Wednesday, 31 May 2017 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 1 : 39-56

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour! He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed.”

“The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name! From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”

“He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid. YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me. You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation.

Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.

Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 : Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Zephaniah 3 : 14-18

Cry out with joy, o daughter of Zion; rejoice, o people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! YHVH has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. YHVH, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem : Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for YHVH your God is within you, YHVH, saving Warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for He has revived His love. For you He will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the Feast.

I will drive away the evil I warned you about, and you will no longer be ashamed.

Alternative reading
Romans 12 : 9-16b

Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God.

Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep.

Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary things.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 : 7th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Sacred Scriptures about St. Paul and about our Lord Jesus Christ, both of whom in the respective Scripture passages, were going to the end of their ministry. At that time, St. Paul had been informed by the Holy Spirit, that he was about to reach the end of his ministry. He was about to be arrested in Jerusalem by the authorities and from then on, proceeded to Rome for the final leg of his journey. All of this had been known to St. Paul, and he was saying his farewells to the elders in Ephesus.

And in the Gospel, Jesus our Lord was thanking His Father through prayer, at the time when He was about to enter into His Passion, the end and last stage of His earthly ministry. He mentioned how He has fulfilled perfectly what He was prophesied to have come for, and had gathered the people whom God had called upon to be His own. Thereafter, He would go on to His Passion, to accomplish perfectly through obedience and suffering, God’s promise of salvation for all mankind.

St. Paul and our Lord Jesus Himself had done a lot for the sake of the people of God, and they had contributed and done such great feats that many souls were saved by their works. They were at the end of their respective missions, and surely they were looking back at what they had done, and indeed, they could be very confident indeed, that whatever they had done, they had done well and they had given all that they could for the sake of the Lord.

They had not done all those things for their own sake though, and they did not do all their works to glorify themselves, unlike what other people would have done. They obeyed the Lord and followed Him, as St. Paul followed the path shown to him by the Lord through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and as Jesus our Lord, the Son of God obeying the will of His heavenly Father, God the Father in heaven.

Through all of these, the examples of these two which the Scriptures today had mentioned, all of us are called to reflect on our own actions in our own respective lives as Christians. Have we, as Christians, been as faithful and devoted as St. Paul had been in his faith? Perhaps we have not done as mighty a deed as what he had done, in numerous situations, where he had to endure persecution, rejection and torture, imprisonment and even death threats. However, are we confident that we are living a true Christian life?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in order for us to be true Christians in life, we all have to devote ourselves to do what the Lord had commanded us all to do, and not just to be lukewarm or inactive Christians. That means, we have to listen to the Lord, Who had taught us that we have to love Him with all of our heart, with all of our mind and with our entire being, devoting ourselves completely to Him, and then, showing the same kind of love to our fellow men and women, loving them at least in the same way as how we loved ourselves.

This is what all of us as Christians have to do in our respective lives, and one in which I am afraid to say but, in reality, many of us as Christians have not lived up to. We have not been truly faithful in actions and deeds, for in many cases, while we believe in God, many of our actions had not shown such a reality. And in the end, because others see that we do not act in the manner as how we should have acted according to our faith, we caused scandal to the Lord and to our faith in Him.

Let us ask ourselves, how many of us slandered others, bringing hurt and pain through our words, by our lack of empathy and consideration for the feelings of others around us? How many of us have caused others, our neighbours to suffer simply because of our own selfishness in life? How many of us have brought sorrows and sadness upon others because we only think about ourselves? It is all of these things which have prevented us from truly living a good, Christian life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, listening to the Lord and taking note of the examples He Himself had shown, and which His Apostle, St. Paul had done before us, let us all reflect on all these, and let us have a new resolve in our hearts, that is the new resolve to live our lives faithfully and filled with sincere devotion and commitment, to serve the Lord with all of our hearts, with all of our bodies, minds, and with all of our strength, and do the same to our fellow men and women, showing love, care and concern wherever it is possible.

May the Lord bless us all, all of our works and endeavours, and may He strengthen us in our faith, so that we may draw ever closer to Him and find salvation and true joy in Him, together as one people, blessed by the Lord and His love. Let us do our best so that when the time comes for us to give an account before the Lord, we can confidently show Him what we have done out of faith in Him. Amen.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 : 7th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 17 : 1-11a

At that time, after Jesus said all that He had said to His disciples, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come! Give glory to Your Son, that the Son may give glory to You. You have given Him power over all humanity, so that He may give eternal life to all those You entrusted to Him. For this is eternal life : to know You, the only true God, and the One You sent, Jesus Christ.”

“I have glorified You on earth and finished the work that You gave Me to do. Now, Father, give Me, in Your presence, the same glory I had with You before the world began. I have made Your Name known to those You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they kept Your word. And now they know that whatever You entrusted to Me, is indeed from You.”

“I have given them the teaching I received from You, and they received it, and know in truth that I came from You; and they believe that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those who belong to You, and whom You have given to Me. Indeed all I have is Yours and all You have is Mine; and now they are My glory.”

“I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I come to You.”

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 : 7th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 67 : 10-11, 20-21

Then You gave a rain of blessings to comfort Your weary children. Your people found a dwelling and in Your mercy, o God, You provided for the needy.

Blessed be the Lord, God our Saviour, Who daily bears our burdens! Ours is a God Who saves; our Lord lets us escape from death.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 : 7th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 20 : 17-27

From Miletus Paul sent word to Ephesus, summoning the elders of the Church. When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, how I served the Lord in humility through the sorrows and trials that the Jews caused me.”

“You know that I never held back from doing anything that could be useful for you; I spoke publicly and in your homes, and I urged Jews and non-Jews alike to turn to God and believe in our Lord Jesus.”

“But now I am going to Jerusalem, chained by the Spirit, without knowing what will happen to me there. Yet in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that imprisonment and troubles await me. Indeed I put no value on my life, if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus, to announce the Good News of God’s grace.”

“I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom of God will ever see me again. Therefore I declare to you this day that my conscience is clear with regard to all of you. For I have spared no effort in fully declaring to you God’s will.”