Tuesday, 21 November 2017 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. On this day, parallel to the presentation of her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, which we celebrate on the second day of February, we see the venerable custom of the Jewish people, commanded by God in the Law, that all of the firstborn children of the people of God ought to be offered to God, to be sanctified before Him.

Through the Blessed Virgin Mary, God wanted to show all of His beloved people, His love and also hope for our salvation. Through her, the Saviour of this world has been born, the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man through His mother Mary. Mary indeed has been prepared especially for this role, as the Church and our faith believes that she was conceived without sin, immaculate and pure from the moment of her conception.

Why is that so? That is because she was to be the one who bear the Saviour in her womb, as the one who would bear the Master of all the universe Himself, Who is all good and perfect. She is the new Ark of the Covenant, and as the old Ark which is made of precious metals and materials, the new Ark was even better, as compared to the old Ark which was the product of man’s craftsmanship, the new Ark was God’s craftsmanship alone, as all of us have been made in the image of God.

And when Mary was offered at the Temple to the Lord, it also symbolises the complete surrender and dedication to God, which all of us mankind are supposed to be doing with our lives as well. Mary kept herself in the service of God all her life, and she obeyed Him and followed Him in what He wanted to do with her life. She listened to God’s will and allowed Him to perform His wondrous works through her life, the most important of which was her acceptance of the role to be the Mother of God.

In the Gospel passage today, Jesus was speaking to the people about who is truly His brothers and sisters, His mother and His family. At the first glance, it might seem that Jesus was rebuking His own family and His own mother no less, as they were looking for Him and wanted to speak to Him, and yet He apparently refused to even acknowledge them as His family.

Yet, in reality, He was using the opportunity to teach the people and to reveal to them, that because of Himself, Who has come into this world, as the Son of God born of the Virgin and became Man, all of mankind who share in the humanity of Christ have also been called to become God’s children. But many of us have been wayward and refused to obey Him, and instead, we follow other leaders and other ways, falling into sin in the process.

This is where Jesus showed us the way to go forward, that is the best way for all of us to reach out to Heaven. And it is none other than through Himself, by His sacrifice on the cross, which bridged the once unbridgeable gap between us mankind and God, and this way passes through His mother, Mary. Thus, the saying, ‘ad Iesum per Mariam – To Jesus through Mary’, which signifies that Mary, the Mother of Our God is the best and easiest way for us to reach out to the Lord and His saving grace.

When Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, that those who listen to the Lord and obey His will and commands are considered to be God’s family, He was in fact pointing out that Mary, is the best embodiment of that obedience, for her entire life, as I have mentioned earlier, has been dedicated to God and His service. Mary is the finest example for all of us Christians to follow, on how to be true disciples and followers of the Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate together today as the whole entire Church, with joy for the remembrance of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, let us all renew our conviction and commitment to live faithfully, and filled with sincere and wholehearted faith, that in each and every one of our actions, we will always be ever faithful to God, following the examples of Mary, in her obedience and commitment to God.

Let us all also devote ourselves and indeed, resolve to present ourselves to the Lord, even though we are sinners and unworthy, so that through our renewed commitment and effort we will draw ever closer to Him, and be eventually ready to receive His everlasting grace. May God bless us always, and may His loving mother Mary intercede for our sake always. Amen.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.”

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.”

The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again. Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, part of our celebration of the Marian month of October, when the daily recitation of the rosary is highly encouraged as part of our devotion to God through His mother, Mary. And we remember today, this loving mother, whom the Lord had entrusted to us as our own mother, through the rosary which she had granted us and revealed to us, as the means to help to achieve our salvation.

The origins of this feast came about from the historical moment of a great battle that raged over four centuries ago, at the time of great danger to the Christian world and the faithful, when the forces of the enemies of the Church and the unbelievers were arrayed against it, attacking the Church both from within and without. The Church was divided and assailed by the heresies and divisions that threatened to destroy the faithful.

But the greatest threat then came from the forces of the mighty Ottoman Empire, which armies and ships had risen up against Christian nations and states, overpowering them one by one. Christendom at that time came under very great threat, the threat of destruction and martyrdom. Yet, at the same time, salvation came as the Christian forces gathered together and met the Ottoman forces at the Battle of Lepanto in the year 1571.

While the Ottoman fleet outnumbered the Christian fleet, but through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who apparently according to some eyewitnesses, made her apparition among the clouds with many other saints of God, the Ottoman forces were driven back and vanquished. And in thanksgiving for the great battle, which occurred on the seventh day of the month of October that year, the Pope then, Pope St. Pius V declared that day as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

Before the battle, the Pope called for all of Christendom to pray the rosary, and led a rosary procession through the city of Rome himself. The great victory and triumph of the forces of the faithful at Lepanto was therefore commemorated on this day, also as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, in remembrance of the power of the holy rosary in calling upon the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary.

Now, back to our present day, there is still a great reason to celebrate this Feast of the Holy Rosary, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary herself. For there is always a great challenge and opposition facing the Church and all of us the faithful, by Satan our great enemy, and all of his forces of fallen angels and demons, arrayed against us. The devil is always active at work, trying to persuade, cajole, force and pressurise us to abandon our faith and commit sin instead, disobeying God’s laws and commandments.

Through the praying of the holy rosary, we reorientate ourselves to the Lord through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. The rosary is a great tool through which Mary desired to help all of us, whom God had entrusted to her as her own children. Surely, a mother who loves her children will not want any of them to be lost from her. For the price of sin is death and damnation in hell, as we are sundered forever from God’s grace and love.

St. Louis-Marie de Montfort once said that Mary is the surest, straightest and easiest path for us to reach out to God. And this cannot be further from the reality and the truth, as it is by imitating Mary that we will come closer to God, by following the examples of Mary, the mother of our God. Mary was faithful and obedient, and it was by the same obedience to God’s will that she accepted her role as the mother of God and Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The rosary when prayed with genuine devotion and faith is a constant reminder of the faith of Mary, through which she had devoted her entire life to the service of God. The rosary is the means through which mankind, fallen into sin, are able to climb their way back up to the light, from the darkness which had enveloped us through sin. And Mary is rightly feared by Satan and his allies, not just because of her great faith and commitment to God, her piety and holiness, but also because of the rosary.

Let us think of how many souls the devil has lost because of the rosary. Let us reflect on how many souls have gone to heaven instead of going to hell with the devil, just because they piously pray and recite the rosary prayers from their hearts, dedicating themselves to God through His mother Mary. Those who pray the rosary daily and with devotion, shall not fall into damnation, but instead go towards eternal life.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, if we do not yet have the habit of praying the rosary daily or at least regularly, let us begin praying it every day, especially during this month of October, the Marian month of the rosary. Let us all pray the rosary, believing that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we will be able to find the surest and most straightforward path to our Lord, through her guidance.

May the Lord continue to bless us and guide each one of us, so that we may continue to draw closer and ever more towards His salvation. Let us pray, asking for the continued intercession from our Blessed Mother, that she will continue praying for the sake of us sinners, for the salvation of our souls, and through the rosary, may we find the way towards righteousness in God. Amen.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Saturday, 7 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.