Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded that as Christians all of us are called to serve the Lord with our devotion and piety, with commitment to obey and follow the laws and commandments in our every actions and deeds. Otherwise, if we do not, we shall fall into the trap of sin and wickedness, and we will end up being condemned by God.

As the Lord Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, that all those who are not with Him, are against Him, and all those who have walked away from Him and rejected Him, will be lost from Him and be condemned. That is because He is the One and only One focus which we should have in our lives, as the centre of our lives and the pinnacle of our human existence.

And through what we have heard in the Gospel today, the threat of evil spirits and possession by those spirits are truly very real. The devil is our great enemy, and he and his fellow fallen angels are out there, ready to strike against us mankind, and corrupt us into our downfall. And the devil and his allies find it the easiest for them to strike at those who are weak and defenceless, those whose spiritual defence are lacking.

Those who do not believe in God, doubted Him and worked against Him are those who are under the greatest risk of falling into the temptations of the devil, and the evil spirits came to possess them. And as the Lord mentioned, those who do not keep themselves vigilant against the attacks by the devil are at risk, because the devil shall bring forth even more evil spirits to strike at them, and they become even worse.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, appropriately, on this day we celebrate a very special occasion, that is the hundredth anniversary of the Last Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who had appeared to the three children at Fatima, Jacinta, Francesco and Lucia, every thirteenth day of the month beginning on the thirteenth of May 1917 and lasted until this day, a hundred years ago.

On this day, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the children for the last time, and she performed a great sign which was seen by many, when the sun seemed to dance around the sky, in a dazzling show of God’s miraculous wonders, known also as the Miracle of the Dancing Sun. And in that occasion, Our Lady of Fatima also mentioned how many sinners were still in need of God’s forgiveness, and that they needed to atone for their sins.

She said, “Let them offend the Lord no more, for He is already much offended.” This is a stark reminder of what we have just heard in the Gospel passage today, that those who do not obey the Lord and stand against Him will be rejected by God, because of their sins and disobedience. We may think that God is a loving and benevolent God, and that much is true, however, we often forget that, while God does not despise us the sinners, but He despises all the sins which we commit in our lives.

Through His mother, God has frequently called upon us mankind to return to Him, to repent and turn away from all of our sins and wickedness, to be forgiven and to be reconciled with Him, so that we will not suffer the fate of the devil and all those who rejected God, that is hell and eternal damnation. That is not what God wants for us, and it is not why He had created us, for He wants each and every one of us to be with Him, to be united with Him perfectly in love.

And how do we do this? It is by deepening our relationship with God, spending time with Him and putting Him as the priority in our lives. For many of us, God has been relegated to the second, third and even to the last place, and we have placed many of our worldly matters and concerns ahead of our love for God. That is why we allow the devil to come into our bodies, corrupting our minds and hearts.

Let us therefore strengthen our relationship with God through prayer and devotion, by allowing God to enter into our hearts and dwell within us, so that we may be strengthened in faith, and therefore, we may draw closer to God. Let us all ask also for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, that she may always pray for us, and intercede for our sake, at all times, that all of us sinners may come to reconciliation with God.

May the Lord be with us always, and may through the loving care and intercession of His Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Fatima, we may find the best and most direct path to Him, and be worthy to receive the eternal glory and life He promised to all of us His faithful ones. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 15-26

At that time, some of the people said, “Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 9 : 2-3, 6 and 16, 8-9

The wicked are in power; the weak suffer harassment; the poor become victims of evil schemes. Exploiters boast in their power and greed; the covetous blasphemes and defies God.

All of them saying in their heart, “Nothing will trouble me. I am secure, powerful and happy.” YHVH is King forever and the pagans have vanished from His land.

They lie in ambush near the villages, murdering the innocent and the unfortunate, spying upon their next victim. The evil one lurks in secret, like a lion in its covert, waiting to seize his prey and drag him off in a net.

Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Joel 1 : 13-15 and Joel 2 : 1-2

Gird yourselves, o priests, and weep; mourn, o ministers of the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, o ministers of my God! For the house of your God is deprived of grain and drink offering.

Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Summon the elders, and all who live in the land, into the house of your God, and cry out to YHVH, “What a dreadful day – the day of YHVH, that draws near, and comes as ruin, from the Almighty!”

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all dwellers in the land tremble, for the day of YHVH is coming. Yes, the day is fast approaching – a day of gloom and darkness, a day of clouds and blackness. A vast and mighty army comes, like dawn spreading over the mountain : such as has never occurred before, nor will happen again in the future.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial Feast of our Lady of Fatima (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a truly wonderful and beautiful feast of the Church, honouring the blessed mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that is His mother, Mary, who appeared to three children at a village known as Fatima in Portugal, almost a century ago, in which she revealed much revelations of truth to the children, about the faith and the Church and the constant battles it faces daily against the evil in the world.

The revelations of Fatima had been a very popular topic among many of the faithful, and many speculations about its contents had arisen. But most importantly, the truth is that Mary who appeared to the three children foretold the many events that would happen, and did happen in the course of the last one century since the apparition.

The apparition was seen by the three children, but many tens of thousands of other people saw the miracle of the sun and testified to its truth, through which the Blessed Virgin Mary showed the truth of her message, and the urgency of the contents of such message, in the view of the increasing dangers facing the Church of God and the faithful disciples of the Lord.

Our Lady and mother of our Lord had often appeared to us, to mankind to continue to urge us to return to the loving embrace of her Son, and abandon our past, sinful lives, in exchange of a new life anchored upon God’s love. She appeared to the three children at a time of great difficulty, not just for the Church but also for the entire world and mankind.

The first world war was raging when the three children saw our Lady in Fatima, and her appearance occurred just moments before the downfall of the Christian nation of Russia, the Russian Empire, which was overthrown by the Communist rebels and agitators, ushering in a long period of suffering, death and destruction, which we all are very aware about, the effects of which are still felt today.

The Cold war, and the second world war was all indirectly and directly linked to that event, and also to other sad events that had unfolded during the past one century. And the apparition revealed those sad events to the children, who eventually one of them revealed much of the revelations to the Church. This world indeed had been filled with so much violence and evil for much of the past century, and it is therefore ever more urgent that we heed the call for repentance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to change our ways if we have dwelt in darkness and engage in wicked behaviours and dealings. We cannot be ignorant and continue with our lives as if nothing has happened. We have to commit ourselves to the way of the Lord and listen to the call of His mother, who, as the greatest among the saints and intercessors, and as the one nearest to her Son’s throne, she is our greatest help in this life’s battle against the corrupting nature of sin and evil.

The Lord Himself said that those who do the will of God, and keep as well as understand His precepts will be blessed. As such, that is what our Lady at Fatima encouraged mankind, that is to give themselves to the Lord and dedicate themselves to Him, and to ask His mother for help and intercession during the time of troubles. We must not be afraid to do so, for the mother of our Lord is loving and merciful, and she wants to help us that we may be saved and be reunited with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have to be profoundly changed in our ways, that in all the things we say and do, we will always reflect the will and nature of our God, and in that, be blessed in all that we do. Let us heed the call of our beloved mother Mary, who appealed to us to reform our ways that we may shun violence and evil, and embrace instead her Son who showed us love in all its perfection through His sacrifice on the cross.

O, our Lady of Fatima, the mother of our Lord and our mother, help us to change our ways and continue to speak to us, just as you had spoken at Fatima long time ago, that we may understand better, how to become loving children of God, and sin no more but live eternally in His grace. O most loving mother, pray for us sinners. Amen.

Monday, 13 May 2013 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we celebrate a great feast and memorial of our Lady, that is our Lady of Fatima, who made an appearance to the three young children at Fatima in Portugal almost a century ago, and through them, she revealed to them prophecy and secret, which contains the will of God, and the desire of the Lord, conveyed through Mary, His mother, that the world be converted to Christ and be brought into God’s love and salvation.

Throughout the subsequent decades, especially after the devotion to our Lady of Fatima had been officially recognised by the Vatican, by the Pope himself, it quickly became a place of great devotion to Mary, the mother of God, the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary, is a role model to all of us, because her entire life had been dedicated to God, and had been given up for the sake of the Lord, that through her indeed, salvation of this world might spring forth, through Jesus, her Son, the Messiah.

It is her obedience and submission to the will of God that made salvation possible, and made her exalted above all women and all the peoples of God, for through her, all mankind who believe in her Son, are made perfect and whole again through the ministry and sacrifice of her Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

Many people had great misconceptions about this strong devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord, especially among those who hates these devotions because of their misinformation, lack of faith, and lack of understanding because they do not have in them the truth and the full extent of truth that the Lord passed down to us, through the Church and only in the Church.

They hated these devotions because to them apparently that these devotions border on worship and therefore they equate it with us, who believes, with the worship of Mary as some sort of mother-goddess. But they got it entirely wrong, and yet even so, the world perpetuates the falsehood and the hatred because it belongs to the evil one, and it will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from reaching the ears and hearts of many in this world.

Our devotion to Mary, the mother of God, which is represented and celebrated today in the form of Our Lady of Fatima, because Mary had made her appearance to the children at Fatima, is because through Mary, we can be more guaranteed of salvation in Christ. Mary, as the mother of the Lord, and having been righteous and obedient to God throughout her entire life, is the perfect role model for all of us, that indeed she is the greatest and queen of all saints in heaven.

By following the examples of Mary, in her words, in her actions, and in her various messages that she had delivered through her various approved appearances, had been crucial in guiding many either to the Lord or return from their wayward paths. Through our devotion to her, in which we show our love and dedication to the mother of God, and not our worship, we bring ourselves closer to God at the same time. For the mother of God is surely always close to her Son, the Lord God Most High, and therefore, she can indeed help us to be ever closer to our God.

As much as we are dedicated to Mary, the mother of God, we are devoted even more to her Son, that is our Lord Jesus. Why is this so? Because through Mary, we can understand our Lord better, we can glimpse better the purpose of the coming of our God into this world, to be man like us, and to die on the cross that we can be saved from the certainty of death due to sin.

That is how we should indeed pray, that is through Mary, to Jesus. Because Mary is our greatest intercessor, our great link between ourselves and God in Christ. Remember that in Cana, during that wedding when Christ performed His very first miracle? It was because of the intercession of Mary that the wedding could proceed well, because Mary was insistent in helping the couple that their wedding would not go awry. Our Lord being a good son listens to His mother’s wishes.

We have to be careful here to note that our Lord listens to His mother but this does not make Him subordinate to her. She is not a goddess or anything of that kind, but rather, she is the perfect example of the role of saints and why we ask for their intercession, because they intercede for us before Christ, and put forth our case and our petitions before Him. And no greater saint exists other than Mary, the Lord’s own mother.

That is why today we celebrate this feast of Our Lady of Fatima, because Mary, our Lady, had made her appearance in Fatima, and showing the miracles of God that many would end up believing in God, and through her message at Fatima, she wanted to bring the world ever closer to her Son, indeed showing that even though it had been long since Mary had been assumed to heaven in the Assumption, she still cares for us and intercedes for us at all times, and is willing to come forth and give her aid to mankind, especially to bring more souls to salvation and away from damnation of hell.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from today on, let us strive to follow the examples of the saints, particularly that of Mary, our Lady of Fatima. Let us follow her example and her faith in God, that we too can be obedient like her to the will of God and lead a righteous life like she had once led in this world and received her rewards in heaven.

Whenever someone said that we in the Church worship Mary and the saints, do not be quiet and give in to passivity, but rather, bravely defend our Lady and our God, her Son. For such accusation actually amounts to an insult for our Lady, and an insult to Mary, the mother of our Lord means also an insult to our Lord Jesus, her Son. Courageously defend our faith, not by being confrontational or hostile, but rather with patience, explaining the real truth of our true faith to those who have been blinded by the falsehood spread by the evil one.

Let us be more like Mary, and make ourselves closer to Jesus, her Son, just as our Lady of Fatima had wanted us, so that we can truly be God’s children, through our words, our actions, and our bearings, that we reflect Christ in all our dealings, and the world that sees us, will believe and will be converted to the cause of Christ. God bless us all. Mary, our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Amen.