Monday, 7 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 144 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

I will praise You day after day and exalt Your Name forever. Great is the Lord, most worthy of praise; and His deeds are beyond measure.

Parents commend Your works to their children and tell them Your feats. They proclaim the splendour of Your majesty and recall Your wondrous works.

People will proclaim Your mighty deeds, and I will declare Your greatness. They will celebrate Your abundant kindness, and rejoice in singing of Your justice.

Compassionate and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in love. The Lord is good to everyone; His mercy embraces all His creation.

Monday, 23 June 2014 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my hope, my trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014 : 7th Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 17 : 11b-19

Holy Father, keep those You have given Me in Your Name, so that they may be one, as We also are.

When I was with them, I kept them safe in Your Name; and not one was lost, except the one who was already lost, and in this the Scripture was fulfilled. And now I come to You; in the world I speak these things, so that those whom You gave Me, might have joy – all My joy within themselves.

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, I do not ask You to remove them from the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.

I have sent them into the world as You sent Me into the world; and for their sake, I go to the sacrifice by which I am consecrated, so that they too may be consecrated in truth.

Thursday, 29 May 2014 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast day, one of the greatest tenets of our faith, and an essential part of our belief. This is the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by His own great power, ascended back into heaven, His heavenly throne and rightful place after He had completed perfectly all that He had come into this world for.

The disciples and the Apostles themselves saw this and were witnesses to this great and unprecedented event, and therefore from them, that is why today we can know of this event, because they testified for it and kept the truth through the generations in the Church. The Ascension of our Lord is one of the central tenet of our faith, and together with the Resurrection, further affirm the truth about Jesus, that He is not just mere Man, but also God, full of power and might.

Why did Jesus leave His disciples and Apostles then? Why did He not stay behind to help them in their ministry or lead them, so that He could bring more people to God? These must be the questions that are in our minds and hearts, and indeed, many people across different generations and time would have asked the same things about Jesus and His Ascension.

Indeed, the disciples themselves asked the same thing to the Lord, of whether He would restore the kingdom of Israel and brought glory to God’s people, right there and then. This again bring us to another common misconception which the people of God, the Israelites and Jews, had pertaining to the coming of the Messiah and His role in this world.

The Jewish people and those who believe in the strict interpretation of the faith as found in the Torah were not able to open their hearts to accept and receive the Lord Jesus into themselves, because they have for long, kept their ways and obstinate attitudes, in believing what they want to believe with regards to God’s promise and the Messiah, deciding that He had not yet come, with their arguments linked to the prophecies of the prophets of old.

Here exactly comes the danger of knowing without fully understanding it, and this danger befell the chosen people of God, stubbornly thinking that the Messiah that was to come, will come to bring glory to them and restore the kingdom of Israel as in the historical kingdom of Israel, as how it was during the time of David and Solomon, and that the Messiah would regather the scattered people of God.

They argued, those who refused to believe, that Jesus was not the Messiah because He did not restore the kingdom to Israel, nor did He apparently bring the people of Israel together, and worse still, for them, He claimed to be the Son of God, which ended up in their condemnation and betrayal of our Lord in the first place. This is because they did not realise that God worked in ways that are truly beyond their understanding, their human intellect and wisdom.

Those who have eyes, ears and senses would have known that, Jesus is truly the Messiah, who truly revealed that the Messiah Himself is God, and God is the Messiah, by coming down Himself into this world, in order to straighten things out and make everything good and working again. He had been proclaimed by the prophets who predicted about His coming and all the things that He would do, and all these were clearly indicated and written in the Scriptures and yet many continued to refuse to believe in Him.

But that is the truth, that the Lord God who has loved us so dearly, and which evidence of love had been truly numerous throughout the Scriptures, yes, so much that He gave us Himself and His life, that we may be saved. That He died for us on the cross, enduring such grievous torture and wounds for our sake, that we will not need to suffer the consequences of our sins, and by rising from the dead, He led mankind into a new hope, that death does not have the final say on us.

The Lord Jesus may have ascended into heaven into His rightful throne, but this does not mean that God has left us all alone, to fend for ourselves. No, in fact, He still watches over us from time to time. And remember, He promised the disciples the Helper, the Advocate, that is the Holy Spirit, which He sent to the disciples on Pentecost, and became their guide and strength in proclaiming the truth of the Lord, the same truth that we know of today.

We have to pray that the Holy Spirit will come and transform the entire world, that the eyes, minds and hearts of all those who still refuse to accept the truth of Christ be awakened by the Spirit, that their hearts be stirred such that they may eventually accept with full honesty and awareness of their conscience, the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and their most loving God.

Let us pray therefore, on this great occasion, that mankind may no longer be ignorant of God’s love, and may the Lord who returned to His residence and throne in glory, and who will come back to judge us all at the end of time, find us all to be worthy of Him, that. He may bring us all back into His loving embrace, to enjoy the everlasting bliss and graces that He will grant us forever. May God bless us all, and strengthen our faith always. Amen.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 : 3rd Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 65 : 1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a

Shout with joy to God, all you on earth; sing to the glory of His Name; proclaim His glorious praise. Say to God, “How great are Your deeds!”

All the earth bows down to You, making music in praise of You, singing in honour of Your Name. Come and see God’s wonders, His deeds awesome for humans.

He has turned the sea into dry land, and the river was crossed on foot. Let us, therefore, rejoice in Him. He rules by His might forever.

Reflections on Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ : the Easter Message

Alleluia! The Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour and God is risen, Alleluia!

Brothers and sisters in Christ, first I would like to share with all of you the joy of Easter, the blessings of the Risen Lord Jesus, who had died on the cross for us, and Risen in glory, overcoming the powers of death, and showing that death has no final say over all. Today is indeed a day of great joy, as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, that there is hope in all of us mankind.

For we who follow the Lord and His way, have died to our sins and to our past lives, as the Scriptures had mentioned, and then followed the Lord in His resurrection, and we were risen to a new life in Christ, filled with love, hope, and faith. Today is the day when Christ broke the hold of sin and death over all of us, we who had been once enslaved by the powers of sin, ever since our first ancestors disobeyed the will of God and followed their own will into destruction.

Christ is the dawn of new life and new hope, which God has given us as the perfect gift, the gift of Himself, to bring us away from our former lives in darkness and into the new purity that is worthy of God. In His resurrection, Christ washes away the darkness of sin and death and bring with Him a new light that will never be dimmed, and is the light of hope that is the beacon for all of us as we proceed towards the Lord, our final destination.

What is the significance of Easter and the Resurrection of our Lord? If Jesus Christ had just died for us on the cross and remain dead and buried, then we would have no hope at all, and there would be no salvation for us. It is precisely because Christ is the first of all and the first to rise from the dead, then we too have the hope to rise up from the ashes of our death and sinfulness, into a new life of hope in God, one that is filled with the hope of complete reunion and perfection in God.

Christ heralded the end of the long separation between God and His beloved creations, mankind by serving as the crucial and only link between us and God the Father. Through His cross, He had bridged the once uncrossable and impassable chasm existing between us and God. Through His resurrection, our redemption became a reality.

When Christ died, He passed into the realm of the dead, just as all those who were under the power of death. It was there too that countless people from the beginning of time awaited the coming of the Saviour who would release them from the enthrallment and tyranny of Satan and evil, and bring them into a new and eternal life of goodness with God.

This was the harrowing of hell, when Christ broke apart the chains holding those who were dead and righteous in their lives before God, freeing them from the dominion of death, and together with Christ, they went on to new life in God, in eternal bliss and happiness, having been reunited with God through the Resurrection of Jesus.

Such was the joy of the people who had long awaited the salvation that came through Jesus, and such was the joy of the angels and the saints of God when the Lord is Risen and show to the devil his final and utter defeat, the defeat of all his schemes and plotting against God and His beloved ones. This great joy is what we celebrate in Easter, and indeed in every time we come together to celebrate the Mass, that is in essence the celebration of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

This joy is because we celebrate life, the dawn of a new life, one that is no longer marred by sin and evil, but one that is firmly anchored in God and His love. Easter is about life, the celebration and joy for life. That is why we rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for this bright, new life He had granted us through the resurrection of Jesus His Son. Easter is a time for renewal and rejuvenation, when the coldness and bitterness of our past is gone, and replaced with the hope and fresh breeze of new life.

If Christ died without being risen after three days in the realm of the dead, then we would have had no hope, as we know that death would eventually claim us for our sins and trespasses. Instead, we know that because Christ was risen, He triumphed over death and conquered it, so that again, as I had mentioned, death does not have the final say over us.

But Christ did not just do this for us to take advantage on. We also have to accept Him as our Lord and Saviour for us to be able to take part in the salvation that Christ had brought upon us. That is the essence of baptism, which we also celebrate particularly on this holy and great day. We celebrate with those who had finally accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and we praise God because more and more are brought to the light of God.

Baptism is in essence the celebration of Easter, because in baptism, our past sinfulness are washed away by the waters of baptism, and we are reborn again in Christ, who by His power makes us to be truly the children of God, and the inheritor of the vast goodness that God had promised us His beloved ones. Through baptism, like Jesus, we died to our old lives and sins, and we welcome a new life, risen together with Christ, a life that is hopefully filled with love, hope and faith in the Risen Lord.

Today we have to recall closely what happened on the day when we were baptised. For many of us, this is perhaps difficult since we are baptised when we were still infants, and therefore we could not recall the experience of our own baptism. For some of us, we are fortunate for we accepted the Lord when we were already at an age when we are able to make conscious decision and decide that we want to take the side of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, when we were baptised, the Lord claimed us as His own, and we were sealed with the seal of the Living God, none other than with the Most Sacred Name of the Holy Trinity. Baptism marked our moment of truth, when Christ who is Risen today brings us with Him to the glory of the new life and resurrection, and we are brought away from our past darkness and sinful lives.

But that does not mean that we should be complacent and leave it at as if we have already been assured the riches of the kingdom of God as our reward. Satan definitely will still try his best to persuade us back to return to his ways and will lure us with great pleasures of the world. Many have fallen along the way, even though they have seen the light of God. This Easter should serve as a reminder for us, that we have to be always vigilant and treasure what we have in the Risen Lord.

Let us help one another, that we may be ever closer to God, and let us reach out to the Lord, who had first reached out to us through Jesus His Son, who suffered for our sins and trespasses, wounded and scourged for our rebelliousness, died for our sake, and went to free those who were in darkness and brought them into the eternal light and peace in God. Let us help one another that all of us will be one in the Risen Lord.

May Almighty God and the Risen Christ, bless us on this wonderful day. Alleluia! Let our song of joy and praise resound throughout the earth, proclaiming our Risen Lord this day to all creations! Amen.

Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 11 : 23-26

This is the tradition of the Lord that I received and that in my turn I have handed on to you; the Lord Jesus, on the night that He was delivered up, took bread and, after giving thanks, broke it, saying, “This is My Body which is broken for you; do this in memory of Me.”

In the same manner, taking the cup after the supper, He said, “This chalice is the new Covenant in My Blood. Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of Me.” So, then, whenever you eat of this bread and drink from this chalice, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until He comes.

Sunday, 13 April 2014 : Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 21 : 8-9, 17-18a, 19-20, 23-24

All who see Me make a jest of Me; they sneer and shake their heads. “He put His trust in the Lord, let the Lord rescue Him! If the Lord is His friend, let Him help Him!”

Round about Me are vicious dogs, villainous rogues encircling Me. They have tied up My hands and feet. They can count all My bones.

Dividing My garments among them and casting lots for My raiment. O Lord, be not far from Me! O My strength, come quickly to My help.

I will proclaim Your Name to My brothers, I will praise You in the assembly, “All you who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify Him! All you sons of Israel, revere Him!

Monday, 31 March 2014 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 4 : 43-54

When the two days were over, Jesus left for Galilee. Jesus Himself said that no prophets is recognised in his own country. Yet the Galileans welcomed Him when He arrived, because of all the things which He had done in Jerusalem during the Festival, and which they had seen. For they, too, had gone to the feast.

Jesus went back to Cana of Galilee, where He had changed the water into wine. At Capernaum there was an official, whose son was ill, and when he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and asked him to come and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

Jesus said, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe!” The official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” And Jesus replied, “Go, your son lives!”

The man had faith in the word that Jesus spoke to him, and went his way. As he was approaching his house, his servants met him, and gave him the good news, “Your son has recovered!” So he asked them at what hour the child began to recover, and they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday, at about one o’clock in the afternoon.”

And the father realised that that was the time when Jesus had told him, “Your son lives!” And he became a believer, he and all his family. Jesus performed this second miraculous sign when He returned from Judea to Galilee.

 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Today is the celebration of the Annunciation of our Lord, that is the moment when it was announced to His mother Mary, that she is to bear the Saviour of the world within her. The Archangel Gabriel came to her to announce to her the Good News. Mary accepted the role she was to play in the salvation of the world.

And the moment she accepted her role, by her own words that she as the handmaid of the Lord obeyed all the will of God, then everything fell into place, and Mary became the Mother of God from then on. That was also the moment when Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, upon the acceptance of Mary.

That is why today is chosen by the Church to represent and celebrate the Annunciation, because today, 25 March, is exactly nine months before Christmas, the day when Jesus our Lord was born. Nine months is the time that a baby is in gestation within the womb of the mother. So today, we mark the beginning of our journey of expectation of the Lord at Christmas.

And now we are also progressing through Lent, as we prepare ourselves to remember and celebrate the most holy week in our year, the Holy Week, when Jesus went through the most important moments in His ministry, as He revealed His salvation to all mankind. This we also remember, and we recall His promise, that He will come again a second time, this time to bring eternal happiness to all for good.

Thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us heed the lessons we can gain from the Annunciation, in the devotion and obedience that Mary showed through her honest and pious answer to the Lord and in the obedience she showed to Him when the angel broke the news to her that she is to bear a Child, and therefore tp bear a huge responsibility.

But obedience and faithfulness are often not in the list of things that we do. We often follow our desires and thoughts more than recognising and following the Lord and His commandments. And it is very often for us to just pay a kind of lip-service to the Lord in our observation of the faith.

Simple example is, how many of us when we go for Mass, are actually there fully because we want to be with God, and that we want to spend time with Him in prayer and togetherness? How many of us attend the Mass meaningfully and seriously? Do we come to the Mass to seek the Lord? Or do we do so because we want to chit-chat with our friends or to look for someone in the congregation?

Yes, brethren, even something as simple as attending the Mass can be a chore to us if we are not solid in our faith and devotion to God. That is where we can learn from the Mother of our God, in her faith and solid confidence in God, that she accepted the role that had been entrusted to her, to be the bearer of the Saviour, the Christ.

Let us not be like king Ahaz or those like the Pharisees in their faith. Their faith was not genuine and true because although outwardly in words they mentioned and talked about obeying God, but inside their heart they have no God inside of them. They are like empty cans, looking good still on the outside, but inside they are really empty and unsightly.

Our faith in God cannot be like this, brethren, because we have to be sincere and genuine in our devotion, and that means, firstly we have to put our trust in God, but we also have to walk the talk, that is we have to practice our faith and make it living. We cannot just pay lip service to God, but we have to take the initiative and be proactive.

Let us all, brothers and sisters, keep this in mind that Jesus will come again, just as He had come before into this world. So, when He comes again, can we show to Him that our faith is genuine? Can we show Him that we obey the Lord and His commandments as His mother did? If we do so, and are able to show such things, then we will be fine.

May the Lord, whose coming is announced on this day of the Annunciation, continue to guide us, so that we may always walk in His path, never turning left or right. Amen.