Sunday, 20 March 2016 : Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Holy Week (Passion Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 22 : 14 – Luke 23 : 56 (Palm Sunday Year C)

When the hour came, Jesus took His place at the table and the Apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I was eager to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

Then they passed Him a cup, and when He had given thanks, He said, “Take this, and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that, from now on, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Jesus also took bread, and after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

And after the supper, He did the same with the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant, sealed in My Blood, which is poured out for you. Yet the hand of the traitor is with Me on the table. Know that the Son of Man is going the way marked out for Him. But alas for that one who betrays Him!”

They began to ask one another which of them could do such a thing. They also began to argue among themselves which of them should be considered the most important. And Jesus said, “The kings of the pagan nations rule over them as lords, and the most hard-hearted rulers claim the title, ‘Gracious Lord.'”

“But not so with you; let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is the greatest, he who sits at the table or he who serves? He who is seated, isn’t it? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”

“You are the ones who have been with Me, and stood by Me, through My troubles; because of this, just as the kingship has been given to Me by My Father, so I give it to you. You will eat and drink at My table at My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones and govern the twelve tribes of Israel.”

“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you like grain, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have recovered, you shall strengthen your brothers.” Then Peter said, “Lord, with You I am ready to go even to prison and death.” But Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day before you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Jesus also said to them, “When I sent you without purse or bag or sandals, were you short of anything?” They answered, “No.” And Jesus said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and a bag as well. And if anyone is without a sword, let hm sell his cloak to buy one. For Scripture says : ‘He was numbered among criminals.’ These words have to be fulfilled in Me, and now everything written about Me is taking place.”

Then they said, “See, Lord, here are two swords!” But He answered, “That is enough.”

After this, Jesus left to go as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. When He came to the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not be put to the test.” Then He went a little further, about a stone’s throw, and kneeling down He prayed, “Father, if it is You will, remove this cup from Me; however, not My will but Yours be done.” And an angel from heaven appeared to give Him strength.

As He was in agony, He prayed even more earnestly, and great drops of blood formed like sweat and fell to the ground. When He rose from prayer, He went to His disciples, but found them worn out with grief, and asleep. And He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Get up and pray, so that you may not be put to the test.”

Jesus was still speaking when a group appeared, and the man named Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him, and Jesus said to him, “Judas, with a kiss do you betray the Son of Man?”

Those with Jesus, seeing what would happen, said to Him, “Master, shall we use the sword?” And one of them struck the HIgh Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus stopped him, “No more of this!” He touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus spoke to those coming against Him, the chief priests, officers of the Temple and elders; and He said to them, “Did you really set out against a robber? Do you need swords and clubs to arrest Me? Day after day I was among you, teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest Me. But this is the hour of the power of darkness; this is your hour.”

Then they seized Him and took Him away, bringing Him to the High Priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance. A fire was kindled in the middle of the courtyard, where people were gathered, and Peter sat among them. A maidservant noticed him. Looking at him intently in the light if the fire, she exclaimed, “This man also was with Him!” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”

A little later, someone who saw Him said, “You are also one of them!” Peter replied, “My friend, I am not!” After about an hour another asserted, “Surely this man was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”

Again Peter denied, “My friend, I don’t know what you are talking about.” He had not finished saying this, when a cock crowed. The Lord turned around and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word that the Lord had spoken, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter went outside, weeping bitterly.

And the guards, who had arrested Jesus, mocked and beat Him. They blindfolded Him, struck Him, and then asked, “Who hit You? Tell us, prophet!” And they hurled many other insulting words at him.

At daybreak, the council of the elders of the people, among whom were the chief priests and the scribes, assembled again. Then they had Jesus brought before them, and they began questioning Him, “Tell us, are You the Christ?” Jesus replied, “You will not believe, if I tell you, and neither will you answer, if I ask you. Yet from now on, the Son of Man will have His seat at the right hand of the MIghty God.”

In chorus they asked, “So you are the Son of God?” And Jesus said to them, “You are right, I am.” Then they said, “What need have we of witnesses? We have heard it from His own lips.

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

It was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph, from the Judean town of Arimathea. He had not agreed with the decision and action of his fellow members, and he lived uprightly in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God. Joseph went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. He then took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a yet unused tomb, cut out of a rock.

It was Preparation Day, and the star which marks the beginning of the Sabbath was shining. So the women, who had come with Jesus from Galilee, followed Joseph to see the tomb, and how His body was laid. And returning home, they prepared perfumes and ointments. And on the Sabbath day, they rested, as the Law required.

 

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 23 : 1-49

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

It was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

Monday, 22 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Proverbs 3 : 27-34

Do not hold back from those who ask for your help, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbour, “Go away! Come another time; tomorrow I will give it to you!” when you can help him now.

Do not plot evil against your neighbour who lives trustingly beside you, nor fight a man without cause when he has done you no wrong. Do not envy the man of violence or follow his example.

For YHVH hates the wicked but guides the honest. He curses the house of the evildoer but blesses the home of the upright. If there are mockers, He mocks them in turn but He shows His favour to the humble.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 : Ash Wednesday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Joel 2 : 12-18

YHVH says : “Yet even now, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. Rend your heart, not your garment. Return to YHVH, your God – gracious and compassionate.”

YHVH is slow to anger, full of kindness, and He repents of having punished. Who knows? Probably He will relent once more and spare some part of the harvest from which we may bring sacred offerings to YHVH, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, proclaim a sacred fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the community, bring together the elders, even the children and infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his bed, and the bride her room.

Between the vestibule and the altar, let the priests, YHVH’s ministers, weep and say : Spare Your people, YHVH. Do not humble them or make them an object of scorn among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples : Where is their God?

YHVH has become jealous for His land; He has had pity on His people.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Memorial of St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

1 Samuel 17 : 32-33, 37, 40-51

David said to Saul, “Let no one be discouraged on account of this Philistine, for your servant will engage him in battle.”

Saul told David, “You cannot fight with this Philistine for you are still young, whereas this man has been a warrior from his youth.”

David continued, “YHVH, who delivered me from the paws of lions and bears, will deliver me from the hands of the Philistine.” Saul then told David, “Go and may YHVH be with you!”

David took his staff, picked up five smooth stones from the brook and dropped them inside his shepherd’s bag. And with his sling in hand, he drew near to the Philistine.

The Philistine moved forward, closing in on David, his shield-bearer in front of him. When he saw that David was only a lad, and he was of fresh complexion and handsome, he despised him and said, “Am I a dog that you should approach me with a stick?”

Cursing David by his gods, he continued, “Come and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field!”

David answered the Philistine, “You have come against me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come against you with YHVH, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied. YHVH will deliver you this day into my hands and I will strike you down and cut off your head.”

“I will give the corpses of the Philistine army today to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, and all the earth shall know that there is a God of Israel. All the people gathered here shall know that YHVH saves not by sword or spear; the battle belongs to YHVH, and He will deliver you into our hands.”

No sooner had the Philistine moved to attack him, than David rushed to the battleground. Putting his hand into his bag, he took out a stone, slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead; it penetrated his forehead and he fell on his face to the ground.

David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, felling him without using a sword. He rushed forward, stood over him, took the Philistine’s sword and slew him by cutting off his head.

When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they scattered in all directions.

Sunday, 1 December 2013 : First Sunday of Advent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord is coming soon, and He made it clear again to us today, as we hear the words of the Gospel. Christ will come again in His glorious Second Coming, and He will judge all creations, all mankind. There will be a scourging and separation of the righteous from the wicked, and the faithful from the apostates.

We must be ready for that time, because the Lord will come like a vengeful conqueror, to harvest the good wheat that He had planted and get rid of the weeds of darkness. He will not show mercy to those which have repeatedly showed rebelliousness and challenged His will at all times and did not change. He will gather those He regards as His own and discard those who are against Him or those who are not worthy.

We are like the people at the time of Noah, if you realised it. What happened during the time of Noah? You all know who Noah was. He was the one saved by the Lord by building an ark as the Lord instructed him to, in order to avoid the great Flood which covered the entire earth and destroyed all lives except all those which had been saved through the ark.

Why did the Lord do all this? Did He not love all of His children with all of His loving heart? Is He not love personified Himself? Yes, these are all true, and God is indeed Love that He is. However, mankind at the time of Noah had grown proud of themselves, and not just proud and filled with ego, but they also had grown to be very wicked. They disregarded all the laws of the Lord and lead a life entirely in abandon of the Lord.

The Lord grew angry at them and tried to bring them back to righteousness, and yet they did not listen, they turned deaf ears to His calling. And in that wicked world before the Flood, only Noah and his family remained righteous and obedient to the Lord. That was why the Lord called him to save him, by commissioning him to build a massive ark, to safeguard the righteous from the coming catastrophe and punishment that would befall the wicked ones.

The people of Noah’s time mocked him as he built the ark, and did not repent until it was too late. After the door of the ark had been closed, there was no hope left for them. They were left behind to perish, and perish they did. Noah was saved, as a righteous one, while the wicked were destroyed. And indeed, the same can be drawn as a parallel on the present day situation.

For our world today is also growing increasingly wicked. Wickedness does not necessarily mean doing things clearly defined as evil, such as murder, stealing, or adultery. Wickedness can also come about in even things such as greed and desire. Yes, for our world today increasingly distance itself away from the Lord and from the ways of the Lord. We are increasingly more and more engulfed in the corruption of evil and sin.

And the coming of the Lord is like the Flood, which came unexpected to those who ignore the warnings and heedings of the Lord. That is because many of us, like the people of Noah’s time, are hard-hearted and hardened our hearts towards the Lord and His love. We grew proud and arrogant, trusting in our power and achievements, and blasphemed more and more against the Lord our God. We had forgotten His love and the promise He has made for us.

The Lord comes at a time when we are most unprepared, when we are most deceived by the lies of the evil one through the world. He will come and judge us, for our actions and deeds, whether we are worthy of Him or not. And He will judge us not only based on our actions and deeds, be it good or bad, but also our failures, the failures to do things in accordance with His will and His ways.

Will we then choose to be like Noah? Or to be like those others who mocked and ridiculed Noah as he built that ark? We have a choice, brethren, and we have indeed been given the instruction on how to built our own ark of salvation, and the materials to do so. We have been well equipped by the Lord, with all these materials, that is none other than love, hope, and faith, and alas, many of us remain ignorant of our gifts and did not use them.

Hence, brethren, if we have not begun to work on towards our salvation in God, do not wait, and begin now. For the Lord does not wait on us to execute His will. He may come again any time, even in the next year, next month, tomorrow, or even in the next hour and even now! If He comes and we are caught wanting and unworthy, that is the end for all of us.

Do not fear, brethren, if we have done lots of bad and evil things in our lives. Our Lord hates sin and evil, but He is also rich in mercy and love. If we are truly sincere in our dedication to Him, to change our sinful ways and turn over a new page in our respective lives, the Lord will forgive us, and we will be well on our way towards salvation. Remember that many of the greatest and holiest saints were themselves once great sinners. What differentiated them from the condemned ones is that they change and were committed to changing their lives, to be in accordance with the will of God.

May the Lord our God, show us His everlasting mercy and love, giving us a new lease of life, one where we will once again walk in His ways, and be righteous and faithful. Amen.

Sunday, 24 November 2013 : Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Christ the King (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the last great feast in our Liturgical Year, that is the great solemnity of Christ the King, or in full, of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This is the last Sunday of our Liturgical Year, and from next Sunday onwards we will be entering into the season of Advent, in preparation for Christmas.

This is the feast, the great solemnity which marked the end of the year of our liturgy, but this year, it is even more glorious. Why so? Because on this year’s solemnity of Christ the King, we also celebrate the closing of the Year of the Faith, which Pope Benedict XVI had initiated on 12 October of last year and ran for a whole year until today. Indeed, today is a great occasion, to celebrate our faith, the faith we have in Jesus, our King and our Saviour.

Today, we glorify Jesus Christ our Lord, the divine Word of God incarnated into flesh in Jesus. He is King, and He is the Lord of all the universe, of all creation, whom He had created at the beginning of time. And yet, He chose to lower Himself, as the proof of His dedication, to those whom He had been king for. As He is the king of all creations, including all of us, we are all His people. And to show His love and dedication for us, bound to death that is our fate for sin, He came down to us, and for us, giving Himself for us that we can be saved.

Yes, Jesus although He was not obliged to help us, He still gave Himself to us, opening to us the floodgates of His mercy and love. In order to do so, He came to us, to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. And He did not do so in a manner so as to dazzle or amaze people. Instead, He came in silence, in the quiet night, that night in Bethlehem. No inn or lodging was made available for the king, and the king of kings made His entry into this world in a humble and dirty stable, fit for animals but not for men.

That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord’s kingship is not a kingship of this world. He is the true king of all things, and His kingdom is not a kingdom of this world. That is why, if kings of this world are usually rich, privileged, and powerful, the Lord as the king of all kings is instead humble, gentle, and benevolent. He did not flaunt His power and authority, and instead He worked with complete obedience and devotion to the Lord His Father.

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert as He fasted, he was unable to convince Him with the allures of glory, which are human glory, worldly glories, which would have tempted most if not all of us. All of these were the worldly glories that Jesus as King would have done, if He is a king of this world. He would have taken it easy, as after all, what is mankind, so sinful and rebellious that they are worth saving? Such would be the thoughts of the devil to Jesus. Yet, Jesus would have none of that and rebuked the devil.

In Jesus lies the salvation of this world, that is the redemption of all mankind. He did so by offering Himself, the perfect and unblemished lamb of sacrifice, exchanging for us our fated deaths, into the new life He had prepared for us. He paid the price in full to ransom us, a price He paid with none other than His own flesh and blood, shed from the cross as He hung above it between the heavens and the earth.

The kingship of Jesus is not for Him to enjoy being a king, and neither it is for Him to enjoy good life, as many of the kings and leaders of our world had done. The kingship of Jesus is one of service, dedication, and love, in which, He as king, is our shepherd, the leader of all in our way towards complete and perfect reunion with God. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, leads us in our way towards the Lord.

But many of us openly mocked Jesus and His kingship, often not recognising what He has done for our sake, and rejecting His offers of goodness through salvation of souls. We are indeed often like the prodigal thief crucified with Jesus, as well as the Roman soldiers and those who had crucified Him, mocking Him openly of His kingship, questioning His power and authority.

Let us all reflect, how often do we all, even in our daily actions, that we have rejected Jesus, that we have rebuked Him, and even made a mockery of Him in front of His enemies. And yet, if you all noticed, He did not care. After all, He is the Lord and King of all creations, of all things that were, that are, and that will ever be. He is omnipotent beyond any imagination, and He could just destroy us with a single thought, and yet He did not do that.

He cared for us and loved us, to the point of coming down for us. Remember what Jesus told us about the parable of the shepherd. How a good shepherd will leave his good flock and go out all the way in search of the one that is lost. That was precisely what Jesus had done, our Good Shepherd. He went all the way to save us, the lost ones, that we can be reunited again with the flock of Christ, destined for eternal salvation.

Such a good king we have, don’t you all think? Yes, that is Christ our Lord and King, a king who does not just demand obedience and service from his subjects, but instead as a king who serves and loves his people. But many of us refuse to acknowledge His kingship and reject Him, just as His own people rejected Him as He hung on the cross to save them.

Whenever we sin and commit things against the laws of God, and in violation of the Lord’s love for us, we refuse to admit the kingship of Jesus our Lord. Whenever we sin and commit things evil in the eyes of God and refuse to admit them and change from our sinful ways, we act in the same way as the unrepentant thief, who mocked Jesus for His kingship.

Instead, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be like the repentant thief. Let us be like him in that he openly acknowledged not only that Jesus is truly king and Lord, but also that he reveals and admits the depth of his own sin and his unworthiness before the same king, asking in deep humility and shame for forgiveness by the Lord.

And he was forgiven, and given a place in heaven, literally being the first one that Jesus saved through His death and resurrection. We too can follow in the repentant thief’s footsteps, provided that we realise and reflect on the depth of our own sinfulness, and resolve that from now on, we will change our attitude and truly accept the Lord our God as our Lord and Saviour.

So today, as we also celebrate together, the end of the holy Year of the Faith, as well as the great solemnity of Christ the King, let us together with the entire Church, all the same children of God, renew our profession of faith before our Lord and King, taking our vows that we will, from now on, live an upright and righteous life, in accordance with the will of God, and open ourselves to His infinite love.

Let us proclaim that Jesus is the king of all kings, our king and our Saviour. And let us also usher in this era of mercy and love. Surrender ourselves to the Lord’s mercy and love as the repentant sinner had done, and keep our faith strong and burning in God! God bless us all with His Son, Jesus, our King. Amen.

Friday, 6 September 2013 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are truly reminded as ever always, that Christ our Lord lies at the very centre of our lives, and that He is what truly matters for us, while other things are often unnecessary and illusory in nature. Nonetheless, we often forget this fact and relegate Christ into a corner rather than embracing and appreciating the central role Christ plays in each of our own lives.

Everything that we have, our lives, our faith, and our very existence owed greatly to the Lord, through whom indeed we were created, given life, and then a new life through salvation of the cross. For Christ is the Word of God, through whom the Lord our Creator had created all of creation including all of us, whom He had given life through the breath of His Mouth.

And even when we had gone astray from Him and be estranged from Him like that of a child estranged from the father, He willed for us to be reconciled to Himself, by the outpouring of His love, through the numerous help He sent us along our journey in this world, through countless messengers and prophets who carried His desire and love for us, the desire to be reunited with us, His lost children.

That even when we had rejected Him by turning a deaf ear to the heedings of His prophets, and even tortured and slaughtered them in cold blood, He did not give up, but in His great and infinite love, He allowed Himself to give the ultimate manifestation of His love, that is to be incarnate through a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary His mother, to be our Saviour, through which He gathered all people to Himself.

Such great is His love for us, that He even readied Himself to suffer for us, to die for us, all that we who deserved death, will not die an agonising and eternal death, separated from God who loves us. That we may live through His death on the cross which saves, and through His glorious resurrection, through which He brought unto Himself those who had died in Him.

He dedicated Himself so much for us, that He became flesh like us, and through that mystical incarnation of the divine into man, God is united to us in an everlasting bond of love. Yes, brethren, just as Jesus in the Gospel today imagined Himself as the bridegroom in the midst of His beloved, so indeed He is our bridegroom, the divine bridegroom by God made man.

He rebuked the Pharisees not because it is wrong to fast or observe the laws, but precisely because they did not truly love God, and did not have God in their hearts, that God is not at the centre of their lives as He wanted from them. Instead, they allowed their pride, arrogance, selfishness, and human nature to take over them and corrupt them.

They fast for the sake of fasting, and to show the people their great piety, which is indeed evident, but truly empty. Many of them had missed entirely the point of doing things in accordance to the rules of the Lord, and did them not out of love for God, but out of love for themselves and their ‘greatness’ and ‘superior piety and faith’.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, the lessons we had heard and taken into ourselves are truly beneficial for us. Let us make the best use out of them, in order to be able to dedicate ourselves and devote ourselves more to the Lord our God, that no matter whatever we are doing, we always do it for the Lord, and keep Him always at the very centre of our lives, each and every one of us. God bless us all. Amen.