is the kind of worshippers the Father wants. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit, and truth.”

The woman said to Him, “I know that the Messiah (that is the Christ) is coming. When He comes, He will tell us everything.” And Jesus said, “I Who am talking to you, I am He.” At this point the disciples returned, and were surprised that Jesus was speaking with a woman; however, no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”

So the woman left her water jar and ran to the town. There she said to the people, “Come and see a Man Who told me everything I did! Could He not be the Christ? So they left the town and went to meet Him. In the meantime the disciples urged Jesus, “Master, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

And the disciples wondered, “Has anyone brought Him food?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the One Who sent Me, and to carry out His work. You say that in four months there will be the harvest; now, I say to you, look up and see the fields white and ready for harvesting.”

People who reap the harvest are paid for their work, and the fruit is gathered for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. Indeed the saying holds true : One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap where you did not work or suffer; others have worked, and you are now sharing in their labours.”

In that town many Samaritans believed in Him when they heard the woman who declared, “He told me everything I did.” So, when they came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and Jesus stayed there two days. After that, many more believed because of His own words, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is the Saviour of the world.”

Alternative reading (shorter version of Readings of Year A)

John 4 : 5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42

At that time, Jesus came to a Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there. Tired from his journey, Jesus sat down by the well; it was about noon. Now a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” His disciples had just gone into town to buy some food.

The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink?” (For Jews, in fact, have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift of God! If you knew Who it is, Who is asking you for a drink, you yourself would have asked Me, and I would have given you living water.”

The woman answered, “Sir, You have no bucket, and this well is deep; where is Your living water? Are You greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank from it himself, together with his sons and his cattle?”

Jesus said to her, “Those who drink of this water will be thirsty again; but those, who drink of the water that I shall give, will never be thirsty; for the water, that I shall give, will become in them a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to Him, “Give me this water, that I may never be thirsty, and never have to come here to draw water. I see You are a Prophet; tell me this : Our ancestors came to this mountain to worship God; but you Jews, do you not claim that Jerusalem is the only place to worship God?” Jesus said to her, “Believe Me, woman, the hour is coming when you shall worship the Father, but that will not be on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is even now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for that is the kind of worshippers the Father wants. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit, and truth.”

The woman said to Him, “I know that the Messiah (that is the Christ) is coming. When He comes, He will tell us everything.” And Jesus said, “I Who am talking to you, I am He.”

In that town many Samaritans believed in Him. So, when they came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and Jesus stayed there two days. After that, many more believed because of His own words, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is the Saviour of the world.”

Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ, the day when the great Magi and wise men from the East, from the faraway lands came to give Him honour and pay homage to the King of kings, and through that act, He revealed Himself to all mankind, not just as a mere Man, but as a Great King beyond compare, a High Priest of all creations, and the Messiah who would suffer and die for our sake, so that we may be saved.

Epiphany comes from the Greek ‘Ephiphanein’ and the Latin ‘Epiphania’ which means a moment of revelation or realisation, which is indeed what this Feast is all about. The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ is the moment when Christ revealed Himself to all the peoples, even to the Gentiles or the non-Jews, who came from afar to visit Him and pay honour to Him. He who is a King was born in a lowly stable, unknown to others except to the shepherds that had seen and heard the angels’ proclamations, and to the animals present there.

On this day, we ought to see several very vivid and clear symbolisms in what we have heard from the Scripture and Gospel readings. The very bright star that the Magi of the East saw from their homeland was the Star of the Messiah, the true Light of the world, whose light and truth illuminates everything that lie in darkness. Those who live in the darkness have indeed seen a great Light, just as the prophet Isaiah has said.

People in the past, before the advent of the use of maps and all the satellite-based imageries we have in our possession now, used the heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon and the stars to help them to orientate themselves and find direction to their destination. Sailors used the stars to guide them on their voyage and journey, and certain star patterns and constellations were created by the people for precisely this purpose, that they may be easily recognised as the guiding lights to help the people find their way.

The Star of Bethlehem, that bright star of exceeding and unparalleled brightness is therefore also a guide, and a guide that is unparalleled and unprecedented, for it is not just a guide for the people to a physical destination, but as a guide that leads them to none other than the final destination which all the peoples should have aimed for, that is to reach out to the Lord and Messiah, and who is now finally reachable, for He has been born a Baby, a Royal Child, God incarnate into Man.

That star is often associated with the symbol of faith, and this is representing the faith of the Magi of the East, who came from faraway lands on long journeys, note that travel at that time is not like that of today, with travels done across desert and uninhabited lands, without proper roads, on the back of camels and with many months of travel before finally reaching the destination. Nevertheless, the faith which the Magi had was evident, as they persevered through all that just that they might be able to see the Lord and King whom they did not know beforehand.

And by that revelation, when the Magi discovered the Lord in that stable in Bethlehem, they saw the one True and only God who had come into being through Jesus. They saw the salvation of the world, and they were glad. They came bearing gifts fitting for the One who had come to this world to save it, and it is these gifts that we should be focused at now. These gifts are gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold is a precious metal and commodity, prized greatly for its luster and shine, its beauty and lasting properties, with pure gold showing no tarnish even after centuries and millennia, maintaining its beautiful and shiny appearance. As such it is highly valuable and often only the rich were able to afford it. Therefore, it is also a suitable gift for a king, as a king is often adorned with riches and wealth, and the gift of gold is meant to honour and adore the king to whom the gold is presented.

And therefore, the gift of gold by the Magi signifies the kingship of Christ, who as the Lord, Creator and Master of the universe, is King, the King over all kings and Lord over all lords. And therefore by the gift of gold, the Magi acknowledged the kingship of Christ, and welcomed that great King into this world. Yet we all also know that while He is King, He did not boast of His kingship or power, but instead Jesus remained humble and fully devoted to His mission.

This is because the kingship of Christ is based on leadership built upon examples. The leader and King, that is Jesus, led His beloved people by His own examples, loving one another as God had first loved them, forgiving each other of our own faults and mistakes, and to welcome those who are downtrodden, weak, ostracised and condemned by others. He did not come to lord over His people or to oppress them as kings of this world often did, but to lead His people by example.

How about frankincense then? Frankincense is the finest kind of incense reserved only for special uses. Incense are taken from the dried secretions of plants that contain different fragrant aroma depending on the type of the incense, and they had been used for many millennia across many cultures and peoples to be offered to the divine and to the supernatural spirits.

Hence, the gift of frankincense, the finest grains of incense and the ones having the sweetest aroma, by the Magi to the Child Jesus represent two dimensions and aspects of Christ. First, Jesus Christ our Lord is God, Lord of all creations, Word incarnate and made Flesh. He is God and forever is God, and therefore, is alone worthy of worship and adoration. The offering of frankincense just as gold that highlighted His kingship, highlighted His divinity.

And then it also highlighted the role that Jesus took up as He came into our world wearing the flesh of our human form, that He became the sole High Priest, the priest of all priests, offering the sacrifice for the sake of all mankind to God. And while other priests offered the sacrifice for their own sins and for the people, and having to offer sacrifices again and again, the Sacrifice of Jesus our High Priest was done once and for all, when He lay suffering and hanging from the cross on Calvary.

As the One true High Priest, Jesus Christ our Lord offered to God a worthy sacrifice in exchange for all of our sins, past, present and future, from the beginning of time to its ending, the sins and iniquities of all mankind. This is the sweetest incense offered to God, represented by the Magi’s gift of frankincense to the Child Jesus. And we all should know that this sacrifice is none other than the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, which are also shed and shared with us all who believe in Him and profess Him as our Lord and God.

Thus far, the two gifts of gold and frankincense have revealed to us and to all peoples that Christ is the King of kings, as the Lord and Almighty God, and as the High Priest of all mankind. Then how about the last gift of myrrh? Myrrh is a substance used in embalming of the bodies of the dead, as the substance used to mask the bad and foul odour of decay and also acting as a preservative agent to help keep the body intact after death and avoid decomposition.

You must be wondering and may even be bewildered. How come is it that such a gift is given to a Baby just after His birth? Is myrrh not something more suitable to be given to dead bodies or to families in sorrow after just losing their loved ones to death? Why did the Magi give such a strange gift to the Lord, after their gifts of gold and frankincense, bringing great glory and praise to God?

That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, once again I would like to stress the importance of seeing the events of the life of Jesus Christ on earth as one whole singular unity, with a clear and singular purpose, that is to save us all, the people of God from the tyranny of sin and death. And the only way to do that is for Jesus to bear our sins, as His cross, and carry all the burdens and weights of those sins, and suffering in our stead the punishment for sins, although He is without blame.

We cannot separate the celebration of Christmas from the celebration of the rest of the life of Jesus, especially the celebration of the events of the Holy Week and Easter. Why did Jesus choose to come into this world as a simple Baby? That is because He wanted to save us, and the way to do so, is through His death, on the Good Friday that we celebrate every year. And by His resurrection on Easter Sunday, He broke free our chains of sin and death, and bring to us a new hope of an eternal life.

Thus, the gift of myrrh by the Magi as the third gift is to prepare for the death of Jesus, whom many certainly was unable to predict right there and then. Nobody would expect the Messiah to suffer and die for our sake, even though indeed this had been prophesied in the book of the prophet Isaiah, but many refused to believe so. And thus, this last gift of myrrh is a testimony that reveals who Christ is to the nations, as the Lord who gave up all He had, so that by His actions, His loving sacrifice, He might deliver His people from certain destruction.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, after we have gone through all the symbolisms in this Epiphany feast’s Scripture readings, let us all first resolve to follow the examples of the Magi, who followed faithfully the star all the way from their homeland until they saw the Lord in person. Abraham once had done similarly, and in his faith, he was richly rewarded by the Lord. In this, we should learn that faith is essential for us, and we have to put our complete trust in the Lord without reservation.

And then, through the three great gifts of the Magi, let us all come to a realisation of what God had done for us, He who is all powerful and mighty, having no need for anything, and yet desiring to be with us and to rescue us from certain death. Thus, let us all repay that great love He had shown us, by loving Him back with all of our hearts, and show Him the greatest gifts He would want from us, that is our love, the love of our hearts for Him.

Therefore, let us all renew our faith and devotion to our loving God, and with all our hearts, let us turn all our attentions to Him, and praise and adore Him, our Lord who had revealed Himself to the world and to all the peoples on this great Feast of the Epiphany. Lord, reveal Yourself to all the nations that everyone may be saved in You. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-gospel-reading/

 

Epistle (Usus Antiquior) : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/05/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-i-classis-tuesday-6-january-2015-epistle/

 

Gospel (Usus Antiquior) : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/05/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-i-classis-tuesday-6-january-2015-holy-gospel/

Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 2 : 1-12

At that time, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, during the days of King Herod, wise men from the East arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw the rising of His star in the East and have come to honour Him.”

When Herod heard this he was greatly disturbed, and with him all Jerusalem. He immediately called a meeting of all high ranking priests and scribes, and asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

“In the town of Bethlehem in Judea,” they told him, “for this is what the prophet wrote : ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the clans of Judah, for from you will come a Leader, the One who is to shepherd My people Israel”

Then Herod secretly called the wise men and asked them the precise time the star appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem with the instruction, “Go and get accurate information about the Child. As soon as you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may go and honour Him.”

After the meeting with the king, they set out. The star that they had seen in the East went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the Child was. The wise men were overjoyed on seeing the star again. They went into the house, and when they saw the Child with Mary, His mother, they knelt and worshipped Him. They opened their bags and offered Him their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

In a dream they were warned not to go back to Herod, so they returned to their home country by another way.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 2-3a, 5-6

You may have heard of the graces God bestowed on me for your sake. By a revelation He gave me the knowledge of His mysterious design.

This mystery was not made known to past generations but only now, through revelations given to holy Apostles and prophets. Now the non-Jewish people share the Inheritance; in Christ Jesus the non-Jews are incorporated and are to enjoy the Promise. This is the Good News.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 71 : 2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

May the King rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

Justice will flower in His days, and peace abound till the moon be no more. For He reigns from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

The kings of Tarshish and the islands render Him tribute, the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts, all kings bow down to Him, and all nations serve Him.

He delivers the needy who call on Him, the afflicted with no one to help them. His mercy is upon the weak and the poor, He saves the life of the poor.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 60 : 1-6

Arise, shine, for your Light has come. The Glory of YHVH rises upon you. Night still covers the earth and gloomy clouds veil the peoples, but YHVH now rises and over you His glory appears. Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes round about and see : they are all gathered and come to you, your sons from afar, your daughters tenderly carried. This sight will make your face radiant, your heart throbbing and full; the riches of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.

A flood of camels will cover you, caravans from Midian and Ephah. Those from Sheba will come, bringing with them gold and incense, all singing in praise of YHVH.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/sunday-4-january-2015-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-the-lord-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 14 December 2014 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

John 1 : 6-8, 19-28

A man came, sent by God; His name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light.

This was the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” John recognised the truth, and did not deny it. He said, “I am not the Messiah.”

And they asked him, “Then who are you? Elijah?” He answered, “I am not.” They said, “Are you the Prophet?” and he answered, “No.”

Then they said to him, “Tell us who you are, so that we can give some answer to those who sent us. How do you see yourself?” And John said, quoting the prophet Isaiah, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness : Make straight the way of the Lord!”

Those who had been sent were Pharisees; and they put a further question to John, “Then why are you baptising, if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?” John answered, “I baptise you with water, but among you stands One whom you do not know; although He comes after me, I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandal.”

This happened in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/13/sunday-14-december-2014-third-sunday-of-advent-gaudete-sunday-memorial-of-st-john-of-the-cross-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

(Usus Antiquior) Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 October 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together to celebrate the love of God and to listen to His words as written and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. And St. Paul in his letter to the Church and the faithful in Corinth praised the people of God for their faith in God, and how the Lord Jesus affirmed the faith of all those who believed in Him, so that all of them will be justified at the end of time and not perish.

And in the Gospel, we heard about the healing of the paralytic man, that is a man who cannot move or walk due to the paralysis of the body, and Jesus healed him to show His power and authority over all things, all sins and diseases, both those of the body and those of the soul. Yes, that is why Jesus came into the world, to show the power of God by the healing of the sick, but more than just the body, as more important is the healing of the soul.

Jesus is the Lord, the God of all creations. One and only God, not created but existing and with the Father before all ages and before the beginning of the reckoning of time, and before creation. He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as a trinity of Godhead, Three separate and equal brings, but one in nature. This is our faith and this is what we believe in, in the Most Holy Trinity, Three Godhead but One in perfect unity of love, the One True God, whom the people of Israel also believed in.

And thus, He who is the Word of God, who created heaven and earth and all the creatures and creations in them, was willing to come down upon us, to be with us and to walk among us, taking in humility our humble human form, not that of a king but the lowly Son of a carpenter of Nazareth, that through Him, what God had planned for the salvation of mankind might proceed and be fulfilled completely.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that men often fall sick, suffering from the disease of the body. We know now of many diseases, both those that are contagious and non-contagious. We know of the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa, of which many thousands have died, and many thousands more suffered from the disease. And we know how many millions are affected by dengue fever, malaria, polio, smallpox and many other diseases, which many of these cause not just suffering and pain, but eventually even death.

And death comes especially when the disease is left untreated, either because the sufferers are unable to afford the fees needed to cure their respective illnesses, or that the disease itself has yet to be curable, namely no cure has yet to be found. Some disease like HIV, diabetes, cancer and others have not yet been curable, and hence what doctors can do, is mostly to reduce the suffering, or in the case of cancer, that is to excise and cut out the cancerous cells to remove them from the body, or to use chemicals to kill and destroy them.

But all these bodily diseases, illnesses and afflictions pale in comparison to the disease of our heart and soul, namely sin. Sin is indeed a disease, since it attacks us in the depth of our own beings, and not just our soul and heart can be affected, but even our body, for the body obeys the will of our heart and soul. And if sin corrupts our heart and soul, our body will likely also be corrupted by the same sin.

And sin is more dangerous and harmful than the effects of the bodily diseases that I mentioned earlier on. It does not mean that those bodily diseases are trivial, but considering their seriousness and the sufferings they can inflict on us, then we should be even more aware of the kind of harm which sin can cause to us. Remember that Jesus said, that we do not need to fear those that can bring about the destruction of the body, but we ought to worry indeed, those that can bring about the destruction of the soul.

One of the intentions of Jesus is indeed that, we should not fear the devil and his agents. We have seen how scary and destructive they may seem to look, but they have no power over us. They may strike at our body, but they cannot harm our soul. The One who can bring about the destruction of our soul is indeed God Himself, the Lord and Master of all, who has the authority over all things. We know of the Last Judgment, and how the righteous will be separated from the wicked, and while the righteous will enjoy the fruits of God’s promise and love, the wicked will suffer for eternity. What will they suffer for? For their sins indeed!

Yes, so we need to indeed be wary of sin, and how it can bring about our destruction, and how it can harm us both in this life, and the life that is to come. That is why our Lord Jesus is the One with the power and authority to forgive sins. He is the One with the power to heal us from all of our afflictions, body and soul. That is why He rebuked the Pharisees when they doubted His ability to forgive sins, and even accused Him of blasphemy.

Why so? This is because they failed to recognise Christ, when it was so clear that the prophets from all ages had spoken about the Messiah who was to come. And in Jesus all of their prophecies, and all the promises of God were fulfilled. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, and all who believe in Him will gain life eternal, and total liberation from the sins that have chained us mankind to death.

That marked the difference between the paralytic man and the Pharisees. Both of them were afflicted, with sin and darkness in their hearts. But the paralytic man listened to the Lord and allowed Him to work His wonders in him, healing him from all of His afflictions. Thus, if we follow the Lord and remain completely faithful to Him, we will gain healing through Him and be made justified through our faith, and thus eligible of eternal life.

On the other hand, if we act like the Pharisees, thinking that we are perfectly alright and have no need for healing, then the pride, greed, arrogance and wickedness in our hearts, just as they were in the hearts of the Pharisees and the scribes will be our undoing. Is this what we want for ourselves? Certainly not. Therefore, it is imperative that we take heed of what our Lord Jesus had done and what He had taught and shown us through our Faith and through the Scriptures.

May Almighty God therefore guide us, heal us from our afflictions, empower us, and grant us strength, as well as humility, so that we may have the courage and will to ask Him humbly to heal us and to make us whole again, that we sinners, filled with the sins of our ancestors and the sins of our own daily lives, may be made pure like snow, white and pure as a diamond, and be cleansed from all the diseases of our body and soul. That in the end, after excising all that is evil from our beings, and after decisively rebuking Satan, we are precious and worthy, and are welcome into the eternal life God had prepared for us all. Amen.

Sunday, 29 June 2014 : Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles and Feast Day of the Church of Rome (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 16 : 13-19

After that, Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They said, “For some of them You are John the Baptist, for others Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “It is well for you, Simon Bar-Jona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven.”

“And now I say to you : You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven : whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.”