Saturday, 19 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

1 Corinthians 15 : 35-37, 42-49

Some of you will ask : How will the dead be raised? With what kind of body will they come? You fools! What you sow cannot sprout unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body of the future plant, but a bare grain of wheat or any other seed.

It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in decomposition; it will be raised never more to die. It is sown in humiliation, and it will be raised for glory. It is buried in weakness, but the resurrection shall be with power. When buried, it is a natural body, but it will be raised as a spiritual body. For there shall be a spiritual body, as there is, at present, a living body. Scripture says that Adam, the first man, became a living being; but the last Adam has become a life-giving Spirit.

The Spirit does not appear first, but the natural life, and afterward comes the Spirit. The first man comes from the earth and is earthly, while the second One comes from heaven. As it was with the earthly one, so is it with the earthly people. As it is with Christ, so with the heavenly. This is why, after bearing the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly One.

Friday, 18 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 15 : 12-20

Well, then, if Christ is preached as risen from the dead, how can some of you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is empty, and our belief comes to nothing. And we become false witnesses of God, attesting that He raised Christ, whereas He could not raise Him, if indeed, the dead are not raised.

If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith gives you nothing, and you are still in sin. Also, those who fall asleep, in Christ, are lost. If it is only for this life, that we hope in Christ, we are the most unfortunate of all people. But no, Christ has been raised from the dead, and He comes before all those who have fallen asleep.

Thursday, 17 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

1 Corinthians 15 : 1-11

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, of the Good News that I preached to you and which you received and on which you stand firm. By that Gospel you are saved, provided that you hold to it as I preached it. Otherwise, you will have believed in vain.

In the first place, I have passed on to you what I myself received that Christ died for our sins, as Scripture says; that He was buried; that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures; that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. Afterwards He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters together; most of them are still alive, although some have already gone to rest.

Then He appeared to James and after that to all the Apostles. And last of all, He appeared to the most despicable of them, this is to me. For I am the last of the Apostles, and I do not even deserve to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. Nevertheless, by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me has not been without fruit. Far from it, I have toiled more than all of them, although, not I, rather the grace of God, in me.

Now, whether it was I or they, this, we preach, and this, you have believed.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Cornelius, Pope and Martyr, and St. Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Corinthians 12 : 31 – 1 Corinthians 13 : 13

Be that as it may, set your hearts on the most precious gifts, and I will show you a much better way.

If I could speak all the human and Angelic tongues, but had no love, I would only be sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, knowing secret things, with all kinds of knowledge, and had faith great enough to remove mountains, but had no love, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I had to the poor, and even give up my body to be burnt, if I am without love, it would be of no value to me.

Love is patient, kind, without envy. It is not boastful or arrogant. It is not ill-mannered, nor does it seek its own interest. Love overcomes anger and forgets offences. It does not take delight in wrong, but rejoices in truth. Love excuses everything, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love will never end. Prophecies may cease, tongues be silent and knowledge disappear. For knowledge grasps something of the truth and prophecy as well. And when what is perfect comes, everything imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I thought and reasoned like a child, but when I grew up, I gave up childish ways. Likewise, at present, we see dimly, as in a mirror, but, then, it shall be face to face. Now, we know, in part, but then I will know as I am known. Now, we have faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.

Saturday, 7 March 2020 : 1st Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 5 : 43-48

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “You have heard that it was said : Love your neighbour and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you : love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun rise on both the wicked and the good, and He gives rain to both the just and the unjust.”

“If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? As for you, be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect.”

Friday, 30 August 2013 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the well-known story, the parable of the five careless and five wise women, of whom the careless ones lose out against those who are wise, by not preparing ahead of their time, that they would be ready when the bridegroom comes. Those women truly represent mankind, brethren, that is all of us, in our daily lives and in our waiting for the great bridegroom, none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.

The wise and sensible women made ample preparations and brought with them backup of fuel that might be necessary for the event, and their hard work earned them with the welcome and entry into the banquet of the bridegroom, while the careless and unwise women did not made ample preparations beforehand, and ran out of oil when the bridegroom came late to the event.

The wise women gained entry to the party when the bridegroom came at midnight, with their lamps lit with the extra oil they had prepared beforehand. The unwise women, the careless women did not have enough oil and as they could not greet the bridegroom without their lamps lit, they had no choice but to go and buy the oil first. When they went away, the bridegroom came, and the unwise women were therefore late to the party.

The unwise women knocked in despair and pleaded to be allowed entry into the party, but the bridegroom rebuked them and rejected them, and that he did not know them, because they were not there when he came to greet him. The end result is that while the wise women enjoyed in happiness inside the party with the bridegroom, the unwise women were left out, outside the party, in bitter cold and suffering.

We can easily draw parallel between this parable and our own experiences in this world, and the things expected from us, as Christ had told us through His parables and through His teachings to His disciples passed down to us through the Church and the Scripture. As mentioned, Jesus is truly that bridegroom, the wise and unwise women waiting for the coming of the bridegroom are all of us, all mankind, all seeking for the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord, in His glorious second coming into this world, indeed, pretty much like that of the coming of the bridegroom in the parable.

This is where it gets very important, and what differentiates who will end up becoming those unwise women and perish, and who will end up being in joy for being the wise women, ever ready and ever prepared. As Jesus had often reiterated to His disciples over and over again, including in this parable, that the coming of the bridegroom, that is His second coming, is totally and completely unpredicted by any power of men. No one is able and will ever be able to discern the precise moment when the Lord will come again in glory at the end of time. Even that end of time moment is undefined, except the warnings that it is indeed close at hand.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, to our God there is no such thing as being early, on time, or late. We can never box Him up in such categories, because we certainly will have no knowledge at all about the time of His coming. He had also specifically said that He will come again at the time when everyone is at their most unprepared, at the moment when no one on earth expects that He will come again at that precise timing.

We must indeed be like the wise women, who brought with all of them extra oil for use, that when the bridegroom came very late at night, their lamps would have sufficient oil for the entirety of the long vigil of waiting. Do not be like the unwise women, who came unprepared, and when the time comes, their lamps were without oil.

What is this oil and extra oil that the wise women bring therefore? It is not the physical oil that Christ truly referred to, when He taught us how to prepare for His coming. It is the love that is within us that burns brightly as the fire of love, that Christ will come and find that we are there when He comes, and He will recognise us and welcome us into His kingdom. But love is not meant for us just to be kept within ourselves and remain hidden from the world. Like fire, it requires fuel in the form of oil, and also oxygen to burn. If the fire is placed in enclosed space, it will eventually die out, and without fuel, the fire will also die out.

The fuel that inflames our fires is our own actions, words, and deeds, infused with the love we have within us, the love God had given to each and every one of us. If we open our hearts and let loose the love within us, that every word, every deeds, and every actions of our hands, legs, and others result in love for others, and for God, the love within us will multiply, like a fire brightly lit, well-supplied with fuel, yes, the fuel of love itself. If we keep our hearts closed, that love will grow dim and will die out eventually. Love is something that cannot be measured, but it can only grow when we share that love with one another, and with God.

If we keep ourselves from sharing our love, and if we remain idle and do no good for the sake of others, for the sake of God, we end up being like the unwise women, who will be too late for the coming of Christ, and at His coming, we will all be caught unprepared, and He will cast us out from His presence, because the fire in us has died out, running out of the fuel of love due to our own failure to act, our failure to love.

St. Paul had reminded the Church people in Thessalonica, that they ought to live according to the will and the commandments of God, that is love, in our First Reading today. Indeed, we are urged to love, to love God first and foremost before anything else, before even ourselves. We are ought to give ourselves, our heart, and our entire being to the Lord in complete and total dedication. And then, we also must give ourselves to our fellow mankind, to those who are in need for our love, for our help, for our care, especially the unloved ones, the ostracised, the prejudiced ones.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, having listened to the parable of the talents, and now in full knowing how we can make sure that we become like the wise women instead of the unwise ones, let us thus, from this moment onward, strengthen our acts of love, and commit ourselves more strongly and deeper into the cause of love, by making sure that all our words, our deeds, and our actions are based on love, that the fire of love within each one of us will burn ever brighter, and the Lord who comes unpredicted in His own time, will come and find our faith worthy, and reward us eternal life with Him. Amen.