Wednesday, 13 January 2021 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Mark 1 : 29-39

At that time, on leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew with James and John. As Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with fever, they immediately told Him about her. Jesus went to her and, taking her by the hand, raised her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening at sundown, people brought to Jesus all the sick and those who had evil spirits : the whole town was pressing around the door. Jesus healed many who had various diseases, and drove out many demons; but He did not let them speak, for they knew Who He was.

Very early in the morning, before daylight, Jesus went off to a lonely place where He prayed. Simon and the others went out also, searching for Him; and when they found Him, they said, “Everyone is looking for You.” Then Jesus answered, “Let us go to the nearby villages so that I may preach there too; for that is why I came.”

So Jesus set out to preach in all the synagogues throughout Galilee; He also cast out demons.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Luke 6 : 12-19

At that time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose twelve of them, whom He called ‘Apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured.

The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went our from Him and healed them all.

Friday, 19 September 2014 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Luke 8 : 1-3

Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the Good News of the kingdom of God. The Twelve followed Him, and also some women, who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases : Mary called Magdalene, who had been freed of seven demons; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Suzanna, and others who provided for them out of their own funds.

Monday, 1 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 16-30

When Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”

All agreed with Him, and were lost in wonder, while He spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, “Who is this but Joseph’s Son?” So He said, “Doubtless you will quote Me the saying : Doctor, heal Yourself! Do here in Your town what they say You did in Capernaum.”

Jesus added, “No prophet is honoured in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon.”

“There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet, and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian.”

On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought Him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw Him down the cliff. But He passed through their midst and went His way.

Sunday, 20 April 2014 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 10 : 34a, 37-43

Peter then spoke to them, “No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him.”

“We are witnesses of all that He did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put Him to death by hanging Him on a wooden cross. But God raised Him to life on the third day and let Him manifest Himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God – to us who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection from death.”

“And He commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that He is the One appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. All the prophets say of Him, that everyone who believes in Him has forgiveness of sins through His Name.”

Monday, 6 January 2014 : Monday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 4 : 12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, a town by the lake of Galilee, at the border of Zebulun and Naphtali.

In this way the word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled : “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, crossed by the Road of the Sea, and you who live beyond the Jordan, Galilee, land of pagans : ‘The people who lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in the land of the shadow of death, a light has shone.'”

From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim His message, “Change your ways : the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Jesus went around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and curing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people. The news about Him spread through the whole of Syria, and the people brought all their sick to Him, and all those who suffered : the possessed, the deranged, the paralysed, and He healed them all.

Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Ten Cities, from Jerusalem, Judea, and from across the Jordan.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 6 : 12-19

At this time Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose twelve of them, whom He called ‘apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured. The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went out from Him and healed them all.

Thursday, 29 August 2013 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we commemorate a great feast in our faith, that is the Passion of St. John the Baptist, when he died in the prison of King Herod because of his uprightness, his faith, and his courage. St. John the Baptist, as we all know, is a relative to Jesus, the son of Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, the Mother of our Lord. He was the one to open the way for Christ and straighten His path in this world.

St. John the Baptist was a truly upright man, who followed the Lord faithfully even unto his suffering and death. He was not even afraid of chastising a king, scolding him for having improper relationship with his brother’s wife, Herodias. He suffered prison, but he did not fear. He had also suffered rejection, mockery, and doubt, by the Pharisees and the chief priests, who disliked whatever he was doing when he baptised many people in the Jordan, and even questioned his authority.

He stood up courageously and rebuked them as an evil nest of vipers, just as he had in the same way rebuked Herod and his new wife. He feared not human hatred nor opposition, because to Him, it is the love of God that truly mattered to him. His death is part of the Lord’s plan for salvation, that his work in preparing the way for the Lord was then complete, having initiated our Lord Jesus through His baptism at the Jordan, marking the formal beginning of the Lord’s ministry on earth.

St. John the Baptist took his ministry seriously and dutifully, and he truly loved God and was glad of the part he had done in the Lord’s plan of salvation. When Jesus’ ministry began and many people began to come to Jesus instead of John, he was happy and slowly and quietly drifting away into nothingness, while still doing whatever he could to the people who came to him, and directed them to Christ the Lord. He showed true humility, unlike the Pharisees and the chief priests who viewed both him and Jesus as threats to their teaching authority.

Today we are reminded, and indeed urged to do more good and less of the vices, things abhorred in the eyes of the Lord our God. We are urged to follow the examples of St. John the Baptist while keeping away from the vices of Herod and Herodias, wicked people in the eyes of God. Yet, it is very natural for all of us to follow the path of Herod rather than that of John. Why is it so, brothers and sisters? Precisely because we all are weak, weak to sin, open to sin, and vulnerable to sin.

It is most likely that Herodias, even after she was widowed by Philip, the brother of Herod, remained very attractive and beautiful, and that was what attracted Herod to his own brother’s wife, even though as king, he could have had many women as his partner, he chose to follow his urges and desires and chose Herodias. The same can be said of Herodias, the wife. She certainly craved power and authority and wealth that only a king could muster, and that was why she was complicit in the improper relations between her and Herod, her husband’s brother.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are reminded today of the unjust death of St. John the Baptist, messenger of God and the one who prepared the way before the Lord, that we too should be upright, just, and truthful in our lives, in all our words, actions, deeds, and dealings with others, and not be led by our human emotions and even less so to fall into the temptations of the devil and embrace them.

We must not let ourselves be swayed like Herod had done, in promising even up to half of his kingdom to the daughter of Herodias, just because he was fascinated by her and her dance. Lust, passion, and desire can indeed bring us to destruction, just as it had done to Herod. Herod killed the messenger of God, John the Baptist, and therefore incurred for certainty, the eternal wrath of God, all because of the vow he made to the daughter of Herodias, words that came out of desire and lust, which later on came back to haunt him.

Let us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, follow the example of John, that we will be ever courageous to stand up for our faith, to stand up for what we believe in, to be faithful defenders of the Lord in our increasingly hostile world. Let us not be afraid of saying the truth and live an upright life just as John had done. Guard our emotions and have a strong and healthy prayer life, that the devil will not be able to enter into our hearts and corrupt them, as he had done to Herod.

John showed his disciples that Christ is the Lamb of God, and therefore, today he too showed us to Christ, as the pathway and the only door to salvation. Let us be faithful to Christ our Lord, and be inspired by John His servant and messenger, and let us also adopt his humility, in not seeking human glory and human praise, but seeking the greater glory and praise in God instead. Let us strive to love God more by acting on His will, and do as He wants us, that is to love Him with all our strength and our being, and to give ourselves in love to our brethren, especially those who are unloved, those who are lonely, and those who are abandoned. May God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 30 June 2013 : 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Luke 9 : 51-62

As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, He made up His mind to go to Jerusalem. He sent ahead of Him some messengers, who entered a Samaritan village to prepare a lodging for Him. But the people would not receive Him, because He was on His way to Jerusalem.

Seeing this, James and John, His disciples, said, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to reduce them to ashes?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village. As they went on their way, a man said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

To another Jesus said, “Follow Me!” But he answered, “Let me go back now, for first I want to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them, and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another said to Him, “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus said to him, “Whoever has put his hand to the plow, and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of God.”