Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 15-26

At that time, some of the people said, “Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Seventh Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 36 : 16-17a, 18-28

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, when Israel occupied her own land and defiled it by her way of life and her actions. I poured out My fury on them because of the blood they shed in the land and because they defiled it with their filthy idols.”

“Then I scattered them among the nations  and dispersed them in other lands. I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. But when they were brought to other nations, My Holy Name was profane because others said of them : ‘The people of YHVH had to be exiled from His land!'”

“Then I was concerned for My Holy Name, profaned by Israel among the nations where she had been dispersed. Now you shall say to the people of Israel : ‘It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but because of My Holy Name that you have profaned in the places where you have gone.'”

“‘I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you, and they will know that I am YHVH when I show them My holiness among you. For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land.'”

“‘Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.'”

“‘I shall put  My spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be Your God.'”

Monday, 9 November 2015 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Archbasilica of St. John Lateran (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 2 : 13-22

At that time, as the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple court He found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and money changers seated at their tables.

Making a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple court, together with the oxen and sheep. He knocked over the tables of the money changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, “Take all this away, and stop turning My Father’s House into a marketplace!”

His disciples recalled the words of Scripture : ‘Zeal for Your House devours Me like fire.’ The Jews then questioned Jesus, “Where are the miraculous signs which give You the right to do this?” And Jesus said, “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.”

The Jews then replied, “The building of this Temple has already taken forty-six years, and will You raise it up in three days?” Actually, Jesus was referring to the Temple of His Body. Only when He had risen from the dead did His disciples remember these words, then they believed both the Scriptures and the words Jesus had spoken.”

Sunday, 30 August 2015 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 7 : 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

At that time, one day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus, and with them there were some teachers of the Law who had just come from Jerusalem. They noticed that some of His disciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them.

Now the Pharisees, and in fact all the Jews, never eat without washing their hands, for they follow the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything, when they come from the market, without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe; for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates.

So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?” Jesus answered, “You shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote : ‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. The worship they offer Me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules.’ You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition.”

Jesus then called the people to Him again and said to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters a person from the outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes a person unclean. For evil designs come out of the heart : theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.”

Sunday, 30 August 2015 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 1 : 17-18, 21b-22, 27

Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Light, in whom there is no change or shadow of a change. By His own will He gave us life through the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of offering to Him among His creatures.

Welcome the Word that has been planted in you and has the power to save you. Be doers of the Word and not just hearers, lest you deceive yourselves. In the sight of God, our Father, pure and blameless religion lies in helping the orphans and widows in their need and keeping oneself from the world’s corruption.

Sunday, 15 February 2015 : Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Quinquagesima Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we approach ever closer to the beginning of the Lenten season which will begin on this coming, the Ash Wednesday, today we celebrate the Quinquagesima Sunday, or the Seventh Sunday before Easter, as a reminder of the saving power and works of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had come unto this world and became incarnate as Man, that through His mission and works, He might bring healing to a sickened people.

Truly, the readings today, both that of the sixth Ordinary Sunday and the Quinquagesima Sunday are talking about the sickness of the flesh, and thus lead us all to understand that we are all, by our nature, sickened with sin, that is the sickness of the soul, or to link to the readings today even more closely, sin is the leprosy of the soul.

In the first reading, God stipulated the law regarding leprosy and what ought to be done to a person who has leprosy, to His people through Moses. Lepers ought to declare themselves as unclean and walk in shame, while at the same time they also must isolate themselves and exile themselves from the community of the people of God. They ought to remain outside the encampment where the people of Israel stayed in the presence of God.

At the first glance, this may seem to be very harsh and it may seem that God was punishing those with leprosy very severely. But in fact, the truth is that God desires their healing and salvation. If we read the entirety of the Book of Leviticus, and discern the meaning of what God had commanded to His people, we will find that for the case of leprosy, when those afflicted were cured of their condition, they have to present themselves to the priests who would then gave worthy sacrifice for the Lord and welcomed them back into the community of the people of God.

Thus, the same has happened to all of us mankind. We are all sick from the sickness of sin that affects our soul and tainted it. Sin is an abomination and filth that separates us from the loving embrace of our Lord and God, and sin has no place in His presence. Therefore, it would not indeed be too different from the lepers in the past, when Israel walked through the desert from Egypt to the Promised Land, that they were temporarily cast out of the society and had to wander in the wilderness beyond the confines of the camp of the faithful.

We have been separated from God and from being worthy of His salvation by the taint of sin, and as the Gospel of Quinquagesima Sunday also shows us, that blindness is another form of illness that we are suffering from. The blind man begged for Jesus to heal him, and in his faith, he was cured completely from his blindness. Here, there is again yet a clear link between what we heard and another story, when Jesus healed yet another blind man.

The blind man from his birth, who used to beg at the entrance of the Temple was healed by Jesus, and he gave thanks to God and testified to the glory of God, and yet, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law accused him of sinning and of committing the sin by having been healed on the Sabbath day. They cursed him and were angry against him, but indeed, that other story from the Gospel also yet show us how, all of us men are sick, sickened by sin.

For sin blinded our hearts and minds against the love and mercy of God, and also prevented us from recognising the good works of the Lord present around us. It was precisely just as what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done to Jesus and His works. They refused to recognise God’s love made evident and real through Jesus Christ, who was willing to endure the worst of sufferings and scourges, and bear the consequences of all of our sins with Him to the cross.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, Christ brought about healing and justification to all those who believe in Him, in all those who have abandoned their old ways of sin and evil, and decided to follow Him and walk in His ways for the rest of their lives. This healing and cleansing is the healing of our soul and heart, as well as our mind and body from the corruption of sin and the desires of the world. He is the High Priest, who had offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to reconcile us with God.

The sad fact is that, like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, too many of us are still too proud to accept our sinfulness as a fact and reality, and too many of us are too haughty and prideful to seek for God’s forgiveness and to humble ourselves before His presence. It is also in our nature to boast of our abilities and greatness, as well as achievements, but not our shortcomings and failures, especially that of sin.

As we approach the season of Lent, and as later we are to celebrate the Most Holy Week of our Lord’s Passion, suffering, death and resurrection from the dead, all of which are part of His works to bring about our salvation and the deliverance of all those who put their trust and faith in Him, let us therefore reflect on our own lives and attitudes. Have we been truly faithful to the Lord, and have we been reflecting and be aware of our own sinfulness and wickedness in life that prevented us from being truly be with our loving God?

As St. Paul mentioned in his epistle we heard for this Quinquagesima Sunday, that our faith must be complemented with hope and love, the three cardinal and most important gifts of the Lord to all of us. If the three are not present together, then they are incomplete. And the greatest gift of all is indeed love, for it is love itself that drove our Lord to come down and to do His works to save us all. Sinners as we are, and unworthy as we are, He still loves us all very much.

Thus, we cannot say that we are truly faithful to the Lord, unless we imitate the love which Christ had shown to us all, who in His gentle and tender love had brought about our healing, the healing we receive so that our entire being are purged from the sickness of sin and evil. But we have to open our hearts to His love and mercy, and the best way to do this is to practice them in our own lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be truly faithful to our Lord from now on, and show our thanks and gratitude for the love and mercy which He had shown us. Although we are sinners, unworthy and wicked, He was still willing to give Himself for our sake, and even to suffer and die for our sake. Let us all from now on be thoroughly transformed in faith, hope and love, that through these gifts which we exercise in our daily actions and deeds in life, we may grow stronger and more just in the eyes of our Lord, and be worthy for His eternal life. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 15 February 2015 : Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Quinquagesima Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Leviticus 13 : 1-2, 44-46

YHVH said to Moses and Aaron, “If someone has a boil, an inflammation or a sore on his skin which could develop into leprosy, he must be brought to Aaron the priest, or to one of the priests, his descendants.”

“This means that the man is leprous : he is unclean. The priest shall declare him unclean; he is suffering from leprosy of the head. A person infected with leprosy must wear torn clothing and leave his hair uncombed; he must cover his upper lip and cry, ‘Unclean, unclean.'”

“As long as the disease lasts he must be unclean; and therefore he must live away from others : he must live outside the camp.”