Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 71 : 2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

May the King rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

Justice will flower in His days, and peace abound till the moon be no more. For He reigns from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

The kings of Tarshish and the islands render Him tribute, the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts, all kings bow down to Him, and all nations serve Him.

He delivers the needy who call on Him, the afflicted with no one to help them. His mercy is upon the weak and the poor, He saves the life of the poor.


Homily and Reflection :

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of our Lady of Mount Carmel (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Marian feasts)

Psalm 93 : 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15

They crush Your people, o Lord, they oppress Your inheritance. They murder the widow and the lonely, they massacre the helpless.

“The Lord does not see,” they say, “the God of Jacob does not care.” Remember this, you stupid people, when will you understand, you fools!

He who made the ear, will He not hear? He who formed the eye, will He not see? He who rebukes nations, will He not punish them?

The Lord will not reject His people nor will He forsake His heritage. Justice will return to the just, and the upright will follow in its wake.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Thursday, 10 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 79 : 2ac and 3b, 15-16

Listen, o Shepherd of Israel, You who sit enthroned between the cherubim. Stir up Your might and come to save us.

Turn again, o Lord of hosts, look down from heaven and see; care for this vine, and protect the stock Your hand has planted.

Saturday, 28 June 2014 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr, and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady or Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary) or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 73 : 1-2, 3-5a, 5b-7, 20-21

O God, have You rejected us forever? Why vent Your anger on the sheep of Your own fold? Remember the people You have formed of old, the tribe You have redeemed as Your inheritance. Remember Mount Zion where You once lived.

Climb and visit these hopeless ruins, the enemy has ravaged everything in the sanctuary. Your foes have roared triumphantly in the holy place, and set up their banner of victory.

Like lumbermen felling trees, they smashed the carved panelling with hatchets, hammers and axes. They defiled Your sanctuary and set aflame the dwelling place of Your Name.

See how they keep Your covenant in the dark caves of the land. Do not let the oppressed be put to shame; may the poor and needy praise Your Name.

Thursday, 26 June 2014 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Today, brothers and sisters in Christ, we continue further on the catechesis related to the end of the kingdom period in Israel and Judah, as God punished them for having disobeyed Him and gave them to the hands of their enemies. The king of Babylon, the famous Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, the Holy City, and exiled many people including the king into the land of Babylon.

And in today’s Gospel, Jesus talked about the wisdom and the folly that happened in the building of a house. We all know very well what Jesus said, how those who built their house on sand will not be able go persevere and be swept away by the tides of water and waves, as well as by winds. Those who built their houses on firm ground will be able to resist and stand up strong against all the challenges mentioned earlier.

Jesus mentioned that those who built their houses on firm ground are those who listen to the Lord and His will, and not just that, but they also carry on to do the will of God and implement His teachings in their own lives. And those who ignore the word of God or fail to implement the way of the Lord in their lives, and instead depending on their own strengths and wisdom, are those who built their houses on sand.

It is very easy for us today to be tempted to follow our own heart’s desire, and be distracted to the point that we end up falling into the trap of the devil and weaken the very foundation of our faith. Our human wisdom and abilities, as well as experiences are extensive, but they are fallible and weak. And that is exactly why we are like those who build their houses on weak foundations if we rely on ourselves and on our strengths.

If we rely on the Lord and on His will for us, then our foundations will be firm and solid, and we will not easily be toppled by the forces that assail us. In our lives, we often encounter many different challenges and oppositions that seek to disrupt and destabilise our lives for the worse. If we do not have a firm hold on a strong anchor, we will be easily swept aside by the torrent and the storm, and we will fall into destruction.

Today, our society and even those within our Church are infected with this disease, also known as modernism and relativism, where those who are its proponents champion the modern development of human morality and human-established ideas and rules, at the expense of the truth that the Lord had conveyed to us through His Church and His faithful servants, the saints and the Apostles.

Many of us end up following what the world thinks is right, and we adopt the ideas and the morality as our own. This is the essence of relativism and modernism, where we do not challenge and question the developments of morality in this world that are independent of the truth in the Lord. Indeed, without the Lord, it is truly questionable if the morality of this world is a morality at all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, today we are asked to reflect, on whether we truly believe what we believe in. Do we truly have our faith in the Lord, and practice it faithfully and completely? Or do we prefer to follow the ways of the world? Let us all pray for the grace to be able to stand our ground strong in the faith, that we will not end up falling into the trap of Satan in the world.

May the Lord strengthen us, empower us, and guide us to Himself, and be with us through our journey in this life. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 26 June 2014 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 78 : 1-2, 3-5, 8, 9

O God, the pagans have invaded Your inheritance; they have defiled Your holy Temple and reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have given Your servants’ corpses to the birds, and the flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth.

They have poured out the blood of Your faithful like around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. Mocked and reviled by those around us, we are scorned by our neighbours. How long will this last, o Lord? Will You be angry forever? Will Your wrath always burn to avenge Your rights?

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us for the sake of Your Name.

Saturday, 21 June 2014 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 6 : 24-34

No one can serve two masters; for he will either hate one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the first and look down on the second. You cannot at the same time serve God and money.

This is why I tell you not to be worried about food or drink for yourself, or about clothes for your body. Is not life more important than food, and is not the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, they do not harvest and do not store food in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not less worthy than they are?

Can any of you add a day to your life by worrying about it? Why are you so worried about your clothes? Look at how the flowers in the fields grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his wealth was clothed like one of these.

If God so clothed the grass in the field, which blooms today and is to be burned tomorrow in an oven, how much more will he clothe you? What little faith you have!

Do not worry and say : What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? or : What shall we wear? The pagans busy themselves with such things; but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your heart first on the kingdom and justice of God, and all these things will also be given to you.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the continuation of the prayer of Jesus for His disciples, for all mankind and for the world. Jesus made clear to all of His disciples of the truth about all things on Himself and all the things that He had come into this world for. He made clear to all mankind that it is through Him all salvation will come from, and no one can reach the Lord other than through Himself.

God has given all to His Son, Jesus Christ, that in Him can be found hope and redemption. And it is this that we believe in and treasure as our faith. Jesus has given His all in order to save mankind, which was His mission upon coming into the world. Despite the difficulties and the challenges that He faced, He obeyed the will of the Father perfectly and thus bring glory to God and redemption to mankind.

Today’s readings are both about those who are about to face danger and peril, and in both cases, indeed they would face a violent death in the end. As we know and heard, Jesus in the Gospel today was praying for His disciples, and He did this during the time after the Last Supper just before He went through His Passion and suffer for our sake, and died on the cross.

In the first reading, St. Paul also showed his anguish, having been accused and resisted by many of those whom he had been sent to work with, and he was also about to be judged in Jerusalem, after having been arrested and sent back for judgment by the authorities. We know that eventually St. Paul would appeal to the Roman Emperor and asked to be judged in Rome, where he would eventually meet his end, by beheading on the order of the Emperor Nero, who instigated the first official persecution of the faithful and blame them for the fire of Rome.

But both of them did not fear the persecution and death they were to face. Instead, they welcomed death openly without fear, and they continued to work for the Lord’s sake all the way till the end. St. Paul continued to minister along his way to Rome, converting many to the Lord, including those in Malta and in Rome itself. And Jesus as we all know, healed the severed ear of the servant of the High Priest, Malchus, and He forgave those who condemned Him to death, on the cross itself.

This is an attitude and a way of life which we all should emulate in our own lives, that is to truly bring about a genuine and living faith in each one of us. We have to be like St. Paul and Jesus in their mission that they carried in complete faith to God the Father. And today, we celebrate the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, holy men who did not fear or hesitate to defend their faith unto death, and worked for the sake of the Gospel.

St. Charles Lwanga was born in what is today modern day Uganda in south-central part of Africa, and he was born into the then kingdom of Buganda, which still practiced animism and abhorrent practices, especially wicked sexual practices and perversions prevalent at that time, particularly those committed by the king of Buganda himself.

St. Charles Lwanga had quite a high and significant position in the court of the king, and while the whole court and country was made to reaffirm their paganistic beliefs and cast out Christianity, which when this happened just about one and a half decades ago, the faith of the One True God began to enter into Buganda and converted many to the true faith.

St. Charles Lwanga himself secretly converted to the faith and through his works in secrecy, he managed to convert many people, especially many convicts and others who then joined the true faith together with St. Charles Lwanga. But the end came for him, when he chose to stand by his faith, when the king’s sexual perversion and debauchery went bad and by persuading the victims of the king to adopt the faith and resist the king’s influences, St. Charles Lwanga and some others were punished and tortured, and were finally executed.

St. Charles Lwanga stayed faithful to the end, and publicly showed his faith to others, and even praying over his executors as they tortured him, hoping that they too will be baptised and receive the faith as he had done. His faith and devotion to the faith was truly commendable, and we too should be inspired by what he has done.

Our faith must be strong and vibrant, and we cannot be idle. We have to stand fast by the Lord’s side and not be afraid of rejection or persecution by the world or others disagreeable to our faith, that is those who are still in the darkness of Satan and the world. Let us all be courageous, and be inspired by St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, the Ugandan martyrs, in their faith, so that we may grow ever more worthy of the Lord and be righteous before Him.

May God be with us all, and may St. Charles Lwanga intercede for us together with his companions in heaven. May God help us all. Amen.

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.

Thursday, 15 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God has planned His coming into this world since a very long time ago. He had revealed His plans to the prophets who proclaimed the Lord’s coming, and yet the people failed to appreciate and understand in its fullness, the message passed down by the prophets of the Lord. In Jesus, all of God’s long awaited promise is fulfilled in its perfection.

The coming of the Lord is intended to be the end of the suffering of mankind in darkness, for through the Lord, a new light has dawned, and that light is not to be put out, and become the source of salvation and inspiration on all the people who sees Him. But not all the people welcomed the Lord when He came, and some of them even rejected Him and closed their hearts to Him when He came to knock at their doors.

Today’s first reading showed us the history of the Lord’s work of salvation, which He had long planned ever since mankind first fall to the temptations of Satan. St. Paul told the people of God the entirety of the history of salvation summarised in short words, but yet still clear enough to show the sincerity of God, and His seriousness to help us to return to His embrace.

God sent His Son to be with us, and to walk among us, so that we may see the Lord in Jesus, and walk in His ways, and therefore, obey the will of God and hence, be in the favour of God and be saved from their afflictions. Jesus is the true and real manifestation of God’s love for us, and the reminder to God’s people how they were saved from their various afflictions and persecutions, as He had done when He liberated them from the bonds of the Egyptians.

The Son of God came to perfect all the laws of the land, which He had revealed through Moses, the Law of God. He made everything clear through His explanations, and on the real and true purpose of the Law, that is love, God’s love for all of His creations, particularly mankind, the most beloved out of all His creatures. He explained with love, how much the Lord wants His children to be reunited and reconciled with Him, and showed them how to do so.

Jesus showed by example, encouraging His disciples to love one another just as He had first loved them. He sought sinners and fornicators, and those looked down upon by the society, gathering them and bringing them back to His loving embrace. He showed God’s love for them through His own love, and brought many of them back to the Lord and redeemed them.

Jesus shows how God’s mercy and love is available to everyone, even to the greatest of sinners and the most unworthy of the faithful. But this requires us to be open to this mercy and love, or otherwise, the Lord’s works will not be able to make a concrete change in us and transform us from creatures of sin into creatures of holiness and hope.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we commit ourselves to the Lord, that in all the things that we do, we do it for the sake of the Lord? Shall we focus all our attentions to the Lord and turn our ways to align with His? May the Lord guide us ever in our path, that in all things we do we may always bring glory to God. May our hearts always be open to the love and mercy of God, that we may ever seek the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness whenever we sin and therefore gain the grace and blessings of the Lord. Amen.