Friday, 15 April 2022 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Isaiah 52 : 13 – Isaiah 53 : 12

It is now when My Servant will succeed; He will be exalted and highly praised. Just as many have been horrified at His disfigured appearance : “Is this a Man? He does not look like One.” So will nations be astounded, kings will stand speechless, for they will see something never told, they will witness something never heard of.

Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has YHVH revealed His feat? Like a root out of dry ground, like a sapling He grew up before us, with nothing attractive in His appearance, no beauty, no majesty. He was despised and rejected, a Man of sorrows familiar with grief, a Man from Whom people hide their face, spurned and considered of no account.

Yet ours were the sorrows He bore, ours were the suffering He endured, although we considered Him as One punished by God, stricken and brought low. Destroyed because of our sins, He was crushed for our wickedness. Through His punishment we are made whole; by His wounds we are healed. Like sheep we had all gone astray, each following His own way; but YHVH laid upon Him all our guilt.

He was harshly treated, but unresisting and silent, He humbly submitted. Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearer He did not open His mouth. He was taken away to detention and judgment – what an unthinkable fate! He was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for His people’s sins. They made His tomb with the wicked, they put Him in the graveyard of the oppressors, though He had done no violence nor spoken in deceit.

Yet it was the will of YHVH to crush Him with grief. When He makes Himself an offering for sin, He will have a long life and see His descendants. Through Him the will of YHVH is done. For the anguish He suffered, He will see the light and obtain perfect knowledge. My just Servant will justify the multitude; He will bear and take away their guilt.

Therefore I will give Him His portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong. For He surrendered Himself to death and was even counted among the wicked, bearing the sins of the multitude and interceding for sinners.

Friday, 30 March 2018 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the Good Friday, together the entire Church celebrate the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ, Our God and Our Saviour, suffered and took up His cross, and willingly be crucified on that cross to His death at Calvary. This day is indeed truly ‘Good’ because it is the day when our salvation has come, coming unto us from the cross of Christ.

The Lord Jesus was condemned to death and He was forced to take up His cross, a punishment for sins and for mistakes that He Himself had not done. It was the hatred, the enmity and the jealousy of the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin and the chief priests that had condemned the Lord to death on the cross. But the Lord accepted it willingly, though He did agonise over it, in His humanity, at the Garden of Gethsemane just before He was betrayed and arrested.

It was painful for the Lord to endure His cross and to bear it up to Calvary, because the burden of the cross is not just the weight of the physical wooden cross itself, already considerable due to its large size, and it is not just the distance which Jesus had to travel from the Praetorium in which He was condemned to death in the midst of Jerusalem towards the hill of Golgotha outside the city of Jerusalem.

No, the main reason why He suffered is because of our sins, all the faults and mistakes we have committed. We should have been punished for this, and we should have been cast into hell for eternity, but the Lord loves each and every one of us, for He has created us all out of strong and pure love, and surely He does not want any of us to perish because of our sins and disobedience.

Hence, He chose voluntarily to bear all the burdens of those sins and took it up upon Himself. We may think that such a feat is impossible, but remember, brethren, that what seems to be impossible for men, is completely possible for God. And God chose to bear our sins, weighing Him down on the cross, and also all the pains and sufferings He had to bear. All the lashes and wounds, all the cuts and slashes, all the spittle and all the humiliation He had to bear, all these are due to our sins.

When His accusers assailed Him and when the burdens of our sins crushed down upon Him, He accepted all of them quietly, as mentioned in the Scriptures, like that of a lamb waiting to be slaughtered for sacrifice. He gave Himself on the Altar of Calvary to be the Paschal Lamb, to be sacrificed for all of us, for the redemption of our sins. He brought all of our sins to the cross, and there, as the sacrifices of old, He poured down His own Blood, to seal a new Covenant between God and us, reconciling us with Our loving God and Creator.

That is just how much He loved us all, brothers and sisters, that He was willing to endure all of that, so that by His suffering and death, all of us who believe in Him may live. We all may think that the Lord remained on the cross because He was nailed to it, even when the people mocked Him to come down from the cross and save Himself. The teachers of the Law and the chief priests mocked Him, calling on Him to show a miracle by freeing Himself and coming down from the cross, that they might believe in Him.

Why did Jesus not come down from the cross? Certainly, He is God, and He is perfectly capable of doing so. But the words of the people who mocked Him, and the voices of the Pharisees, the chief priests and the elders were the voices of the devil, and all of his fallen angels and demons. Just as the devil tempted the Lord Jesus in the desert at the start of His ministry, then, at the very end of His earthly ministry, Satan tempted Jesus to abandon His mission and come down from the cross.

Who would not want to save himself or herself? Who would not want to be relieved from a great pain, inconvenience and suffering? We mankind have always been selfish by nature, and certainly we are tempted to put our own needs, desires and wants ahead of that of others. But that was not what the Lord Jesus had done. Despite all the pain He suffered, all the painful wounds He had to endure, all the blasphemy and all the insults He had to listen to, and the painful wounds of the nails that were hammered into His hands and feet, He persevered on.

For whose sake did He do all these? For all of us. It was not the nails that bound Christ fast to the cross, but it was the love He had for each and every one of us. It was His love that enabled Him to bear such a great burden and such an unbearable amount of pain. As huge and massive as our combined burden of sins are, even much greater is the love that God has for each and every one of us.

That, is what we need to realise when we look upon He Who is crucified on the cross, He Who died for us on Good Friday, the day when God Himself, Who took up the existence of Man, laid down His life, to save His beloved people. Have we appreciated the love that He has for each one of us? This is what we need to reflect on, as we remember His suffering and death today, on Good Friday.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians, all of us are called to follow in the example of Christ. If the Lord Himself has shown such great love and concern for each and every one of us, and if He has been so merciful and forgiving towards us, granting us opportunities after opportunities, and chances after chances for us to be reconciled with Him, even to endure such great pain on the cross for that purpose.

Are we able to love Him in the same way, this God Who has loved us so much? Just as He has given everything for our sake, even dying on the cross, are we able to love Him with all of our heart and devote ourselves to Him? That is first and foremost our priority in life and our primary obligation. If we have not done so, then we must love God with all of our strength, with all of our effort, with all of our mind, heart, body and soul.

Then, naturally, as Christians, we must also show the same love to one another. After all, God loves each one of us equally. He even forgave all of His enemies, and all those who have condemned Him to death on the cross. He prayed to the Father, that He would not hold them accountable for the sin they have committed for condemning Him to death, because of their ignorance and inability to see and understand the truth.

Yet, sadly, we see in many occasions around us, how we Christians act in the most un-Christian manner. We often gossip about each other and we often slander and seek to harm one another, either physically or mentally. We often bicker over worldly matters and we become jealous and covetous when we do not get or have what others possess. In the end, our actions and deeds, and even our words cause hurt and pain in others.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, our actions that cause harm upon others are sin before God, and as we have just discussed earlier, it is the same sin that the Lord Jesus bore upon His cross for our sake. How can we call ourselves as Christians if our actions are contrary to what God has done and what He has shown us and called us to do?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we move on from today’s remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, let us all renew our commitment before Lord crucified, that from now on, we will no longer live our lives with selfishness, ego, anger, and all sorts of negativities that had plagued our lives in the past. Instead, let us all love Him and love one another, just as He has shown us His ultimate love with the cross.

May the Lord, crucified for us this day, be the source of our strength and inspiration, that we may continue to live our lives in His footsteps, devoting ourselves at all times to serve Him wholeheartedly. May the Lord be with us all, and may He bless all of our actions. Amen.

Friday, 30 March 2018 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 18 : 1 – John 19 : 42

At that time, when Jesus had finished speaking, He went with His disciples to the other side of the Kidron Valley. There was a garden there, which Jesus entered with His disciples. Now Judas, who betrayed Him, knew the place, since Jesus had often met there with His disciples. So Judas took soldiers and some servants from the chief priests and Pharisees, and they went to the garden with lanterns, torches and weapons.

Jesus knew all that was going to happen to Him; He stepped forward and asked, “Who are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus said, “I am He.” Judas, who betrayed Him, stood there with them. When Jesus said, “I am He,” they moved back and fell to the ground. He then asked a second time, “Who are you looking for?” and they answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus replied, “I told you that I am He. If you are looking for Me, let these others go.” So what Jesus had said came true : “I have not lost one of those you gave Me.”

Simon Peter had a sword; he drew it and struck Malchus, the High Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given Me?”

The guards and the soldiers, with their commander, seized Jesus and bound Him; and they took Him first to Annas. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the High Priest that year; and it was Caiaphas who had told the Jews, “It is better that one Man should die for the people.”

Simon Peter with another disciple followed Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the High Priest, they let him enter the courtyard of the High Priest along with Jesus, but Peter had to stay outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the High Priest, went out and spoke to the maidservant at the gate and brought Peter in.

Then this maidservant on duty at the door said to Peter, “So you also are one of His disciples?” But he answered, “I am not.” Now the servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire and were standing and warming themselves, because it was cold. Peter was also with them warming himself.

The High Priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and His teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in places where the Jews meet together, either at the assemblies in synagogues or in the Temple. I did not teach secretly. Why then do you question Me? Ask those who heard Me, they know what I said.”

At this reply one of the guards standing there gave Jesus a blow on the face, saying, “Is that the way to answer the High Priest?” Jesus said to him, “If I have spoken wrongly, point it out; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike Me?” Then Annas sent Him, bound, to Caiaphas, the High Priest.

Now Simon Peter stood there warming himself. They said to him, “Surely you also are one of His disciples.” He denied it, and answered, “I am not.” One of the High Priest’s servants, a kinsman of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you with Him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at once the cock crowed.

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the headquarters of the Roman governor. It was now morning. The Jews did not go inside, lest they be made unclean by entering the house of a pagan, and therefore not allowed to eat the Passover meal. So Pilate came out and asked, “What charge do you bring against this Man?”

They answered, “If He were not a criminal, we would not be handing Him over to you.” Pilate said, “Take Him yourselves and judge Him according to your own law.” But they replied, “We ourselves are not allowed to put anyone to death.” It was clear from this what kind of death Jesus was to die, according to what Jesus Himself had foretold.

Pilate then entered the court again, called Jesus and asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “Does this word come from you, or did you hear it from others?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed You over to me. What have You done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingship does not come from this world. If I were a King, like those of this world, My guards would have fought to save Me from being handed over to the Jews. But My Kingship is not of this world.” Pilate asked Him, “So You are a King?” And Jesus answered, “Just as you say, I am a King. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of truth hears My voice.” Pilate said, “What is truth?”

Pilate then went out to the Jews again and said, “I find no crime in this Man. Now, according to custom, I must release a prisoner to you at the Passover. With your agreement I will release to you the King of the Jews.” But they insisted and cried out, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.”

Then Pilate had Jesus taken away and scourged. The soldiers also twisted thorns into a crown and put it on His head. They threw a cloak of royal purple around His shoulders; and they began coming up to Him and saluting Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him on the face.

Pilate went outside yet another time and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing Him out, and I want you to know that I find no crime in Him.” Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak and Pilate pointed to Him, saying, “Here is the Man!”

On seeing Him the chief priests and the guards cried out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate replied, “Take Him yourselves and have Him crucified, for I find no case against Him.” The Jews then said, “We have a Law, and according to the Law this Man must die because He made Himself Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this he was more afraid. And coming back into the court he asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “You will not speak to me? Do You not know that I have power to release You, just as I have power to crucify You?”

Jesus replied, “You would have no power over Me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed Me over to you is more guilty.” From that moment Pilate tried to release Him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who makes Himself a King is defying Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he had Jesus brought outside to the place called the Stone Floor – in Hebrew Gabbatha – and sat down in the judgment seat. It was the day of preparation for the Passover, about noon. Pilate said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” But they cried out, “Away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” Pilate replied, “Shall I crucify your King?” And the chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”

Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified. They took charge of Him. Bearing His own cross, Jesus went out of the city to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew Golgotha. There He was crucified, and with Him two others, one on either side, and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate had a notice written and fastened to the cross, which read : Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews. Many Jewish people saw this title, because the place where Jesus was crucified was very close to the city; and the title was written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. The chief priests said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews’; but, ‘This Man claimed to be King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered them, “What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes and divided them into four parts, one part for each of them. But as the tunic was woven in one piece from top to bottom, they said, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots to decide who will get it.” This fulfilled the words of Scripture : They divided My clothing among them; they cast lots for My garment. This was what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala, when Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “There is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Jesus knew all was now finished and, in order to fulfil what was written in Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of bitter wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a twig of hyssop, they raised it to His lips. Jesus took the wine and said, “It is accomplished.” Then He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit.

As it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus.

When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out Blood and water. The one who saw it, has testified to it, and his testimony is true; he knows he speaks the truth, so that you also might believe. All this happened to fulfil the words of Scripture : Not one of His bones shall be broken. Another text says : They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate, for he was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly, for fear of the Jews. And he asked Pilate to let him remove the Body of Jesus. Pilate agreed, so he came and took away the Body. Nicodemus, the man who at first had come to Jesus by night, also came and brought a jar of myrrh mixed with aloes, about a hundred pounds. They took the Body of Jesus and wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices, following the burial customs of the Jews.

There was a garden in the place where Jesus had been crucified, and, in the garden, a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And therefore, because the sepulchre was nearby, and the Jewish day of preparation was coming to a close, they placed the Body of Jesus there.

Friday, 30 March 2018 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Hebrews 4 : 14-16 and Hebrews 5 : 7-9

We have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, Who has entered heaven. Let us, then, hold fast to the faith we profess. Our High Priest is not indifferent to our weaknesses, for He was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sinning.

Let us, then, with confidence approach the throne of grace; we will obtain mercy and, through His favour, help in due time.

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him Who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His humble submission. Although He was Son, He learnt through suffering what obedience was, and once made perfect, He became the Source of eternal salvation for those who obey Him.

Friday, 30 March 2018 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 30 : 2 and 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17 and 25

In You, o Lord, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver Me in Your justice. Into Your hands I commend My Spirit; You have redeemed Me, o Lord, faithful God.

I have become an object of reproach for My foes, a horror for My neighbours, a fear to My friends. Those who see Me in the streets flee from Me. I am like the dead, unremembered; I have become like a broken pot, thrown away, discarded.

But I put My trust in You, o Lord, I said : “You are My God;” My days are in Your hand. Deliver Me from the hand of My enemies, from those after My skin.

Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save Me in Your love. Be strong and take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.

Friday, 30 March 2018 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Isaiah 52 : 13 – Isaiah 53 : 12

It is now when My Servant will succeed; He will be exalted and highly praised. Just as many have been horrified at His disfigured appearance : “Is this a Man? He does not look like One.” So will nations be astounded, kings will stand speechless, for they will see something never told, they will witness something never heard of.

Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has YHVH revealed His feat? Like a root out of dry ground, like a sapling He grew up before us, with nothing attractive in His appearance, no beauty, no majesty. He was despised and rejected, a Man of sorrows familiar with grief, a Man from Whom people hide their face, spurned and considered of no account.

Yet ours were the sorrows He bore, ours were the suffering He endured, although we considered Him as One punished by God, stricken and brought low. Destroyed because of our sins, He was crushed for our wickedness. Through His punishment we are made whole; by His wounds we are healed. Like sheep we had all gone astray, each following His own way; but YHVH laid upon Him all our guilt.

He was harshly treated, but unresisting and silent, He humbly submitted. Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearer He did not open His mouth. He was taken away to detention and judgment – what an unthinkable fate! He was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for His people’s sins. They made His tomb with the wicked, they put Him in the graveyard of the oppressors, though He had done no violence nor spoken in deceit.

Yet it was the will of YHVH to crush Him with grief. When He makes Himself an offering for sin, He will have a long life and see His descendants. Through Him the will of YHVH is done. For the anguish He suffered, He will see the light and obtain perfect knowledge. My just Servant will justify the multitude; He will bear and take away their guilt.

Therefore I will give Him His portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong. For He surrendered Himself to death and was even counted among the wicked, bearing the sins of the multitude and interceding for sinners.

Saturday, 8 April 2017 : 5th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
John 11 : 45-56

At that time, many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what He did; but some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called together the Council.

They said, “What are we to do? For this Man keeps on giving miraculous signs. If we let Him go on like this, all the people will believe in Him and, as a result of this, the Romans will come and destroy our Holy Place and our nation.”

Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all, nor do you see clearly what you need. It is better to have one Man die for the people than to let the whole nation be destroyed.” In saying this Caiaphas did not speak for himself, but being High Priest that year, he foretold like a prophet that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also would die to gather into one the scattered children of God. So, from that day on, they were determined to kill Him.

Because of this, Jesus no longer moved about freely among the Jews. He withdrew instead to the country near the wilderness, and stayed with His disciples in a town called Ephraim. The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and people from everywhere were coming to Jerusalem to purify themselves before the Passover. They looked for Jesus and, as they stood in the Temple, they talked with one another, “What do you think? Will He come to the festival?”

Sunday, 2 November 2014 : Feast of All Souls, 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Black

Matthew 11 : 25-30

At that time, on that occasion Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this is what pleased You.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest. For My yoke is good, and My burden is light.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/01/sunday-2-november-2014-feast-of-all-souls-31st-sunday-of-ordinary-time-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

 

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 5 : 1-12a

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. He sat down and His disciples gathered around Him. Then He spoke and began to teach them :

“Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.”

“Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God.”

“Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God. Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are My followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 25 : 1-13

At that time, Jesus told a story that throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven : “Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were careless, and the others were sensible.”

“The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were, and did not bring extra oil. But those who were sensible, brought with their lamps flasks of oil. As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep.”

“But at midnight, a cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here, come out and meet him!’ All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps. Then the careless ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.'”

“The sensible ones answered, ‘There may not be enough for us and for you. You had better go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.'”

“They were out buying oil when the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the doors were shut. Later the other bridesmaids arrived and called out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered, ‘Truly I do not know you.'”

“So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him, and as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your house. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.”

“Then the good people will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?'”

“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : whenever you did this to these little ones who are My brothers and sisters, you did it to Me.”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do it for Me.'”

“And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to eternal life.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Mark 15 : 33-39 and Mark 16 : 1-6

At that time, when noon came, darkness fell over the whole land and lasted until three o’ clock; and at three o’ clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You deserted Me?”

As soon as they heard these words, some of the bystanders said, “Listen! He is calling for Elijah.” And one of them went quickly to fill a sponge with bitter wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Now let us see whether Elijah comes to take Him down.”

But Jesus uttered a loud cry and gave up His Spirit. And immediately the curtain that enclosed the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The captain, who was standing in front of Him, saw how Jesus died and heard the cry He gave; and He said, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God.”

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salone brought spices so that they might go and anoint the Body. And very early in the morning of the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb.

They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they looked up, they noticed that the stone had already been rolled away. It was a very big stone.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right, and they were amazed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified; He has been raised and is not here. This is, however, the place where they laid Him.”

Shorter version

Mark 15 : 33-39

At that time, when noon came, darkness fell over the whole land and lasted until three o’ clock; and at three o’ clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You deserted Me?”

As soon as they heard these words, some of the bystanders said, “Listen! He is calling for Elijah.” And one of them went quickly to fill a sponge with bitter wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Now let us see whether Elijah comes to take Him down.”

But Jesus uttered a loud cry and gave up His Spirit. And immediately the curtain that enclosed the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The captain, who was standing in front of Him, saw how Jesus died and heard the cry He gave; and He said, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 7 : 11-17

At that time, Jesus went to a town called Naim. He was accompanied by His disciples and a great number of people. As He reached the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; there followed a large crowd of townspeople.

On seeing her, the Lord had pity on her and said, “Do not cry.” Then He came up and touched the stretcher, and the men who carried it stopped. Jesus then said, “Young man, I say to you, wake up!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

A holy fear came over them all, and they praised God saying, “A great Prophet has appeared among us; God, has visited His people.” This news spread throughout Judea and the surrounding places.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 12 : 35-40

At that time, Jesus said, “Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him.”

“Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”

“Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 23 : 33, 39-43

At that time, there, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one of His right and another on His left.

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.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 23 : 44-46, 50, 52-53 and Luke 24 : 1-6a

At that time, 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.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph. 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.

On the sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the Body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the Living among the dead? You will not find Him here. He is risen.”

Shorter version

Luke 23 : 44-46, 50, 52-53

At that time, 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.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph. 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.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, that same day as the resurrection, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what has happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel.”

“It is now the third day since all this took place. It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Shorter version

Luke 24 : 13-16, 28-35

At that time, that same day as the resurrection, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 5 : 24-29

At that time, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; and there is no judgment for him, because he has passed from death to life.”

“Truly, the hour is coming and has indeed come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and, on hearing it, will live. For the Father has life in Himself, and He has given to the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has empowered Him as well to carry out Judgment, for He is Son of Man.”

“Do not be surprised at this : the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear My voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 6 : 37-40

At that time, Jesus said, “Yet all those whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me.”

“And the will of Him who sent Me is that I lose nothing of what He has given Me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day. This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall live eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 6 : 51-58

At that time, Jesus said, “I am the living Bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is My Flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”

The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, live in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, who is Life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 11 : 17-27

At that time, when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. As Bethany is near Jerusalem, about two miles away, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. And she said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

Shorter version

John 11 : 21-27

At that time, Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 11 : 32-45

At that time, Mary, when she came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping, who had come with her, He was moved in the depths of His Spirit and troubled. Then He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They answered, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

The Jews said, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “If He could open the eyes of the blind man, could He not have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus was deeply moved again, and drew near to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across it. Jesus said, “Take the stone away.” Martha said to Him, “Lord, by now he will smell, for this is the fourth day.” Jesus replied, “Have I not told you that, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone.

Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You for You have heard Me. I knew that You hear Me always; but My prayer was for the sake of these people, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

When Jesus had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him, and let him go.”

Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what He did.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 12 : 23-28

At that time, Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

“Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

“Now My soul is in distress. Shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour? But I have come to this hour to face all this. Father, glorify Your Name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified My Name, and I will glorify It again.”

Shorter version

John 12 : 23-26

At that time, Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

“Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 14 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 17 : 24-26

At that time, Jesus prayed, “Father, since You have given them to Me, I want them to be with Me where I am, and see the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

“Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me. As I revealed Your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal It, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I also may be in them.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 19 : 17-18, 25-39

At that time, bearing His own cross, Jesus went out of the city to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew Golgotha. There He was crucified, and with Him two others, one on either side, and Jesus in the middle.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “There is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Jesus knew all was now finished and, in order to fulfill what was written in Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of bitter wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a twig of hyssop, they raised it to His lips. Jesus took the wine and said, “It is accomplished.” Then He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit.

As it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away.

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.

The one who saw it, has testified to it, and his testimony is true; he knows he speaks the truth, so that you also might believe. All this happened to fulfill the words of Scripture : ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’ Another text says : ‘They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.’

After this, Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate, for he was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly, for fear of the Jews. And he asked Pilate to let him remove the Body of Jesus. Pilate agreed, so he came and took away the Body.

Nicodemus, the man who at first had come to Jesus by night, also came and brought a jar of myrrh mixed with aloes, about a hundred pounds.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Double Major Feast, II Classis) – Sunday, 14 September 2014 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 12 : 31-36

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus turbis Judaeorum : Nunc judicium est mundi : nunc princeps hujus mundi ejiciatur foras. Et ego si exaltatum fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum. Hoc autem dicebat, significans, qua morte esset moriturus.

Respondit ei turba; Nos audivimus ex lege, quia Christus manet in aeternum : et quomodo tu dicis : Oportet exaltari Filium hominis? Quis est iste Filius hominis?

Dixit ergo eis Jesus : Adhuc modicum lumen in vobis est. Ambulate, dum lucem habetis, ut non vos tenebrae comprehendant : et qui ambulat in tenebris, nescit, quo vadat. Dum lucem habetis, credite in lucem, ut filii lucis sitis.

English translation

At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews, “Now is the judgment of the world, and now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.” Now this He said, signifying what death He should die.

The multitude answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law, that Christ abided forever, and how could You say that, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is the Son of Man?”

Jesus therefore said to them, “Yet a little while, the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, that the darkness would not overtake you. And he who walked in the darkness knows not where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light.”

Friday, 27 September 2013 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today Christ revealed His identity to His disciples, after asking them whether they know who He truly was. And the prophet Haggai in the first reading, comforted the people of God who laid in ruins after they returned to the land the Lord had given them after a long exile in Babylon.

In Christ, the Son of God, the world has been given the salvation that God had promised for them. In Christ, who is not mere man but a divine made man, the world achieve a fullness of glory in the Lord, the perfection that has been taken from us when we became lost after our rebellion at the beginning of Creation.

Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to mankind over time which He renewed through the prophets, and finally perfected in Jesus. God resolved to rebuild the destroyed mankind that they once again become His beloved ones, freed from sins and slavery to the worldly pleasures and sins.

Yet, although He is a conquering King who comes to destroy death and sin, and be triumphant over all evils, but He came as a humble King, One who is destined to suffer and die. Yes, death for our sake, that through the death, we may not die but live eternal with Him. He is the Lamb of God, the One to be slaughtered and whose Blood is to be shed, for the sake of all of us, for our salvation.

Although He is great and mighty, He faced suffering, persecution, and death, that He took in into Himself all the sins and sufferings of mankind, that we do not have to suffer them for eternity, and instead enjoy life everlasting in happiness with God. This is the renewal the Lord promised to the returned exiles of Israel through the prophet Haggai and the other leaders of the people. The renewal God had sent through His own Son, Jesus Christ.

The Lord loves us so much, that He was not willing to see us to suffer with the devil in eternal fire, to suffer for the consequences of our sins and faults. That was why He sent us Jesus, to be our Help, our Hope, and our Way, to return to Him, to reclaim the true joy, happiness, and the inheritance that we had forsaken when we disobeyed Him in the garden of Eden.

All that, and He was ready to endure lashes, torture, nails, and the cross itself.  The Lord Jesus walked that arduous path towards Calvary, enduring the weight of that cross, bleeding from His wounds, to die a criminal’s death on the cross, in Calvary, for our sake. Imagine the combined weight of the world’s sins, that is the sins of all mankind. That was the weight of the burden which caused Christ much pain and suffering, and He endured it.

At the same time, through that sacrifice of Himself, God had made His love for His people evident, by the giving of Himself for out sake. He gave us all new hope and light in life. Remember, before the glorious cross, the cross of Christ resurrected from the dead, there is always the cross of suffering, that is the cross taken up by the Christ suffering for our sins.

We cannot abandon the Christ, both in His glory and in His time of greatest humiliation on the cross, the humiliation that he turned into glory. That is why, brethren, we have a mission that has been given to all of us and that is to proclaim the crucified Christ to all people, to all the nations, especially to those who have yet to hear about the wondrous Christ and His works of salvation.

Today, we commemorate the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, one of the great saints in the Church, who was well known for his commitment to the Lord, especially to the weak, the poor, and the unloved. St. Vincent de Paul was born in France and was educated to be a faithful and good follower of Christ, when he was captured among many by the Algerian pirates running rampant in the region during his time, and was made into a slave.

St. Vincent de Paul was enslaved and sold to a renegade Catholic owner, until he managed to convince him to return to the faith, who then helped to get St. Vincent to be released from his slavery. He then committed the rest of his life as a worker of the Lord, caring for the last, the lost, and the least in the society, emphasizing on the need to give love to these people, and not abandon them to the darkness.

St. Vincent de Paul was particularly caring about those who were enslaved, being once a slave himself, and showed them the true nature of Christian love, that is dedication and the giving of oneself for the sake of others in need. He was truly the embodiment of who we all Christians ought to become, to be people for others, to be faithful disciples of the Lord who is Love.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us follow the examples of St. Vincent de Paul, making real our faith in this world, through our dedication and service to our brethren in need. We do not have to do big things, but what we can do is, to do even simple things to those around us, to those whom we meet along the way, giving them simple acts of love.

Even these small acts are significant, brethren, and we must not discount them for bigger and more ambitious acts of charity, as it is in these small acts that we can do daily that truly make the difference, and truly bring out the love that we have in us, and sharing it with one another. St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us always, that in all the things we do, we may be more inspired to be charitable and loving. God bless us all, always. Amen.