Friday, 12 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 15-26

At that time, some of the people said, “Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Thursday, 11 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Luke 11 : 5-13

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to his house in the middle of the night and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine who is travelling has just arrived, and I have nothing to offer him.’ Maybe your friend will answer from inside, ‘Do not bother me now; the door is locked, and my children and I are in bed, so I cannot get up and give you anything.'”

“But I tell you, even though he will not get up and attend to you because you are a friend, yet he will get up because you are a bother to him, and he will give you all you need. And so I say to you, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”

“If your child asks for a fish, will you give him a snake instead? And if your child asks for an egg, will you give him a scorpion? If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 1-4

At that time, Jesus was praying in a certain place; and when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught His disciples.”

And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say this : Father, may Your Name be held holy, may Your kingdom come; give us, each day, the kind of bread we need, and forgive us our sins; for we also forgive all who do us wrong; and do not bring us to the test.”

Saturday, 15 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops or Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard in the Gospel the parable mentioned by Jesus on an evil and proud judge, and a persistent old woman who continued to pester that particular judge to stand up for her case. And that judge, even though he did not fear God nor man, and did not listen or submit to anyone, eventually gave in to the old woman who continued to pester him and plead with him to advance her case.

This parable is a clear message to all of us, that we cannot be complacent in our faith. Besides that we need to act with concrete and genuine love, and live our faith fully through our deeds and actions, we also have to have a good and healthy prayer life. Prayer is for us a connection and a highway that links us to our Lord. It is a two-way conversation between Him and us, through which we can listen to Him and He too can listen to us speaking directly towards Him.

What our Lord Jesus mentioned to us today in the parable is that, if that evil judge, despicable, wicked and irresponsible as he was, not fearing God nor men, could eventually succumb to the pressures of the old woman, just so that she would no longer pester him, how much more will our loving God then harken and listen to our prayers and petitions?

However, be reminded, brothers and sisters, that our prayers and petitions do not equate with what demands we have in this life, and they do not equate with our desires and wants, that means, these do not include our desires for many things, from material wealth to other things. God is loving and He will listen to us, but He also knows our needs and our greatest details till the greatest secrets we keep in the depths of our hearts.

Therefore, our Lord is not held hostage to our wishes and demands, and He is not obliged to fulfill all of our wishes, and neither is He subordinate to us and our will. And He does what seems to fit His will. But this does not mean that He is a heartless God who does not care about us, as if we are in genuine need, He will know it, and He will want to help us.

On our part therefore, we have to act like the old woman who persistently pursued the evil judge in order to have her wishes fulfilled. But did she ask for her own selfish wish? No, it is so that she can have justice shown to her, for she had been wronged. It is the same therefore for all or us, that we have to take out two things from this day’s Scripture readings.

First, we have to persist in our prayers, to pray without cease, on regular basis, constantly contacting and talking with the Lord our God, like the old woman pestering the evil judge for his attention and help. But the difference is that, if the evil judge hated the woman’s persistence and pleas, our Lord who is loving and kind to us, will never be tired of listening to our constant pleas and prayers. Instead, He will listen to them and then act as it is right according to Him and His own will for us.

And then second, all of us must realise that God loves us all and He wants us to be righteous and just in all things. He wants us to have love and faith in ourselves, so that in all of our actions we will no longer put forward our desires or greed, but instead to submit to the greater will of the Lord. And therefore, in that, in our prayer life too, we have to realise that our prayers are not merely just list of petitions and demands against the Lord.

Prayer is all about keeping in contact with our Lord, from heart to heart, an intimate and personal relationship we must have and nourish between us and our God. In prayer, we should air our concerns and wishes, but at the same time, we must also open our ears wide in order to be able to listen to the word of God which He spoke softly deep in our hearts.

Therefore, we ought to learn to listen and to listen well, so that our hearts be cleared from all forms of hubris and pride, of desire and greed that we may truly be transformed from creatures of sin and darkness, into the children of the light, of our Lord who is Love. This is what we need to do, and there is today a saint, whose feast day we celebrate this day, and whose life examples may be an inspiration to all of us.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Albert of Cologne, also more famously known by his epithet ‘the Great’ as St. Albertus Magnus or St. Albert the Great. He was a Dominican friar and then bishop in the High Middle Ages era Germany, who was renowned particularly for his faith, for his zeal, for his numerous works and writings, as well as for his great contributions to the growth of the spiritual aspect in many of the faithful, both whom he directly and indirectly touched.

St. Albert the Great is honoured with the title of the Doctor of the Church, to be among the few so honoured as such. His works in both philosophy and theology were of great importance to the Church and to the faithful. His dedication to the advancement of the Lord’s teaching and cause was truly remarkable and commendable, and he was also devoted to helping the people of God, both through his works and through his writings.

Through the examples of St. Albert the Great, we can see how if we devoted ourselves in deep prayer and develop our spirituality in the way of St. Albert the Great, we can truly be like him. St. Albert the Great spent much of his time in prayer and devotion to God, and through that devotion, he produced many good works that benefit not just himself, but countless others around him.

And in the first reading, St. John the Apostle and Evangelist advised us all how we should live out our lives, to be righteous and just before God, by loving one another sincerely and genuinely, and most especially, to show our love and care to our brothers and sisters around us, who needs our love the most. Thus these are the two pillars of our faith, namely our loving actions to one another, and our strong and devoted prayer life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore from now on, renew our commitment to the Lord and ask for the intercession of St. Albert the Great, that our faith too may be strengthened by God just as his was strengthened. May we all grow stronger and more devoted in our prayer life, so that we may not be lost but remain in close and intimate contact with the Lord our loving God, at all the moments of our lives. God bless us all. Amen.


First Reading :

Psalm :

Gospel Reading :

Saturday, 15 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops or Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples a parable, to show them that they should pray continually, and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my opponent!'”

“For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.'”

And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night, even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”


Homily and Reflection :

Sunday, 9 November 2014 : 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate a great feast of the whole Universal Church, and especially the Church of Rome, the heart of Christendom, as established by the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme leader of the entire Body of Christ, the Church, St. Peter the Apostle, who established his seat in the once Imperial capital of the Roman Empire, the city of Rome, and where he was martyred for his faith in God.

He is the very first Bishop of Rome, and the very first one to lead the growing faithful community there in the Imperial capital. St. Peter the Apostle is indeed also accredited with the establishment of several other important and key dioceses throughout the Empire, and indeed, the See of Antioch also had St. Peter as its first bishop and leader. However, it was in Rome, where St. Peter truly established his seat and served the people of God until he was martyred in the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero.

And when we talk about the Church, we know of the various hierarchy of structures and personnels that made up the whole universal Church, and the administrative divisions in it, which in fact mirrored closely the division of the civil administration of the Roman Empire. The name diocese, was taken from the name used to describe a provincial division of the late Roman Empire, and this is taken into the structure of the Church as a group of the faithful led by a bishop, with many priests and the laity both under his care and supervision.

Bishops are overseers and leaders of God’s people, and they also supervise and coordinate the actions and works of the priests, the holy servants of God. And the premier and the foremost of all bishops is the Bishop of Rome, who as the bishop of the very diocese where St. Peter the Apostle had established himself and martyred, is the successor of that holy saint and shepherd which our Lord Jesus Himself had entrusted with all of His faithful on earth.

St. Peter affirmed his faith in the Lord with his threefold declaration of faith, a reminder that he had once denied his Lord and God three times during the Passion. And Jesus forgave him, and entrusted him with the entire the Church, as His Vicar, by the words, “Feed My sheep.” The Bishops of Rome, the Popes, therefore inherit the same commandment which Jesus had given to Peter, to lead His entire Universal Church.

And as bishop, indeed, he has a cathedral too, the Bishop of Rome having the Cathedral of Rome as his seat. We have to take note that the Cathedral mentioned here does not refer to the largest or the most beautiful churches present in the diocese, but rather the place, the very church where the seat of the bishop is. And this seat is the bishop’s throne, or the Cathedra, where a Cathedral gets its name from.

For many of us, we may think that the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican is the Cathedral of the Pope and the principal church of Christendom. However, this was wrong. Indeed, the Basilica of St. Peter has a special importance, both as a Papal Basilica, of which there are only four in the whole world, and then because it itself is located on top of the Vatican necropolis, which was the very spot where St. Peter was martyred during the reign of the Emperor Nero.

The Basilica therefore housed the remains of St. Peter, and is also the regular residence of the Popes, and where he celebrates the majority of his liturgical functions in Rome. However, the Pope’s Cathedra as the Bishop of Rome is not located at the Basilica of St. Peter, but rather at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, located in Rome, and not in the Vatican City.

Basilica of St. John Lateran was the site of the original Lateran Basilica donated by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who was the first Christian Roman Emperor, and it became the official residence of the Popes, the adjacent Lateran Palace, and the Basilica became the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. The reason why the Popes no longer stay at the site, was because of the upheavals of two centuries ago, where worldly conflicts forced the Pope to abandon the Lateran for the safety of the Vatican, where he resided from then on.

As the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, the first and principal diocese of the Church, therefore it is also the Mother Church of the entire and whole Christendom, the very first and most important of all churches in the world, superseding even the Basilica of St. Peter, and noticed in its official name, the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran. It is the only Archbasilica in the world and was dedicated first to the Lord, who is the Saviour of the whole world, and then to both St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.

Today, we celebrate the day of the dedication of that sacred and hallowed Cathedral, the heart of the entire Christendom as the seat of the Popes. Dedication of a church is a very important event, for it is the moment when the particular location is consecrated and blessed, as a sacred and worthy space, for all the faithful to celebrate together the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the commemoration of the Lord’s Passion and death on the cross.

This is what the first reading today is all about, the vision of Ezekiel who saw the great and holy Temple of heaven, filled with divine glory and majesty, and he saw a torrent of water coming out from the Temple. This is what the hymn which we sung at Easter, Vidi Aquam, was taken from. ‘I saw water pouring out from the Temple…’ and what is this water? It is the holy water of our baptism, a reminder for us all to be holy and pure as we are at the moment of our baptism.

This is why we have the custom of signing ourselves with the sign of the Cross and the holy water when we enter the church. This is to remind us that we are coming into the holy place of God, which had been dedicated, consecrated and blessed for holy use of the Mass. Remember that Moses was asked to remove his sandals when he came to see the burning bush in the mountain of God? That is because the sandals represent all the vile and unworthy things of the world, which ought not to be present in the holy presence of God.

And therefore, similarly, when we come to the church, we should come with only a single intent, that is to be with our Lord, and to be fully present there, with all of our heart, soul and body completely present, ready to give thanks and praise to the Lord for His love, which we commemorate in the Holy Eucharist in the Mass. We should never even have the mind to do other things inappropriate for us to do when we are in the holy place and presence of God.

Therefore, it is absolutely saddening and disheartening if we see our own behaviours when we come for the Holy Mass, especially when those behaviour represent our disrespect to the Lord and His holiness, in His very temple no less! How many of us are guilty of talking and gossiping, as well as chatting things that are most of the time irrelevant to the celebration of the Holy Mass?

How many of us look to our gadgets and to our smartphones, to our mobile phones and others, instead of looking at the One whom we all should look towards, the Holy One who had given up Himself in death, so that we may not suffer the consequences of death, but gain life in His resurrection from the dead. How many of us therefore profaned His holiness and presence with our insolence and lack of respect for the Lord?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our actions as I have just mentioned cannot be separated from our own internal disposition. Why is this so? If we look carefully, at the second reading today, taken from letter of St. Paul to the Church in Corinth, he also mentioned that our body is also a holy temple, that is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This echoes the same words of Jesus, who also taught that our bodies are the Temples of the Holy Spirit, and therefore they should be pure and devoid of all forms of sins and iniquities.

What did Jesus do in the Gospel reading, brothers and sisters? Precisely, He drove out all of the merchants and the money changers who set up their stalls in front, at the courtyard of the Temple of Jerusalem, the House of God. The courtyard itself, even though it is not part of the main temple building, as a whole, still considered as an integral part of the Temple complex, and therefore, what the merchants and the money changers had done there, were abominable in God’s eyes.

What did the merchants do? They sold the animals to be sacrificed in the Temple to the people who wanted to offer those sacrifices, and they did so, by selling those animals at a high price, so that they gained much profits and benefits over the suffering of the people. The money changers did similarly, with charging the people for their money exchange services at exorbitant rates, gaining much more from those transactions.

What those people had done, had profaned the Temple of God, its holiness was marred by the wickedness of men. And our Lord who is a just God certainly did not take a kind look upon these wickedness, and that was why, Jesus our Lord literally went berserk in His wrath, because of the great evil committed by these in His holy Temple. He drove them out with whips and shouts, casting them out of His house and cursed them.

How is this relevant to us? Our bodies are the Temples of the Holy Spirit, the place where our Lord Himself came to dwell in us, and we know this because we who are faithful to Him, He will sanctify us and make us pure and justified. But if we do things as what the merchants and the money changers had done, then we are all going to receive great punishment and condemnation for our fornication and corruption of the holiness of the Temple of our body with sin.

How is this so? If we act in ways such as to serve our own desires, acting selfishly, thinking only of ourselves, just as the merchants and the money changers overcharging the people to gain profits for themselves, or if we act in disrespect of others, disregarding the teachings and reminders of the Lord, just as we had often disrespected the holiness of the sacred space in the church, the holy place of God, then our due is to be condemned and to suffer for those sins we have committed.

Therefore, today, as we celebrate with the entire universal Church, the feast of the dedication of the great Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Mother Church of all Christendom, the seat of authority and the site of the Cathedra of the Successors of St. Peter, let us be reminded of two very important things, that we must not leave today without.

First, we have to make sure that we respect the holy places and act appropriately in the places of divine worship. We have to truly be focused in the celebration of the Holy Mass, that we should dispose of any distractions or any attitudes incompatible with maintaining holiness in such solemn space, consecrated and dedicated to God. Let us remember that first and foremost, we have to come to celebrate the Holy Mass regularly, and when we do so, we have to be truly committed.

Then secondly, and even more important for us, is that we have to realise that all of us are also Temples of the Lord, Temple of the Holy Spirit. We have to keep this in mind, every single seconds of our lives. This is so that before we do every single act, or emit every single word from our mouth, we may think it through twice, or even more than twice, so that we can consider well before we act or say anything, that we may avoid ourselves from committing a sin before God.

May Almighty God, our Lord and Father, bless us all with faith and perseverance, that amidst this sinful and darkened world, we may become sources of light for the world to see, that all of us, the Temples of the Lord, may be consecrated in holiness, just as the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Mother Church of our Faith has been consecrated in holiness and love by the Lord, to be the anchor upon which the Church keeps its faith strongly, that all of us may also remain forever faithful, and keep the sanctity and holiness of the Temple of God that is our bodies, our hearts and our souls. God be with us all. Amen.


First Reading :

Psalm :

Second Reading :

Gospel Reading :

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Sunday, 9 November 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate with the entire Universal Church, the feast of the dedication of the greatest church in Christendom, the very heart of our Faith, the very seat of the Successor of St. Peter in this world, that is the Basilica of St. John Lateran, also known by its official name of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran is where the Bishops of Rome, the Popes have their Cathedra at. Cathedra is the seat of the bishop, the seat of authority and his throne, representing the teaching authority which had been handed down to him by his predecessors, in an unbroken chain of Apostolic succession. And for the Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, this succession originated from none other than St. Peter the Apostle, the Prince of Apostles, leader of the Universal Church and the Vicar of Christ.

Therefore today we celebrate both the authority of the Popes as the successors of St. Peter the Apostle, and more particularly, their seat of authority as the Bishop of Rome, the Cathedral of the Popes, the Cathedral of Rome itself, that is the Archbasilica of our Saviour, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is rightly often called, the Mother Church of the entire Christendom, because it is exactly the pivot and the centre, around which the entire Universal Church spins.

Today is the commemoration of the very date this Basilica was dedicated and consecrated to the Lord, a very important event which marked the moment when the building of the church was made holy and sacrosanct, blessed and dedicated to the Lord, to be a place of holy worship, worthy of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

And in the Epistle today, we heard on how the Lord is willing to come down from heaven to dwell with us, and this He had done, through His Son Jesus Christ, the One who saved us all through His suffering and death on the cross. He is the tabernacle of God who came down from heaven, to dwell among us forever. What is a tabernacle? Surely we are all aware that the tabernacle is the holiest place in the Church, where the very Holy and Real Presence of God in the Eucharist is housed.

Therefore, Jesus Christ who came into the world, both the Son of Man and Son of God, both fully human and fully divine, is the Word of God made flesh, who took up the humanity and the flesh of mankind to manifest the perfect love of God in this world. Through Him, God has dwelled among men forever, and this He kept true, even until now and beyond, because He has given us His own Body and Blood through the Eucharist, and for us who receive them worthily, the Lord dwells in us, and we dwell in Him.

We have to realise therefore, today, as we celebrate this feast of the dedication of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, we should realise also that just as the holiness and sanctity of that sacred place was created by its dedication and there is a need to maintain that holiness, then we too must realise that as I have mentioned, that because the Lord has dwelled among us, we are also the tabernacles of God, that is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

We are all therefore also meant to be the Temples of God. As such, we have to maintain the purity and holiness of our lives, of our bodies and hearts, or else, the corruption of sin would come to pollute the purity of the Temple of our body and heart. If we allow this fornication and corruption to affect this holy Temple, then our lot will be condemnation and destruction by the Lord, who will destroy us for our sinfulness.

How do then we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? That means all of us should avoid any kinds of actions and attitudes that cause sin to develop and corrupt our hearts. We should keep ourselves clean and pure, by doing what is good in the sight of God, and abandoning all forms of fornications and evils from everything we do, and from everything we say.

Our Lord loves us, brothers and sisters in Christ, and He actively seeks all those who have sinned and have fallen into the darkness, like that of a shepherd looking for his lost sheep. The Gospel today clearly showed this to us, as Jesus showed His love and mercy for Zachaeus, the rich merchant and tax collector, who was seen by the Pharisees as a great sinner for his actions.

Yet it was his sincere desire and effort to seek the Lord, even to climb up a tall tree just so that he could see Him, that brought him into salvation. Jesus also praised him for his faith, and for his commitment to doing what is good and righteous, even to the point of declaring his love for the Lord publicly, and vowed to give to the poor, his love and care.

Therefore, the example of Zachaeus in the Gospel today can be an inspiration for us all, that it is never too late for us to begin a new life in Christ. Although we may have sinned greatly in the past, but with the help of the Lord and sincere effort from our side, we can attain a new holy, pure and committed life to God, and therefore create for ourselves, the holy Temple of God, that is our body, heart and soul.

Today we also celebrate the memory and feast of St. Theodore, a holy martyr of the faith, who was once a soldier in the Roman Army, at the time of the late Roman Empire. He was one of the faithful, and in the still pagan Roman Empire, and especially in the Roman Army, that was a difficult thing to do. He remained true to his faith, and when the Emperor at the time, who was very staunchly pagan and anti-Christian, ordered all those in the army to give idol offering to the pagan gods, St. Theodore refused to do so.

St. Theodore therefore was martyred for his faith, in the zealous and unbending devotion to God, like a true soldier of the Lord indeed. He was therefore the patron saints of warriors and crusaders, the holy warriors fighting in the Name of the Lord. Many who seek help against the forces of evil and darkness pray for the intercession of St. Theodore, the holy and brave martyr of God.

Therefore, on this holy and joyous occasion, let us all ask for the intercession of St. Theodore the martyr, and also all the saints of God, and most especially the Blessed Mother of our God, our Blessed Virgin Mary, to pray for us and intercede for our sake, that we may be strengthened against the forces of evil trying to corrupt us, our bodies, our minds, our hearts and souls, which are the Temples of the Lord’s Holy Presence.

Let us all always be mindful of our words, actions and deeds, that we think twice, thrice and even more, before we even think of committing any sin or any acts deplorable to God. Let us all follow the example of Zachaeus, to declare our love for the Lord and devote ourselves completely and entirely to Him without fear, and give the best of our effort to follow the Lord and walk in His ways.

May Almighty God guide us in this battle of life, so that just as He had sanctified the Basilica of St. John Lateran as the Mother Church of all of His Church and the whole of Christendom, He may also sanctify us as the Temples of His Presence within us, through the Most Holy Eucharist which we receive into ourselves. May God bless us for our faith, and keep us in His love always, forever and ever. Amen.


Epistle :

Gospel :