Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings we are all reminded both of our sinfulness and also of God’s mercy, which He extends to all of His beloved children. We have sinned before the Lord, disobeying His commandments and walked away from the path which He had shown us, in pursuit of our worldly glory and other things that kept us away from Him.

But God loves each and every one of us, so much that He was willing to forgive us and He wants to welcome us back into His presence, because He is indeed merciful and filled with compassion and pity for us. He will bless us and receive us back in grace, just as He had promised us through Jesus His Son, as we heard in our Gospel passage today.

Nevertheless, we have to remember the fact that, while God is merciful, and while He extends His mercy and love freely to all of His people, but whether His mercy works on us depends solely on whether we accept that mercy, and open the doors of our hearts to welcome God and allow Him to enter into our hearts and exercise His grace of mercy in us, transforming us from the sinners that we are into people of the light.

We have hardened our hearts against God, and we did not allow God to enter into our hearts. We shut Him out and drown ourselves in our many busy dealings and concerns of the world, that we were not even able to listen to Him speaking to us in the depths of our hearts, calling us to repent from our sins and to be reconciled with Him. This is the problem that many if not most of us are facing, and the reason why many people were still incapable of reaching God’s mercy and forgiveness.

We should look upon the example of the prophet Daniel, who in our first reading today was humbly petitioning God, exposing before Him the sins of all the people who have disobeyed His commandments and were wayward in their ways. He has admitted on behalf of the people, the sins which they had committed, which brought a great shame to them, unworthy to even call God their Lord and Master.

It is this kind of humility and acceptance of one’s own sinfulness that allows God to exercise His forgiveness and mercy among us. Many of us do not only harden our hearts in pride before the Lord, but we also deny our sins, thinking that we could not have done wrong in our lives, or that we are thinking that those sins were inconsequential. We were wrong if we think in that manner, brothers and sisters, for sin, even the smallest among all forms of sin, are abhorred by God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this season of Lent, as we continue to progress through this special time for repentance and forgiveness, let us all reflect deeply into our lives. Let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord our God, promising Him that we will no longer sin as we had done before, but instead willingly embrace His love and mercy, opening the doors of our hearts to welcome Him.

Let us work conscientiously to restrain ourselves, our pride, our desire and all the temptations to sin which had led us astray. Let us use this time and opportunity that God had granted to us in order to work towards our redemption and salvation in God. It is time for us to turn our back against our old ways of sin, and to begin anew in faith in the Lord. This is what we must do, so that we will be worthy of God’s forgiveness, so that while we are sinners, but God will absolve from us our sins, and transform us into righteous people in His presence.

May the Lord bless us all and help us to go through this season of Lent filled with joy knowing that we have the hope of forgiveness and everlasting life by what He had promised us all who remain true and faithful to Him. Let us humbly seek Him with repentance and regret for all of our past transgressions and sins. May God forgive us all our sins and bring us to the glory of the everlasting life. Amen.

Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Luke 6 : 36-38

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”

Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Psalm 78 : 8, 9, 11 and 13

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us for the sake of Your Name.

Listen to the groans of the prisoners; by the strength of Your arm, deliver those doomed to die. Then we, Your people, the flock of Your pasture, will thank You forever. We will recount Your praise from generation to generation.

Monday, 13 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff and Bishop of Rome (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple
Daniel 9 : 4b-10

Lord God, great and to be feared, You keep Your covenant and love for those who love You and observe Your commandments. We have sinned, we have not been just, we have been rebels, and have turned away from Your commandments and laws. We have not listened to Your servants, the prophets, who spoke in Your Name to our kings, leaders, fathers and to all the people of the land.

Lord, justice is Yours, but ours is a face full of shame, as it is to this day – we, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the whole of Israel, near and far away, in all the lands where You have dispersed us because of the infidelity we have committed against You. Ours is the shame, o Lord for we, our kings, princes, fathers, have sinned against You.

We hope for pardon and mercy from the Lord, because we have rebelled against Him. We have not listened to the voice of YHVH, our God, or followed the laws which He has given us through His servants, the prophets.

Sunday, 16 October 2016 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this holy day of our Lord, we listened to several different discourses from the Holy Scriptures, telling us firstly from the Book of Exodus, the tale of the time when the Israelites defeated the people of Amalek, the greatest enemy of the people of God by the guidance of the Lord through Moses, His servant.

Then, we heard about how inspiration and true wisdom comes from God in the form of the Scriptures itself, as St. Paul mentioned in his correspondence letter to St. Timothy. The Scriptures are the words of the Lord, His servants and His prophets who all delivered the word of God to us all and made known to us all His will. By reading through the Scriptures we will then come to understand the way that God wants us to walk and tread on.

In the Gospel then we also heard about Jesus our Lord Who taught the people using the parable of an evil judge and a widow who harassed him day and night, from time to time, so that the evil judge who did not bother about anyone, would come to her rescue by giving what she righteously desired for, the protection and guarantee over her share of inheritance.

In the end we heard how the evil judge acquiesced to her demands and fulfilled what she had asked him, just so that he might be spared from her constant nagging and demands. In all these three readings and the Psalm which we heard, we can see a theme that is arising to us, telling us to look towards the One and the only One indeed Who can be the freedom and the liberation from our troubles.

God stood by His people on that day when Amalek unexpectedly and unprovoked launched an attack on the people of God, Israel. He stood by them faithfully as they fought against this ferocious and dangerous enemy, and eventually they triumphed, not by the might of their own arms, but because God was with them. This was shown to us through Moses who was told to raise his hand holding the staff of God in his hands. Whenever he lifted up his arms, the people of God would be winning, and when he became tired and lowered his arms, the people of God were losing against the Amalekites.

How is this relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is relevant because we ourselves are always in a constant struggle and conflict, not just within our own lives in this world, with all of its goods and troubles, but even more importantly, the battle and conflict over our souls, the eternal soul within us that will determine our fate for eternity, whether it will be in glory with our God or in agony suffering torment for the consequences of our wickedness.

And we are not in this conflict alone, brethren. Satan is more than willing, and indeed wanting and desiring to claim us all, our souls, and bring all of these with him as he descends into hell with all of his fellow rebel angels. But on the other side, we have our guardian Angels, whom God had sent together with His many other Angels, all the servants and holy men and women He had called and inspired to lead us to the right path and to resist the pull of evil.

God protects us from the depredations of these demons and all those seeking to destroy us with themselves. However, it does not mean that we do not have to do anything and just wait patiently and quietly for salvation to come to us. In that same second reading, St. Paul as mentioned earlier on told St. Timothy about the importance of the Holy Scriptures for us.

It is therefore that by adhering and understanding the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures that we are able to appreciate better what our Lord wants from us, and which is the way that we need to take as we embark on this life. Otherwise we may lose our path and ended up committing ever more sins and wickedness that will eventually be held accountable against us.

How many of us spend time to read the Bible and its contents, trying to understand the Word of God contained inside it? How many of us attempted to comprehend the examples of the holy saints and the servants of God as written and recorded in the Old Testament, and the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord in the New Testament? There are truly many examples of their courageous faith, and also some other examples of wickedness that we should avoid.

But we must also be careful lest we fall into another trap of the devil. Never think that the devil cannot use the Word of God as contained in the Scriptures against us, as he had shown when he used the Word and twisted its meaning against Jesus Who was fasting in the desert just after He was baptised in order to test Him and made Him fall. But he did not meet any success at all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to spend time reading through the Scriptures, for the Word of God is key to our ability to keep the faith and understand the Lord and His will, His commandments and ways. But we have to understand it and read it through the guidance and help from the Church and from our Faith. That is why we should not allow ourselves to have our own interpretation of the meaning of the Word if these are not in accordance with the teachings of the Church.

Let us all from now on devote ourselves to be ever more devoted and committed people and servant of our God, spending time to read the Scriptures and then commit ourselves to do what the Lord had told us to do through His words in the Scriptures, loving our brethren who are in need, be charitable and be loving to our unloved, hated and ostracised brethren, being merciful and forgiving to all those who have slighted or angered us whether intentionally or unintentionally.

May the Lord bless us all and keep us always in His grace, that we may draw ever closer to Him and at the end of our days, He may bless us and strengthen us, and consider us all worthy of His salvation and eternal life. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 16 October 2016 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples a parable, to show them that they should pray continually, and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my opponent!'”

“For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.'”

And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night, even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Sunday, 16 October 2016 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
2 Timothy 3 : 14 – 2 Timothy 4 : 2

As for you, continue with what you have learnt and what has been entrusted to you, knowing from Whom you received it. Besides, you have known the Scriptures from childhood; they will give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, refuting error, for correcting and training in Christian life. Through Scripture the man of God is made expert and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In the presence of God and Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by the hope I have of His coming and His kingdom, I urge you to preach the Word, in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking or advising, always with patience and providing instruction.