Saturday, 21 May 2016 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady) or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 140 : 1-2, 3 and 8

Lord, I call on You, hasten to help me! Listen to my plea when I call to You. Let my prayer rise to You like incense, as I lift up my hands as in an evening sacrifice.

O Lord, set a guard at my mouth, keep watch at the gate of my lips. But my eyes are turned to You, o God, my Lord; strip me not of life, for You are my refuge.

(Usus Antiquior) Sexagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 8 February 2015 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Psalm 43 : 23-26, 2

Exsurge, quare obdormis, Domine? Exsurge, et ne repellas in finem : quare faciem Tuam avertis, oblivisceris tribulationem nostram? Adhaesit in terra venter noster : exsurge, Domine, adjuva nos, et libera nos.

Deus, auribus nostris, audivimus : patres nostri annuntiaverunt nobis.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Arise, why do You sleep, o Lord? Arise, and do not cast us off to the end. Why do You turn Your face away, and forget our trouble? Our belly had cleaved to the earth. Arise, o Lord, help us and deliver us.

O God, we have heard with our ears; our fathers have declared to us.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Deus, qui conspicis, quia ex nulla nostra actione confidimus : concede propitius; ut, contra adversa omnia, Doctoris gentium protectione muniamur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

O God, who sees that we do not put our trust in any deed of our own, mercifully grant that by the protection of the Teacher of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversities. 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.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all celebrate with the whole Church, the feast of our Lady of the Rosary, that is we celebrate the Blessed Mother of our Lord herself, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we always ask for intercession and help, whenever we pray the holy rosary. Today we are reminded on the good qualities of Mary and why we ask for her intercession, to help us on our path towards salvation in God.

And why is today selected as the day to remember this very important nature and use of the holy rosary? That is because the holy rosary is a powerful tool of prayer, and when used right, it will help us to fortify ourselves against the forces and the assaults of Satan, by asking for the help and intercession of the Blessed Mother of our God, the one who is nearest to the throne of her own Son, praying and interceding for us all the time.

And today marked the anniversary of the great victory of the faithful against the threat of the great forces of evil and infidels, in the Battle of Lepanto, the renowned great battle in which the combined forces of the faithful from all over Christendom defeated the great force of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, conqueror of the Christian city of Constantinople, the scourge of Christendom and the Empire of the heathens. This victory marked the turning point in which, the faithful triumphed against their enemies.

The Pope at the time, Pope St. Pius V, dedicated the great victory to the Blessed Virgin, and attributed it to her constant intercession for the faithful ones of her Son, through the holy rosary, at the time when Christendom was threatened with oblivion and darkness, when the forces of the enemies of the Lord were advancing. The holy city and capital of the Roman Empire of Constantinople had fallen to their advance, and as the tide went on, it seemed as if it was inevitable that the rest of Christendom would also fall to the same force.

The intercession of the Blessed Virgin and the faith of the people of God eventually triumphed over the forces of the evil one. And this is because of the promise which God had granted mankind and all of His faithful, that He would give them hope through the Saviour, also called the Messiah, who He promised to the people who had fallen into the darkness of evil and sin.

When mankind first fell into sin, they have lost the inheritance and the promise shown to them, as they became unworthy due to their lack of faith and inability to listen to the will of God, and rather they followed and listened to the sweet lies of Satan instead. But God reminded both men and Satan after that unfortunate event, that while mankind would suffer the consequence of their disobedience, that is to suffer the difficult life in the world, but salvation would come through them.

The Lord said that while Satan the snake would trouble mankind and cause problem to them, a Son would be born from the woman, and that the woman would crush the head of the snake. This woman in fact referred to the very one whom the Lord had chosen among many, to be the instrument of His salvation, that is Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was her and her Son’s actions and deeds which counteracted the evils which our first ancestors had committed, and thus in the process, gained for us a renewed hope in God.

The obedience and faith of Mary, which she showed perfectly when the Archangel Gabriel came to her with the surprising and unprecedented news, the Good News of the coming of the long awaited Saviour, and that she would be the crucial cornerstone in the execution of the plan of salvation, by being the bearer of the Saviour Himself.

And unlike Eve who chose to listen to Satan instead of God, Mary listened obediently to God’s will, and rather than succumbing to the temptation of her flesh, like that of Eve and Adam, who were tempted by the temptation of knowledge and power, Mary declared obediently, that she was the handmaid of the Lord, and all that God wills for her, she will have it done unto her.

And it was also the obedience of Jesus our Lord, who listened and obeyed the Lord till the end, even unto death. Remember what Jesus had done in the agony which He went through in the Garden of Gethsemane? He was indeed tempted to forgo such a great burden He was to bear for the sake of all our sins. Imagine the weight of all of our sins, from our youth to our old age, all mankind combined together as one, and that combined weight of sin burdened on Jesus.

But Jesus did not complain, and through His obedience, He gained favour with God, and through His sacrifice on the cross, He gained for us salvation and eternal life for all of us who believe in Him and put our trust in Him. He is the new Adam who obeyed in His fullest to the Lord, in contrary to the old Adam who disobeyed and sinned before the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, on this day, we call into our mind this fact, that we all are sinners, and yet if we obey the Lord in all things as Mary had done, and as Jesus Himself had done, we will be assured of safety and salvation in God. However, we have to also keep in mind that the evil one, Satan, who is always desiring to bring about the downfall of every mankind is always lurking around us, seeking to tempt us into sin.

That is why it is recommended that all of us pray the holy rosary regularly, and if we do so, the rosary is a powerful tool against the advances of Satan, just like forces of the faithful who prayed and asked for the intercession of the Lord and His blessed mother before the great battle against the forces of the unbelievers and the followers of Satan.

And triumph and victory was given by the Lord to His faithful, just as decisively as Jesus had defeated Satan forever through His triumphant resurrection from the dead, by which He liberated all mankind from the bonds of their original sins and granted new hope to all those who believe in Him.

It is indeed important to take note that we should make use of the rosary meaningfully. Praying it for the sake of praying and praying for the sake of saying the prayer is meaningless. Rather, when we pray the rosary, let us be like our mother Mary in heaven, who is ceaselessly praying for us, interceding for us, and begging for our sake the sinners, just as she had done in Cana, on behalf of the wedding couple in distress.

Let us therefore from now on, especially on this day too, pray the holy rosary regularly, sincerely and devotedly, that we may honour Mary our mother, and the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, for her model in faith and obedience to God, and at the same time, also ask her sincerely to intercede on our behalf, that as she is the closest to the throne of the Lord, she may be our greatest defender against the evils of Satan.

May Almighty God therefore, awaken the zeal and love we have for Him within our hearts, so that from now on, with the help of the devotion of the holy rosary, we may be brought ever closer to our Lord and God, and to His love, which He gave freely to us. God be with us all, brethren, now and forever. Amen.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Matthias, one of the Twelve Apostles, although originally he was not included among the Twelve, until after Judas Iscariot had betrayed the Lord and committed suicide for his sins against the Holy One of God. Only then that Matthias was selected, as we heard how it went in the first reading today, to replace Judas so that the number of the Apostles will always be full, that is twelve.

There are great symbolisms behind the number twelve chosen by the Lord to be the chief among His disciples and followers, and He set them aside to become His Apostles, to be the ones who led in the evangelisation of the Gospel and the spreading of the Good News to many nations. The number twelve is often associated with the number of the tribes of Israel, the sons of Jacob to whom the Lord had bequeathed the Promised Land long ago after their exodus from the land of Egypt.

The Apostles, if we read the Book of Revelation, are the ones who will judge the people and the tribes of Israel, at the end of time, and Jesus Himself said that they will be the judges of the people of God. They were the chief assistants of the Lord, to whom Jesus even promised that He went ahead of them to prepare the places for them. Such a good life for them, is it not?

But, brethren, you have to look at what they have to face in life, as they proceed on with what they had been entrusted with. They were charged to bring the people of God from many nations and return them to the embrace of God, their loving Father. This was no easy task, and they had enormous challenges in their ministry, facing rejection after rejection, and the open and blatant hostility of the Jewish leaders and priesthood, as well as opposition from various groups of people who refused to listen and believe in the truth.

And eventually they also met their end in various means, through martyrdom and suffering, in different parts of the world, when the people to whom they had dedicated themselves to, turn their back on them, rejecting them, and murdered them, shedding the Apostles’ blood, which in turn became the seed for the faith of more Christians, as inspirations for even more martyrs to rise up and defend their faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is what St. Matthias had been chosen for. It was not an easy task, but he and the other Apostles persevered nonetheless, and  they served as an inspiration for all of us. So how is this relevant to us who live in this modern era, in this modern day world? It is relevant because we are all also charged with the same mission to evangelise the world, to spread the Good News to all men.

And even these days, it does not mean that this work is getting any easier. On the contrary, it is getting more and more difficult, with challenges and oppositions from every possible sources and corners of the world, from both outside the Church and even from within the Church. Being a missionary and a worker of the Lord like the Apostles is not easy, but arguably, it is truly worth doing. Why? Because the Lord takes good care of all those who believe in Him and those who do His will, like the Apostles did.

Let us therefore be encouraged, that we will be faithful and committed to the cause of the Lord, that we may be fruitful in our attempts at evangelisation, and bring more souls closer to the salvation in God. May the Lord protect and guide us on our way, that through the help and intercession of St. Matthias the Apostle, we may become ever better disciples of God. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 11 May 2014 : 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and World Day of Prayer for Vocations (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 10 : 1-10

Truly, I say to you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the shepherd of the sheep enters by the gate. The keeper opens the gate to him and the sheep hear his voice; he calls each of his sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but rather they will run away from him, because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.

Jesus used this comparison, but they did not understand what He was saying to them. So Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, I am the gate of the sheep. All who came were thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not hear them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through Me will be saved; He will go in and out freely and find food.”

“The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, life in all its fullness.”

Saturday, 10 May 2014 : 3rd Week of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hope in God always, and never falter! For God will always stand by us and protect us, and He will never give up on us no matter what. It may often be difficult to remain faithful and keep the truth that He has revealed to us, because of various reasons.

The people failed to understand Christ and His teachings, because they were unable to comprehend Christ’s hard message, that is real and hard on them, because their minds think not in heavenly terms, but in terms of this world. They based their judgments and beliefs in the logic of this world, and the understanding in their minds.

They put themselves in the completely wrong focus, contending that because to them, Jesus is mere man, like them, it is definitely very gross for Him to say something such as, giving them His own flesh and blood for them to eat. Sadly, this was precisely the same sentiment espoused by so many people who claimed that they belong to the same Christian faith, and yet failed to accept the truth in the Lord, that God gave us His own flesh and blood, which He gave to us through the Eucharist.

Mankind like to think that they are the best, and that their opinions and wisdom are better than everything else, even including divine wisdom and revelations from the Lord. Thus, mankind stumble into the trap of human pride and greed, refusing to believe in the truth. What is this truth? That the Lord is present in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the bread and wine changed in form and substance to that of the Body and the Blood of Christ, real and present.

Many failed to understand this, particularly those who literally read the Scriptures and failed to comprehend the fullness of the mysteries of God, and end up with having false and inaccurate deductions on the faith and the nature of the Lord itself. Many deduced that the Eucharist and the celebration of the Mass is merely a symbolism rather than real giving of the Lord’s Body and Blood. This erroneous view of the real truth was catastrophic and even until today, this condemns countless souls to perdition and eternal damnation.

The celebration of the Mass, the memorial reenactment of the Lord’s Supper every time we celebrate the Mass is not just a mere memorial, or a mere symbolic gesture or representation. Instead, every Mass is the same sacrifice that Jesus had made at Calvary, when He was crucified between the heaven and the earth, surrendering Himself to the will of the Father and opened Himself to us. He gave us generously His own Body and His Blood, which He offered for our sake, as the perfect sacrifice for the oblation of our sins.

Yes, the Mass is a sacrifice, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, just as Christ offered Himself as the worthy sacrifice, the worthy Lamb of God to be the settlement for our numerous and innumerable sins and faults. His is the only blood worthy to cleanse our sins, something that the old rituals of animal sacrifices at the time of the Temple, could not do.

Again even here, those who refused to believe in the truth were led astray by their own wisdom and arrogance, thinking that they know it all about God. They thought it to be impossible and unthinkable that Christ should be sacrificed again and again at the Mass, every time the bread and wine were transformed into the Real Presence of our Lord. They thought it blasphemous to think that the bread and wine in the Eucharist is the Real Presence, but the truth is that in fact it is blasphemous to think that the bread and wine are not real Body and real Blood of our Saviour.

The Mass is a mystery in itself, that when the priest, endowed with power given to him through the unbroken succession from the Apostles and hence from the Lord Himself, turned the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, this process is mystically linked to the same, one and only sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ almost two thousand years ago on the cross. It is not a reenactment, nor it is just symbolic, but in fact it is truly the real thing, and we all experience the saving power of God’s sacrifice and love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, hence, it is imperative that we all be true disciples of Christ and be courageous proclaimers of His truth. Do not be afraid to tell the truth to others, particularly to those who believe in the lies of the world and those who prefer to depend only on themselves in faith. Let us be courageous and faithful disciples, spreading the Good News wherever we go. God guide our way and may He bless us always in all our endeavours. Amen.

Saturday, 26 April 2014 : Saturday within Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1 and 14-15, 16ab-18, 19-21

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Joyful shouts of victory are heard in the tents of the just : “The right hand of the Lord strikes mightily.”

The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily! I shall not die, but live to proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has stricken me severely, but He has saved me from death.

Open to me the gates of the Just, and let me enter to give thanks. “This is the Lord’s gate, through which the upright enter.” I thank You for having answered me, for having rescued Me.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 54 : 7-8, 9-10a, 10b-11a, 23

If I had wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest; I would seek a home in the desert.

I would hurry to find a cave for shelter from the tempest. O Lord, shatter their plans.

In the city I see strife and violence; day and night they prowl about its walls.

Place your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you, for He never allows the upright to fall.

Monday, 2 December 2013 : 1st Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 4 : 2-6

On that day the Shoot of YHVH will be beautiful and glorious; and the Fruit of the earth will be honour and splendour for the survivors of Israel. Those who are left in Zion and remain in Jerusalem will be called holy all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem, when YHVH washes away the filth of the women of Zion and purges Jerusalem of the bloodstains in its midst with the blast of searing judgment, the blast of fire.

Then will YHVH create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its assemblies a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of fire by night. For the Glory of the Lord will be a canopy and a pavilion for all, a shade from the scorching heat by day, a refuge from the storm and rain.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are told, on the risks facing those who are loyal and obedient to the Lord and to His laws. Jesus foretold the suffering that we will face as those who obey and follow Him. And just as the world had hated Him and persecuted Him and His followers, the disciples and the Apostles, we too will likely face the same opposition, suffering, and rejection from the world.

But we should not fear, brothers and sisters, for the Lord certainly will not remain silent or abandon us in our troubles and tribulations. He will send His help to us, and He will take care of us with gentle love and kindness, that only He, our Lord and God can provide. Remember what we had heard in our first reading today, taken from the Book of Daniel. The king of Babylon, Belshazzar, profaned and blasphemed against God by desecrating the sacred vessels that had been taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem.

The king Belshazzar used those vessels, used for offering gifts and pure holiness to the Lord, for profane actions, in drunken stupor and feasting, with his nobles and his women. He desecrated the Lord further by invoking the name of his pagan gods, together with his guests, and praising these false gods instead of the One, True God, whose sacred vessels the king of Babylon had desecrated in His presence.

Belshazzar was reprimanded severely by the Lord Himself, and shown the wrath of God through His own hands, writing the prophecy of his ends, the overthrow of his person as king, and his replacement as the king of Babylon, by the Persian ruler, Cyrus, the one who later went on to free the Israelites from their bondage and servitude, allowing them to return to their land.

Such stories are told again to us, and we listen to them, so that we will always be reminded, on how the Lord will care for us and provide for us, even if the entire world is to turn against us. Yes, the forces that has power over this world, that is the forces of the evil one, hates the Lord and those who believe in Him. But this does not mean that we should entirely shun the world, hide ourselves from the world, and hate the world and all of its things.

Instead, we have to show our courage to stand up for our faith, and for God, that in all of our actions, our deeds, and our works, we proclaim the glory of God, the love of God, and the hope that God had brought mankind, to all the world, for all to see, witness, and hopefully, believe. Daniel did not hesitate to show the truth and the entire revelation behind the word on the wall, even if he risked his own life because he had said something bad about the king.

Jesus did not hesitate either, and He made it plain to all those who followed Him, that to be His disciples, and to belong to Him means suffering, plain and unadulterated suffering because there will be opposition and even oppression. Faith and salvation are not simple and easy to obtain, as they require complete and thorough dedication of ourselves.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called yet again, to give of ourselves fully to the Lord in faith and love. Distance not ourselves from God’s love, but let us indeed draw closer to Him and towards His infinite love. We all have a choice, brethren. Will we choose to be closer to the Lord, and draw ever more closer towards His presence, even with suffering to pay in this world? Or will we instead choose to take the easy way out? By evading all the persecutions and the sufferings in this world, with the price of distancing ourselves from our Creator, and then to be thrown away into eternal suffering? The choice is ours.

May the Lord therefore continue to guide us, that in our hearts, He may continue to invigorate a spirit of love, that we will always continue to dedicate ourselves to Him, and in the end, receive the crown of glory and the entirety of the promised salvation He had promised us, in. Jesus His Son. Amen.