Saturday, 16 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 12 : 14-21

At that time, the Pharisees went out, and made plans to get rid of Jesus. As Jesus was aware of their plans, He left that place. Many people followed Him, and He cured all who were sick. But He gave them strict orders not to make Him known.

In this way, Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled : Here is My Servant, Whom I have chosen; the One I love, and with Whom I am pleased. I will put My Spirit upon Him; and He will announce My judgment to the nations. He will not argue or shout, nor will His voice be heard in the streets. The bruised reed He will not crush, nor snuff out the smouldering wick until He brings justice to victory, and in Him, all the nations will put their hope.

Alternative reading (Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Friday, 13 May 2022 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Fatima)

Luke 11 : 27-28

At that time, as Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to Him, “Blessed is the one who gave You birth and nursed You!”

Jesus replied, “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it as well.”

Saturday, 1 January 2022 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and World Day of Prayer for Peace (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Blue

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the first day of the solar Gregorian calendar year, marking the New Year and the beginning of a year ahead that I am sure we all hope to be better than last year and also the previous year before that. And today, the Church also celebrates a great Solemnity in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God or Theotokos, on this Octave or eighth day of Christmas, capping the great eight day celebrations of the Christmas Octave, although the Christmas season itself will still continue through the Epiphany this coming days and beyond.

First of all, the importance of this great Solemnity cannot be underestimated, as the belief in Mary as the Mother of God is a fundamental and essential Christian tenet that is inseparable from our believe in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour as God Himself, incarnate in the flesh. That is why today’s celebration is a fitting reminder of the true nature and importance of Christmas, a reminder for us all why we celebrate and rejoice during this Christmas season, a time for us to remember the love of God manifested to us in the flesh and appearing before us in Christ.

For at the time when the Dogma of the Divine Motherhood of God was officially proclaimed by the Church at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus almost a thousand and six hundred years ago, there had been a lot of arguments and divisions amongst the members of the Church regarding the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The debates were whether He was truly the Son of God or just a mere Man, and whether He was the Co-Eternal and Co-Equal Son of God or subordinate to the Father. These divergent ideas and teachings had led to a lot of heresies which had misled many among the faithful and caused divisions in the Christian communities.

That was why, beginning with the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, the Church and its many leaders have already gathered together and inspired by the Holy Spirit to safeguard the true teachings of the Church as handed down to all of them and which we have also now received, from the hands of the Apostles and their successors. Firstly, the relationship between Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour and the Father was clarified, that He is not only just the Son of God, but is also Co-Equal and Co-Eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, not subordinated but in equal and indivisible unity within the Holy Trinity, the One Triune God that yet maintains its distinct identities, One God in Three Persons.

This became the Nicene Creed as we know it today, which was then further updated at the subsequent Ecumenical Council of Constantinople to become the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed that we are still using regularly to this day. Through this Creed and the many other decisions by the venerable and courageous Church fathers inspired by the Holy Spirit, those who sought to subvert and change the teachings of the Church to suit their own self interests and ambitions were thwarted and many of those who have fallen to the heretical teachings and thoughts eventually returned to the Holy Mother Church.

Nonetheless, there were still disagreements and controversies surrounding the nature of Christ until that time particularly with regards to Mary, the Mother of Our Lord as there were disagreements between those who thought that Mary, as a mere woman could not have been the Mother of God, the same Infinite God and Creator of all the Universe. They thought how it was possible for a woman, a created being to become the mother of the One and Eternal God and Creator, for a created being to become the Mother of the Creator. This was the argument of those who also held the view that Jesus the Man was distinct and separate from the Divine Son of God.

Hence, they used the terms such as the Mother of Christ, or the Bearer of Christ in their references of Mary, highlighting that Mary was merely the mother of the human Jesus Christ, and not the Mother of God. But this view was totally flawed in that in the true nature of Our Lord, we can never completely separate His human and divine natures. Instead, as affirmed by the Ecumenical Councils at Ephesus and Chalcedon, the Lord and Saviour, Son of God and Son of Man is indeed one and only Person but with two distinct yet inseparable natures, Divine and Human at the same time. Each natures are distinct from each other and yet perfectly and completely united in the one Person of Jesus Christ.

And naturally therefore, if Jesus Christ is not just Man but also God, then Mary being His mother, as the one who bore Him in her womb, is also the Mother of God and not just the mother of Jesus Christ the Man. Just as Christ’s Divine and Human natures are inseparable, we cannot separate Mary’s motherhood of Christ from the fact that she is indeed the Mother of God. She was indeed full of grace and blessed among all women as said by her cousin Elizabeth, because she alone from all the creatures of the Lord was to bear the Almighty God Himself in the flesh, in her womb.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect today on Mary as the Mother of God, today all of us are also called to look to her examples and dedication to the Lord. She is not just honourable because she is the Mother of God but because she is also truly dedicated and faithful in her own way as well. She has obeyed the Lord wholeheartedly and followed Him throughout His life and ministry, ever since He was still in her womb, and then after He was born and then grew up, she still cared for Him, followed Him even throughout His works and then even through to the foot of the Cross. She remained true and faithful to the mission which God has entrusted to her.

Today we look up to Mary, who is not only just the Mother of God but also the mother of us all. For through His incarnation in the flesh, Our Lord has become part of our humanity and by sharing in our nature and in entrusting His own mother to us from the Cross, He has made all of us to be Mary’s own adopted children. She has watchfully guided us all and has never ceased praying for each and every one of us, and hoping that we can also follow her examples and also the examples of many of our faithful brothers and sisters, that we may also be truly faithful to God in all things.

Today we may then be wondering why is it that we are celebrating this occasion on the New Year’s Day. This is important because on this New Year’s Day, all of us are called to start the year right and not to continue living our lives in the manner that is not proper and unbecoming of our calling as Christians if that is what we have been doing all these while. All of us ought to remember that first and foremost, as Christians all of us are called to live our lives faithfully in accordance to the Law and the commandments that God has placed before us, which He has taught us and revealed to us through His Church.

If we call ourselves as Christians, then it is only right that all of us commit ourselves to a new life in God, to be true followers of Our Lord and be genuinely dedicated to Him in the way that Mary, the Mother of God and our mother had done. As we rejoice for her sake today, let us remember how all of us should also listen to her and her Son, in how we live our lives so that we do not end up being hypocrites in our Christian faith. That is why, as we begin this current new year, all of us should do our best and spend the time and effort to begin a year that is new, blessed and filled with true joy in Christ. The Lord has given us many opportunities in life and as such let us not forget to give Him thanks and to show our gratitude towards Him for His ever enduring patience and love for us.

In our lives in this new year, let us do whatever we can to be a source of light and hope, inspiration and strength to one another, especially to our brothers and sisters who are now suffering and are filled with sorrow and despair. In whatever way we can, and at least even through prayer, let us reach out to those who need our help, our love, care and attention. Just as Christ, Our Lord and Saviour has brought us the light of God’s salvation and revealed to us the wonders of His love, let us all pass on the light, love and all the wonders we have received to our fellow brothers and sisters.

Today, we also mark the occasion of the World Day of Peace, and hence it is an appropriate time for us to also dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of peace in our world. We all know how conflict and troubles had affected our world and many innocent people out there. If we do not actively make strides to go forth towards bringing Gos’s peace and harmony into our midst, then let us know just how our year and livelihood could be ruined by the conflicts, disagreements and hatred that are all around us. As Christians, all of us are called to pray for peace and to always work hard in championing the cause of peace.

Let us all do our best to live out our new year with ever greater faith in God and be ever fuller in love for Him, as we all gather together to celebrate this new year. And as we rejoice in all the new year celebrations, let us not forget to put Christ back at the centre of our hearts, our lives and existence so that we may live our lives from now on with Him as the focus and the inspiration for everything that we say and do.

Let us follow Mary, the Mother of God and our loving mother that we may be ever more righteous and obedient in following the Lord and in living our lives as role models to our fellow brothers and sisters, as genuine Christians at all times. And let us not forget to share our joy and blessings with others, especially those who have little or none to rejoice with this new year. Let us bring hope to the downtrodden and those who are in need of strength, encouragement and hope.

May God bless us all and may He empower each and every one of us so that we may grow ever stronger in faith and that we may always ever strive to seek Him and to walk in His ways. May our new year be blessed and be filled with joy, through Christ our Lord, through His light and hope. May God be with is all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 1 January 2022 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and World Day of Prayer for Peace (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Blue

Luke 2 : 16-21

So the shepherds came hurriedly, and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger. On seeing Him, they related what they had been told about the Child, and all were astonished on hearing the shepherds.

As for Mary, she treasured all these words, and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds then returned, giving glory and praise to God for all they had heard and seen, just as the Angels had told them.

On the eighth day the circumcision of the Baby had to be performed; He was named Jesus, the Name the Angel had given Him before He was conceived.

Saturday, 1 January 2022 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and World Day of Prayer for Peace (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Blue

Galatians 4 : 4-7

But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son. He came born of woman and subject to the Law, in order to redeem the subjects of the Law, that we might receive adoption as children of God.

And because you are children, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son which cries out : Abba! That is, Father! You yourself are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and yours is the inheritance by God’s grace.

Saturday, 1 January 2022 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and World Day of Prayer for Peace (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Blue

Psalm 66 : 2-3, 5, 6 and 8

May God be gracious and bless us; may He let His face shine upon us, that Your way be known on earth and Your salvation among the nations.

May the countries be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples with justice and guide the nations of the world.

May the peoples praise You, o God, may all the peoples praise You! May God bless us and be revered, to the very ends of the earth.

Saturday, 1 January 2022 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and World Day of Prayer for Peace (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Blue

Numbers 6 : 22-27

Then YHVH spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and say to them : This is how you shall bless the people of Israel; you shall say : May YHVH bless you and keep you! May YHVH let His face shine on you, and be gracious to you! May YHVH look kindly on you, and give you His peace!”

“In that way they put My Name on the people of Israel and I will bless them.”

Monday, 20 December 2021 : 4th Week of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.”

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign; a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Sunday, 15 August 2021 : Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is truly a special occasion for all of us, as not only that we celebrate the Sunday of the Lord, but by coincidence on this fifteenth day of August, as is every year, we also celebrate the great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which marks the moment when Mary, the Holy Mother of God was ‘assumed’ into the glory of Heaven, body and soul, and therefore, in some way, did not suffer fully the embrace of death, by the unique singular grace of God, her Son, Our Lord and Saviour.

This Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the four important Dogmas or core tenets of the faith with regards to Mary, together with the Dogma of the Theotokos or the Divine Motherhood of Mary, the Dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary and finally the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an affirmation of the long-held belief of the Church since the earliest times, declared official by Pope Pius XII in the year of Our Lord 1950, in his. ‘Ex Cathedra’ proclamation and the Papal Bull Munificentissimus Deus.

First of all, the Assumption is not equivalent to the Ascension of the Lord, as how some had misunderstood, thinking that we believe in Mary’s ‘Ascension’ into heaven. The Ascension of the Lord refers to how the Lord Jesus ascended by His own power and might, to sit on His Throne in Heaven, returning from where He had come from, and to prepare the place for us all, the faithful people of God. Meanwhile, the Assumption refers to the moment when Mary, by the grace and the power of God, was taken up into Heaven, not on her own accord.

There lies the difference between Our Lord’s Ascension and His mother’s Assumption, a difference that seems to be minute and yet, very important, lest we misunderstand them and like for some, causing them to have the wrong impression and idea about the true Christian faith, especially among some of our separated brethren, who held wrong ideas and false perception of what the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the same manner, all of us also must know what the Assumption is all about and how significant it is to our faith. Many among us Christians are still having misconceptions about our own faith, having misunderstandings and doing the wrong practices, and showing the wrong identity of the faith, with regards to our devotion to Mary and the other saints. That is why we have to understand clearly what the Assumption is all about, that we may indeed become genuine witnesses of our faith to many others.

Mary has been chosen by God to be the special Vessel and to be the New Ark, of the New Covenant between God and all of us. As such, she has been given the special grace of being conceived without the taint of original sin, which we celebrate as the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, as the pure and immaculate Vessel, conceived and then born without sin or any subjugation to it, free from its influences unlike that of any other human beings, save that of her own Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

Therefore, having been so prepared to be the New Ark of the New Covenant, far better than the old Ark, which was sacrosanct and holy, therefore, Mary, who bore in her womb, the Lord and Saviour Himself, ought not to have been subjected to the punishment and suffering of death. Why is that so? That is because death is the punishment and consequence of sin, and if Mary had not been tainted or corrupted by sin, then death has no hold over her at all.

Yet, with regards to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, also known in the Eastern Church traditions as the Dormition of the Theotokos, there are two main schools of thoughts regarding what actually happened at the moment of the Assumption. One stated that since Mary as the one who had been free from the taint of sin and as the Mother of the Saviour of all, then she must have completely been free from death, and therefore, was raised up into heavenly glory, in body and soul, that she entered Heaven and is no longer in the world.

Then, another school of thought stated that Mary did go through death, just like any others, because she shared in her Son’s Passion and death, and she died just as her Son also died, but not because of a punishment for her own sins. Therefore, that death was merely symbolic and in the end, whether she died or went into the sleep of death as per the Eastern tradition of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Mary went body and soul up into Heaven. Hence, regardless whether she actually died, went through death or any experience of death, Mary is now in Heaven, and that is what truly matters.

Then, brothers and sisters in Christ, how is this crucial for us? How is it important for us to appreciate this celebration of the Assumption of Mary, the Blessed ever-Virgin Mother of God? Mary’s Assumption into Heaven first of all is an assurance for us that we have someone who is always ever constantly praying for us, and who intercedes for us directly beside the Throne of her Son. For Mary is indeed the greatest of all the saints, and the one closest to Our Lord Himself, as is she not His mother? Just like the occasion of the miracle of the wedding at Cana, even the Lord would still listen to the words of His loving mother.

And that is not all, brothers and sisters in Christ, for in the Assumption of Mary, we also see the promise of new life and existence that we ourselves are going to experience in the time to come, as we will also be raised to Heaven, body and soul, at the end of time, when the final judgment comes, and our souls shall be reunited fully with our bodies, glorified, purified and blessed, that we may enjoy forever, with Mary, and with all the saints, the glory and true joy of Heaven with God forevermore.

Through the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, all of us are called to examine our own lives, and how we have lived them thus far. Have we been truly faithful to God in all things? Or have we instead allowed the temptations and the allures of worldly pleasures to distract us and mislead us down the wrong path? These are just some of things and questions that we should consider carefully, as we celebrate this great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, being reminded that if we sin, and do not repent from those sins, then death is the consequence, and there can be nothing worse than to be judged to eternal death and suffering.

Let us all therefore aspire to reject the path of sinfulness and evil, rejecting wickedness and disobedient attitudes in life. Instead, let us all look upon Mary, our loving mother and inspiration, that we may be more like her in faith, dedication and love for God, and be righteous in all of our dealings and actions. We are all called to be role models ourselves, and to be faithful and good witnesses of our Christian beliefs and faith in the midst of our respective communities.

Are we willing and able to do that, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is something that each and every one of us are certainly capable of doing, but more often than not we did not do so because we spent more time on worldly pursuits and in satisfying our personal desires, that we could not even spare a thought or effort to commit ourselves sincerely and with conviction. Hence, this Sunday, as we celebrate this great occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us all remind ourselves to be ever more committed to the Lord, and to do our very best to follow the Lord and to serve Him, and to live faithfully in accordance to His will from now on.

May the Lord bless us all and remain with us throughout this journey of life, and may His blessed mother, Mary, who has been assumed, body and soul, into the glory of Heaven, continue to intercede for us sinners, and be our constant source of strength and inspiration in how we live our lives as Christians from now on. Holy Mary, Mother of God, assumed into Heaven, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.