Wednesday, 11 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 3 : 1-11

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Therefore, put to death what is earthly in your life, that is immorality, impurity, inordinate passions, wicked desires and greed, which is a way of worshipping idols. These are the things that arouse the wrath of God. For a time, you followed this way and lived in such disorders. Well then, reject all that : anger, evil intentions, malice; and let no abusive words be heard from your lips.

Do not lie to one another. You have been stripped of the old self and its way of thinking; to put on the new, which is being renewed, and is to reach perfect knowledge, and the likeness of its Creator. There is no room for distinction between Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, foreigner, slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 2 : 6-15

If you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, let Him be your doctrine. Be rooted and built up in Him; let faith be your principle, as you were taught, and your thanksgiving, overflowing.

See that no one deceives you with philosophy or any hollow discourse; these are merely human doctrines, not inspired by Christ, but by the wisdom of this world. For in Him, dwells the fullness of God, in bodily form. He is the Head of all cosmic power and authority, and, in Him, you have everything.

In Christ Jesus, you were given a circumcision, but not by human hands, which removed completely from you the carnal body : I refer to baptism. On receiving it, you were buried with Christ; and you also rose with Him, for having believed in the power of God, Who raised Him from the dead.

You were dead. You were in sin and uncircumcised at the same time. But God gave you life with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He cancelled the record of our debts, those regulations which accused us. He did away with all that, and nailed it to the cross. Victorious through the cross, He stripped the rulers and authorities of their power, humbled them before the eyes of the whole world, and dragged them behind Him, as prisoners.

Monday, 9 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Claver, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Colossians 1 : 24 – Colossians 2 : 3

At present, I rejoice when I suffer for you; I complete, in my own flesh, what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the Church. For I am serving the Church since God entrusted to me the ministry to make the word of God fully known.

I mean that mysterious plan that, for centuries and generations, remained secret, and which God has now revealed to His holy ones. God willed to make known to them the riches, and even the glory, that His mysterious plan reserved for the pagan nations : Christ is in you, the hope for glory.

This Christ, we preach. We warn, and teach everyone true wisdom, aiming to make everyone perfect, in Christ. For this cause I labour and struggle, with the energy of Christ working powerfully in me. I want you to know how I strive for you, for those of Laodicea, and for so many who have not met me personally.

I pray, that all may be encouraged. May you be established in love, that you may obtain all the riches of a full understanding, and know the mystery of God, Christ Himself. For, in Him, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Saturday, 7 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 1 : 21-23

You, yourselves, were once estranged, and opposed to God, because of your evil deeds, but now, God has reconciled you, in the human body of His Son, through His death, so that you may be without fault, holy and blameless before Him.

Only stand firm upon the foundation of your faith, and be steadfast in hope. Keep in mind the Gospel you have heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Friday, 6 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 1 : 15-20

He is the image of the unseen God, and for all creation, He is the Firstborn, for, in Him, all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible : thrones, rulers, authorities, powers… All was made through Him and for Him. He is before all and all things hold together, in Him.

And He is the Head of the Body, that is the Church, for He is the first, the first raised from the dead, that He may be the first in everything, for God was pleased to let fullness dwell in Him. Through Him, God willed to reconcile all things to Himself, and through Him, through His Blood shed on the cross, God established peace, on earth as in heaven.

Thursday, 5 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Teresa of Kolkata, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Colossians 1 : 9-14

Because of this, from the day we received news of you, we have not ceased praying to God for you, that you may attain the full knowledge of His will, through all the gifts of wisdom and spiritual understanding.

May your lifestyle be worthy of the Lord and completely pleasing to Him. May you bear fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. May you become strong, in everything, by a sharing of the glory of God, so that you may have great endurance and perseverance in joy.

Constantly give thanks to the Father, Who has empowered us to receive our share in the inheritance of the saints, in His kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In Him, we are redeemed and forgiven.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 1 : 1-8

Paul, Apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, to the saints in Colossae, our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ : Receive grace and peace from God, our Father, and Christ Jesus, our Lord. Thanks be to God, the Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord!

We constantly pray for you, for we have known of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of your love for all the saints. Indeed, you await in hope the inheritance reserved for you in heaven, of which, you have heard through the word of truth. This Gospel, already present among you, is bearing fruit, and growing throughout the world, as it did among you, from the day you accepted it, and understood the gift of God, in all its truth.

He who taught you, Epaphras, our dear companion in the service of Christ, faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, has reminded me of the love you have for me, in the Spirit.

Sunday, 27 April 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonisation of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the Second Sunday of Easter, or since a few years ago, we also celebrate the greatness of our Lord’s merciful heart and love for us, in the Feast of the Divine Mercy. We celebrate today not just the joy of Easter and the resurrection of Christ, but the very love and mercy that God had shown us in giving us Jesus to be our Saviour and redeem us from certain death because of sin.

Today we have to reflect on this great mercy God had shown us through Jesus. Without this mercy, mankind would still dwell in darkness of this world and engulfed in sin, and therefore, condemned to damnation with Satan and his fellow fallen angels in the eternal torture of hell, bereft of God’s love and mercy in its entirety, where there is no longer any hope for us.

Instead, God who loves us resolved to let Himself be humiliated, scourged, tortured and mocked for our sake. He let Himself to be wounded and punished with the entirety of the weight of our sins, no matter how heavy they are. For our sins are the wounds that He bear, and His cross is our rebelliousness that He bore for our sake, that we may not suffer the consequences of our sins.

Today we celebrate the rising of two great and yet humble men to the Altar, that is our beloved Popes, the Successors of St. Peter, Blesseds Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. The now Saints Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II were great workers of love and mercy, proclaiming to the world the virtues of the Most Divine Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope St. John XXIII was the great proponent and champion of peace, seeking peace in a world beset by conflicts and hatred between one another, building bridges of dialogue and reconciliation where there were anger, hatred and violence. This is one of the great aspect and essence of mercy, showing to the world that we mankind should shun evil and hatred, as well as violence and dispute, in favour of love, forgiveness, cooperation and genuine mercy.

Divine Mercy of our Lord was truly at work, when Pope St. John XXIII carried out his mission as the Successor of St. Peter as the head of the Universal Church. Even in his life prior to his election as Pope, Pope St. John XXIII had been the embodiment of our Lord’s Divine Mercy, by acting in accordance to the Lord’s love, reaching out in particular to those who are bereft and longing for the Lord’s beautiful mercy.

Pope St. John XXIII as Angelo Roncalli prior to his election as Pope was sent as the diplomat of the Holy See, representing the Pope and the Church in various countries where strife was rampant, and divisions were evident among the faithful people of God, as the Apostolic Delegate to Bulgaria, he helped to bridge the differences between the faithful belonging to the Church and our separated brethren of the Constantinopolitan communion or the Eastern Orthodox. He helped foster a good relationship among the faithful and did not fear to help out a fellow brethren in need.

In essence, therefore, he had exercised the merciful aspect of the Lord who is the Divine Mercy. Pope St. John XXIII has also emulated the same example of Christ’s mercy by helping the Jews who were hunted down by the NAZIs to be exterminated by working hard to arrange their escape when he was the Apostolic Delegate to Turkey, and when a trainload of Jewish exiles attempted to escape death through Turkey.

There were much mercy in this new saint’s actions, and that is why he is today elevated to the glory of the Altar and officially recognised by the Church as a saint worthy of heavenly glory and honour. The other saint elevated today, Pope St. John Paul II whom many if us dearly and fondly remembered as the Pope of our time, also was a great man of mercy and love.

Pope St. John Paul II and his predecessors worked on the vision of a religious sister, who is known now as St. Faustina Kowalska on the Lord as the Divine Mercy. The Lord appeared to St. Faustina Kowalska asking for mankind to repent and change their sinful ways, and cling to His most merciful heart, which became the origin for the devotion towards the Divine Mercy of God, and the origin for today’s celebration on the Feast of the Divine Mercy, which falls on the second Sunday of Easter.

Pope St. John Paul II himself, as many of us know, is a man of great mercy, whose works of love and perseverance for the sake of the faithful is well known throughout the world. When he met an assassination attempt in 1981, on the day of the Feast of our Lady of Fatima, he forgave his to-be-assassin, and visited him in the prison, reconciling himself with the assassin in love.

This is one of the many examples of his acts of mercy, which is firmly founded on the foundations of faith, and his perseverance in fighting for the rights of the faithful against the Communist regime in Poland, his country, was truly remarkable. He did not fight the violence of the atheistic government with violence of his own, even when the people were on his side. He fought for the people with prayers and activism, promoting and championing for the faith through real action firmly grounded on the Christian faith.

Pope St. John Paul II was also well known for his championing of the Universal Call to Holiness, in which the faithful and people of God are encouraged to be models of the faith and walk in a life of holiness, which he helped encourage by the elevation of many holy men and women whose lives had been exemplary to be the role model for the faithful, that is for all of us to follow. These are the examples of the manifestation of the Lord’s love and mercy which came true in the lives of these holy men and women, including that of Popes St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II themselves.

In celebrating the elevation of these two great and yet humble Popes to the holy sainthood, we celebrate together with the entire Church for the propagation of the Lord’s Divine Mercy and love to all the peoples of all the nations, that from today on, through the examples in the lives of these two new saints and countless other holy men and women of God, we may learn of the Lord’s Divine Mercy and understand this great act of mercy.

God did not want us to suffer for the consequences of our sins, which entered our hearts and bodies and minds ever since Adam and Eve our first ancestors disobeyed the Lord and His will. That is why He sent us the greatest gift and help that He can provide us, in Jesus His Son, who suffered in our place, bearing our sins and all their burdens on His shoulders to the cross, where He laid down His own life for us, and by rising from the dead, He gave new hope of a new life to all of us who believe and who are ready to cast away our old lives of sin.

Yet we also have to remember at all times that God hates sin, in all its forms, no matter whether it is a small or a large sin. A sin is still a sin, and it separates us from being able to be perfectly reunited with the Lord who loves us. Sin is the barrier that prevents mankind from being free from the bonds and chains of death, and therefore, it is imperative for us to take the initiative to get rid of our sinfulness.

And the Lord who is also the Divine Mercy as He had revealed to St. Faustina Kowalska, has offered much mercy and opportunity for all of us to repent and turn again towards Him from our past sinful lives. It does not mean that God hates sin then we who have sinned will be condemned to perdition and death. It does not mean that we will be cast into hell immediately for our sins. Mankind are often very aware of their sins, but the danger of this is that because of this awareness, mankind became fearful of God and were afraid to seek God’s forgiveness and therefore fall deeper into sin.

We must not have this mentality or attitude towards God, because we know that the Lord is rich in mercy and slow to anger. Yes, just as much as He is wrathful and hateful against sins that we commit. What matters is for us to open our hearts to Him and allow His mercy to work wonders in us, and allowing His mercy to pierce to the greatest depths of our hearts that He may dwell in us and work His forgiveness in us.

Remember what Pope St. John Paul II had said to us? That we must not be afraid and open the doors wide to the Lord? And yes, therefore, we have to heed the words of this wise saint, and open wide the doors of our hearts to the forgiveness and mercy of God. Do not be afraid indeed, or else God’s mercy and forgiveness will not work its wonders on us, and we will remain in sin.

The problem with many of us and therefore mankind in general is that, not only that we fear the Lord and His wrath, but we also have great pride in us that we do not want to seek the Lord for forgiveness because of our ego. We keep our ego and heads held high, but for what? In the end, keeping our ego and pride will cost us dearly and we may be thrown into hell to suffer for eternity just because we refuse to lower ourselves before the mercy of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today, as we rejoice with the entire Universal Church for the elevation of the two new saints from among our Popes, let us follow their examples and heed their words, that we show mercy in our own actions and open our hearts to the Lord, that His mercy and love may be poured into us, and make us all truly worthy and holy children of His, showing the examples of mercy in all our words, actions and deeds.

O, Pope St. John XXIII, pray and intercede for us that we may be agents of peace in this world, to show love and mercy of God to all through our actions, that may all hatred and violence cease, and that men will be brought closer to God, just as you had once worked hard for the sake of peace and equality for all mankind before God.

O, Pope St. John Paul II, pray and intercede for us that we may have our hearts opened for the Lord to enter, that we will not shut tight our doors before the Lord who knocks daily at them. Pray for us that we will not be afraid to open ourselves for others and show love and mercy in all of our actions, that we will be witnesses of the Lord’s most Divine Mercy.

May the Lord show His infinite mercy to us on this day, that we who have sinned before Him may turn our back against our past and sinful lives, that we may take concrete and real steps towards full reconciliation with our God. O, most Divine Mercy and loving Jesus, forgive us sinners and bring us closer to Your most loving heart. Amen.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ! Indeed, we are all brethren, brothers and sisters to one another, because all of us share the same Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who is our Brother. He did not leave mankind behind when we sinned against Him and rebelled against His love and His will. Instead, as the reading pointed out today, He came to dwell among us, and be with us, that we become His brethren, and will have part in Him and His salvation.

The Lord dwells within us, because we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which must be kept holy at all times, and free from the filth of sin and evil. To do so, we must reflect Christ in all the things that we do, in all the words that we say, and in all the works of our hands. And to reflect Christ simply means to love, loving God with all our hearts and our entire being, and also to love our neighbours, our brethren as much as we love ourselves.

If we do all these, in the complete awareness of what we are doing, which glorify Christ more and more, we will be brought closer and ever be with God. He will accept us as His own, as His brethren, and He will protect us from the harm caused by the evil one. To us, He had shown compassion and love, just as the love shown by shepherd to his sheep. If we are lost, like the lost sheep, He will do all the things He can, in order to bring us back to Him again.

But we must also remain obedient to Christ, as even if we are already saved, we can be lost once again, if we do not remain faithful to our calling in life, that is to be with Christ and to love Him with all our strength. Especially, in our world today, it is easy for one to fall away from grace, because of the increasing materialism in this world, the temptations of pleasure and false happiness that this world provide to many people, that they began to turn away from the teachings of Christ.

Doing the will of God is what God truly desires from us all, and in following Christ and His teachings, we are doing the will of God, that is love, for one another, and for God Himself. If we show love in our actions, we are doing God’s will and therefore will always remain in God’s grace, and we will be save from damnation of death and hell that awaits those who disobeyed the Lord and continued their lives in sin.

Today, we are celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, an important feast day for the Carmelites, a well-known religious order, which began at Mount Carmel itself, which is located in Israel today, the same location where the prophet Elijah contested against the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal, the pagan god, in front of the people of Israel, on who is the true God of Israel.

Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, appeared to St. Simon Stock, who was the founder of the Carmelite Order, and gave him what is well-known today as the brown scapular, closely associated with this feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Carmelites themselves placed the Blessed Virgin Mary as the perfect role model for all faithful to follow, in their faith to the Lord, in following the example of Mary herself, in her dedication to her Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, from His birth, to His suffering on the way to Calvary and death on the cross.

So devoted is our Lady to her Son, our Lord Jesus, that she followed Him all the way through His suffering for our sake, to the cross, and stood by below Him, accompanying Him through the time of His greatest ordeal. Though sword pierced her heart, for seeing the cruel death of her Son, she persevered and our Lord gave her to His disciple, John, and gave him to His mother too.

Therefore, in the same way, our Blessed Virgin Mary had been given to us by the Lord Himself, and we had also been given to the care of our Lady, whom we celebrate today as the Lady of Mount Carmel, to be our mother and helper. Why helper? Because our Lady is the greatest of the saints, through her own position being the mother of God, but even more importantly because of her purity and dedication to the Lord and all God’s children.

Today we follow the example of the Carmelites, to give our love and dedication to the Lord, through His mother, our Blessed Virgin Mary. Because, just as the Carmelites stress in their formations and principles, there is no better way to the Lord other than through Mary, His mother. Mary is our greatest intercessor before the Lord for His mercy and help, because, just as at the wedding at Cana, Jesus did listen to His mother, when she pleaded with Him to help the wedding brides despite Him telling her explicitly that the time has not yet come for Him to reveal His power.

That is why we dedicate ourselves in prayer through the Blessed Virgin Mary, who became a guide in our journey towards the Lord. She helps us through her prayer, and because she is closest among the saints in heaven to the Lord, our prayers will be heard, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

That is why it is good for us to follow the example of the Carmelites and indeed, of our Lady herself, in their dedication to Jesus our Lord, on the love they have to our Lord and Saviour. Jesus did not mean any disrespect when He seemingly rebuked His own family when they were waiting for Him as told in the Gospel today. Indeed, Jesus actually affirmed the honoured position His mother had, because Jesus told the people that whoever does the will of God and do things for the sake of the Lord, they are His brethren, His family. Who else is more faithful and more obedient to the will of God other than Mary, our Lord’s own mother? The Virgin who readily accepted her role in the salvation of all mankind by accepting the Lord’s will for her, to be the vessel that brought the Saviour into this world.

Surely, today we must rejoice, that we have our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to intercede for our sake before her Son, our Lord and God. Through her we can be closer to Christ, and through her prayers for our sake, all of us who are sinners have greater hope of salvation, because Christ Himself will surely be moved by the petitions and pleas of His own mother, who cares for us just like her own children. Remember, when Christ gave His mother to John to be cared for, He also gave her to us, that we become her own, and receive the love and care that she had once shown Jesus.

May our Lady of Mount Carmel, our Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, pray for us and protect us from the harm of evil that is in our world, and through her, may we be able to get closer and reach higher to Christ, her Son, that in the future, we will be able to praise Him together with her, and all the saints and holy people of God in heaven. Amen.