Wednesday, 15 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 17-26

The High Priest and all his supporters that is the party of the Sadducees, became very jealous of the Apostles; so they arrested them and had them thrown into the public jail. But an angel of the Lord opened the door of the prison during the night, brought them out, and said to them, “Go and stand in the Temple court and tell the people the whole of this living message.” Accordingly they entered the Temple at dawn and resumed their teaching.

When the High Priest and his supporters arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, that is the full Council of the elders of Israel. They sent word to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. But when the Temple guards arrived at the jail, they did not find them inside, so they returned with the news, “We found the prison securely locked and the prison guards at their post outside the gate, but when we opened the gate, we found no one inside.”

Upon hearing these words, the captain of the Temple guard and the high priests were baffled, wondering where all of this would end. Just then someone arrived with the report, “Look, those men whom you put in prison are standing in the Temple, teaching the people.”

Then the captain went off with the guards and brought them back, but without any show of force, for fear of being stoned by the people.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday after Epiphany, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, Feast of St. Paul the Apostle, and Feast of St. Prisca, Virgin and Martyr (II Classis) – Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans

Romans 12 : 6-16

Fratres : Habentes donationes secundum gratiam, quae data est nobis, differentes : sive prophetiam secundum rationem fidei, sive ministerium in ministrando, sive qui docet in doctrina, qui exhortatur in exhortando, qui tribuit in simplicitate, qui praest in sollicitudine, qui miseretur in hilaritate.

Dilectio sine simulatione. Odientes malum, adhaerentes bono : Caritate fraternitatis invicem diligentes : Honore invicem praevenientes : Sollicitudine non pigri : Spiritu ferventes : Domino servientes : Spe gaudentes : In tribulatione patientes : Orationi instantes : Neccessitatibus sanctorum communicantes : Hospitalitatem sectantes.

Benedicite persequentibus vos : benedicite, et nolite maledicere. Gaudere cum gaudentibus, flere cum flentibus : Idipsum invicem sentientes : Non alta sapientes, sed humilibus consentientes.

 

English translation

Brethren, having different gifts, according to the grace that is given to us, either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith, or ministry, in ministering, or he who teaches the doctrine, he who exhorts in exhorting, he who gives with simplicity, he who rules with carefulness, he who shows mercy with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, clinging to that which is good. Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood, in honour preventing one another. In carefulness, not slothful, and in spirit fervent, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, instant in prayer, communicating to the necessities of the saints, pursuing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Being of one mind one towards another, not minding high things, but consenting to the humble.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/usus-antiquior-second-sunday-after-epiphany-feast-of-the-chair-of-st-peter-at-rome-feast-of-st-paul-the-apostle-and-feast-of-st-prisca-virgin-and-martyr-ii-classis-sunday-18-january-2015-6/

Friday, 26 December 2014 : Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, the day after Christmas, is the feast of the protomartyr of the Faith, that is the first of those who have died for their Faith in God. He is St. Stephen, one of the seven deacons appointed to serve the people of God, sharing and giving the nourishment, and in charge of the Church’s charitable acts and works.

One might be wondering, why after the joy of Christmas, then we immediately go on to celebrate a tragedy, that is the death of a faithful and holy servant of God. But truthfully, if we have understood what Christmas is truly about, then this would not surprise us at all, and indeed, it would have fit perfectly into the order of things. Christmas joy and happiness is not about the glamour, the parties, the revelries and the things we do to make things look great, but it is truly about the Joy we have, for our God has given the perfect manifestation of His love for us and His faithfulness through Jesus.

Did Jesus come into the world to affirm His people and praise them? No, in fact, He did not mince His words, and His words are true, and filled with criticisms at those who have misinterpreted the Law, and worse still for those who even misled the faithful with their sinful ways. As such, as we all should know, Jesus did not have an easy time, and oppositions always came His way, particularly from the Pharisees and the chief priests who viewed Him as a rival to their power, influence and authority.

This is exactly what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today. He mentioned how those who believed in Him will also suffer just as He had suffered. The world had rejected Him, and all those who placed their trust in the world also rejected Him. Then, the same too would also happen to all those who walk in the way of Christ. The world will also reject them and attempt to eliminate them, just as they had tried to eliminate Christ.

It is to say and highlight that following Christ is not an easy path, and it is certainly not for those who seek to be complacent and desire acceptance by the world. As St. Stephen had shown us, as well as many other martyrs of the Faith that followed in his footsteps, being faithful to God and obedient to His will is a tough one, and often life is placed on the line, and many lost their lives refusing to abandon their Faith in God.

Christ came into our world, incarnate as the Baby Jesus that we celebrate as Christmas, but many would not want to listen to Him and what He had come to tell them, because they were misled, they were deep in the lies of Satan and they embraced to much of worldliness that prevented them from realising the truth about themselves.

That is why when Christ came into the world and bring the truth to them, many found it difficult to accept what He had told them. The Pharisees and the elders of the people refused to listen to St. Stephen as well. St. Stephen spoke at length, telling them all about God and His wondrous works throughout the ages, and he highlighted how the stubbornness of the people of God prevented them from receiving the grace of God and understanding His will.

They closed their ears and covered them, while shouting and lusting for the death of St. Stephen. They tortured him and stoned him to death. This is a clear example of how mankind often refuses to listen to the truth and instead prefer to be buoyed and bought over by the lies of the devil. We are often distracted from the truth, and when the truth comes our way, we come up with a thousand excuses and more to deny that truth.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us live in denial, and we do not recognise our sinfulness before God. We tend to shut God out of our lives, and that is why many of us do not recognise the true value and meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about the coming of the Saviour, whose truth and love would dispel all falsehoods and lies, and we have to face the truth no matter how horrible and ugly the truth is.

Therefore, as we continue to rejoice in the joy of this Christmas season, let us also heed the examples of St. Stephen and the other holy martyrs, who had given up their lives for the Lord, in defense of their faith. They did not hide the truth, but reveal the entirety of the truth they have received from Christ. Therefore, we as the disciples and followers of Christ must also not mince our words, and we must not compromise on the Faith.

Let us preach the Good News of the Lord and the fullness of faith with complete trust and confidence in God’s providence. Practice the Faith through our words, actions and deeds, just like St. Stephen, who did not become angry or hateful to those who have condemned him to death, but instead like Christ, he forgave them and begged that their sins may not be counted against them.

Thus, foremost in our concerns should be the propagation of the unadulterated and unchanged Faith in all its fullness. We cannot be witness to half faiths, or else we witness for nothing. Instead, let us persevere, even against the opposition of the world, to be the bringer of the Joy of Christmas into the world. May Christ be with us all, His peoples and disciples, give us strength and renew our courage and resolve to live our faith with full effort and sincerity. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the words of the Holy Scriptures, which told us about when Jesus foretold the great destruction that was about to befall the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God there, because of the wickedness of the people who lived there. Then in the psalm we heard of the songs of joy and exultation which came from all of creation to praise the Lord who is to come to save His people.

And in the first reading we heard about the warning and prophecy of what is about to come in the future, at the end of times, when the Lord deems it is time for the ending of the world as we knew it. When everything is at hand, what had been said in the Scriptures, will be completely fulfilled. There are two meanings of the reaping of the earth in the first reading today from the Book of the revelations of St. John.

The first one is related to the parable of the fig tree where the Lord rebuked the fig tree for having bore no fruit, and it withered, and also to the parable of the sower, where the seeds sown in a rich and fertile soil grew to such an extent that they bore a thirtyfold, or a sixtyfold, or a hundredfold return in bountiful fruits and products. Therefore, this means that at the time, when the Lord’s chosen ones had been completed in their fullness, and in the fullness of their faith, He will come again.

The time is not known to us, and only He who knows it all, has control over it. We who have been chosen and we who chose to put our faith in Him has therefore one task for ourselves, that is to live faithfully and genuinely in our love for Him, so that through our actions, we may be filled with such goodness and grace, so that we bear the fruits of love, that is the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We are the grapes of the Lord, sown with love by our Lord Himself, the vineyard owner. The angels are His servants, who will go forth into the world to reap whatever can be reaped on the day of the harvest. If we do not bear fruit within us, then when the time of reckoning, that is the harvest time, comes, then the angels will find no fruit in us, and we will end up as useless plants.

What is our fate then if that is the case? Our fate will therefore be to share the fate of Satan and his angels, who had been the first ones to disobey the Lord and His will, bearing themselves no good fruit in them. And the same goes if the fruits we produce are rotten or no good at all in quality. No vineyard owner would like to have bad or rotten grapes as his harvest produce, and these will be thrown into the fire to be destroyed, lest they contaminate the good grapes. Hence, the same will happen to us, at the Last Judgment.

The second meaning of the reaping of the earth in the first reading today, is that the grapes when they are pressed, they produce rich liquid that if we look at the most commonly used grapes at the time, the red variant, produce a deep red grape juice, which if we look at it, does look like blood. And this is another meaning of the reaping of the earth at the end of time.

If we read in another part of the Book of the Revelation of St. John, we will see a passage on the Mother Harlot, the great Babylon, seated on the beast, which represent the evil forces and all the wickedness of this world and whoever it is that do not have faith in the Lord. The harlot was drunk with the blood of martyrs, and the anger of God was very great against the world because of that.

That means, when the wickedness of the world was such, and the persecution of the holy martyrs was such that their blood cries out to the Lord for justice, then the Lord will heed their call, and at His appointed time, come to judge and destroy all the wickedness in this world. This is therefore related to the first interpretation of the meaning of the reaping of the world by the angel. In what way is this so?

It means that, just as Jesus warned of a great tribulation would soon befall Jerusalem, its destruction and the mayhem it would cause, that would only be a precursor and a brief insight into what will happen when the Lord is about to come again, just as St. John has seen them all in his revelation. Nations will fight against nations, and many will be misled by the forces of evil, seeking to turn us away from the way of the Lord and to worship and serve the devil instead.

In this therefore, the temptation will be great for us to turn from being a good and faithful vine, producing good and sweet grapes, into one corrupted and sickened by diseases, namely the disease of sin, which cause us to produce bad and rotten fruits instead. And the persecution of those who believe in the Lord will be growing more and more, greater and greater, and at times, even our lives and our blood will be at stake.

It is therefore a reminder for us, that first, we have to be thoroughly and completely faithful to the Lord, without doubts or second thoughts. We cannot serve both the Lord and the devil, and if we are to serve the Lord, we have to take our clear stand with Him, regardless of what the world may do to us for doing so. Do not fear the world, for it can only harm our body temporarily, but they cannot touch even a single bit of our soul, which is eternal.

Then, it is also a reminder that if we follow the Lord and remain faithful to Him, everything will not be easy or happy all the time. Difficulties and challenges will surely come our way, but if we are resolute and dedicated in our faith, then be assured, brothers and sisters, that we will be well taken care of by the Lord, and our reward is very great in heaven.

Today, we remember the memory and celebrate the feast of a great martyr and saint, whose example may help us to strengthen our own faith and effort to defend it, in the face of the difficulties and challenges presented by this world. The saint of today is St. Catherine of Alexandria, a holy virgin and martyr of the faith, who died heroically defending her faith and the Lord, as well as her purity, from the corruptions of sin and the world during the last of the great persecutions of the Faith by the Roman Empire.

St. Catherine of Alexandria was born a noble lady, the daughter of the rulers or governors of Egypt, a wealthy and influential province of the Roman Empire. Her beauty, wisdom and skills were such that, many people were her suitors. However, St. Catherine, who was a convert to the faith in her youth, was to dedicate herself and her love only to One, and that One is the Lord.

St. Catherine devoted herself to perpetual and perfect virginity, maintaining her purity, by offering herself totally and completely to the Lord, as a spiritual bride of the Lord, rejecting all the offers of all those who pursued her, even though she was showered with gifts of wealth, riches, power, influence, fame and many others. Eventually, even the Emperor himself, Maxentius, who would later perish against the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, was also taken in by her beauty, but he failed to persuade her as well.

It was told that St. Catherine tried to persuade Emperor Maxentius to stop the persecution of Christians and to make him to see the errors of his ways of idol worship and to embrace the true Faith. The Emperor was not persuaded and he tried to employ several pagan philosophers to debate with her, and instead, those philosophers were persuaded and some joined the Faith.

Eventually St. Catherine of Alexandria was martyred, suffering terribly for defending her Faith and the truth, but in doing so, she had stood up for her faith, and brought witness and testimony to the truth, that inspired even others and brought others to salvation. She is our role model, brothers and sisters, as her actions in life is the example of what we should do in this life, to gain righteousness in God’s sight.

Therefore, with the intercession of St. Catherine of Alexandria, let us all renew our commitment to the Faith, strengthening our resolve to love and serve the Lord in all things, so that we may be true disciples of the Lord, rejecting all the falsehoods of Satan and his allies. Their lies and temptations are plentiful, cunning and wicked.

Remember what our Lord said in the Gospel today, that there will be lots of false prophets and false leads, and if we are not careful, we may fall into the traps of the devil. Let us therefore be courageous to live fully in the Lord, and at the same time, be vigilant and careful in all the things we do, so as to avoid committing sin and falling into damnation. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/24/tuesday-25-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-catherine-of-alexandria-virgin-and-martyr-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/24/tuesday-25-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-catherine-of-alexandria-virgin-and-martyr-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/24/tuesday-25-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-catherine-of-alexandria-virgin-and-martyr-gospel-reading/

Thursday, 7 August 2014 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Xystus II/Pope St. Sixtus II, Pope and Companions, Martyrs and St. Cajetan, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Psalm 50 : 12-13, 14-15, 18-19

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers Your ways and sinners will return to You.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear how God indeed is the source of all things, and the focal point of all creations. For it is God who should be the font of all knowledge and all things, to be the One whom we anchor ourselves to. The well-known story of the disciples who feared the great storm and then the Lord Jesus who calmed the storm with His authority, tells us clearly that in the Lord there is nothing to be feared, for God has control over everything.

Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith, chiding them with the words, ‘You of little faith!’ because they did not put their faith in the power of God, but instead in the power of men, which is fallible and weak compared to the power and majesty of the Lord. They feared the storm because they did not completely put their trust in Jesus, whom, if they had trusted Him and known Him completely, they would not have feared.

In the first reading today, taken from the book of the prophet Amos, God once again wants to remind us that He is in control of everything, for He is the Lord of all. Everything and every single phenomenon in creation, He knows all of them. And He would reveal His plans and what He desires from His people through the means of the prophets, and ultimately, through His own Son, Jesus Christ.

Those who listened and understood the words of God revealed through the prophets would know that God takes care of our lives, and therefore, there is no need to worry or fear. All we need is faith, and true faith in God. And through Jesus Christ, God revealed all that He had planned for the world and mankind, in all its completeness and fullness. And therefore those who listened and understood what Christ meant in His words, would have no need for fear, because they have everything they would ever need, in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we ourselves should not see this as a problem that existed only in the past, as in fact, the same problems can be applied to our own selves. We cannot be complacent, as the storms of this life are plentiful, and we can be easily overwhelmed by the torrents, the winds and the waves if we do not have a solid anchor and foundation. What is this foundation? None other than Jesus, our Lord and God.

For Christ is the solid Rock from which the whole creation and the entire community of believers and the faithful in the Church hung upon, as He is the One who became our pivot in the storms of this world, to be a light in the great darkness of this world, and to be the One who joins us back to the Father our Lord who loves us all.

There are many storms in this world, the storm of jealousy and desire, the storm of pride and arrogance, and the storm of money and materialism, which if we are not careful, may engulf us and sink us into the deep, if we do not have a stable and strong anchor in the Lord. Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is easy for us to fall into the deep currents of this world, which threaten to pull us away from the Lord and His salvation, and into damnation, if our faith is weak and stumbling.

What do we need to do then? We have to put our complete faith in the Lord and keep our lives in tune with Him, through prayer and through charity and love. In doing all these, we live our lives in accordance to the will of God, and we are ourselves transformed into loving children of our God. May God be with us, and continue to love and care for us, keeping us strong amidst all the storms of life. Amen.

Thursday, 19 June 2014 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Philip Minh, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen to how our Lord taught us Himself, how we should pray, and in the first Reading, we also learn how we should become, or what are the things expected from us as the children of God and as His disciples. The two prophets, Elijah and Elisha are the ones mentioned, and they and their actions ought to be our model of the faith.

And in relation to all of that, I would like to bring your attention to the saints whom we are celebrating today, the Saints of the Vietnamese persecution of the faithful, also known as the Vietnamese martyrs, led by the Vietnamese priest, St. Philip Minh. They consisted of the laity and the religious, all thoroughly dedicated to the cause of the faith.

They all faced persecution for their faith and for their work in testifying and proclaiming that faith to others around them. As we know, Elijah and Elisha the prophets faced many difficulties in their mission, as we can read from the two Book of Kings in the Bible, how they had to go from town to town, and even having to exile themselves in foreign lands at times, when their lives were in considerable danger through being opposed to the king and the people’s wickedness.

St. Philip Minh and his companions, the Vietnamese martyrs lived through different periods of time spanning several hundred years, but they all faced similar opposition and persecution against their faith, when many were asked to choose between recanting their faith in Christ and live or to abandon and forsake Christ in exchange for their lives.

The Vietnamese monarchy and the government, ran by strongly Confucian-influenced officials and nobles viewed the faith in Christ as an aberration in the society and as a great and terrible threat to the unity of the nation and to the authority of the Confucian-run government. Hence, the officials and the Vietnamese Emperor officially went on a great persecution and opposition against the faith and the faithful.

Yet, the faith made great progress in Vietnam, and even it still does until this very day. Persecution against the faith and the faithful still continues even to this day, under the atheist and anti-faith Communist government in power, and yet the faithful continued to go on in their daily struggle and remain true to their faith in the Lord.

The Vietnamese martyrs showed us a great example of how we should treasure and live our faith meaningfully, for they had been tortured and forced to recant their faith, and yet they persevered on, and they did not give in to the demands and the offers of their executors and torturers. They chose to remain faithful and continued with their evangelisation of the faith, be it through their work or through their death, that they bring more and more souls into salvation and into knowing God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it does not mean that we should seek martyrdom or be confrontational about the faith, but instead it means that we should not take our faith for granted, and we have to be active and genuine in living our faith. We have to realise that in having and in keeping this faith, we will find ourselves often standing in opposition to the values and ways of the world, because we belong to the Lord. Remember, as Jesus Himself said, that this world hated Him and therefore it would hate us too.

Our faith life will inevitably meet challenges and difficulties along the way, some of which had happened to the prophets Elijah and Elisha, as well as to St. Philip Minh and his companions, the Vietnamese martyrs. The question now is, are we able to follow in their footsteps and remain faithful to the Lord and walking in His ways at all times, despite the challenges and difficulties?

Let us from now on reflect on this, and on the lives and actions of the prophets and the martyrs, that we may reflect on our own lives and actions. Let us hope that we may change for the better, and grow stronger in our faith, that our faith may be genuine and filled with love, both for God and for our fellow men. God bless us all. Amen.