Friday, 7 October 2022 : 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 the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, reminding all of us that this month of October is the Month of the Holy Rosary when the Church encouraged all the faithful to pray the rosary daily, as an offering of prayer to God made through His blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary. The rosary as we know is the long chain of beads used by Christians in prayers, most commonly for the rosary in offering of the set of fifty Hail Mary or Ave Maria interspersed with the Lord’s Prayer and Gloria Patri or ‘Glory Be’ prayer, as well as some other prayers and devotions such as the Devotion to the Divine Mercy which also uses the rosary.

The history of this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary dated from the introduction of the rosary itself as a means of prayer to help Christians to get closer to God. Among the traditions of the Church and the saints, it was to St. Dominic, the famous founder of the Dominicans or the Order of Preacher that the Blessed Mother of God appeared, asking for all Christians to pray the rosary with the prayers I mentioned earlier, the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be prayers. In its earliest origins, the rosary had fifteen decades or a hundred and fifty beads in relation to how it was meant to replace the praying of the entire Book of Psalms by Christians, a practice that is still done through the Divine Office today.

The Blessed Mother of God granted the rosary to us all in order to help us all to find our way to the Lord through prayer, and by focusing ourselves on the Lord and to the good examples that Mary herself had done in her life, as one who is truly full of grace and blessed, fully faithful and committed to the Lord, to her Son, by her perfect obedience and virtues. Through the repetitive prayers of the rosary, we are in fact brought into that state of prayer and silence that can break us out from our attachments and distractions in life which had often prevented us from finding our way to God. And unlike the Psalms which are difficult to remember, the prayers making up the rosary are extremely simple to remember.

Through that, Mary, our Lady of the Rosary wanted more and more people to spend more time in prayer and in communication with God, and also with her that she may help to bring us all and direct us towards her Son, our Lord and Saviour. And today, on this Feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary we are yet reminded again of the need for all of us to adopt this prayer of the rosary to help us to come ever closer to God, through His mother Mary, our mother and our role model in faith. Have we prayed the rosary yet thus far, especially during this month of October, brothers and sisters in Christ? If we have not done so, then we really should start doing so now.

Then, this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary itself was instituted close to five centuries ago, under its original name of Our Lady of Victories. This date of the seventh day of October is the anniversary of the great and triumphant victory of the forces of Christendom against the forces of the wicked infidels of the Ottoman Turks who at that time sought to subjugate more and more of Christendom and the people of God to their flawed ideology and false teachings. At that time, the Church and Christendom themselves both were also beset by internal divisions and disagreements, as both were still reeling and suffering the effects of the Protestant Reformation, which led so many of the faithful astray into heretical paths.

Beset with internal divisions and the great external threat presented by the Ottoman Turks, the Pope therefore organised and raised up a great force from various parts of Christendom, gathering a Holy League led by one Don Juan of Austria, which went to face the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto in what is today the western part of Greece. The Pope also asked Christians everywhere to pray for the sake of the triumph of the Christian forces, encouraging them all to pray the rosary, asking for the intercession of the Blessed Mother of God and the saints, that the forces of the evil enemy might be crushed and defeated.

And thus, it was told that during the Battle of Lepanto, many saw the vision of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Victories and Our Lady of the Rosary, with innumerable saints and Angels leading forth the forces of Christendom against the enemy. The enemy fleet and forces were defeated and crushed, and the forces of Christendom triumphant, liberating many of the Christian slaves, tens of thousands of them who had been forced and enslaved to work on the enemy ships and galleys. The news of the glorious and triumphant victory came to the Pope who then dedicated this day to be the Feast of Our Lady of Victories, which then later on rededicated as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, reminding us all of the power of the rosary.

Why so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because all of us must realise that we are always ever involved in a constant and daily spiritual battle all raging around us, waged by the evil spirits, Satan and all the forces of his fellow fallen angels, demons and wicked spirits, arrayed against our Guardian Angels and other Angels and good spirits of the Lord, supported by the saints and our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary herself. Those who sought our downfall and destruction are never at rest, always ever trying to strike us down and to grab us down with them, into the slippery slope towards eternal damnation. But we are not alone in this fight and struggle, brothers and sisters.

That is why, we must not underestimate the danger of those who seek our destruction and downfall, and we should always be ever vigilant, resisting the temptations to disobey God and sin. We should make good use of whatever means that the Lord has given us to help us, with the rosary itself being one of these. That is why we should spend some time each day especially in this month of the Holy Rosary to pray the rosary. And when we pray the rosary, we should pray it with genuine understanding and intention, and not just uttering the words of prayer without meaning and understanding them. Let us pray the rosary in offering a most beautiful spiritual bouquet of prayer to our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Rosary, who will then offer them on our behalf before her Son.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our journey of faith through life, and may all of us grow ever closer to God through the guidance of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, and our loving mother. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 7 October 2022 : 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.

Friday, 7 October 2022 : 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.

Friday, 7 October 2022 : 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.