Thursday, 7 October 2021 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, a highlight of this month of October, which is also the Month of the Holy Rosary, a time when we are all encouraged to pray the rosary daily and to rediscover that love and relationship we have for God through Mary, His loving Mother and our beloved mother too. Mary has always interceded and prayed for us on our behalf, and her thoughts are always ever focused on us, her wayward children still living in this dark and sinful world.

Today, we mark the occasion of the four hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, a great and decisive battle, a triumphant victory for the forces of Christendom and the champions of the Lord in the struggle against the forces of heathens of the Ottoman Empire and its allies, who sought the domination of the world and the subjugation of Christians and the Christian kingdoms and states of that time. At that time, Christendom was beset not only with these external pressures but also with many internal divisions, having suffered from the effects of the reformation that led to many leaving the Church and many in rebellion against the true faith.

Therefore, at that time, the Church, the faithful and the entire Christendom itself were under great threat of destruction, and that would have happened if not for the great intercession of the Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, by the actions of the Pope then, Pope St. Pius V, who exhorted all of Christendom to stand together and asked all the faithful to pray the Rosary as he gathered together forces from the various kingdoms and realms, establishing a great Holy Alliance aimed at standing up against the great Turkish invasion forces.

At the same time, the Church also geared up her efforts in combating the heresies and divisions by the conclusion of the Ecumenical Council of Trent and its many sweeping reforms through which many excesses and previous errors of the Church were eradicated, and the teachings of the Church were reaffirmed and reinforced. Missionaries and teachers of the faith, led by the courageous Jesuits were sent to the forefront where many of those who have lapsed from the true faith were to be encouraged and welcomed to return to the Holy Mother Church, and many more still were sent to evangelise in far away nations and places.

And then, the forces of Christendom were gathered together, numerous mighty ships, sailors and soldiers, all gathered against an even larger armada of the Ottomans bent on destruction of Christendom. With the guidance and intercession of the Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, as Christendom was united in the prayer of the rosary as encouraged by the Pope, the forces of the Holy Alliance met the enemy at the Bay of Lepanto in a great battle that is still remembered to this very day, as a major turning point in the history of the world.

During the battle, many eyewitnesses saw a great vision of heavenly forces led by Our Lady, with a rosary in her hand, which terrified the forces of the enemies of the Lord, and many of the sailors and slaves on the ships, who were enslaved Christians forced by the wicked Ottomans, turned against their masters and slavers, seeking freedom and turned the whole tide against the enemy, resulting in a great overwhelming victory for the forces of Christendom. The forces of the enemies of the Lord were scattered, and the faithful were saved from the destruction planned against them.

Through this great victory, the whole Christendom rejoiced and celebrated, as church bells tolled and rang all around, commemorating the great triumph which God had led His people into. The Pope proclaimed the day of this great victory initially as the celebration of Our Lady of Victory, before eventually it was changed to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary as we all celebrate it today. We remember the great intercession by which Our Lady of the Rosary had helped the faithful being attacked by the forces of the enemies of the Lord and His Church.

As we heard in the story of the Battle of Lepanto, and undoubtedly many other examples present in our world and in our own lives, the Lord often delivered the faithful through the intercession of His loving mother, who always directed her gaze upon us, her children in this world, and through the Holy Rosary that we dedicated to her, we united ourselves in prayer through Mary to her Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. So, we ought to ask ourselves if we have spent at least some good quality time in prayer to God and also asking His blessed mother to pray for us, by devoting ourselves through the rosary.

The rosary devotion has been given to us by our own blessed mother Mary, as a way for us to draw closer to the Lord through her, as a way for us to deepen our relationship with God through prayer, by removing from us the distractions and the temptations of our daily living, and instead focusing ourselves on the Lord and His mother, through which we may grow ever deeper in spirituality and in commitment to God, and through the rosary, we may grow ever better as Christians, and also even inspire others to follow in our good examples.

Let us all therefore entrust ourselves to our beloved mother Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, so that we may grow ever deeper in our love for God through His mother. May the Lord, our loving God and Saviour deliver us from those who seek our destruction, and may He strengthen and encourage us all always, to strive and persevere through the challenges of our lives, at all times. Our Lady of the Rosary, our most loving mother, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Thursday, 7 October 2021 : 27th 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.

Thursday, 7 October 2021 : 27th 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.

Thursday, 7 October 2021 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these, together, gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women, and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th 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, commemorating with joy this month in which we are encouraged to pray the rosary, asking for the prayers and intercessions of Our Blessed Mother, Mary. But the origins of this feast day came from the famous victory of the forces of the Christian faithful against the enemies of the Church in the Battle of Lepanto.

Originally this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory from this battle, in which, at the time, as the growing power of the Ottoman Empire and its forces began to threaten Christendom, having subjugated quite a few Christian populations under its rule, the situation of the Christian faith and Church were truly dire, as the Christians themselves were bitterly divided by the various heresies and splinter groups appearing at the time due to the reformation movement.

As the day of the decisive battle and conflict comes close, the Pope then, Pope St. Pius V called all of Christendom to pray the rosary fervently, asking for the intercession of the Mother of God that her Son would be with the forces of the faithful fighting for the survival of the Christian faith under persecution and trials. And through the efforts of all those who dedicated the prayers of the rosary, through the power of their prayer, God was moved to intervene on the side of His faithful people.

Although the forces arrayed by the enemy forces at Lepanto were extensive and immense, outnumbering the forces of the faithful, but the Lord was with those who were faithful to Him, fighting by their side against the enemy. And through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Victory, the forces of the Christian faithful triumphed against the enemy forces, defeating them utterly and showing the power of God’s providence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that was the historical origin of the celebration of this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the dedication of the month of October as the month of the Holy Rosary. But even more significantly, brothers and sisters, do you all know that our prayers, when made with devotion and genuine faith, are powerful tools and weapons against the attacks and insidious plans of the evil one and all of his forces? A genuine prayer is feared more by Satan than the clang of weapons and swords.

We heard in our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, on the Apostles and disciples of the Lord after the Lord ascended into Heaven, in how they continued to gather and pray together, spending their time as they awaited the coming of the Helper, the Holy Spirit that has been promised by God to them. And even after the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and the Christian faithful often gathered together and pray as a community, and even when they were on their own, they also often spent their time in prayer.

And rosary is truly a special form of prayer, as the prayers often associated with the rosary help to remind us of the important events in the history of our faith and in the story of our salvation by God. And through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, our prayers will be raised even closer to God’s Throne, for Mary is at the side of her Son in Heaven, praying and interceding for our sake, at each and every moment. The rosary is indeed like its name, implying a ‘rose’ or flower, a bouquet of prayers that we offer to God through His mother, who is also our beloved mother, Mary.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in these particularly difficult times and challenging moments in life, as we faced so many bitter trials and difficulties in these past few months this year, we need to deepen our spiritual and prayer life, and the rosary is one way how we can deepen our prayer life and spirituality. Are we willing to commit ourselves to be more prayerful Christians, in each and every moments of our lives? The choice is ours to make, and as God has called us all, let us devote ourselves ever more faithfully to Him, from now on, with the guidance from His blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Rosary.

Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us all sinners, just as we make our prayers of the rosary dedicated to you, out of our love for you, our blessed and ever loving Mother. Pray and intercede for us, and help us to follow your examples, and be faithful to God as you have been faithful yourself, in all things. Amen.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th 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.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th 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.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these, together, gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women, and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Monday, 7 October 2019 : 27th 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, the seventh day in the month of October we annually celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which began with the devotion to Our Lady of Victory, in commemoration of the great victory of the forces of the Christian faithful in the great battle of Lepanto against the forces of the infidels and those who persecuted the faithful and threatened Christendom at that time.

At that time, Christendom was threatened from all sides, from external forces and enemy as mentioned, as well as from internal disputes and divisions, heresies and lack of faith. But there were those who strived to put the effort to bring the Church back on its feet, as part of the Counter Reformation movement, renewing the zeal of many of the faithful and many heeded God’s call to serve Him in purifying His Church.

And when faced with the great external threat in the form of the mighty Ottoman Empire, which then was the superpower of the known world, and threatened much of Christendom, it was several brave leaders who took up the Cross and endeavoured to fight back against those who sought the destruction of the faithful. And thus, under the leadership of Pope St. Pius V and other leaders like Don Juan of Austria and many others, the Christian forces rallied itself and sought for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin for victory against their enemies through the devotion of the Rosary.

In the end, despite the great odds and supremacy of the enemy, the Christian forces prevailed in the end, and the faithful dealt a major blow on their enemies. It was also told that a great miracle occurred during the battle, as it appeared that the Blessed Mother of God was there guiding the faithful as they struggled against their enemies and helped through her intercession to bring them to a great victory.

In thanksgiving for the great victory, the day of the triumphant Battle has ever since been declared by Pope St. Pius V as a day of great celebration, initially attributed to Our Lady of Victory, but eventually developed into the celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary as how it happens today. Nonetheless, the key message of the celebration remains, in how the faithful managed to overcome their great oppressor and enemy through the help and intercession of Mary, by the devotion of the Rosary.

Now, let us all look at the Rosary itself. The rosary is a form of prayer in which a series of prayers of Ave Maria or ‘Hail Mary’ as we all know it, are prayed together in a chain, forming a chain of prayers which we use the rosary chain as a guide as we pray. The word rosary itself came from the root word ‘rosa’ meaning rose in Latin, that is a symbolic representation of how we actually offer a bouquet of lovely roses to our loving mother Mary as we pray the rosary.

The rosary is shown to us by Mary herself as she appeared to St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, many centuries ago, and centuries before the fateful battle in Lepanto. She asked St. Dominic to propagate the use of the rosary as a devotion to help in the salvation of souls. For through the prayers of the rosary, the faithful can become closer to their loving mother through their prayers, and in turn, Mary will intercede for their sake before her Son in heaven.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary loves us just as much as she loves her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is because she had been entrusted to us by the Lord Himself from His Cross to be our mother, as He entrusted her to St. John, His disciple, representing the whole body of the Church. And vice versa therefore, we have also been made to be her adopted sons and daughters. Which mother then does not love her own children?

She does not want us to fall into sin that eventually lead us into damnation and separation from her Son, Our Lord and God. That is why through the Rosary, our blessed mother wants to help us to reconnect spiritually to God through her. She wants us to deepen our relationship with God through prayer and through contemplation. Through better relationship with God we can develop stronger faith and be more resistant to the temptations of the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord’s call through His blessed mother calling us to a greater devotion and closer relationship with Him through His mother. On this day we are called to remember how through our close interaction and relationship with God through Mary we can be brought into a new existence in God and also receive His grace and blessings as those who won at Lepanto by the grace of God has shown us all. And we ourselves are in constant spiritual struggle and warfare, against the devil and the fallen angels who are trying to drag us into sin and hell with them.

Therefore in this month of October, the Marian month of the Rosary, let us all spend the time to pray more fervently especially that of the devotion of the rosary, so that we may grow to love God more and attune ourselves to Him more, and be more capable of resisting the temptations to sin in our daily living. And let us all trust in God more deeply for everything, knowing that He has loved us all these while and will not let us all to fall into eternal damnation through sin.

May the Lord, through His blessed mother Mary, who is also our loving mother, continue to love us all dearly and guide us to Himself in our journey of faith throughout life. Let us all deepen our spirituality and connection to God through His mother Mary by our devotion of the holy rosary daily that we may be triumphant in this constant struggle for our souls in the constant and daily spiritual warfare. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 7 October 2019 : 27th 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.