Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the calling of Samuel, who had been called by God in his youth, when he was still under the tutelage of Eli, the judge over Israel. He was called to be the servant of God, and to be the one who would lead the people of Israel back to the Lord, as the messenger of His will and desire for His people.

And in the Gospel we heard about the parallel story of how the Apostles, that is the chief disciples of the Lord, were called. They were called from their respective lives to be the bearers of the Good News of the Lord. And therefore, just like Samuel, they brought much goodness to the people of God. They were after all called to be the bearers of God’s great Light to a people who lived in a great darkness, to dispel that darkness and bring them all back to the true Light.

Why was Samuel called by the Lord? And why was the Apostles and the disciples of Christ called by Jesus to follow Him and to do His will? That is because there is indeed much wickedness in this world, so much so that it disgusts our Lord to see such great darkness and wickedness existing among us His people. Thus, He called His servants and all those whom He had chosen to be the bearers of His will to His people, to call them to repentance.

The people at the time of Samuel was led by the judges whom God had appointed over His people. But they were only faithful as long as the judges were alive. As soon as they passed away, they returned to their old way of sin and wickedness, following the customs and practices of their Canaanite neighbours. Therefore, God was angry with them and they suffered greatly at the hands of their persecutors.

Similarly, the people at the time of Jesus lived at a time when they were adrift among the false practices of the people around them. Just a century or so before the birth of Christ, if we read the Book of the Maccabees, then we should know how many of the people of God readily submitted to the pagan ways and rejected the way of the Lord, and they sinned greatly before God.

Nevertheless, it does not mean that God did not love His people. It is neither that He desired their destruction and annihilation. In fact, God loves all of them, and He desires only for their salvation. And that is why, He called Samuel to bring His warnings and His truth to the people, that they might repent and follow Him again. And in the same way, He called His Apostles through whom He made clear His truth and teachings, and from them, the same truth is passed down to all of us.

In the second reading, St. Paul in his letter to the Church in Corinth reminded the faithful that they must avoid all forms of sins and fornications, of the flesh and of the spirit. He reminded the people that they are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, that is the very Temple and House of God where God Himself resides. If they committed sin and fornications, then they would have defiled the very House and Presence of God Himself, and they committed grave sin that threatened condemnation on them.

Therefore it will be the same for all of us if we choose to live wickedly and be filled with sin. All of us who have believed in Christ and accept Him into ourselves through the Most Holy Eucharist have been made into the dwelling and the house where God Himself resides. Thus, we are all the Temples of the Lord’s Holy Presence and we have to maintain the purity and sanctity of this Temple, that is our body, our mind, our heart and our spirit, so that no taint of sin or wickedness may come and harm our purity.

How is the reading today relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is because all of us have been called to be the disciples and followers of Christ, and we all have been baptised in His Name, and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have been granted such great grace to have the Lord Himself dwelling in us. Thus first, we have to maintain ourselves in a state of purity and avoiding the taints of sin as best as we can.

But we cannot just stop there, brethren, as the gifts and graces which we have received are the same gifts which God had given to Samuel, and also the same gifts as He had granted the Apostles and disciples in the ages past. Therefore, we too have the same obligation and duty as that which had been given to the prophets and the Apostles, that is to bring the revelations of God’s truth to mankind and to call mankind back to the Lord, abandoning their sins and embracing fully the way of the Lord.

Are we able to be like Samuel and say courageously to the Lord, “Lord, speak, for Your servant is listening!”? It is very difficult for many if not most of us to listen and to allow God to speak in us, within our heart. He speaks to us in a subtle way, and if we allow ourselves to be distracted by the many things in the world, the many pleasures and evils in it, then I would say that, we would be deaf to the Lord calling for us, to repent and to follow Him with all of our heart. Let us change our ways therefore, that we may truly be faithful and active disciples of our Lord.

And again therefore, it is related once again to how we live our lives. No one will believe in what we preach should we not live according to what our faith tells us. No one will follow us if we do not do as what we have preached to them. Thus, our faith in God must be truly a living faith, and in living our faith, we too can preserve the sanctity of our Temple, the Temple of God that is our body, our mind, our heart, and our soul.

Today we mark the World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees. We ought to pray for all those who have been displaced by various causes, either by war, injustice, oppression or any other reasons, which cause them difficulties and sufferings. If we are truly the Temples of God, the dwelling place of our Lord, then by nature all of us should act according to what our Lord would have done, that is to love those who are least, weakest, the ostracised and the rejected ones in our society. Migrants and refugees are often among these, and if we do not love them, then who will?

Let us share some of our love and our joy, our blessing and our grace with them, the migrants, those who have travelled far from their homeland, as well as refugees who have been displaced from their lands. After all, was not Abraham a migrant too? He travelled far following the will of God, and he obediently followed His commandments, and his descendants Israel also have to move from place to place, suffering difficulties along the way. Thus, let us all share a thought for this, and give them the best we can do. Do not shun them, or ostracise them or reject them, but let us welcome them all with love.

Today we also mark the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, where we pray for the eventual reunion of all the faithful and all those who profess faith in Christ, under the orthodox and true teachings of the Faith, according to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church under the sovereignty and leadership of the one and only Vicar of Christ, the Pope of Rome, whom God had appointed to be His sole representative on this world.

Thus as we begin this solemn week of prayer, let us all commit ourselves to keep ourselves pure and righteous, following the Law of God and be obedient to His teachings, so that all others who see us, will believe and repent from their sins. Let us pray sincerely for the conversion of heretics and schismatics who have separated themselves from the true faith in particular, that they may have their eyes opened and their senses awakened, so they may know what the true Faith is like and abandon all forms of lies and falsehoods which Satan had planted in them to divide the Church of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be true to our mission in life, that is to keep ourselves faithful and at the same time, bring our brethren who are still in darkness and all those who have gone wayward, to return them to the path towards the Lord. Hence, now we pray, we act and we do things that will show the faith we have in our Lord, our loving God, and He who sees it all and knows it all, will reward us richly forevermore. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-psalm/

 

Second  Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/17/sunday-18-january-2015-second-sunday-of-ordinary-time-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees-and-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-gospel-reading/

Monday, 12 January 2015 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we begin the Ordinary Time proper, and traditionally, today is still the season of Christmas as well, which will end only at the second of February, at the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary or which we now know more commonly as the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Thus, as we continue the readings from the past few days, we know that yesterday as we commemorate the Feast of our Lord’s Baptism, His mission on earth began from that moment onwards.

Thus in the Gospel today, we heard about the calling of the Apostles, beginning with those at the shore of the Lake of Galilee, including St. Andrew, the first called among the Apostles, his brother Simon Peter, who would become St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles and Christ’s Vicar on earth, as well as the two sons of Zebedee, St. James and St. John the Evangelist. They were the first of the disciples of Christ, who accompanied Him from the very beginning of His earthly ministry.

And in the first reading, from the Letter and Epistle the Hebrews, it was highlighted of the special nature of the mission which Christ had come into the world for. This Epistle was written specifically for the Jewish Christians and maybe also to the Jews, hoping that through it they would believe in Christ and follow Him, and therefore, many parts of this Epistle relate what had happened in the past eras of Israel, of the time of the prophets and the patriarchs with what Jesus Christ our Lord had done.

In the past God did not speak directly with His people except with several chosen and special individuals, who had been given the grace to speak with God, to receive the messages of the Lord by vision or speech, and in some cases even to see God directly face to face as Moses had been, and as Abraham had as well. The others whom God spoke to directly were His prophets and messengers whom He had sent to His people to be His mouthpiece and the ones to proclaim to them the words of the Lord.

But God also gave His people a prophecy of the time to come, when God no longer would speak through the prophets, but would instead directly speak to His people, and not just that, but even for Him to walk directly among His people, that they may see Him face to face. And all these were accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the Son of God, who came into the world and was incarnated into the flesh of Man.

Thus God spoke no longer through intermediaries but He spoke directly and plainly to His people through Jesus Christ, and He walked among them, showing them how good and great His love for them is. And that is why He bothered to come to us, so that He may directly bring about our salvation and liberation from the enslavement and tyranny of sin. For our sins and wickedness are so great that it requires nothing less than the effort of Christ to bring us to salvation and freedom.

But in that work and effort, Christ did not do it alone by Himself, but He sought the help and participation of men themselves, some of whom He called to be His disciples and followers, and through them, He would work many wonders. They would be the extensions of His love to mankind, and through their works as the servants of God and as the bearers of God’s Good News, many knew of the love of God and were stirred to seek Him and be saved.

But this did not just end there, brothers and sisters in Christ, as many people remain in the darkness and have yet to see the Light of Christ. They have yet to receive the Good News of our Lord’s salvation and they have yet to witness His love for us. That is why God called His disciples, whom He turned from being fishermen as well as of other professions, into the fishers of men. They were to bring mankind to God by introducing to them the Good News, being witnesses of the Faith they had professed.

And this continues even today, brothers and sisters in Christ, as many remains out in the darkness and enslaved to sin. It is our duty then as the followers of Christ and as the members of His Church to continue the good works of Christ and His Apostles, that is to preach the Good News of the Lord to mankind, to our fellow brethren who have yet to hear of it. We cannot be idle or worse to cause people to be misguided or lose the desire to seek the Lord, and that is why we have to live out our faith with real action and works, so that our faith is not just an empty profession but a real, genuine and living faith.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reaffirm our faith in God, by carrying out the works entrusted to us by Christ our Lord. We shall not be idle anymore and remain aloof to the plight of our brethren, but we shall make use of the gifts which God had bestowed on us, and help each other, so that together we may all be justified by our faith and actions, and together receive the glory of heaven everlasting. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/11/monday-12-january-2015-1st-week-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/11/monday-12-january-2015-1st-week-of-ordinary-time-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/11/monday-12-january-2015-1st-week-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/

Monday, 5 January 2015 : Monday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the works of God made real and manifest in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God incarnate as Man by the Holy Spirit, and who by the same Holy Spirit did many wonderful works that only God can do. And through Jesus, God exercised His mighty power, teaching and healing the people from their afflictions, bringing the Good News long awaited into full and complete fulfillment.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Epiphany, the commemoration of the moment when the Lord revealed Himself to His people, by the means of the gifts of the three Wise men or the Magi, who presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In that celebration we continue to reaffirm our faith in our Lord Jesus who is Lord and King, who is God and one true God incarnate into flesh, and the One who was to suffer the consequences of sin so that we may be saved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we know who is the Christ, and what He has done. The Gospel today precisely spoke about the things that Jesus had done, reaffirming the call of St. John the Baptist, calling the people to repent and to change their ways, so that they would sin no more but enter into the grace of God, thus becoming worthy of the salvation which Christ brought into the world.

Why would the Lord to bother with all these? Why would He come to save the stubborn people who continue to refuse His love, even until today? We know of how many people who were lost along the way, who preferred the ways of the world and succumbing to their heart’s desires and greed. Many lived a debauched life filled with wickedness, with no regard for the Law and commandments of God.

Yet, if we know of the Lord, we should know how much He treasures each and every one of us without exception, even for the greatest of sinners. He does not want to let even a single one of us to be lost without His effort to try to bring us all back to Him. That is why He put so much effort into the attempt to reunite us with Himself, to the point that He Himself came into the world, so that we will not be lost.

As we continue to proceed through our daily celebrations of life, we have to grow stronger and better in our realisation of the love that the Lord has for us all, and the mercy which He wants to show to us. It is too often that we lack the necessary gratitude and acknowledgement of what God had done for us. Thus in this time and season, we have to grow more dedicated and devoted to Him.

How do we do so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is by practicing our faith genuinely through our actions and deeds. We cannot be true disciples of the Lord unless if we ourselves have already practiced our faith with real actions and deeds. If what we are doing contradict what we believe in, then our faith in the Lord is meaningless, but if we do what our faith had told us to do, then our faith will benefit us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this world, there is still great darkness and many people are still lost in it, wandering around seeking for their Lord and God, and many were blinded by their own emotions, ego, greed, desire, jealousy, hatred and many others. Thus it is now entrusted to all of us, for us to continue the works of Christ in this world, proclaiming His salvation for all the peoples, and by our examples and actions, may we all be able to inspire more and more people to embrace the way of the Lord and abandon their old ways of sin.

May Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, help us on our journey in this life, that we will always be able to stay faithful to His ways and remain steadfast in our faith to Him. May all the peoples find their ways to the Lord and be saved as one people, that we may rejoice together at the end of time, blessing His great Name. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/04/monday-5-january-2015-monday-after-the-epiphany-first-reading/

 

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/04/monday-5-january-2015-monday-after-the-epiphany-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/04/monday-5-january-2015-monday-after-the-epiphany-gospel-reading/

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Double II Classis) – Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, commemorating those children in Bethlehem who were slaughtered mercilessly by King Herod the Great, in his insecurity and fear that the promised King of Kings, Heir of David would dethrone him and made him to lose everything. He slaughtered all the infants and babies of age two and below, innocent as they were, in order to fulfill his own ambitions and desires. Thus, he had sinned greatly against God.

This feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us of our human nature. We are by nature often selfish and thinking only about ourselves and how to aggrandise ourselves. And in the process of that, we often bring harm and suffering to others, as we stride forth in our quest to bring more to ourselves, be it fame, human praise, wealth, influence, and many other things we often covet and desire.

In order to fully understand the story of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents we have to understand more about who King Herod the Great and why he did the deeds he had done. King Herod was an Idumean or a Nabatean, the group of people who lived to the south of the land of Israel. He was not even one of the Jewish people, but he was rewarded the kingship by the help of the Romans, who contracted the help of King Herod and his father to overthrow the previous ruler of Judea.

In exchange, king Herod had to pay his respects to the Romans who became his overlords, and Herod had to acknowledge their power and superiority over him, and thus he was no more than just a puppet king installed by the Romans. Yet his example then shows us how the greed and ambition of men can have no bounds. In the case of king Herod, he did all he could to preserve his own power and kingship, showing jealousy and hatred to all those who seek to challenge his authority.

But while Herod dwelled on earthly things and sought in vain to aggravate his own personal and worldly agenda, Jesus the true and one King of all showed that His kingship and authority is not one based on the ways of the world, but based on the goodness that is in Him. In this we can make a stark comparison between Herod and Jesus, and this comparison can also be extended into our own, personal lives.

While Herod was vain and power-hungry, Jesus was humble and contented. And while Herod used violence to project his authority, the Lord Jesus had no need for such a thing, as He made His authority clear simply by the clarity of His teachings and messages, and the truth which He preached and bore witness to. By His obedience, He brought mankind into the Light of God and many are saved through Him, while Herod committed a great sin trying to eliminate the One whom to him is none other than a potential rival.

Brothers and sisters, it is therefore a clear reminder to all of us, that as we live this life, we cannot strive to seek what is vain and what is worldly, in expense of the fate we are to have in the world to come. Christ Himself told His disciples explicitly, not to build for themselves wealth and power in this world, but build instead the guarantee and wealth in the world to come.

And how do we do this? We have to stop and reject the temptation to bring about our own benefit and selfishness at the expense of others. Otherwise, we will end up like king Herod, who committed a great sin of murdering the holy innocents of Bethlehem just so that he might satisfy his worldly desires and greed. And in the end, those who have committed wicked deeds will be punished, just as Herod died not long after that, and his kingdom divided among his sons, and eventually these were destroyed shortly after by the Romans.

Most importantly, he has to answer before God for what he had committed. The holy innocents gained the glory of heaven even though they were still very young, as they have suffered great persecution and martyrdom for the sake of the Lord. But Herod is likely to fall into hell for what he had committed. He is likely to suffer there for eternity without any hope for salvation.

Do we want this fate for us? Certainly not. I am sure that we want to avoid this as far as possible. But in order to do that, that is why we have to take the lesson from king Herod and his actions in slaughtering the holy innocents to our heart. We have to get rid of our selfishness and desires that often come in the way of our ability to follow the Lord with the whole of our heart.

As we still continue to proceed through this Christmas season, let us share the joy we have and the graces and blessings which we have received. Let the Lord’s love and grace permeate through all the peoples and all creations so that all of us together may be drawn closer to His ways and away from the selfish ways of the world. May Almighty God bless us and guard us, so that we may not succumb to our emotions and desires, the same one that had brought down Herod to damnation in his murder of the Holy Innocents. Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, pray for us! Amen.

 

Epistle :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/26/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-holy-innocents-martyrs-double-ii-classis-sunday-28-december-2014-epistle/

 

Gospel :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/26/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-holy-innocents-martyrs-double-ii-classis-sunday-28-december-2014-holy-gospel/

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Double II Classis) – Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Red

Offertory

Psalm 92 : 1-2

Deus firmavit orbem terrae, qui non commovebitur : parata sedes Tua, Deus, ex tunc, a saeculo Tu es.

English translation

God had established the world, which shall not be moved. Your throne, o God, is prepared from of old. You are from everlasting.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut oculis Tuae majestatis munus oblatum, et gratiam nobis piae devotionis obtineat, et effectum beatae perennitatis acquirat. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Grant, we beseech You, o Almighty God, that the gift present before the eyes of Your majesty may both obtain for us the grace of godly devotion and win its effect in a blessed eternity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Preface of the Nativity

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium nova mentis nostrae oculis lux Tuae claritatis infulsit : ut, dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to You, o Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, because by the mystery of the Word made flesh, from Your brightness a new Light had risen to shine on the eyes of our souls, in order that, God becoming visible to us, we may be borne upward to the love of things invisible. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Dominions and Powers, with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing of Your glory without end saying :

Communion

Matthew 2 : 20

Tolle Puerum et Matrem ejus, et vade in terram Israel : defuncti sunt enim, qui quaerebant animam Pueri.

English translation

Take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the life of the Child are dead.

Post-Communion Prayer

Per hujus, Domine, operationem mysterii, et vitia nostra purgentur, et justa desideria compleantur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

By the operation of this mystery, o Lord, may our sins be purged, and our just desires be fulfilled. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Friday, 26 December 2014 : Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, the day after Christmas, is the feast of the protomartyr of the Faith, that is the first of those who have died for their Faith in God. He is St. Stephen, one of the seven deacons appointed to serve the people of God, sharing and giving the nourishment, and in charge of the Church’s charitable acts and works.

One might be wondering, why after the joy of Christmas, then we immediately go on to celebrate a tragedy, that is the death of a faithful and holy servant of God. But truthfully, if we have understood what Christmas is truly about, then this would not surprise us at all, and indeed, it would have fit perfectly into the order of things. Christmas joy and happiness is not about the glamour, the parties, the revelries and the things we do to make things look great, but it is truly about the Joy we have, for our God has given the perfect manifestation of His love for us and His faithfulness through Jesus.

Did Jesus come into the world to affirm His people and praise them? No, in fact, He did not mince His words, and His words are true, and filled with criticisms at those who have misinterpreted the Law, and worse still for those who even misled the faithful with their sinful ways. As such, as we all should know, Jesus did not have an easy time, and oppositions always came His way, particularly from the Pharisees and the chief priests who viewed Him as a rival to their power, influence and authority.

This is exactly what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today. He mentioned how those who believed in Him will also suffer just as He had suffered. The world had rejected Him, and all those who placed their trust in the world also rejected Him. Then, the same too would also happen to all those who walk in the way of Christ. The world will also reject them and attempt to eliminate them, just as they had tried to eliminate Christ.

It is to say and highlight that following Christ is not an easy path, and it is certainly not for those who seek to be complacent and desire acceptance by the world. As St. Stephen had shown us, as well as many other martyrs of the Faith that followed in his footsteps, being faithful to God and obedient to His will is a tough one, and often life is placed on the line, and many lost their lives refusing to abandon their Faith in God.

Christ came into our world, incarnate as the Baby Jesus that we celebrate as Christmas, but many would not want to listen to Him and what He had come to tell them, because they were misled, they were deep in the lies of Satan and they embraced to much of worldliness that prevented them from realising the truth about themselves.

That is why when Christ came into the world and bring the truth to them, many found it difficult to accept what He had told them. The Pharisees and the elders of the people refused to listen to St. Stephen as well. St. Stephen spoke at length, telling them all about God and His wondrous works throughout the ages, and he highlighted how the stubbornness of the people of God prevented them from receiving the grace of God and understanding His will.

They closed their ears and covered them, while shouting and lusting for the death of St. Stephen. They tortured him and stoned him to death. This is a clear example of how mankind often refuses to listen to the truth and instead prefer to be buoyed and bought over by the lies of the devil. We are often distracted from the truth, and when the truth comes our way, we come up with a thousand excuses and more to deny that truth.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us live in denial, and we do not recognise our sinfulness before God. We tend to shut God out of our lives, and that is why many of us do not recognise the true value and meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about the coming of the Saviour, whose truth and love would dispel all falsehoods and lies, and we have to face the truth no matter how horrible and ugly the truth is.

Therefore, as we continue to rejoice in the joy of this Christmas season, let us also heed the examples of St. Stephen and the other holy martyrs, who had given up their lives for the Lord, in defense of their faith. They did not hide the truth, but reveal the entirety of the truth they have received from Christ. Therefore, we as the disciples and followers of Christ must also not mince our words, and we must not compromise on the Faith.

Let us preach the Good News of the Lord and the fullness of faith with complete trust and confidence in God’s providence. Practice the Faith through our words, actions and deeds, just like St. Stephen, who did not become angry or hateful to those who have condemned him to death, but instead like Christ, he forgave them and begged that their sins may not be counted against them.

Thus, foremost in our concerns should be the propagation of the unadulterated and unchanged Faith in all its fullness. We cannot be witness to half faiths, or else we witness for nothing. Instead, let us persevere, even against the opposition of the world, to be the bringer of the Joy of Christmas into the world. May Christ be with us all, His peoples and disciples, give us strength and renew our courage and resolve to live our faith with full effort and sincerity. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Thursday, 25 December 2014 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the great day of great joy! The day when the Lord came into this world, assuming the form of a humble Man, born in a manger, to be the Saviour of the world, through whom this world would be delivered from its afflictions of sin and death. A Royal Child had been born for us and His Name is Jesus, the Emmanuel, which means God is with us.

Today is the culmination of the four weeks of preparation which we have begun since the first Sunday of Advent, and in this period of time, we have done our preparation for the coming of Christ, to rejoice greatly in His entry into the world. He is God, the Divine Word through which God willed the world and all of creations into being, but He did not hesitate to descend down upon us and assume our earthly identity as a Man, born of the Virgin, His mother Mary.

And in this, Christ is the culmination and perfect fulfillment of all the prophecies which prophets and messengers of God throughout the ages had prophesied about Him. They all talked of the day when the Lord would come and save His people, Israel, and this Saviour is none other than the Lord, just as king David and many prophets saw, the One who is to come to bring salvation to the world. He was also to be born of the House of David, as the Heir of David, the fulfillment of yet another of God’s promise, that He made to David, ‘Your descendants will sit on your throne forever.’

St. John the Evangelist spoke of Him in the Gospel he wrote, that He is Word, and He is eternal with God, not created but begotten from the Father, as One of the Holy Trinity, perfectly united to each other through love. And it is so wonderful that He has decided to come to us, to dwell among us and to be present among us, as the Lord who cares and loves for His people. He would not want them to be lost to the darkness.

The prophet Isaiah mentioned how a people in the darkness had seen a great Light. This Light is the Christ our Saviour, who brought His Light to lighten our path. We mankind have lived long in the darkness, caused by our sin and disobedience against God. We have for long lost our way and do not know where we ought to go in life, ever since we detached ourselves from the Lord’s guidance.

Disobedience of men against God brought us from the lives lived in full trust of the Lord, into a life filled with selfish desires and the desires to preserve ourselves, to gain more for ourselves, in possessions, wealth, for more worldly fame and praise, and to trust more in ourselves rather than to put our trust in the Lord. Temptations after temptations come our way, and we tend to lose our path, as we follow the false leads of temptation, greed, desire and many others.

We have deserved damnation and death for the paths of sin we had taken in life. But our Lord who loves us very much is willing to give us another chance, to change our ways and to be reoriented in our lives, so that while once we followed our own human desires, now we should trust rather in the Light which Christ had brought into the world, for He is the True Light that dispels all forms of lies and tricks that Satan and the evil one had brought unto us.

If I would give an analogy, the coming of Christ into the world is like ships being lost in the darkness of the sea, with no land in sight, and with dangerous rocks and waves threatening to sink the ships. We are the ships that travel through that sea filled with storms and rocks, which represent the challenges and temptations that we face in this life. Then, the coming of the Lord is like a great Light, which disperses the darkness, and gives hope to all those in the ship, because as all sailors knew, a light is a sign for land, like the light of a lighthouse.

That light shows the path the ships should take, to avoid the rocks and dangers that are scattered throughout the sea, that is our life journey. And this light to us, the Light of salvation, is our Lord Jesus Christ, born to us in Bethlehem on this day, over two millennia ago, as the manifestation of God’s desire to bring us back to Himself, and to bring a new hope of life to us.

To this extent, God who does not wish us to be lost to Him, chose to assume the humility of a servant, born as a Man, and not just any man. He is King of all kings, the Lord of all lords, and the Master of all the universe, and yet, this King was born in a manger within a stable suitable only for animals and not for human use. His Kingship is not one of power and greed, as the kingdoms and nations of this world are, but one that is based on love.

He laid down His life for us, by dying on the cross, so that through His death, we may be free from our sins and our sins He bore with Him as He climbed that hill of Calvary, out of that same love. By His obedience to the Father He had brought us from our state of sin and darkness into the new light of hope.

And why do we ponder this on this day of great joy? That is because Christmas cannot be separated from the Passion of the Lord, His death and resurrection, or otherwise, Christmas will be meaningless. Christmas is part of that grand celebration of God’s love, through which He made Himself Man, that He might carry out to perfection what the Lord had intended for us, that is to be liberated from our slavery and bondage to sin, and to bring us back to Himself.

His care and concern for us is great, and He is a true King who cares for all of His people. He did not come into this world to boast of Himself, His power or His might, but He came to serve His people with love, teaching them the way how they ought to live their lives that they may avoid those that bring about harm to them. Remember what I have just told you about the light of the lighthouse and the ship lost in the darkness?

The light of Christ is that light, and His teachings are the light that leads the people, the ships, to Himself, avoiding the dangers and the darkness that threaten to destroy us and harm us. He offers us this freely, and if only that we would follow Him, then we are sure to be safe and protected from any harm that may threaten us. Not the kind of threat that harms our body, but instead those threats that can harm our eternal soul, such as sin.

If we look at the story of Christmas, we can see clearly how most of us have the attitudes that do not allow us to welcome Christ into our lives. He has offered us salvation and grace in Him, but are we willing to accept Him and all that He offered us? The temptations and allures of this world, of many kinds of possessions, material goods, even sexual vices and pleasures of the flesh surely seem more enticing to us than to follow Christ and His ways.

Mary and Joseph were not able to find any place in any of the inns and houses of Bethlehem, and therefore they had no choice but to find a stable instead. No one has a place available for the Lord, whose coming was imminent then. Mary was about to give birth, and all those inns lost out on the opportunity to be the place where the Lord and Saviour was to be born, and instead, a humble stable and the animals became the witness of the Good News that had come to its full truth and fulfillment with the birth of Jesus.

Therefore, let us ask ourselves. Have we opened the door wide for Christ when He comes to us, or did we instead close the door in front of Him or did not even bother to open it to Him? If the latter is the case, more often than not, we are too full of ourselves, so that we are unable to open our heart to Christ. It is in our nature to think first about ourselves, our pride and selfishness, our desire for more goods and things of this world.

Thus, this Christmas, let us all realise that God wants to be with us, and He wants to come into our lives, and when He knocks at the door, do not let Him pass us by because we are too full of ourselves and therefore unable to accept Him into us. Let us all be humble and lower ourselves, sinners as we are, and yet God is willing to forgive us and accept us back into His loving embrace.

But we have one last thing to consider. The Lord who was born as a Child, Emmanuel, which means God is with us, is not just a symbolic meaning, but it is truly real. God is truly with us, and He is with us still, within us who are faithful to Him, and who have been accepted as the members of His Church. We believe in His Real Presence in the Eucharist, and whenever we receive the Most Holy Eucharist, God Himself came into us and dwell within us.

Therefore, even as we rejoice in this great celebration of Christmas, let us also be aware that all of us are the dwellings of the Lord Most High God, Jesus Christ our King. Yes, the very same One who was born in a manger on this Christmas day. He had dwelled in us and will never leave us, ever since He gave Himself up as a worthy sacrifice for our sins, giving us His Body and Blood, His very Presence and Essence for us, that all of us who have share in Him, will never fall and die, but will enjoy the fruits of eternal life.

Nonetheless, we have to heed what St. Paul had written in his letter to the Corinthians, when he reminded them about them, the faithful, as the Temple of God, the places where the Lord Himself resides in. We are the Temple and the House of God, and God dwells in us. Therefore, it is only fitting that this Temple be kept pure and holy at all times, and thus, this Christmas, let us all be renewed with a new resolve in our lives, so that we will be ever more faithful disciples of the Lord, appreciating and accepting His love, and practicing what He had taught us, in our own actions in life.

The Lord will one day come again, and this Christmas should be a season to celebrate and rejoice the love of God, but also for self-introspection and rediscovery of our faith. Do not wait until it is too late, lest we be caught unready and unprepared. Do not be like the inns and the houses of Bethlehem which were full, and were not able to receive the Lord into their places, and thus we should not close ourselves or isolate ourselves from the love of God made evident and real through Jesus.

May the joy of Christmas be with us all, not the false joy of parties and drunken revelries, not in the shopping and the goods, not in the bright lights and decorations, but the true Joy of knowing and having the Love of God made manifest and dwelling among us, through Jesus Christ our Lord, the Royal Child born on this day in Bethlehem, over two millennia ago, the proof of God’s love for us. May He find us ready and alert when He comes again, all of us filled with the true joy of Christmas and sharing the love He had given us, with one another. God bless us all. Amen.

Merry Christmas! Buon Natale! May the peace and love of Christ be with all of us!

 

First Reading (Christmas Vigil Mass) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/22/wednesday-24-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-vigil-mass-first-reading/

 

Psalm (Christmas Vigil Mass) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/22/wednesday-24-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-vigil-mass-psalm/

 

Second Reading (Christmas Vigil Mass) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/22/wednesday-24-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-vigil-mass-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading (Christmas Vigil Mass) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/22/wednesday-24-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-vigil-mass-gospel-reading/

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/23/thursday-25-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-mass-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/23/thursday-25-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-mass-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/23/thursday-25-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-mass-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/23/thursday-25-december-2014-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-the-lord-christmas-mass-gospel-reading/

 

Epistle (Usus Antiquior) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/22/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-nativity-of-our-lord-christmas-day-i-classis-thursday-25-december-2014-epistle/

 

Gospel (Usus Antiquior) :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/22/usus-antiquior-feast-of-the-nativity-of-our-lord-christmas-day-i-classis-thursday-25-december-2014-holy-gospel/