Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the great Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, remembering the moment when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, ascended into His heavenly glory, and was taken up physically away from us, so that none of us can see Him any longer, and this was the ending of the earthly ministry of our Lord which began from the moment He was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary, through His birth, His youth and growing years, His work among the people of God, and finally His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection.

On this day we remember the moment when the Lord ascended into heaven, not so that He left us behind or abandoned us, but rather because as He had mentioned to His disciples, that He went ahead in order to prepare the places He had destined for us all. It was in the Ascension that we truly know that the Lord was indeed Who He had claimed to be, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and not merely just a Man.

On several occasions, Jesus had said that no one had known or can know the Father, the Creator God, save for the One Who came from heaven itself. And He was indeed referring to Himself when He said such words, revealing His unearthly origin, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and taking up the flesh of humanity, becoming like one of us in appearance and in physical body, but in reality, is also the Divine Son of God.

Jesus our Lord was the Word of God made Flesh, as the Divine Word Incarnate. He was the Word with which the Father willed to create all things found in creation. Through Him all things were made and all existences were willed to be. And through Him also, all of us have seen God, He Who was once invisible and beyond human comprehension and understanding, have revealed Himself to all mankind.

He is the Love of God made incarnate into flesh, God Who is Love, Who descended into this world out of His great and everlasting love for us all, His beloved and yet unworthy children. We have sinned because of our disobedience against God’s will, and yet, He Who loves us beyond everything else still loves each one of us, despite of our shortcomings and wickedness.

And to that extent, He had come to save us from certain destruction, by readily bearing up our sins and wickedness upon Himself, all the punishments and consequences for those sins we committed. He bore on the cross all those punishments, so that by His wounds all of us may receive liberation from the tyranny of sin and evil. He has freed us all by His love and sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, what the Lord had promised us all has been reaffirmed to us. The Lord ascended into glory is a premonition and a preview to our own glorious ascension into an eternity of glory and grace, when we come to our final victory against evil and death. When the Lord comes again to claim all of us His faithful ones, He will separate us from the wicked, and bring us all together into His loving embrace.

But we must not just care only for our own personal safety and well-being. For indeed, many of us have been saved because we believe in the Lord, and we obey Him in all that He had commanded us to do, and we act in ways that are worthy of the Lord and His love. However, we must keep in mind what the Lord Jesus had commanded His Apostles and disciples, just before He was about to ascend from them into heaven, His last and most important command to them.

He commanded all of them to go forth to all the nations, to all the peoples, so that they might bring the truth and revelations which they have received, and bring them to the people of God who still lived in the darkness, those who still refused to welcome Him, those who rejected Him and His truth, all those who continued to live in a state of sin, and all who were still ignorant of His truth and salvation.

That was what the Lord had told His followers to do, for a simple reason. If we do nothing for the sake of these people, then we are truly condemning them to fall into eternal damnation, for if we do not act in order to bring the truth of God to them, then who will do so? We cannot assume that there will be someone out there who will do the work for our sake. No, brethren, we have to step up to the challenge given to us by the Lord, and do as what He had commanded us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how should we then act? We do not need to do marvellous or great things. What we all need is really for us to start from small and little things which we can do, beginning from ourselves and from our own families and relatives. We should spend our time to do as the Lord had taught us, that is to show love in all of our actions, showing concern and care for our fellow brethren, for all those who we see as those who are in need, even for strangers.

Once we have begun doing what is right and just in the sight of the Lord, our actions themselves will speak louder than words, and they will become a source of inspiration for many others, who hopefully will be touched by what we have done, and therefore, through us, they may find out the love of the Lord. This is what we all should do, that we live our faith truly through our actions and deeds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore today, as we commemorate our Lord’s glorious Ascension into heaven, seek to deepen our relationship with Him, and devote ourselves anew to love and care for our brethren, especially those who are in need, and all those who have yet to come to understand the love and truth of God, and all those who have been blinded by the darkness of sin, and therefore remain separated from the love and salvation in God.

May the Lord help us all that we may be ever more courageous and be filled with faith, so that in all things we do in this life, we will grow ever more and more committed to the Lord and to our fellow men and women, calling to salvation all those whom the Lord had called to receive His grace and love. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how the Lord guided His Apostle, St. Paul, who went to various places across the Roman Empire in order to preach His truth to the people, and today we heard the part when St. Paul went to the region now known as Greece, the venerable ancient city of Athens, which was then known to be a centre of learning and science, the centre of ancient wisdom and understanding, the heart of philosophy and intellectual studies.

St. Paul went to a people who had long history of scientific knowledge and discovery, and who came after a long line of famous philosophers and thinkers, who made Athens their home. These people believed in their pagan gods, the gods of nature, of the sky, lightning, the seas and the earth, and all other natural phenomena, which we may be more familiar of as the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses.

It must have been quite a challenge for St. Paul to have come to the Areopagus, the place where the Greek philosophers gathered to debate about many things, including the matters of the supernatural, about their gods and goddesses. And there came St. Paul bearing the truth to them, the truth about the One and only Living God, the True God Who created all things, and rejecting the falsehoods of their pagan gods.

But St. Paul persevered through, revealing the folly of worshipping gods and idols which were made of human creations, and were made out of gold, silver and all forms of human craftsmanship, and not something that transcends the world itself. He revealed the truth about the Lord, Who was still unknown to those pagan peoples, but through St. Paul and his teachings, they came to know of the Lord and His salvation.

St. Paul showed the philosophers the emptiness and the futility of worshipping the elements of nature, which are merely creations and products of the creation by the Creator. If those things which had been created were truly amazing that mankind came to worship them as gods and idols, then truly, all the more and all the greater is the One Who had created all of them.

That is why all of us worship the Lord our God, for He is the one and only true God, from Whom all life came from, and from Whom all things were created, including each and every single one of us. He has come into this world, by His own accord, in order to reveal Himself to us all, that through that revelation all of us might finally see His truth and learn to accept His light, and live no longer in the darkness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is too often that we mankind refused to follow the Lord, especially because we have hardened our hearts against Him. We placed our trust in our own might, in our own intellect and in our own abilities, to the point that we could not comprehend the truth of the Lord, as what some of the people at the time of St. Paul had done.

Yet, as we heard from the readings, some of the philosophers were intrigued by what St. Paul had said, and wanted him to explain more about the Lord to them. It was from this moment that the foundation of the faith in that region began to be established and strengthened. It was the willingness of the pagans to open their hearts to the Lord, which allowed Him to enter into their hearts and turn them towards the way to salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should heed this example, and also turn ourselves completely and wholeheartedly towards the Lord. Let us all believe in Him, our Lord and Creator with all of our heart, with all of our strength and might, so that we may draw ever closer to Him, and not be distracted by the temptations found in this world, so that we may find our way to the salvation in our God. May God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we quickly approach the coming of the Solemnity of the Ascension, during which we remember that forty days after His glorious resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into His heavenly glory, we recall our Lord’s promise that even though we see Him no more, just as much as the Apostles did not see Him anymore after that, the faith in Him and His truth still remained and will prevail in the end.

He has not left us behind without hope, for He Himself has assured us that He is always with us, and sent us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in our path and to lead us to the right paths, as He had done so with the Apostles, who despite the difficulties and challenges they faced, they continued to persevere on through against the odds and against all the forms of oppression they faced.

And according to the Lord, the sin of the world is disbelief, the lack of faith in Him, which was shown by all those who refused to believe in the Lord, and all who opposed the works of the Apostles, as exemplified in the first reading today, by all those who rose up against St. Paul and Silas, the slave owners of the city of Philippi, instigating the officials to throw them into prison and to torture them.

That is because the world, filled with wickedness and evil, ruled by Satan and his allies, is not willing to let the Lord’s truth and ways to be propagated lest their own ways are threatened. Similarly, therefore, there were many enemies of the Apostles, all those who sought to undermine their works and to stop the preaching of the Good News and the truth of the Gospel.

And yet, again and again, God has always provided for His faithful ones, for all those who cling to His truth and obey His will. He has always loved all of them, and did not leave them behind. Even if His servants were to suffer persecution, prejudice and torture at the hands of their enemies, but many of them remained resolute and true to their faith, because they knew that God Who is always ever faithful will bless them with eternal grace and joy as He promised.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians all of us are called to serve Him in the same manner as the Apostles had done, to be courageous in proclaiming God’s truth, not just through words and proclamations, but even more importantly, through our actions and deeds, by doing what the Lord had commanded us to do, and therefore gain for ourselves the justification of our faith.

There will be lots of challenges and difficulties, and it is often that even those who are close to us may suddenly detest us and disown us because we believe in the Lord and in His ways, and refuse to conform to the ways of the world. But we have to persevere, for it is in living faithfully in accordance with God’s ways that we shall be saved, by our devotion and commitment to His cause.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our commitment to live a faithful life to the Lord, giving our all to Him and give our best ability in order to love Him and to love our fellow neighbours, as He had told us to do. May the Lord be with us in this journey of life, and may He strengthen our faith, so that we will always be ever courageous and strong amidst the challenges we may encounter in life because of our faith in God. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 22 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are all reminded that as Christians, all of us must remain united with the Lord, and we cannot be separated from Him in our faith. We must remain truly and firmly rooted in Him, the One and only True Vine, out of which all truth and graces come from. If we are separated from Him, we shall perish.

That is the fundamental truth which all of us Christians must be aware of, that we have to cling to the truth which the Lord had revealed to us, and He has established a vessel through which all of these can be done, namely through the Church He had founded upon the foundation of the Apostle St. Peter and with the assistance of the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord.

It is through the Church that God had done many of His wonderful works in this world, even though He no longer physically walks among us in this world as He had done at the time when He was still with His Apostles and disciples prior to His Ascension into heaven. Yet, God Who ascended in glory to heaven never left behind His Church and His people, and He is always ever with them through good times and bad times alike.

And as Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, the world needs to know about our Lord Jesus, about the love which He had shown His Father, our Father and Creator. For Jesus is the Son of God, Who had assumed the flesh of mankind, that by sharing in our humanity, He might show all of us the meaning of true faith and devotion to God, the meaning of perfect obedience and submission to the will of God.

That is the mission which Jesus our Lord had given to His Apostles and disciples, as He entrusted it to them before He ascended in His glory to heaven. This is the primary mission of the Church, the salvation of all souls, that all may be freed from the darkness of their sins and wickedness, and come into the light of the Lord. It is important for us to remember this as we are all parts of the Church, and as the members of God’s Church we have our responsibilities and obligations.

We cannot overlook or ignore this obligation, as without us, then who will be the ones to bear forth the word of God and tell the world of His salvation? It was because of the Apostles and their dedication to their given mission, which had brought about the birth and the growth of the Church. They have laboured hard for the propagation of the Good News of God’s salvation, and many had been saved through them.

In the same manner, many of the holy saints and devout servants of God throughout the ages and history have dedicated themselves, their lives and their efforts in the good works of the Lord, bringing salvation upon many souls, not least of all, the saint whose memory we remember today, namely St. Rita of Cascia. St. Rita of Cascia was a holy religious, an Italian widower, who was renowned for her great piety in life.

And she was also a devoted wife and mother, who was known to persuade her husband to get rid of his violent and abusive lifestyle, often getting into conflict with rival families and groups. Unfortunately, it ended with him being murdered by his enemies, leaving St. Rita of Cascia a widow and her children without a father. During those turbulent times, where rivalry and vengeance were common, St. Rita of Cascia strongly dissuaded her children from seeking vengeance.

As it was inevitable that her children would end up committing sins by the blood feud and vengeance that her larger family plotted, it was told that St. Rita of Cascia begged in her prayers before the Lord, that her sons should be spared the fate of eternal damnation, by calling them up to heaven early. It was told that, precisely that was what the Lord granted to her, by their death through dysentery in the same year.

After that, she joined the monastery, but the nuns feared her husband’s families’ feuding that would affect the community. As a result, she was allowed to join on a condition that she should help to resolve the bloody feud among the noble families. St. Rita of Cascia managed to do just that, through her hard work she made it possible for the feuding families and nobles to be reconciled with each other and ceased all forms of hostilities.

The examples of St. Rita of Cascia, her great piety and devotion to the Lord, her exemplary lifestyle and commitment to her faith should be inspiration to all of us. All of us should be more and more inspired to follow in her footsteps, in how we ought to live our faith life, and therefore, fulfilling our obligations as the members of the Church, as I mentioned earlier in this homily, to bring the people of God closer to God, and get them out of the darkness and into the light, through our actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray that the Lord will give us strength, courage and commitment, so that we will be able to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, the holy saints and martyrs, especially the holy woman, St. Rita of Cascia, so that by our good works and deeds, we may bring more and more souls towards the salvation in God. May God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 21 May 2017 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, the sixth in the season of Easter, all of us gathered together in the celebration of the Holy Mass are all called to remember that the Lord has given us His very own Holy Spirit to dwell in us, as the Helper and Advocate which He had promised us all through what He had said to His disciples, as we heard it ourselves in the Gospel passage today.

As we approach the end of the season of Easter, fifty days of celebration of the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, culminating at the Solemnity of the Pentecost, we are preparing ourselves to commemorate that momentous event in the entire history of the Church, the day when the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to all of His Apostles and disciples, giving them the power and courage to go forth and proclaim His Good News to all the nations, essentially marking the beginning of the Church.

The Holy Spirit has descended upon the face of the earth, and by their imparting upon the Apostles and the disciples, the Holy Spirit Himself has been given to all the faithful upon whom the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had laid their hands on, passing down the same gifts that the Lord had given them to their successors, and from their successors to their successors’ successors, and eventually unto us.

And because the Lord Himself has dwelled in us, first of all, by the life that God the Father has given us, and by the Most Precious Body and Blood which God the Son has given us to eat and drink, and by the coming of God the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, all of us have been sealed, by the Sacrament of Initiation, through Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, in the Name of the Lord’s Most Holy Trinity, and God Himself is in us, and He lives inside each one of us.

And if God is inside us, living in us, and really present in each one of us, then surely we cannot defile our bodies, our minds, our hearts and our souls. As St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, we are all Temples of the Holy Spirit, that is our entire being, our entire body, mind, heart and soul. We are God’s dwelling and holy tabernacles on earth.

If we do our best to give the best things for the church, by bowing, kneeling, adoring and falling flat before God, and since we believe in the Real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist, using only the finest materials of gold and precious metals for chalices and ciboriums, and the finest tabernacles and monstrances to contain the Most Precious Body and Blood of the Lord, then should we not do the same with our own bodies, with our own minds, hearts and souls?

Otherwise, our faith is not truly complete, if we do not do what we are supposed to do, in maintaining purity and holiness in life. The Lord had entered our bodies, sinful and tainted by those wickedness we have done, and yet, He had done so in order to purify us, to make us clean and worthy. Such was His love for us that He has given us innumerable opportunities for us to be redeemed from our sins, and to be reconciled with Him.

If we continue to live in sin, or reverting back to our past sinfulness and wickedness, even after we have been made to be children of God, by the Sacraments of Initiation mentioned earlier, then truly we have sinned against the Lord and the Holy Spirit, an unforgivable sin, if we persist in our way of sin and refuse to repent from those sins.

That said, all of these simply point us all in one simple direction, yet clear. And that is all of us Christians must ‘walk the talk’, and we must be genuine and sincere in our faith and in what we believe in the Lord. We must follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, as we have heard from the Acts of the Apostles, which is our first reading today. They were the ones whom God had given the authority and power, and they had dutifully done what they were supposed to do, travelling from places to places, healing the sick and reaching out to sinners and to those who had no hope with them.

We cannot be lukewarm Christians, all those who claim themselves to be Christians and yet they carry on with life as if nothing concerns them besides all of their worldly pursuits and goals, those who are Christians in name only, but in their behaviours and attitudes, often show actions contrary to their supposed belief in the Lord. They did not follow the way of the Lord, but their own, often selfish ways.

Such Christians will bring about scandal to the Church, to the faith, and to the Holy Name of our Lord, because people then can slander us by saying, ‘I thought that Christians believe in their God, and yet this is how they have acted in life?’ Others will then think of Christians as hypocrites, all those who talk but show no action, or those who preach one thing, and yet act in a totally contradictory manner.

No, brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot be like this. We have to be true disciples of the Lord in all things. We have to practice what we believe in, or we will be hypocrites like those Pharisees whom Jesus our Lord criticised and rebuked, because they acted high and mighty, assuming great piety and devotion to God, but they did not do as they have preached, and sought human praise as well as worldly ambition above all else.

It is time for us all Christians to reflect on our actions thus far, we all whom God had chosen from the world to be His disciples, to be those on whom He had bestowed the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the same gifts that He had granted these holy and devout people, and yet we can see just how those gifts God gave them had flourished and grew to be such great fruits of the faith. Thousands and more people, countless souls had been saved through their hard work, which they showed not just by mere words alone, but through their genuine Christian living.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that if we have not done so, and if we have not lived an honest and upright Christian life thus far, and if we have become like those lukewarm or even ‘cafetaria’ Christians, those who choose what they want to believe based on what suits them and reject those that they do not agree with, then it is time for us to change our way of life.

It is time for us to repent and to seek God’s forgiveness, and from now on, devoting our whole lives in the service of God. We have to be loving just as our God is loving. That is what Jesus our Lord mentioned in the Gospel today. All those who believe in Him will do His commandments, and obey the will of God wholeheartedly. And Jesus Himself had summarised the whole law He had given them into two rules.

First, all of us have to love God with all of our heart, with all of our strength. We cannot love anything in a way that is greater than how we love God. He is our Creator, our Lord and Master, the One to Whom we owe our existence and our life. He alone is worthy of our greatest love and praise. And then, secondly, our faith life cannot be kept to ourselves, but we must be active, that is we have to love and serve our fellow brethren, our brothers and sisters, fellow mankind who are all children of the same God.

Love is at the heart of our Christian faith, for St. Paul also mentioned in another occasion, as the Lord Jesus also mentioned, that no matter how great the faith that someone has, but without love, that faith will amount to nothing in the end. And no matter how great we are, in deeds and abilities, but if we have no love in us, that our lack of love will be held against us on the day of judgment, and all that we have, our talents and abilities will do us no good.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all remember that even though the season of Easter is coming to an end soon, there must be no end to our effort to love the Lord and our brethren, as best as we are able to. That is our obligation as Christians, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles, saints and martyrs, many of whom have even laid down their lives for the sake of the Lord, and for protecting the life of the innocents.

Let us all be ever more courageous in faith, and be ever more devoted to the Lord, so that in all the things we say and do, we will always declare and proclaim to all peoples, the glory of the Lord our God, His truth and His love for all of us mankind. May through us and our good works, we may be able to bring countless more souls towards their salvation in God. Let the fruits of the Holy Spirit, of faith, hope and love grow in us and blossom well through us. May He bless us all and our endeavours, and make us all true Christians in name and in deeds. Amen.

Saturday, 20 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we have heard a reminder that if we are to remain faithful and true to the Lord, in our faith to Him, we will encounter difficulties and challenges in our path, as there will definitely be those who will be opposed to us and to our faith, namely those who are clinging on to the ways of the world and would not want to see their influence challenged by us.

That means, our lives as Christians, if we truly cling onto our faith in God, and practice wholeheartedly what we believe in, will not be that smooth-going and easy. If we have found our lives to be easy and manageable, without crisis or difficulty, perhaps that is because God had indeed blessed us so, or which we hope that is not the case, that we have not been truly faithful in our ways and in our lives.

Many of us want to be accepted by the world, and to that extent, we conform to the ways and customs of the world, even if that ran contrary to the teachings of our faith. At the same time, we know that the reality in our Church is that there are many who are ‘cafetaria Christians’, which means those who pick and choose what they want to believe in our faith, and refuse to believe or that they are ignoring those tenets which they found to be too difficult to be followed or complied with.

That was what happened to the disciples of Jesus two millennia ago, as Jesus went about preaching about the coming of the kingdom of God to them and speaking about Himself, the truth of what would happen to them should they became His followers, and what they needed to believe in, even when they found the teaching to be difficult to be complied with. Indeed, many left the Lord behind because they were not willing to open their hearts and listen to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not we all should be like, as all of us should be true and devoted to our Lord in all things we do, and believe in Him wholeheartedly, and not conditionally. After all, the Lord had given us all His life and His love unconditionally, by His loving sacrifice on the cross. He has loved us with all of His heart, generously granting us pardon and mercy, forgiveness and grace even when we are all still great sinners and rebels.

If the Lord had not hold back His love for us, then why should we then hold back our love for Him? Why do we have to choose or to select what we want to believe in His message? Why should we set conditions for the Lord? It is not right, if He had already suffered for our sake, bearing the burden for our sins, the burdens which should have been ours, and died on the cross for us, then we should not and indeed cannot treat the Lord with ignorance or apathy.

We must devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, and learn from the examples of the holy saints, especially St. Bernardine of Siena, whose feast day we are celebrating on this day. St. Bernardine of Siena was a devout and holy priest, as a Franciscan missionary who lived during the late Medieval era. He was renowned as the ‘Apostle of Italy’ for his tireless works in bringing many people, especially throughout Italy, the heart of Christendom, back to the Lord.

For at that time, many of the people did not live in accordance with the ways of the Lord, living in debauchery and sin, in wickedness and doing what is vile and evil in the sight of God. People are more concerned with money and worldly livelihood rather than serving the Lord and obeying His will. St. Bernardine went around many places, preaching directly to the people in those places, and his words of encouragement and call to repentance have brought many people back to the loving embrace of the Lord.

His sincerity and devotion to the Lord inspired those lost souls who saw the light of God through St. Bernardine of Siena, like that of darkness being pushed back by the light. His examples and his dedication to the salvation of souls should be our inspiration, brothers and sisters in Christ, in how we ought to live our lives faithfully to the Lord. We should be exemplary in our actions and deeds, so that all those who see us will also then come to believe in God through us.

May the Lord awaken in all of us the desire to love Him, and to obey Him in all of His teachings. May we follow in the footsteps of St. Bernardine of Siena, that in all the things we say and do, we will always proclaim the glory of the Lord and remain true to His ways. Amen.

Friday, 19 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded through the Scripture passages that we have listened to, of the obligations and duties we have as Christians, as those whom God had chosen to be His people. We have to remember these responsibilities, and live them out accordingly or else, we cannot call ourselves as Christians. Either that, or we are living a false Christian life.

Why is that so? That is because many of us are Christians and call themselves as one counted among the members of the Church, and yet, first of all, they do not attend the regular functions and events of the Church, most importantly of all, the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Many of us attend the Holy Mass only once or twice a year, during the time of Christmas and Easter, and once these seasons are over, we are quick to continue our busy life schedule and leave God behind.

Do we know that it was because of God’s great and undying love that all of us have received salvation and the promise of eternal life from Him? Do we all realise that had God not done so much for us out of His love for us, we would have perished and be destroyed by our sins and by our disobedience against Him? All of us have been marked for death because of our sins, and yet, God loved us so much that He was willing to forgive us and be reconciled with us, if only that we are willing to receive His mercy and forgiveness.

To that extent, He had given us the perfect gift of love, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord. He has come into the world in order to deliver us from sin and death, and that He indeed had done, not only just by some extraordinary means, but truly through the most extraordinary deed of all deeds. As St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to the Romans, very few people would give up his or her life for the sake of others, even for a very righteous man. However, the Lord Jesus gave us His life, for our sake, so that all of us, while we are still sinners, might be saved through Him.

In this, we can see just how great the love that God had shown us, and it is indeed an unconditional love. God did not require us to love Him first before He loves us, as He has always loved us all, His creations and His children, ever since the day He created us all. And since He has loved us so greatly, it is only just and right that we should love Him back with the same love and devotion.

That is the most important commandment in the law of God, and one that we have to keep in mind at all times. There can be no being or creature that we can love more than how we love the Lord, our Master and Creator, the One Who is the reason for our existence and the Giver of our lives. And after we have loved Him, we are also expected to show the same love to our fellow men, for each one of us mankind are the same children of our God.

This is why, it is imperative in our world today, that all of us Christians are truly Christian in our way of life, or else, we scandalise our own faith and besmirch the Holy Name of our Lord. For it is indeed quite common that while we Christians preach the word of God, yet in our actions, we did not act and do as what we have believed in. How can we expect that others will believe in what we preach to them if we ourselves did not do as what we had preached?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us all commit ourselves anew, giving our best to serve the Lord with all of our might. We should devote our time to do the will of God, by loving one another, showing mercy on those who have wronged us, and praying for those who hate us and those who persecute us. This is what the Lord had taught us to do, and we ought to practice it in our own lives.

May the Lord help us to remain firm in our faith, and may He strengthen our resolve to commit ourselves to His path and devote ourselves, our time and effort to do what He had commanded us to do, to show love in all the things we say and do, that many more people will come to believe in the Lord because of us and because of our loving works. May God bless us all. Amen.