Sunday, 26 June 2022 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 19 : 16b, 19-21

God said to Elijah, “And Elisha, son of Shaphat, from Abel Meholah, you shall anoint as prophet in your place.”

Elijah left. He found Elisha, son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah and said, “Let me say goodbye to my father and mother; then I will follow you.”

Elijah said to him, “Return if you want, do not worry about what I did.” However, Elisha turned back, took the yoke of oxen and slew them. He roasted their meat on the pieces of the yoke and gave it to his people who ate of it. After this, he followed Elijah and began ministering to him.

Sunday, 5 June 2022 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Romans 8 : 8-17

So, those walking according to the flesh cannot please God. Yet your existence is not in the flesh, but in the spirit, because the Spirit of God is within you. If you did not have the Spirit of Christ, you would not belong to Him.

But Christ is within you; though the body is branded by death as a consequence of sin, the spirit is life and holiness. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is within you, He Who raised Jesus Christ from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. Yes, He will do it through His Spirit Who dwells within you.

Then, brothers, let us leave the flesh and no longer live according to it. If not, we will die. Rather, walking in the spirit, let us put to death the body’s deeds, so that we may live. All those who walk in the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God.

Then, no more fear : you did not receive a spirit of slavery, but the spirit that makes you sons and daughters, and every time, we cry, “Abba! (this means Dad!) Father!” the Spirit assures our spirit, that we are sons and daughters of God. If we are children, we are heirs, too. Ours will be the inheritance of God, and we will share it with Christ; for, if we now suffer with Him, we will also share glory with Him.

Saturday, 4 June 2022 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Romans 8 : 22-27

We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth. Not creation alone, but even ourselves, although the Spirit was given to us as a foretaste of what we are to receive, we groan in our innermost being, eagerly awaiting the day when God will give us full rights and rescue our bodies as well.

In hope we already have salvation. But if we saw what we hoped for, there would no longer be hope; how can you hope for what is already seen? So we hope for what we do not see and we will receive it through patient hope. We are weak, but the Spirit comes to help us. How to ask? And what shall we ask for?

We do not know, but the Spirit intercedes for us without words, as if with groans. And He Who sees inner secrets knows the desires of the Spirit, for He asks for the holy ones what is pleasing to God.

Sunday, 5 September 2021 : Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 2 : 1-5

My brothers and sisters, if you truly believe in our glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, you will not discriminate between persons.

Suppose a person enters the synagogue where you are assembled, dressed magnificently and wearing a gold ring; at the same time, a poor person enters dressed in rags. If you focus your attention on the well-dressed and say, “Come and sit in the best seat,” while, to the poor one you say, “Stay standing, or else sit down at my feet,” have you not in fact, made a distinction between the two? Have you not judged, using a double standard?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters, did God not choose the poor of this world to receive the riches of faith, and to inherit the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him?

Sunday, 20 June 2021 : Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Job 38 : 1, 8-11

Then YHVH answered Job out of the storm : “Who shut the sea behind closed doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling clothes; when I set its limits with doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘You will not go beyond these bounds; here is where your proud waves must halt?’”

Sunday, 6 November 2016 : 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Psalm 16 : 1, 5-6, 8b and 15

Hear a just cause, o Lord, listen to my complaint. Give heed to my prayer for there is no deceit on my lips.

Hold firm my steps upon Your path, that my feet may not stumble. I call on You, You will answer me, o God; incline Your ear and hear my word.

Under the shadow of Your wings hide me. As for me, righteous in Your sight, I shall see Your face and, awakening, gaze my fill on Your likeness.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 84 : 9ab-10, 11-12, 13-14

Would that I hear God’s proclamation that He promise peace to His people. Yet His salvation is near to those who fear Him, and His Glory will dwell in our land.

Love and faithfulness have met; righteousness and peace have embraced. Faithfulness will reach up from the earth while justice bends down from heaven.

The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its fruit. Justice will go before Him, and peace will follow along His path.

Saturday, 27 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ecclesiastes 11 : 9 – Ecclesiastes 12 : 8

Rejoice, young man, in your youth and direct well your heart when you are young; follow your desires and achieve your ambitions but recall that God will take account of all you do.

Drive sorrow from your heart and pain from your flesh, for youth and dark hair will not last. Be mindful of your Creator when you are young, before the time of sorrow comes when you have to say, “This gives me no pleasure,” and before the sun, moon and stars withdraw their light, before the clouds gather again after the rain.

On the day when the guardians of the house tremble, when sturdy men are bowed and those at the mill stop working because they are too few, when it grows dim for those looking through the windows, and the doors are shut and the noise of the mill grows faint, the sparrow stops chirping and the bird-song is silenced, when one fears the slopes and to walk is frightening; yet the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper is fat and the caperberry bears fruit that serves no purpose, because man goes forward to his eternal home and mourners gather in the street, even before the silver chain is snapped or the golden globe is shattered, before the pitcher is broken at the fountain or the wheel at the mill, before the dust returns to the earth from which it came and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Meaningless! Meaningless! The Teacher says; all is meaningless!

Sunday, 30 March 2014 : 4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the story of Jesus healing the blind man, and in the first reading story on the Lord’s choosing of David to be His faithful servant. In the series of readings from the Scriptures today, we are reminded today that we must never be selfish nor feel self-righteous and just to the impediment of others. We must never be judgmental nor be prejudiced against others because of who we perceive them to be.

God sees what is inside the heart, and what is truly man’s values and worth. He judges man not by his or her appearance, but by their true values and what are inside their hearts. God judges mankind by their heart not by their face values. Therefore we too should follow His examples and not be prejudiced against our fellow mankind in any way, especially in how they look and act.

It is in our human nature to feel hurt when we are challenged in our pride, or shown that the way that we believe in things is wrong. We easily fall to the temptations of jealousy and greed, and this shows in the way we act and do things. And that was also exactly what the Pharisees had shown, condemning and judging on the healed blind man, alleging that he was a sinner, when they felt that their teaching authority and influence was challenged.

They judged mankind by appearances, disdaining the poor and the disabled, those with diseases and afflictions, and they also set themselves by appearances, preferring to show off their rituals, prayers and observations of the faith so that others may see what they had done and praise them for that. This is the kind of faith the Lord does not want, for it is superficial and temporary, and it is not true and genuine faith to the Lord.

Yes, brethren, for in fact in their observations they gave in to the tempting forces of fulfilling their own ego and desires. They did those acts to gain human praise and worldly glory. They did not truly do them for God. They thought only of themselves and their own righteousness. And they rejected the Saviour sent to them, Jesus Christ, the very One and only Son of God, the Messiah.

That is because they saw Christ and they did not understand Him and what He had done. They were only able to think in terms of human power and glory, and in terms of human minds, which made them unable to comprehend the teachings of Jesus, and in their lack of faith and understanding, they hardened their hearts and sharpened the edges of their hearts’ pride, and made them resolved to resist and oppose Christ at every turns and opportunities.

They condemn the deaf because they were unable to hear, but they themselves were deaf, because they failed to listen and take in the message of Christ which He had spoken repeatedly as He taught, and yet they refused to believe. They condemned the blind ones because they were unable to see and mocked them for that, just as what they had done to the blind man Jesus healed in today’s Gospel.

They condemned tax collectors, prostitutes and many other people they considered as sinners and plagues of the society, thinking that they were beyond any redemption, but yet, they failed to look beyond their prejudices. They were blinded by their own pride and arrogance, thinking that they are the best over any other people. They failed to recognise that in them, an even greater sin was present.

What is this sin? This is the sin of condemnation, the sin of jealousy, the sin of arrogance, and the greatest of all, the sin of pride. Not only that they did not honour God in their pride, rejecting Jesus everywhere He went, but they also brought calamity to many of their fellow mankind, by condemning them, cursing them, and leading them to the false paths that did not lead to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this session however cannot become a bashing session for the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. They have had their share of faults, but shall we also look into ourselves? Have we ourselves done things in the same way that those Pharisees had done? It is easy for us to quickly judge others and be prejudiced, all because of our human pride and arrogance, thinking that we are better than others.

We sometimes look at the fault in others without realising our own faults and mistakes. We blame others and condemn them, quick to jump into conclusion, often without taking careful considerations of things before we judge.  That was the exact same thing that the Pharisees had done, disregarding their own sinfulness while calling others sinners.

They may look great, and like us, we may look amazing and wonderful, yes, indeed, in the eyes of men. But do we really look great in the eyes of God? Maybe, or maybe not. It all depends on whether we have done what the Lord asked of us to do, and not ignore those who are in need of our love and help. It does not mean that we must look utterly miserable in the eyes of men, but we cannot seek the glory of men and solely that, to the detriment of our brothers and sisters.

Hence, brethren, shall we reflect on our own lives and actions? We have to devote ourselves to complete and total devotion to God, changing our ways to conform to that of the Lord’s way. Loving one another and committing ourselves to that love is what is needed from us. And in order for us to be able to truly love genuinely without any hidden motives, we have to really cast away our prejudices and love our brethren as they are.

May the Lord guide us always in our path, that we will ever walk in His path and not to fall into the temptations of the devil. God be with us all. Amen.

 

Thursday, 13 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

The faith of the Syro-Phoenician woman is an example to us all, an exemplary faith that we should all have. She was adamant in her faith, and unchanging, she persisted even after refusal and supposed rejection from the Lord for her plea. She persisted and her faith in God, in Jesus was truly genuine. She did not turn left or right in seeking the Lord but straight away push at Him and persisted in her faith, and for that she was rewarded.

Contrast this, brethren, with the faith of king Solomon, the son of David, God’s faithful servant and chosen king over Israel. King Solomon was wise, wealthy, and powerful, blessed by God far beyond every other ruler that had ever existed and will ever exist in this world of ours, and yet his faith was not firm and solid, and in his old age in particular, he gave in to the temptations of the world and did things wicked in the eyes of the Lord.

In our faith to the Lord we have to be direct, and we cannot be hesitant or half-hearted, because it is in that moment of hesitation, that a weakness in our hearts can appear, and the devil can utilise that weakness to attack us and make us to fall into sin. If we hesitate or not serious about our faith, then we are inviting trouble, akin to throwing the door of our hearts wide open for the devil to enter and wreck havoc in us.

That is what happened to king Solomon, and to a much lesser extent, to king David his father. David the father of Solomon, as we had heard in the past few weeks was guilty from some sins that he had committed, and yet his faith in God was and remained very strong. He was very passionate in his faith and he did not even hesitate to lead the people in praise to God.

David did let the devil to come into his heart, when he was taken by the beauty of Bathsheba, and when he was tempted by the power and glory he had received from God in the might of his kingdom, that he committed sin before God. But he was quick to repent and reaffirm his faith strongly to the Lord, without question and without much hesitation, if any.

Solomon let himself to succumb deeper into the temptation of Satan. Unlike David, Solomon had been blessed since the start of his reign, and his reign had been largely peaceful, and Solomon himself was blessed with great power, majesty, and wealth, which surpassed any other nations of his time and ever since. It was easy for Solomon to become lax and forget about how he had obtained all those glories in the first place.

Solomon’s downfall came from his many wives and concubines, whom he had taken from the many nations he had conquered and brought as his own. He loved them and certainly took pleasure at them, as was common in any king’s harem at the time. And through that, Satan infiltrated even deeper into Solomon’s heart, and as a result, he refused to listen to the rebuke and chastisement of God, who then resolved to punish Solomon and withdrew the blessings He had given him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the contrast between the faith of David, of Solomon, and of the Syro-Phoenician woman is an important lesson for all of us, that we should not take lightly the faith we have in God. A strong faith is a potent and powerful shield to defend ourselves from the influences of the devil, and it will also help us to keep our way to the Lord straight and firm, that we will not fall as Solomon had fallen.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take this opportunity to reaffirm our faith in the Lord, and continue to trust in Him. Let us also pray that God will continue to strengthen our faith, that we may be well defended in our battles against the forces of evil trying to persuade us to turn our back to the Lord as Solomon had done.

May God keep us straight in His path and show us the way, that we may walk in faith towards Him and be reunited with Him in glory for eternity. Amen.