Sunday, 9 May 2021 : Sixth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, all of us are called to remember the generous and most wonderful love by which God has loved us, throughout all these time, and then of our obligation as Christians, as the people whom God has called and chosen, loved and blessed, to be the bearers of this same love in our own lives, to be His witnesses and His disciples in our world today, showing His truth and love through our own actions, deeds and interactions in our lives.

In our Scripture readings today, we are all constantly reminded of God’s love that is ever present all around us, and that God Himself is Love. And as God is our Lord and Master, then we should also follow in His examples and do as He Himself has done and follow in whatever He has shown us and taught us to do, to be loving in all of our actions and interactions, to be sincere and committed in love towards one another, just as we have also loved Him and how He loved us first before all else.

In our first reading, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the account of St. Peter and his visit to the family of a Roman centurion and citizen, Cornelius, who was willing to listen to him and the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ, and hearing that St. Peter was there, Cornelius invited St. Peter to his household to speak about the Lord and His salvation. Before this visit, St. Peter had been hesitant as he was about to enter into the house of a Gentile or non-Jew, which in the old Jewish custom, was considered as some sort of taboo as doing so would make them unclean.

That was also why the Jewish elders and chief priests did not enter into the Praetorium at the time when the Lord was condemned to death in Jerusalem, as doing so would have rendered them unclean, a fact stated clearly in the Gospel accounts on the Passion of the Lord, and they remained outside to keep themselves clean for the celebration of the Passover. In the same manner therefore, St. Peter initially was hesitant in responding to Cornelius’ invitation, but God then showed him a vision, of a great sheet lowered down from Heaven, with all sorts of beasts and animals considered unclean by the old Jewish laws and customs.

St. Peter was hesitant and refused to eat of those animals in the vision, when the voice of God commanded him to eat of those animals deemed to be unclean by the Law. And then, three times the Lord reminded him again and again, that he should not consider unclean what the Lord has considered to be clean and purified. Through that vision, the Lord wanted St. Peter and also all of us by extension, to know that for Him, there is no distinction between Jew or Gentile, Jew or Roman or Greek, slave or free, man or woman, rich or poor, strong or weak. Instead, everyone is equally beloved by Him and He considers each and every one of us as His beloved children, without exception.

Hence, as St. Peter came to Cornelius’ house, he himself saw how great the faith that he had in the Lord, and how willing he and his whole household were in listening to the truth that he was about to reveal to them, and it was there then St. Peter realised fully the meaning of the vision I mentioned earlier, that God is calling on all the whole world to be His disciples and followers, and that there should be no more distinctions between Jews or Gentiles, or any other distinctions that we usually encounter in the world, in any forms. God loves all equally and wants all to be saved.

And the Lord again gave a very clear sign of His love and favour to the Gentiles and the faithful among them, by sending them the very same Holy Spirit that He Himself has given to the Apostles at Pentecost. The whole household of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit and began glorifying God in joy and speaking in tongues and different languages, the same spirit of wisdom and courage that the Apostles themselves had received. This is yet another proof that God wants all to be His disciples, and not just the Jews alone, or just those who follow the strict tradition of Jewish laws and customs.

This is important because in the later chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, there would be disagreements and divisions in the early Church, which we might have heard in the previous days Scripture readings for those of us who attended the weekday Mass, where it was elaborated how the converts from the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were trying to impose on the whole faithful the strict observances of the Jewish laws and customs, such as circumcision, the dietary restrictions on unclean foods that were forbidden, many other customs and practices that would have made it very difficult for the Gentiles to be Christians as many of the Jewish practices and customs were seen as aberration and even disgusting by the non-Jewish people, particularly by the Greeks and the Romans.

Hence, through that passage today from the Acts of the Apostles and the life and work of St. Peter, in his interactions with Cornelius, later known as St. Cornelius the Centurion, all of us are called to be loving to one another, not be judgmental and territorial in our behaviour and attitudes in the Church, and we are all reminded that the Church is indeed Catholic, which means ‘Universal’ from the Greek Katholikos, just as it is also ‘One’, means united as one in God, ‘Holy’ as it is sanctified by God and the Holy Spirit that He has sent to us, and ‘Apostolic’ in the evangelising and missionary nature of the Church, in reaching out to all the faithful of all the nations and all the people.

That is why today, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter and rejoice in the Lord’s Resurrection and glory, all of us as one Church, the members of the same Body of Christ, the Living Church in this world, we are all reminded that we all share in the generous and ever wonderful love of God, and through Christ, Our Lord’s only begotten Son, as St. John elaborated in his Epistle in our second reading today, God has shown His love in the flesh, coming to dwell within us and among us, that His love remains with us, always and at all times.

We know the love of God because He has come to us and showed us all what it truly means to love unconditionally, and to love generously, the way that the Lord has loved us, that He gave us His only begotten Son, to be given up as the sacrifice for the atonement for our sins, the most loving sacrifice on the Cross. Whenever we look at Christ Crucified on the Cross, we should remember that it was for love that God’s own Son has suffered and died for us, that through His suffering and death, all of us may have life through Him. He put Himself between us and death, that He may gather us all in, into His loving embrace and save us from certain destruction due to our sins.

Therefore, as we then heard in our Gospel passage today, having known of God’s great love, and indeed how blessed we are to be so beloved, then, we all need to love as well, and obey the commandments that God has given us, to remain in His love and to love Him first and foremost before anything else, to give Him our whole heart and love, attention and focus, and to love one another, our fellow brothers and sisters, sharing the same love that we ourselves have received, and loving one another just as much as we love ourselves.

These two commandments summarised the whole Law as revealed to Moses, and which then was perfected by the Lord, as He showed that the whole Law, all the teachings and words of the prophets were all about love, the love that all of us, God’s people ought to have for Him, because He has loved us first and constantly loving us as well, and which we also ought to love one another in the same way. If we are being prejudiced and harsh towards others, and if we are looking down on anyone because of their race, background, upbringing or any others, then how can we call ourselves as Christians, since all equally beloved by God, and if we do all those we are going against God?

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall what we have just heard from our Scripture readings and all that we have discussed together just earlier on, let us discern carefully how we are going to move forward in life from now on. And let us look deep into ourselves and see how we have lived our lives so far, and ask ourselves whether we have been loving in our way of living our lives. We should ask ourselves whether we have loved God first and foremost, having Him as the centre and focus of our existence, or whether we have often forgotten Him for other attachments and temptations of worldly glory and pleasures?

And we should also ask ourselves and reflect whether in how we interact with our fellow brothers and sisters around us, with our own spouses, children, parents, our family members and relatives, and with our friends and acquaintances, and even with all those whom we encounter, with the strangers whom we met in each and every one of our daily activities, have we shown genuine love in our actions? Have we instead sown discord, bitterness and hatred among each other by our words and interactions with each other?

It is much easier for us to love ourselves than to love others, and it is much easier for us to be selfish rather than to be selfless and caring. And that is why all of us are challenged today to learn to love others more and to show more empathy, care and concern for those who are in need of love, for those who are marginalised and ostracised, rejected and despised by the society. Do not forget, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord Himself has shown us the example. When we are still sinners, wicked and terrible, sinful and corrupted, unworthy and broken by those sins, the Lord still loved us and reached out to us with love.

That is why, today on this Sunday and from here onwards, we are all called and challenged to walk in the path that the Lord has set before us, as He calls on all of us to be His witnesses and disciples in this world, to be the ones to proclaim His truth and love, that through our lives, our actions and genuine care and concern for one another, through our enduring and great love, our commitment to God, we may be the shining beacons of faith and examples of Christian charity and love in our world today. And that is how we reveal the Lord to ever more people who desire to know Him, and bring ever more souls to salvation in Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why all of us are called to be part of this missionary and evangelising mission of the Church, to proclaim the Lord’s truth and love through our own lives, through our own actions and words, our deeds and works in life. We are all called to do our best in our own lives, to be people of love, to be filled with love for God, first and foremost, and love for our fellow brothers and sisters, for all those whom we meet and encounter in life, be it strangers or those whom we know. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to this cause, brothers and sisters? This is what we have been called to do, and we should respond to the Lord’s call, in showing how the Lord and His love is truly Universal and all-encompassing.

In this present world, where there are so many bitterness and hatred, let us all bring love and forgiveness, compassion and mercy. And where there is selfishness and jealousy, let us bring humility, understanding and true, selfless love for our fellow men. And as we know that there are still so many who are suffering these days from the ongoing impact of the pandemic and other troubles facing our world today, let us all do our best, in whichever way we can, to be good influence to others, to be more loving as best as we can, to show more care and empathy towards others, especially those who are suffering and sorrowful. The world has enough pain and suffering as it is, and it is up to us to show out genuine love, which is a reflection of God’s love, to all who need it.

Let us all be the shining beacons of God’s light and love, and be good role models for one another, and may God be with us all that we may continue to persevere in our journey, and remain committed to the mission He has entrusted to us, to make His love and truth known in all the whole world, as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, a truly Universal Church in which every children of God belongs to. May God bless all of us and our every good efforts and endeavours, all for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 8 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded that while the Church and all of us the faithful people of God will continue to encounter trials and challenges, but we must never lose faith in God and we have to keep on trusting in His providence as He will always be by our side and be our Guide, at all times, all because of the great love that He has always had for each and every one of us. Nothing can change the love that He has for us, and He will always be with us through His Presence in our midst and by the Holy Spirit He has given us to lead us to the right path and to strengthen us.

In our first reading today we heard from the Acts of the Apostles the account of the travels of St. Paul as he continued his missionary journey after having settled the dispute regarding the imposition of Jewish customs and traditions on the converts among the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people. The Apostles sent St. Paul out to continue his mission in evangelising to the many peoples he visited during his missionary works, especially the Gentiles, many of whom became believers of Christ after they had heard St. Paul and witnessed his work and efforts.

St. Paul went from place to place, from town to town, speaking up about the truth of God which he proclaimed to all those whom he visited, in their synagogues, in their public places and places of assembly, in their houses and other locations. Some were willing to listen to him and open their hearts and minds to God’s truth and love, and that was how the seeds of faith were sown among so many people, many of whom eventually accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and sought to be baptised as members of the Church, as God’s own beloved children.

Yet, there were also so many others who rejected St. Paul and also the other Apostles, and more often than not, they had to suffer trials and persecutions, ridicule and attacks even on their own persons for their courageous efforts in speaking the truth and in defending their Christian faith. Many of them had to endure prison and even torture, with quite a few dying as martyrs in the defence of their faith. All of the Apostles themselves save for St. John the Evangelist suffered and died as martyrs at the various stages in the early decades of the Church.

Nonetheless, all of them exhibited great courage and commitment to the mission that has been entrusted to them, to be the faithful witnesses of Christ, His truth and Resurrection among the many people of the world that they had been sent to, and they remained faithful and firmly set on the path that the Lord has set before them. They went forth, fearlessly, with God by their side, speaking the truth and not allowing themselves to be silenced by the opposition they encountered throughout their journey. Instead, they inspired one another and helped the Church to grow as it was, and many people were saved thanks to the courage of these faithful servants of God, our holy predecessors.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Paul and all these inspiring examples of our faith should become our own inspiration in how we live our own faith, as we dedicate ourselves in our own way to serve the Lord in our present world today. We are all called to be His faithful disciples and to be His beloved people, exemplary in our faith and actions, that everyone who sees us, hears us, witnesses our actions and interacts with us will know that we are indeed His people, and that through us, God’s Name will always ever be glorified, and all will come to know Him through us.

Are we all willing to commit ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to seek Him with all of our hearts and minds, with all of our strength, and with all of our desires? Are we all ready to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and all those who have gone before us, to be His witnesses and to be His spokespersons before all, not just by our words, but also through our lives and actions, and in everything we say and do, we have to be good role models through which all can see the truth and love of God in all things. And we need to have that courage in us to live faithfully each and every moments of our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us always remember that God is always with us, by our side, and He will always be there for us, guiding us, just as He has always been with His servants throughout all the time. And even when we have to suffer and endure bitterness and humiliation, remember that the Lord Himself has suffered the very same suffering, bitterness and pain, He has endured the Cross for us, and it is with Him that we suffer now, and in fact, we should rejoice as the Apostles and the martyrs had done, in sharing in the suffering and death of the Lord through their own faithful witness and actions.

Let us all be evangelising and missionary disciples, in our own communities and in whatever the Lord has called us to do. Let us all reach out to our fellow brethren, and bring the light of God’s truth and His ever most wonderful and tender love and compassion to all those whom we encounter daily in life. May God be with us always, and may He remain with us, and bless us in everything we say and do, at all times. Amen.

Friday, 7 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all reminded of the need for all of us to be constantly filled with God’s love and grace, to be genuine in our faith and devotion to God, and to be sincere in following Him that we all may reflect the fullness of God’s love and compassion in our own lives. God has loved us all so much that He has given us His generous love which He has shown through His Church and by which He has called on all of us to be His disciples so that, as we turn towards Him and enter into His love, we may be saved from everlasting death.

In our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles we heard of the conclusion of the First Council of Jerusalem in which the Apostles, led by St. Peter made an important decision on behalf of the entire Church with regards to the issue on whether the Church need to follow and obey the Jewish laws and customs, and whether those laws ought to be imposed on the non-Jewish people or the Gentiles or not. These matters divided the Church and the faithful back then quite bitterly, and the factions were in heated argument between each other.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law among the early converts to the Christian faith were on one side, arguing that all the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people must also follow the entire Jewish laws and customs, such as circumcision and many other rules as established by the Jewish tradition. This would have made it very difficult for the Gentiles to convert and become Christians as some of those regulations and customs were abhorred and found as incompatible by the societies in which the Gentiles came from, such as the Greeks and the Romans among others.

On the other side, St. Paul, St. Barnabas and all others who had ministered to the Gentiles spoke up on their behalf, in insisting that the Jewish laws and customs should not be imposed on all the faithful and the Gentiles should not be forced to do what was really difficult and unnecessary for them to do. After all, the Lord Himself has always criticised the excesses with which the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law enforced their version of the law and the commandments, imposing very heavy demands that the Jews themselves were unable to comply with, and even while followed, but those who followed them did not genuinely believe in God.

That was why, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and the Council decided that all the faithful had no obligation to obey the full laws, rules and regulations as stipulated in the old laws and rules handed down from Moses and which since then had been heavily modified and expanded, and in the way they were practiced, they had lost their true meaning and purpose. Instead, the Apostles, represented by St. Peter, declared that what was truly necessary for all Christians, be it Jews or Gentiles alike, is to adhere to the core tenets of the faith, that is to act justly, avoid fornication and sinful ways, and to follow the Lord wholeheartedly.

The Lord sent forth His disciples to call all the people therefore to His presence, to turn away from their sins and wicked ways, and embrace wholeheartedly henceforth His ways, His commandments and laws. Just as all had been called to love the Lord, we all have been called to be bearers of this love, to make Him the focus and the centre of our whole life and existence. And we have to live our lives in this way, just as the Lord in our Gospel passage today spoke of the commandment He has entrusted to us, that we all love one another in the same way that we ought to love Him and dedicate ourselves to Him.

Unless we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ, then our faith is empty and meaningless, and no different from the faith of hypocrites. If we love only ourselves and not all our fellow brethren around us, then we should not call ourselves as Christians, because to be Christians means that we believe in Christ, Our Lord and Saviour wholeheartedly and entirely, that we embody His teachings, truth and ways in our every day living. This is what it truly means for us to be Christians, and that just as the Lord loves everyone, every single one of His children without exception, then we should also aspire to love all to the best of our abilities too.

In this season and time of Easter, all of us are called to be courageous in faith, as well as to renew our commitments to the Lord. We are all called to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, in being good role models and guides of our faith, that we may become inspirations for one another, and that we can help strengthen each other in the daily struggles in life we face. This is why we are reminded and called to be good Christians, not just as mere formality only. We must have that strong and ardent desire to seek the Lord and to love Him from now on.

Let us all therefore reach out to our fellow brethren, especially those who need much love, and those who have been ostracised and forgotten, marginalised and oppressed. Let us all bring God’s love, hope and light into their midst, and be the concrete proof of God’s love in our respective communities, that this world will become an ever better place for all of us. Let us all commit the effort, time and attention for this, brothers and sisters, responding to the Lord’s call as best as we can.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He continue to guide us through life, that all of us may grow ever stronger in our love for Him, and that in all things, we may continue to love Him and also our fellow brothers and sisters, as genuine and dedicated Christians, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 6 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the words of the Lord in the Scripture, all of us are reminded of God’s love for each and every one of us, and then we are also reminded that because of this love, then we are all also called to be filled with the same love, to love our fellow brothers and sisters, all those whom we encounter in life that we may indeed be the bearers of the love of God in our world today. This is the commandment that the Lord has given us, and the mission which He has entrusted to each one of us.

In our first reading today, we heard the words of St. Peter the Apostle, the leader of the Church and all the Apostles, as he convened the First Council of Jerusalem, historically the first ever Council of the Church held to discuss the disagreements among the members of the Church, some of whom argued that everyone ought to be following and obeying the Jewish traditions and commandments, the very strict rules in the Jewish customs which they wanted to be imposed on the Gentile or the non-Jewish converts as well.

As St. Paul and St. Barnabas protested such an effort by those who wanted to impose the strict discipline of the Jewish laws and customs on the rest of the Church, the matter came to the attention of the other Apostles who then convened this meeting and Council to address the issue once and for all. They discerned and prayed over the matter, and St. Peter, with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, revealed the decision of the Apostles and the Council, in negating the requirement for the Jewish laws, traditions and customs for the faithful, and instead, reminding everyone of the more important meaning of what it truly means to be a follower of Christ.

St. Peter reminded the assembled faithful how they should not be burdened by the great weight of the Jewish laws and customs, the traditions and rules, many of which the Jews themselves were unable and struggling at best to fulfil and follow, and as the Lord Himself has also criticised the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law in pursuing those laws and rules to a fault, then that was why the Church did not impose on the faithful those Jewish laws and customs that were deemed excessive and unnecessary.

Instead, everyone was reminded of the most important commandment that the Lord has given to them, and to all of us, that is the commandments of love as we heard it in our Gospel reading today. Those who belong to the Lord ought to love Him and to keep His commandments, the commandments of love, and remain in His love, by their own loving ways and actions. That is the true mark and identity of what being Christian is, and that is what we all should be doing in our lives as well. This means that we should avoid living our lives without genuine love and commitment towards the Lord.

God has called all of us to His salvation, and He has embraced us all with His generous love, and therefore, just as He has called on everyone to be His followers, Jews and Gentiles alike, from all the whole world, all equally beloved by Him, thus we are all called to love Him with all of our strength, to love Him wholeheartedly and from the deepest of our heart, giving our whole being to Him, and appreciating all that He has done for us all these while. He has also taught us to love one another, just as we ought to love Him, and thus this is what we should be doing as well, brothers and sisters in Christ.

In our world today there is often too little love and too much hatred, bitterness and negativity. We easily turn against each other and being focused too much on our own selfish desires, which led to us causing hurt and pain, suffering and difficulties for others. That is not how Christians should behave, and therefore, we should not let ourselves be tempted to act in this manner either. We should instead be the inspirations and examples for others in how we love one another, and how God’s love and truth are visible in us and our actions.

All of us are called to true holiness and faith in the Lord, that everyone who sees us and witnesses our actions, can see that we truly are God’s people, filled with His love and living our lives sincerely with genuine faith. That way, many more people can be touched by God’s love through us, and because of this, many more people can be saved, and join all of us in God’s everlasting kingdom. This is our Christian calling and mission, what each and every one of us have been called to do in our lives. Are we willing to commit ourselves and efforts to do what we can, for the greater glory of God, brothers and sisters?

May the Lord be with us all and may He give us all the strength and courage to live ever more faithfully, that in all things we may follow Him ever more zealously, and that we may give the inspiration to one another to remain true to God, to His love and truth, all the time. May God bless us all and our every good efforts and endeavours. Amen.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we discern the truth contained in the Scripture passages we heard, all of us are reminded of the need for us all to remain attached and firmly centred on God throughout our whole lives, and we should not allow our own prejudices, biases, pride and desire to come between us and being a true follower of Christ. Through what the readings have shown us, we are reminded that it is very easy for us to be distracted away from the truth, from the path that the Lord has shown us, and end up becoming divided one against the other.

In our first reading today, we heard of this unfortunate occasion from the Acts of the Apostles as there were some among the Christian converts who wanted to impose the strict Jewish laws and customs on the entire Church, including on the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people like the Greeks and the Romans. Those people argued that unless they followed the laws and rules passed down from Moses, such as regarding circumcision and other regulations, they could not be saved. But St. Paul and others opposed this teaching and viewpoint.

Those were the views of some among the disciples who were members of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, some of whom indeed became believers and followers of the Lord while most remained in opposition against Him. However, even among those Pharisees and teachers of the Law who became the Lord’s disciples, it seems that they still held on their previous beliefs and way of life, in zealously enforcing the full rules and regulations of the laws of Moses. And they carried that mentality and habit with them as they entered the Church.

But in doing so, they were making it very difficult for the Gentiles who were converted to the faith, as while there are quite a few tenets of the laws of Moses that were difficult even for the Jewish people to follow, but there were some basic requirements of the old Jewish laws and customs that were seen as aberration and even disgusting by the Romans and the Greeks, such as the practice of circumcision as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles today. Insisting that all the Gentiles convert to the Christian faith to be circumcised as the Jews had, would make it very difficult for them to continue living their lives in the world.

That is why St. Paul and St. Barnabas opposed the opinion and the efforts of those who attempted to enforce the Jewish laws and customs on the Gentiles among the converts, and sought the Apostles in Jerusalem to make a decision on the matter. That is because the situation was indeed threatening to split apart the Church, causing the Church to splinter into many parts with their different ideas. This is related to what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord in His parable of the Vine, in which He referred to Himself as the True Vine, and all of us as the branches of the Vine.

The Lord Himself made it clear that unless we remain firmly attached to Him like the branches being attached to the vine, the stem from which the branches all came out from, then we as the branches will perish and be destroyed on our own. That was why, the Apostles later on would gather together with all the elders and the members of the faithful, and presided by St. Peter himself, as the Vicar of Christ, they decided that the Gentiles would not need to follow the full commandments and rules as laid down by the old laws and rules of Moses and the many other rules and customs set among the Israelites and their descendants throughout time.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all ponder on all these and think of how each and every one of us can remain firmly faithful in God. The Lord has given us the Church as the firm foundation upon which we can remain firmly rooted in faith in Him, by following the tenets and the teachings of the Church, which are the truth of Christ Our Lord passed down to us through His Apostles and their successors. It was these same Apostles who had decided, with the wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit, to be faithful to the truth that the Lord Himself has revealed to them, in calling everyone to be saved, whether Jews or Gentiles.

Now, are we able to stay committed and faithful to the Lord as well, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing and able to make the commitment to be ever more faithful to Him and to stay rooted in Him, to have faith and complete trust in Him, and to hold firmly to our Christian beliefs to the best of our abilities? In this world today there are so many temptations and pressures that threaten to mislead and misguide us down the wrong paths, and unless we remain strong and steady in our faith, we will end up falling into the trap of the devil and sin against God. Is that what we want, brothers and sisters?

Let us all therefore renew our commitment to the Lord, by deepening our relationship with Him and by finding out more about our faith, so that we truly may know what our belief in the Lord is all about, and that we may then glorify Him through our lives and actions, remaining firmly attached to Him, the True Vine and the Source of all truth. May the Lord be with us all and may He strengthen us in faith, and give us the courage to follow Him wholeheartedly from now on with devotion, at all times. Amen.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 : 5th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Scripture passages today detailed the works of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who have been sent to the Gentiles to minister to them and to preach to them the Good News of God. And as we heard, they did not have it easy as they had to face opposition, rejection and persecution, all for the sake of the Lord. And God Himself has also reassured His disciples that they ought to have peace in them, that He is always with them no matter what, and they are never alone.

In our first reading today we heard about how some of the Jews struck at St. Paul and St. Barnabas during one of their missions, inciting the crowd to rise up and oppose the two Apostles. The two of them were left almost dead, but God was with them, and when the two of them survived and were strengthened by God, they continued with their mission with equal if not stronger zeal and commitment. They went on to Antioch where there they told the other disciples about what they had encountered.

Through this powerful testimony of God’s providence, St. Paul and St. Barnabas wanted to reassure all of the faithful then whose faith was wavering because of the constant persecution and rejection, that they should not give up against all those pressures and coercion. St. Paul and St. Barnabas encouraged the faithful to put their trust in the Lord and reminded them of the calling for each and every one of them to be good and faithful disciples, to be genuine witnesses of the Lord at every opportunities possible.

The Lord reassured all of His disciples in our Gospel passage today, and therefore, His reassurance is also extended to us. The Lord wants all of us to know that we are never alone in our struggles and in our most difficult moments, and that He is always journeying together with us and staying by our side at all times. God has always been faithful to the Covenant that He has established with us, no less through the shedding and outpouring of His own Precious Body and Blood on the Cross.

However, brothers and sisters in Christ, the question now is, do we realise just how fortunate and blessed we are to have received the love of God constantly in our lives? Do we realise just how beloved we are by God and just how wonderful His dedication is to each and every one of us without any exception? Too many of us are too busy and preoccupied with our worldly concerns and lives that we often failed to realise this truth.

That is why many of us faltered in faith whenever trials and challenges come our way, and many of us also chose to remain idle and ignoring the call for us to be active and committed Christians, not just in name or as formality only, but also in our real action and dedication as well. Many of us have not had that strong and genuine relationship with God, and we really should reflect on how we can be better followers and disciples of Our Lord in each and every moments of our lives, that we may grow ever more committed to Him and realise just how fortunate we are that God has been guiding us throughout our journey all these while.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek the Lord with renewed zeal and faith this Easter season, as we are constantly reminded again and again of all the courageous efforts and works of those who have dedicated themselves for the greater glory of God, His Apostles and all those saints and martyrs, all those who have willingly suffered and even died in remaining steadfast to their beliefs and their trust in the Lord. They have shown us what it really means for us to be Christians, to be those whom the Lord has called to be His own, to be His beloved people.

We must not be afraid of the trials and challenges that we will encounter in life as we labour and toil for the greater glory of God. We have to learn to trust the Lord and His providence, that He will guide us to the right path, and He will guide and assist us whenever we are in need of help, guidance and direction in life. What matters is, are we all willing to listen to Him and are we willing to allow Him to lead us and to show us the way? Or do we still stubbornly cling to our own ways and methods, and trusting in our own power rather than to entrust ourselves to Him, and do everything with Him by our side?

The Lord has freely offered us all His love and guidance, His providence and help, and then now it is really up to us how we will respond to His call and His generous offer of love and compassion, His attention towards us and His providence. Let us all renew therefore our love and faith in Him, and do whatever we can that in our every actions and deeds, in our every moments in life, we will be the faithful bearers of His Good News and truth, much like St. Paul and St. Barnabas, fearing not the persecution and ridicule of the world, but remaining steadfast in our desire to love and serve the Lord at all times. May God bless us always, in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 3 May 2021 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all celebrate the feast of two of the great Apostles of Our Lord, namely St. Philip as well as St. James, son of Alpheus, also known as St. James the Lesser, to distinguish him from the brother of St. John, St. James the Greater. Both Apostles laboured and worked hard to serve the Lord and brought His Good News to the far corners of the world. Today as we celebrate their memory, we remember these faithful men who had given their all and their whole lives in service to God.

St. Philip was one of the close followers of Christ, remembered for being the one who consulted with the Lord regarding the feeding of the five thousand men on how to feed all the people with just five loaves of bread and two fishes. He witnessed everything that the Lord has been doing, all the miracles and wonders He has shown before all the people, His truth and wisdom. Then, after the resurrection, St. Philip was instrumental in revealing the faith and truth to an Ethiopian official on his way back from Jerusalem to his homeland, and managed to persuade the official to ask for baptism.

Afterwards, St. Philip also ministered to the people of God in various places, and according to Apostolic tradition, he evangelised and preached about the Lord in places like Greece, Asia Minor and Syria. It was during one of those ministry, according to tradition, that he was martyred when he worked with another Apostle, St. Bartholomew, when he managed to convince the wife of the local ruler to convert to the Christian faith and the furious ruler ordered St. Philip and St. Bartholomew to be both crucified upside-down. According to the story, St. Philip asked his persecutors to release St. Bartholomew, which they did, but insisted that he himself should remain on the cross, and thus he died a martyr’s death.

Then, St. James the Lesser, known as such because he was likely younger than St. James the Greater, the brother of St. John the Apostle, was also a devoted disciple of the Lord, credited through Apostolic tradition with the evangelisation and conversion of many peoples just as St. Philip and the other Apostles had done. He was martyred in Egypt, at where he worked in spreading the Good News of the Gospel, defending the faith and remaining firmly faithful to the Lord to the very end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in the story of the lives of the two Apostles, and also in our Scripture passages today, we are all reminded that we are the witnesses of the Lord’s truth, the same truth that the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord had seen, and for which many of them, including St. Philip and St. James, were willing to suffer and even die in martyrdom defending that very truth. If they had not seen the truth or known that the Lord and the Christian faith is a lie, as what the Pharisees and the chief priests were trying to convince the people otherwise, then they would not have been willing to give themselves to suffering and die.

The Lord Himself has revealed the whole truth to His disciples, and He has also affirmed, strengthened and guided them through the Holy Spirit, Whom He sent to all the disciples that they might be strengthened in faith, gained wisdom and courage to preach the Good News and the truth to all. And the same truth and the same Holy Spirit have been passed on to us as well, brothers and sisters in Christ, through the Church that we are all member of and which we are part of as the living Body of Christ, composed of all those who believe in Him.

That is why, today as we rejoice and celebrate together the Feast of the great Apostles, St. Philip and St. James, all of us are reminded that we are all also part of the same evangelising mission that the Lord has entrusted to His Apostles and disciples, and we should be aware that we need to be part of this mission, and walk faithfully in the Lord’s path following the examples of those who have gone before us. They have seen the truth of the Lord, and they have laboured and persevered through sufferings and trials so that they might pass on the truth to others, and so that is also how we have received the same truth, through the Church.

Let us all therefore discern carefully our path in life going forward from now. Let us consider how each and every one of us can be part of this mission that the Lord has entrusted to all of us, so that we may also pass on the same truth and the same light of Christ to more and more people, to all those whom we encounter in life. And we have to be good role models and exemplary in the way of life therefore, or else, we will end up scandalising our faith and causing people to turn away from the Lord instead, and the blame will be on us for causing that to happen.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this era and time, when the world is facing so much darkness and so many people are lost in the temptations of sin and evil, in the pressure and coercion to follow the path of selfishness, of worldly desires and of all things that are against the Lord’s truth, let us all be the beacons of light and hope, that each and every one of us, in our own little ways, may do whatever we can to lead others to the right path, inspiring more and more to seek the Lord and to find their way to the true grace and happiness found in God alone.

That is why, we are all challenged to redirect our focus in life and to reorganise our lives that if now we have been living mostly for ourselves, then we should follow the examples of St. Philip and St. James, both of whom have made themselves all things to all mankind, giving their very best to be the source of hope and inspiration to others, and to show the right path to those who are lost, not just through mere words alone, but also through genuine actions and faith. Are we willing and able to commit in this manner, brothers and sisters?

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us with faith, and that we may draw courage and inspiration from those who went before us, that we may not easily give up in the face of trials and challenges, difficulties and persecutions. May God bless us and our every good endeavours and efforts, always. Amen.

Sunday, 2 May 2021 : Fifth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter, we are called to renew our commitment and relationship with God, that our Christian faith should not be just superficial and empty, but instead must be strong and vibrant, based on true devotion and love for God. We must base our faith upon this deep love and commitment, a genuine relationship we ought to be building between us and God, or else, we may end up easily losing our faith especially during times of trials and difficulties.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostle, we heard of the beginning of the ministry of St. Paul when he was still using his original name of Saul, and preached in Jerusalem very shortly after his conversion in Damascus. As not long before that Saul had just encountered the Lord, Who called on him to turn away from his mistaken and erroneous path, and instead following Him and His guidance so that he may not lose his path and find the true joy in life in Christ.

St. Paul, then known as Saul, entrusted himself to the Lord and allowed Him to lead his path. His works in Jerusalem met particular challenges because the Christian populations there were rightly surprised, as the very same Saul had been the one most zealous and passionate in trying to destroy the Church and the Christian community, hunting down the ones who believed in Christ, and who was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen, and Saul himself caused the untold suffering and martyrdom of others, in Jerusalem and other parts of Judea.

And then, he also certainly faced opposition and a lot of difficulties from the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, the chief priests and the members of the Sanhedrin. For St. Paul himself was a member of the Pharisees and once probably one of the most promising young member of the Pharisee, and had been guaranteed a great and prominent life among the members of the community, had it not been for his abrupt conversion and total change. Imagine the amazement and shock among those people seeing their supposed champion becoming the most ardent champion and defender of what they had tried so hard to stop and extinguish.

St. Paul did his best in everything he had done, in giving his life to the greater glory of God as the witness to the Lord and His truth, preaching the Good News and the words of the Gospel in the midst of many communities, to both the Jews and the Gentiles alike. He persevered on despite the many challenges he encountered, the numerous near death experiences and the sufferings he had to endure throughout his ministry. And all of this is because of his attachment to the Lord, how the Lord is at the centre and as the focus of his life and his entire work and ministry.

All that St. Paul had done, he did because of his great love and dedication to the Lord, and not for his own sake or glory. This is what the Lord spoke of in our Gospel passage today, when He used the parable of the Vine to explain how all those who believe in Him, all of His followers, have to remain attached to Him as the true Vine. That if we are the branches, then in order to remain living and vibrant, we have to be connected to the Vine, or the main stem, that is Our Lord, our foundation in life and the focus of our entire existence, around which all of our efforts and works should be centred on.

The Lord in another parable not mentioned in today’s Gospel also mentioned how the kingdom of God is like a great tree in which the birds of the air made their nests, with its enormous branches, all encompassing and bearing fruits and rich products. But without connection to the main stem, those branches will dry up and die, for it is the connection between the branches and the stem, and therefore to the rest of the plant that those branches prosper and grow wonderfully.

And another part of the same parable that we really ought to take note is as the Lord also mentioned how the grower and owner of the vineyard would trim the branches and remove those that have produced no fruits, so that those branches which do produce fruits may become even more fruitful. This is a reference to our Christian living and actions. If we do not live our lives as genuine and dedicated Christians, then we are like those barren and fruitless branches that will be trimmed away and thrown away into the fire.

What this means is that, as mentioned earlier, we have to follow the examples showed by St. Paul, the other Apostles and disciples, and all the saints and our holy predecessors who have shown us what it truly means to be Christians, as those who profess faith and belief in God. First of all, we have to put God as the centre and the focus of our lives, and we must show this in our every actions, words and deeds. And then, we must also be active and committed to God, that as said, in everything we do, we proclaim the truth of the Lord by our lives.

St. John in his Epistle, our second reading today, spoke of the commandments that God has entrusted to us, the commandments of love that He has revealed before us and which as Christians, we are all expected and obliged to follow and fulfil. We ought to live our lives in a true Christian way, loving God with all of our hearts and putting Him as the centre of our existence, and at the same time, also loving our fellow brothers and sisters with the same love as well. By that love and by our faith then everyone will know that truly we are Christians, those whom God has chosen and called.

And that is how we bear fruits, brothers and sisters, by being good role models for one another and by inspiring all those around us, whether they believe in the Lord or not, that through us and our dedication, many may come to believe in the Lord as well, just as many turned to the Christian faith by the efforts made by St. Paul, his fellow Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord who laboured hard in preaching the Good News and the Gospels to them. That is how we evangelise brothers and sisters, through our lives, and through our sincere and genuine actions, and not only through words, as St. Francis of Assisi famously said, ‘When necessary, use words’.

That is why today we ought to reexamine our way of living our lives. Have we been truly faithful to the Lord, and have we been exemplary in our Christian living? Or have we instead been idle or even ignorant of what we all need to do as Christians even in the smallest things? Do we also realise that if we are not living our faith they way we should, or worse still, live in ways contrary to our faith, we are scandalising the faith and not only that, but the Lord Himself? Many scandals had hurt the Church because of the actions of the members of the Church that do not conform to what the Lord has been calling us to do.

That is why this Sunday, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, and as time continue to move on, we should spend the time to reexamine our lives and discern carefully on what we all should be doing to be a better role model and inspiration for one another, to be a better Christian and a more dedicated follower of God, not just in name only, but also through our real actions and commitments in life. No one is perfect, and we all have made mistakes and disobeyed the Lord at some point of time in our lives, but we should not continue making the same mistakes and continue in living our lives in disobedience against God.

Instead, God has called us to repent and to change our lives for the better, and He has given us so many opportunities to do so, and better still, as I have elaborated plenty earlier on, there are so many good role models in faith that we can follow, from St. Paul the Apostle, all the saints and holy martyrs of God, and even our own bishops and priests who have exemplified the values and virtues of a true Christian. The question is, are we willing to follow the Lord wholeheartedly as they had done, and be fruitful in our lives, in bearing the good fruits of faith, that our faith is not just empty and meaningless, but rather one that is truly active and vibrant?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we are then worried or thinking that we cannot do wonderful and great things in living up to our Christian faith and calling, then we must realise that what matters is all the small, little actions we do each day, in our own communities, and even within our own families and circle of friends. We have to do whatever we can, in our own abilities and capacity to serve the Lord with faith, to be good examples for others that we may not only keep one another in faith but also lead even more souls to the salvation in the Lord.

Let us all today make a resolution to move forward in life from now on, committing ourselves to the Lord with a new faith and with renewed zeal and love for Him. Let us all, in our own little contributions, do our best to glorify the Lord and to proclaim His truth in our community. Let us be true disciples of the Lord from now on, not just merely a formality or in name only, but also in true deeds and work, through our tireless efforts and outreach, to our fellow men, from our own family members and circle of friends, and also to all those whom we meet and encounter in life daily.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen us in faith, that each and every one of us may draw ever closer to Him, and may always be courageous and inspired to glorify His Name daily. May He empower us all through His Holy Spirit, that we may indeed bear rich and wonderful fruits of faith, and remain ever firmly attached to Him, Our true Vine and the Source of our life and all truth. May God bless us all and our good endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the occasion of the celebration of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker which falls on the first day of May every year. On this day, which is also celebrated as May Day or Labour Day by secular organisations and governments all around the world, we remember the nature of Christian work and charity as highlighted in the role model of all Christian workers, that is St. Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was a carpenter in the small town of Nazareth.

St. Joseph was the model of virtue for all Christians, of obedience and righteous living and as a simple, humble carpenter, he led a mostly unassuming life in a small, unassuming town of Nazareth, in Galilee at the peripheries of the Jewish world and community at that time. As a carpenter, he was often overlooked and ignored, needed by the community but often unappreciated and disregarded by them in general, as carpenter was considered as the job of the illiterate and the uneducated, skilled but without much power and influence, or fame and glory.

That is why when the Lord came to Nazareth, His own hometown to reveal to the people there, His own townspeople regarding the truth that He has brought into this world, He was ridiculed and rejected, as the people there pointed out how He was just the Son of the village carpenter, a lowly person without much pedigree and status, and therefore, they ridiculed and rejected Him as such, even though He truly had spoken in such great wisdom and authority and done many wonderful deeds before them and across all of Galilee.

That brings us therefore to the reality of our world today, brothers and sisters in Christ, a world where workers all over the world are often under-appreciated and under-provided, treated badly and subjected to horrible working conditions and being treated unfairly, while those who manipulated and exploited them had free reign in doing whatever they wanted in order to maximise profits for themselves and to enjoy the fruits of those who have laboured under them without fair compensation and treatment.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called in our own respective lives to reflect on the realities of our world’s working community and the well-being of workers in general. We are called as employers and those who are in the position of influence and power to be fair in how we treat our fellow men, and not to treat those whom God had entrusted to be under our authority and guidance without justice. And as those who are working, and are labouring, we are also called to be just and virtuous ourselves, that we treat one another with respect, and also obey the good rules and laws of our employment.

Today, as Christians, all of us as part of the same Christian community, assembly of all the faithful, are called to be more like St. Joseph in how we live our lives, as humble and God-centred people, as those who place God as the focus of our respective lives and obey His will and His laws as we carry on living our lives and doing whatever we can throughout life in order to fulfil our obligations as Christians, to be good role models for one another and to be faithful witnesses and disciples of Our Lord through our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us also take some time to reflect on how we are going forward in our lives and balancing our work obligations, our commitments in life, and most importantly our faith life and relationship with God. It is too often that many people have been so absorbed into their work and career that they ended up forgetting that their work and career is only a means to an end. Instead, they allow those things to control them and enslave them to their own desires and ambitions.

Let us all not lose sight of our true focus on life, brothers and sisters, that is the Lord, our God. He is the true centre of our lives, the reason of our very existence, and why we labour daily in order to glorify His Name by our works, and proclaim His truth through our exemplary faith and dedication. Let us all be the pillars of virtue and justice as St. Joseph, the righteous and virtuous Worker had shown us, as a most devoted servant of God and as the Protector of the Church.

Let us ask St. Joseph for his constant intercession, for all of us working out there, and especially for those who are on the forefront of the struggle against the pandemic, all of our frontline healthcare workers, who toiled daily, day and night to care for the need of those who are sick and suffering. Let us ask him to pray for the sake of all those who have also been exploited and manipulated for their work without fair treatment and justice, that God may recourse them and protect them in their hour of need.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us, to be His most faithful disciples, doing our respective work and duties in life, first and foremost as Christians, and living our lives genuinely with faith, in our working places and within each and every one of our communities. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 30 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we continue to hear the testimony of faith that St. Paul spoke of before the assembled Jews in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia. St. Paul spoke bravely and courageously about the Lord and all that He had done throughout history for His beloved ones, and today we focused on all that He had done for the sake of all through Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, Who had been crucified and rejected, so that through His suffering and death, all may have eternal life.

St. Paul trusted in the Lord and allowed Him to lead him wherever he was to go, and he became His instrument in revealing His truth to the people, even when he might be rejected and opposed, made to suffer or endure humiliation. He spoke courageously of what his faith had led him to, the faith in the one and same Messiah, Who had willingly surrendered His life, suffered and died so that all who believed in Him may gain the assurance of life and eternal glory, life everlasting with Him in heaven.

St. Paul certainly did not have it easy, as in this case and many others, his words and truth made some among the Jewish people to be uneasy, and feared his charisma and efforts, and made trouble for him, rejecting and expelling him from their places and cities. The same also happened to him as he ventured from places to places preaching the Good News of God. He had successes in many places, and many were turned to God and followed Him, but there were even more occasions when the people, Jews and Gentiles alike, refused to listen to him and rejected him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us? As Christians, have we been living our lives in the most Christian manner, so that in everything we say and do, in all of our actions, we may inspire others to do the same and to follow God wholeheartedly as well. And this is our Christian calling and mission which God has entrusted to each and every one of us from the moment that we accepted Him as Our Lord and Saviour at baptism. We must not forget that He has sent forth all of His disciples to the nations, to deliver to them the Good News and to make disciples of all the peoples of all the nations.

Hence, how can we then persuade and convince others to believe in God, Our Lord and Saviour, if we ourselves have not been sincere in our own faith and in how we ourselves lived our life? We have to show our faith by our good examples, and this does not have to be great or major, but rather, we begin from small and little things, the little things we do in life, beginning from our own lives, from our own families and within our own groups and communities, that our every words, actions and deeds are truly filled with genuine faith in God.

That is why today, we should look up to the saint whose feast we are celebrating, namely Pope St. Pius V, as the great and inspirational role model who can help us to discern our own way of living our faith, and hopefully that we will be ever more courageous and willing to embrace fully our Christian calling and vocation in life. Pope St. Pius V was the great leader of the Universal Church at a very crucial moment in the history of the Church, when both the Church and the faithful were under great threat both from the outside and from within.

At that time, the whole Christendom was greatly threatened by the might and the power of the expansionist Ottoman Empire, which subjugated many nations and peoples under their rule, and they had proven their desire and willingness to expand it even further. And at the same time, the Church and the Christian community had been bitterly divided, not only from the divisions between the Western and Eastern halves of Christendom, but also the great divisions brought by the Protestant reformation.

As such, the Church had convened the Ecumenical Council of Trent that resolved to address the many underlying issues facing the Church at the time, and resolved to purify the Church as well as to rejuvenate the Christian faith, as best as possible. The Church leaders pressed on for crucial reforms, which were eventually finalised and implemented, by none other than Pope St. Pius V, whose reign as the Vicar of Christ and successor of St. Peter came not long after the conclusion of the Council of Trent.

Pope St. Pius V was vigorous in implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent, in his efforts to purify the faith and Christendom, in trying to call more and more of those who had turned their back and lapsed from the true faith to return to the embrace of the Holy Mother Church, and he also helped to organise the great Crusade in defence of Christendom, against the expansion efforts of the Ottoman Empire. And for this he was renowned for two great contributions.

First was his promulgation of the venerable Mass of Pope St. Pius V, which is still used to this day as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the standardisation of the celebration of the Holy Mass that removed the excesses and aberrations found in the earlier history of the Church, while at the same time also rejuvenated the Church and the faithful. Then, he was also remembered as the chief architect in the great alliance assembled in the great victory of the forces of Christendom against the Ottoman navy in the Battle of Lepanto, marking the turning point in the fate of Christendom.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope St. Pius V dedicated his life and effort to serve the Church and all the faithful people of God, and therefore, we should be inspired to follow in his footsteps, in loving God and in dedicating ourselves to serve Him and to glorify Him through our lives. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord in a renewed conviction and desire to serve Him ever more faithfully with each and every passing moments?

Let us all discern carefully our actions and path in life, so that moving forward, we may be ever inspired by the examples of the faithful servants of God, St. Paul the Apostle and Pope St. Pius V. Let us all give ourselves to the Lord and let us devote our time, effort and attention to Him from now on, that we may be His faithful witnesses through which more and more may come to know and believe in the Lord just like us, and therefore be assured of eternal life as well. May God be our guide and may He strengthen us all with the resolve to love and serve Him well. Amen.