Monday, 4 January 2021 : Monday after Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue to celebrate the season of Christmas, and we are all called to continue walking in the path that the Lord has shown us, to dedicate ourselves to the same truth that He has revealed and passed down to us. Are we able to commit ourselves to His truth and resist the temptations and falsehoods from all those who seek to subvert His message of truth?

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. John the Apostle, St. John is reminding all of us of the truth and commandments that the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to all of us, and to stay steady in that faith that He has bestowed on us. We must be wary of the falsehoods and all the false leaders and false prophets who can end up leading us astray from the path of truth.

In this season and time of Christmas, all of us are reminded that the Lord has come into this world in order to save us, just as we have heard in our Gospel passage today of the Lord Who has come in the flesh in Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and Son of God Most High. The Gospel passage we heard today spoke of His works and ministry among the people, healing their sick and casting out evil spirits among others.

The Lord also proclaimed the message of repentance and change, calling on all the people to repent from their sins and to change their ways that they would no longer follow the path of the devil and his falsehoods and lies. He is calling on all of us to abandon these sins and wickedness in life, rejecting the false paths and distractions in this world and renew our dedication and commitment to God.

In this time of Christmas, we are called to refocus our attention on the Light of Christ and not in all the false ‘lights’ that merely serve as distractions and false leads that we may be trapped into following. We are all called especially at the start of this new year to reexamine our lives, how we have lived them and how we are going to proceed forward in our path of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through these reminders that the Lord has given us, let us all do whatever we can in order to devote our efforts and attention to be witnesses to Him in wherever we are, in our families, among our friends and within our communities. We are all called to bear faithful witnesses to the Lord, by our every words, actions and deeds, through even our smallest and regular interactions with each other, with all those whom we encounter in our daily lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our calling as Christians is to be the bearers of Christ’s light of hope, of strength and love in the midst of all these darkness. And we all clearly know just how darkened this world had been in the past year alone, and we are all in the position to make a difference in the lives of so many people. Let us all strive to be devoted Christians from now on, living our lives with faith, genuine faith from now on, and not just treat it as a mere formality.

Let us all stand fast to the truth and Light of Christ, and reveal Him to the world, that many more people may come to see His goodness and love, and be saved from the abyss of their despair, the darkness of this world and the corruption of their sins. May God be with us and may He guide us in all of our good efforts and endeavours, for His greater glory. Amen.

Monday, 4 January 2021 : Monday after 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.

Monday, 4 January 2021 : Monday after Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 2 : 7-8, 10-11

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to Me : “You are My Son. This day I have begotten You. Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Now therefore, learn wisdom, o kings; be warned, o rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and fall at His feet; lest He be angry and you perish when His anger suddenly flares. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Monday, 4 January 2021 : Monday after Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 3 : 22 – 1 John 4 : 6

Then whatever we ask we shall receive, since we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. His command is that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another, as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commands remains in God and God in him. It is by the Spirit God has given us that we know He lives in us.

My beloved, do not trust every inspiration. Test the spirits to see whether they come from God, because many false prophets are now in the world. How will you recognise the Spirit of God? Any spirit recognising Jesus as the Christ Who has taken our flesh is of God. But any spirit that does not recognise Jesus is not from God, it is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard of his coming and even now he is in the world.

You, my dear children, are of God and you have already overcome these people, because the One Who is in you is more powerful than he who is in the world. They are of the world and the world inspires them and those of the world listen to them. We are of God and those who know God listen to us, but those who are not of God ignore us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error as well.

Monday, 4 January 2016 : Monday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue on from the Solemnity of the Epiphany which we have just celebrated yesterday, we revel in the knowledge of God Who had revealed Himself to all of us, the truth about His love and the truth about the salvation which He had readily made available to all of us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The nature of the Epiphany and its celebration is about revelation, from which it got its name. The Lord Who was once not visible and intangible to us, had made Himself tangible and visible, by His incarnation in Jesus Christ, Who was God, is God, and will always be God, and yet by His assumption of the flesh of men, and by His birth through His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, He became Man and walked on this earth just as we do.

The Lord showed His love to us through Jesus, Who went about healing the sick, not just from the sickness of the flesh, but also from the sickness of the soul, that is our sins. He fed His people and led them to the right paths by His words of truth that did not mince any of its words and their meanings. He is the Good Shepherd Who leads all of God’s beloved flock to return to the embrace of God our loving Father and Creator.

And we rejoice because of this, our Christmas joy that continues to be strong and vibrant. The Lord Jesus and His salvation is our true Christmas joy, and not all the things we in the world often associate with Christmas and how it is usually celebrated. It is not a celebration of fun and merrymaking, partying or revelry, or holidays or anything related to the way Christmas is often portrayed, but it is indeed a celebration of God’s love.

The readings from the Holy Scriptures today place a great importance in this fact, with the prophet Isaiah who wrote about a great Light that was to come to a people living in darkness, and how that light would enlighten the paths of those who dwell in the darkness, and how the darkness would give way to the true Light through which men would find their way to the Lord.

Jesus is that Light, the Saviour Who had come to rescue all those who are still lost in the darkness and in the uncertainties of the world. Through Him, God reached out to His beloved people, who although they have erred in their ways and lost their path, but they are truly still deserving of His mercy and love, as long as they are willing to listen to the Lord’s calls for their repentance and thus accordingly repent from their sins.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to the Scripture readings today, let us all ask ourselves, in our own words, actions and deeds, whether we have done what we can do, in order to help the Lord’s efforts in reaching out to the last, the lost and the least of His beloved people. Have we been welcoming to our brethren who seek to be reunited with God, or do we instead reject them?

Have we been forthcoming in our actions to seek out those who have yet to know of the Lord and His salvation? Have we endeavoured to make these all available for them? It is our duty and responsibility as those whom God had called and chosen out of this world as His disciples, to bring even more souls into the salvation that can only be found in the Lord, our God.

May Almighty God bless us in our works and efforts, and let us commit ourselves anew to bring the Good News to all those who have yet to hear of it, and then also practice our faith in our own lives, in all that we say and do, so that through us, God may show His salvation and His truth to His people, and more and more souls will be saved from the threat of eternal damnation and hellfire. God be with us all. Amen.

Monday, 4 January 2016 : Monday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 4 : 12-17, 23-25

At that time, 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 od 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.

Monday, 4 January 2016 : Monday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 2 : 7-8, 10-11

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to Me : “You are My Son. This day I have begotten You. Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Now therefore, learn wisdom, o kings; be warned, o rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and fall at His feet; lest He be angry and you perish when His anger suddenly flares. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Monday, 4 January 2016 : Monday after the Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 3 : 22 – 1 John 4 : 6

Then whatever we ask we shall receive, since we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. His command is that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another, as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commands remains in God and God in him. It is by the Spirit God has given us that we know He lives in us.

My beloved, do not trust every inspiration. Test the spirits to see whether they come from God, because many false prophets are now in the world. How will you recognise the Spirit of God? Any spirit recognising Jesus as the Christ Who has taken our flesh is of God. But any spirit that does not recognise Jesus is not from God. It is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard of his coming and even now he is in the world.

You, my dear children, are of God and you have already overcome these people, because the One who is in you is more powerful than he who is in the world. They are of the world and the world inspires them and those of the world listen to them. We are of God and those who know God listen to us, but those who are not of God ignore us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error as well.

Monday, 6 January 2014 : Monday after the Epiphany (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Only those spirits who acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and God, that truly belong to the Lord. Not all spirits and apparitions belong to the Lord, for some does belong to the devil and the falsehoods that he brings to us. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important for us to take note of this fact, so that we will not fall into deception and disobey the Lord and His will, even without us knowing it.

Prophets, seers, and visionaries appeared throughout the ages, even up to today, my brethren. We have those who received visions and apparitions of various origins, some of which are truly genuine and have been approved by the Church, but some others of more dubious origins and may even be an attention-seeking or popularity movement, if not immediately devil-inspired.

My dear friends, indeed we have much to gain from good visions and apparitions, through which the Lord continues to speak to us, either directly or through the intermediary of His saints, particularly that of His mother Mary. Through these the Lord had made His will known, and that particularly and often includes the call for mankind to return to Him and repent from their sins.

Remember brethren, that we ought to adhere strongly to the teachings of the faith through the Church, what the Church had taught us in our faith, which is the result of millennia of refinement and richness of God’s revelations made through the ages via His innumerable saints. Quite a few of the saints recognised by the Church were known to be mystics and visionaries, who often received messages from the divine. And our faith can only get richer because of them.

But we have to be careful lest we fall into the lies and falsehoods of Satan. Remember that our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, was deceived by Satan wearing the then noble form of the animal snake, posing to them as the good and benevolent being with good intent, but in fact having malice and evil deep inside. The devil, the prince and father of lies, deceit, and trickery certainly have no problem to deceive us by posing as a holy angel of God or the apparition of saints.

Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is absolutely important for all of us to be properly educated on the faith we have in Christ, that we all will all have a solid foundation of faith, that not even the devil will be able to disturb. And the catechesis of our faith must be complete, that we leave no loophole which the evil one will be able to exploit to his advantage.

Thus, it is important for all of us to seek to always understand more about our faith, by putting our trust in reliable sources especially in the teaching authority of the Church, and trusting only in visions and apparitions approved and proven to be true by the authority of the Church. For the Church had been the great deposit of faith, defending the true and orthodox faith ever since the days of the Apostles until today.

Popular apparition or vision, or popular and influential individuals do not make up our faith brothers and sisters in Christ. If what they revealed to us is not in line or even contrary to our faith and the teachings of the faith in the Church, we can be almost certain that those visions, apparitions, and individuals did not come from God, but rather from men, or worse still, from the evil one.

The popular alleged apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Medjugorje in Serbia for example, had not been approved as a legitimate apparition of the faith and yet it remained very popular, drawing many pilgrims and believers. In the Medjugorje ‘apparition’, the Blessed Virgin apparently appeared daily and gave her messages in daily manner, almost as if she is responding to the prayers of the pilgrims, and as a result, drawing even more people to come and believe in the alleged apparition.

This is what we have to exactly be on guard for, to avoid putting too much emphasis on unverified visions of the spirits, so that we will not easily fall prey to the attempts of the evil one to deceive us, just as he had once deceived Eve, and many other people who had passed away before us. Be always on guard, and strengthen our faith. Read the Scriptures with understanding and deepen our knowledge of the faith through understanding the teachings of the Church.

May our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen our faith, and grant us the strength and courage to say no to the deceptions of evil, and that we may seek the Lord and. Him only, following what He truly desires of us. God be with us all. Amen.

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.