Sunday, 20 March 2016 : Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Holy Week (Passion Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 22 : 14 – Luke 23 : 56 (Palm Sunday Year C)

When the hour came, Jesus took His place at the table and the Apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I was eager to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

Then they passed Him a cup, and when He had given thanks, He said, “Take this, and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that, from now on, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Jesus also took bread, and after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

And after the supper, He did the same with the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant, sealed in My Blood, which is poured out for you. Yet the hand of the traitor is with Me on the table. Know that the Son of Man is going the way marked out for Him. But alas for that one who betrays Him!”

They began to ask one another which of them could do such a thing. They also began to argue among themselves which of them should be considered the most important. And Jesus said, “The kings of the pagan nations rule over them as lords, and the most hard-hearted rulers claim the title, ‘Gracious Lord.'”

“But not so with you; let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is the greatest, he who sits at the table or he who serves? He who is seated, isn’t it? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”

“You are the ones who have been with Me, and stood by Me, through My troubles; because of this, just as the kingship has been given to Me by My Father, so I give it to you. You will eat and drink at My table at My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones and govern the twelve tribes of Israel.”

“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you like grain, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have recovered, you shall strengthen your brothers.” Then Peter said, “Lord, with You I am ready to go even to prison and death.” But Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day before you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Jesus also said to them, “When I sent you without purse or bag or sandals, were you short of anything?” They answered, “No.” And Jesus said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and a bag as well. And if anyone is without a sword, let hm sell his cloak to buy one. For Scripture says : ‘He was numbered among criminals.’ These words have to be fulfilled in Me, and now everything written about Me is taking place.”

Then they said, “See, Lord, here are two swords!” But He answered, “That is enough.”

After this, Jesus left to go as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. When He came to the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not be put to the test.” Then He went a little further, about a stone’s throw, and kneeling down He prayed, “Father, if it is You will, remove this cup from Me; however, not My will but Yours be done.” And an angel from heaven appeared to give Him strength.

As He was in agony, He prayed even more earnestly, and great drops of blood formed like sweat and fell to the ground. When He rose from prayer, He went to His disciples, but found them worn out with grief, and asleep. And He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Get up and pray, so that you may not be put to the test.”

Jesus was still speaking when a group appeared, and the man named Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him, and Jesus said to him, “Judas, with a kiss do you betray the Son of Man?”

Those with Jesus, seeing what would happen, said to Him, “Master, shall we use the sword?” And one of them struck the HIgh Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus stopped him, “No more of this!” He touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus spoke to those coming against Him, the chief priests, officers of the Temple and elders; and He said to them, “Did you really set out against a robber? Do you need swords and clubs to arrest Me? Day after day I was among you, teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest Me. But this is the hour of the power of darkness; this is your hour.”

Then they seized Him and took Him away, bringing Him to the High Priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance. A fire was kindled in the middle of the courtyard, where people were gathered, and Peter sat among them. A maidservant noticed him. Looking at him intently in the light if the fire, she exclaimed, “This man also was with Him!” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”

A little later, someone who saw Him said, “You are also one of them!” Peter replied, “My friend, I am not!” After about an hour another asserted, “Surely this man was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”

Again Peter denied, “My friend, I don’t know what you are talking about.” He had not finished saying this, when a cock crowed. The Lord turned around and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word that the Lord had spoken, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter went outside, weeping bitterly.

And the guards, who had arrested Jesus, mocked and beat Him. They blindfolded Him, struck Him, and then asked, “Who hit You? Tell us, prophet!” And they hurled many other insulting words at him.

At daybreak, the council of the elders of the people, among whom were the chief priests and the scribes, assembled again. Then they had Jesus brought before them, and they began questioning Him, “Tell us, are You the Christ?” Jesus replied, “You will not believe, if I tell you, and neither will you answer, if I ask you. Yet from now on, the Son of Man will have His seat at the right hand of the MIghty God.”

In chorus they asked, “So you are the Son of God?” And Jesus said to them, “You are right, I am.” Then they said, “What need have we of witnesses? We have heard it from His own lips.

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

It was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph, from the Judean town of Arimathea. He had not agreed with the decision and action of his fellow members, and he lived uprightly in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God. Joseph went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. He then took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a yet unused tomb, cut out of a rock.

It was Preparation Day, and the star which marks the beginning of the Sabbath was shining. So the women, who had come with Jesus from Galilee, followed Joseph to see the tomb, and how His body was laid. And returning home, they prepared perfumes and ointments. And on the Sabbath day, they rested, as the Law required.

 

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 23 : 1-49

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

It was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

Saturday, 14 September 2013 : Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 3 : 13-17

No one has ever gone up to heaven except the One who came from heaven, the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.

Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through Him the world is to be saved.

Saturday, 14 September 2013 : Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Philippians 2 : 6-11

Though He was in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in His appearance found as a Man. He humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross.

That is why God exalted Him, and gave Him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth, and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Thursday, 22 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate an important feast in our faith, that is on the Queenship of Mary, the Mother of God, as a Queen and an honoured one, because of what she had done in her life, because of her exemplary role in our world, and most importantly, because of her crucial and irreplaceable role in the plan of salvation, by bearing the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God Most High.

Yes, brethren, Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ, and therefore, the Mother of God or Theotokos. She is a queen precisely because of this, that is because Jesus is the King of all kings, the King and ruler of all the universe, the God Most High, therefore, Mary, His mother is accorded that queenship. To her had been attributed many titles of queenship, including but not limited to, the Queen of heaven, the Queen of angels, and the Queen of all saints.

These titles revealed her importance to all of us, and the importance of her role, in the world and in heaven. Yes, this is because she is our greatest connector with our God, indeed due to her unique role in being the bearer of our divine Saviour as He descended into this world as man like us. Through her, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord who is divine was incarnate as man in Jesus, fully man, fully divine. Mary surrendered herself fully to the will of God, accepting what had been charged upon her through the archangel Gabriel.

By becoming the mother of our Saviour and King, Jesus Christ, she had become a Queen, not because of her wealth, power, or beauty, but because of her complete obedience, compliance, and surrender to the will of God, and the love she has for God and for His precepts. And here, it is important to note the difference between worshipping someone and venerating or honouring someone, as many had misunderstood the role that Mary, our Queen has.

Many thought that we in the Church and we who possess the true faith worship Mary as an equal to God, and their suspicions seemed to come true looking at how we refer to Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus as Queen, as a Holy Queen, the Queen of heaven, the Queen of angels and saints, as if we are making her a goddess in her own right. No, brothers and sisters, this is simply not the case. Anyone who believed in such things had been seduced by the evil one, that the truth presented to them had been twisted into lies by Satan. Yes, misinformation and misunderstanding of one’s faith is dangerous indeed.

We venerate, honour, and glorify Mary, as the mother of our God, the one through whom the deliverance came into this world, and because of her exemplary piety and obedience to God, but she remains a human being like us, and not a goddess, but she is now in heaven, having been lifted up to heaven in the glorious Assumption, which feast we had just celebrated last week. She is the first of all saints, and the most preeminent one amongst all that God had created.

Mary sits closest to the Lord in heaven, right at the side of her Son Jesus, who sits at the right hand of God, as the Holy Trinity. She is a great advisor and a great intercessor for us, the greatest among all saints, because of her close proximity to Christ her Son. That is why we call Mary, the Queen of all saints, because she is truly the first and greatest of all saints, both by virtue of her being the Mother of God and through her own piety and virtue.

She is also Queen of angels because she is also preeminent among all creations, and mankind is truly even greater than angels. Mary leads the angels in praying for us, interceding for us, and guiding us in our way, our journey towards the Lord our God, the Son of Mary. She is truly our great helper, the one who can help us in our path towards salvation in God. Truly, “Ad Iesum per Mariam” which means “to Jesus through Mary”, because just as Mary had stood beside the cross when Christ went through His Passion, she also stands even now, on the way to salvation, to her Son Jesus.

The cross is the path to our salvation, because through the cross, Jesus had died and through His death, He had broken the yoke and chains that bound us to hell, the yoke of sin that Satan had imposed on us ever since he had tricked our ancestors into disobeying the Lord our God. Through the cross, the chasm between us and heaven, the gap that exists between us and the Lord had been bridged by the glorious and triumphant cross. The gates of heaven had been opened for us sinners, through the Blood of the suffering and slaughtered Lamb of God.

Jesus suffered for all our sins, because even though He is blameless and pure, but He had been charged to die for all our faults, for all our trespasses, against God and our fellow men. The nails that pierced His hands and feet, the weight of that cross, the pain of His wounds, are the consequence of the sins and evils we had committed. He bore all that for us, and His mother watched Him suffer, and followed Him faithfully along the way to Calvary until He died. Mary is truly exemplary, for her complete obedience to God, and notice that she never complained about having to be the mother of our Saviour, and she never complained even though sorrowful, when she went to follow her Son to her death.

Mary is our Queen not because of her royal birth or her beauty, but because of her complete obedience and love she showed to the Lord. She is our Queen because without her and her love for God, we will not have our King, Jesus Christ, the promised Saviour, as told by Isaiah and the other prophets of God. She is Queen because she is the Mother of our God, and indeed, we are hers, just as she is ours, and that is why Mary is also the Queen of all mankind.

Why is it so? That is because she had been entrusted to all of us by her Son Himself from the cross, as He entrusted Mary to John, His disciple. In the same way, therefore, she had been entrusted to us. But Jesus did not just stop at there. He went on further, by entrusting His own disciple to His mother Mary. Therefore, in the same way, all of us, all of mankind had been entrusted to Mary, so that she becomes our mother too. Yes, Mary truly is our mother and our Queen.

We venerate and honour our mother and Queen, because she had loved us and cared for us, just as she had loved and cared for her Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Let us, brothers and sisters in Christ, give thanks to Him who had given us such a great gift in Mary, His mother. Let us also then thank Mary our mother and our Queen, for having been such a great guide and intercessor for our sake, helping us all these while on the path to salvation.

May Mary our mother, the mother of Jesus our Lord, the Queen of heaven, the Queen of Angels, the Queen of all saints, and the Queen of all mankind, pray for us sinners and intercede for us before Christ her Son on His throne. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius X, Pope (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we listen to the fairness of our God, the upright nature of His words, and the love He showed upon all of us through His constant help throughout time. He showed His love and mercy upon us, and He is just to all of His children. We who have been marred by sin and evil, and the ones who should have been cast with the devil into the eternal fire of hell, had been brought from the domain of death, back into the land of the living, just as the owner of the vineyard had brought those who are unemployed on the streets to work on his field.

Indeed, He has brought us from our oppressors, that is the devil and his angels, at a great price, a price that He paid with nothing other than His own Most Precious Blood, that redeemed all of us, from the price of sin that had been placed on us ever since we first sinned against God and disobeyed against His will and His commandments. He paid for all of us with that Most Precious Body and Blood of His, that we will not die, but live eternal with Him, He who loves us and He who wants to forgive us from our sins and impurities.

He had called us all from the darkness to come into the light, to come for the salvation that He had prepared for us. He made a promise, a covenant with all of us, that we will be rewarded with life eternal in Him, as we enter into our new life in Him, just as the labourers were taken out of their joblessness and life in the streets, into the new life in the service of the Lord in His field, His vineyard. Each of us, brothers and sisters, given a new chance of life, that we may truly receive a reward of eternity at the end of our labours and journey in this world.

Yes, and just like what we heard in the First Reading today, we are like the trees that goes around seeking a tree to be king over all of us, to be that source of leadership and guidance in our respective lives, to be the light guiding us through the darkness of this world. And indeed, while all the regal and great trees, well beloved and renowned, like the fig tree and the vine, did not want to abandon all that they have for the trees’ sake, Jesus is indeed like the bramble vine, who would want to lower Himself to be our king.

Why so? It is because becoming our king is not an easy thing for Jesus, as His ministry in this world would have shown. Many people opposed Him, and many paid a deaf ear to His messages and His teachings, and many openly defied Him and questioned Him, not least of all the leaders of the people, the chief priests and the Pharisees. He stripped everything off Himself to be our King, the king of slaves and the king of the oppressed and the abandoned ones.

That such that even He went through so much, as our leader and our King, and our Master, being crowned with the painful crown of thorns, to indeed signify that He is our king, and not just like any earthly kings, but a true king, one with His people always forefront in His heart and in all His concerns. He loves us, brothers and sisters, and His love for all of us, without exception, is so much that He was willing to endure all our sufferings and supposed punishments, and drink the cup of suffering that had been prepared for Him.

He did not shirk from the huge and burdensome task that awaited Him, and instead He went on, being led like a lamb brought to its slaughterhouse, and although He is innocent, He wanted to endure all those that were intended for all of us. For what, brothers and sisters in Christ? None other than the salvation and the rescue of our souls from the eternal damnation in hell! None other than the eternal separation that we would have to endure for all times, for all eternity, away from our Lord and God who loves us so much.

Yes, Jesus our Lord and God wants us to be with Him, instead of being in the fires and suffering of hell. He cares for us, He showered us with His love and mercy, especially through no other act greater than the surrendering of His own life, as the perfect and unblemished sacrifice for our sins, in His death on the cross. That was why He gave us the one and only means to salvation, that is none other than His own flesh and blood, which He gave to all of us and offered to all of us, at the Last Supper He had with His disciples.

That was exactly what Pope St. Pius X, the great early twentieth century Pope whose feast we are celebrating today, championed, on the emphasis on the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Most Holy Eucharist through which He had given us the means to salvation. Pope St. Pius X was born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, and he became a priest in his home diocese of mantua, eventually rising up the ranks to be bishop, and then the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice. He was elected as Pope Pius X, the 257th Pope and the 256th successor of St. Peter in 1903.

Pope St. Pius X was truly a great and holy Pope determined to reform the Holy Church and all its practices to better reflect its task as the bearer and medium of God’s salvation to all of us, the member of that One Body of Christ in the Church. Most important of all, He reformed the rules of the Holy Communion, such that then even small children would be able to receive the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ our Lord. Previously, only full fledged adults were able to receive Holy Communion, but with the reform spearheaded by Pope St. Pius X, those children were opened the way of salvation through the receiving of the Holy Eucharist.

To Pope St. Pius X, there is no better path and way to salvation, and there is no better gate to salvation than that of the Most Precious Body and Blood offered to us, from the Last Supper, down to us through the Holy Mass that we celebrate regularly. In them, we find the fullness and completeness of the Lord’s promise and dedication to us, in suffering the blows meant for us, that we will not die but live a life eternal in the bliss of heaven. For his hard work for the sake of the Lord, through the promotion of the early reception of the Eucharist, and also the regular reception of the Holy Eucharist, he was known as the Pope of the Eucharist.

Pope St. Pius X also reformed much aspect of the Church, ensuring that the Church can reflect better the ways through which it can persevere in the ever-changing and increasingly hostile world, to spread the words of the Lord’s Gospel to all mankind. He reformed the Church music by greatly promoting and reviving the usage of the Gregorian Chant, which beauty for the worship of the Lord, we can still enjoy today. He truly had dedicated his life and work for the sake of God, His Church, and His people, and he is indeed an example that all of us should try to emulate in our own lives.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, reminding ourselves most importantly of the love and attention God had for us, and the blessings He had given us, through His Son, Jesus, who had shed His own flesh and blood, and His life for us, let us resolve to love Him more and more, let us revere Him in the Most Holy Eucharist by attending the Mass regularly and reverently, and accepting Him into ourselves as we eat His Body and His Blood in the Holy Communion. Pray for us, Pope St. Pius X, that we will grow to love the Lord ever more in the Most Holy Eucharist. May the Lord in the Eucharist remain with us and bless us always. Amen.

Sunday, 18 August 2013 : 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 12 : 1-4

What a cloud of innumerable witnesses surround us! So let us be rid of every encumbrance, and especially of sin, to persevere in running the race marked out before us.

Let us look to Jesus the founder of our faith, who will bring it to completion. For the sake of joy reserved for Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and then sat at the right of the throne of God.

Think of Jesus who suffered so many contradictions from evil people, and you will not be discouraged or grow weary. Have you already shed your blood in the struggle against sin?

Monday, 12 August 2013 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Matthew 17 : 22-27

While Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, He said to them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. But He will rise on the third day.” The Twelve were deeply grieved.

When they returned to Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, “Does your Master pay the Temple tax?” He answered, “Certainly.”

Peter then entered the house, and immediately Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tribute to the kings of the earth : their sons or the other people?”

Peter replied, “The other people.” And Jesus told him, “The sons, then, are tax-free. But so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it. Take the coin and let it pay for you and for Me.”