(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 3 : 1-4

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things.

For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

 

Alternative reading


1 Corinthians 5 : 6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast makes the whole mass of dough rise? Throw out, then, the old yeast and be new dough. If Christ became our Passover, you should be unleavened bread.

Let us celebrate, therefore, the Passover, no longer with old yeast, which is sin and perversity; let us have unleavened bread, that is purity and sincerity.

Monday, 22 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 14 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4ab, 5

Those who walk blamelessly and do what is right, who speak truth from their heart and control their words, who do no harm to their neighbours.

And cast no discredit on their companions, who look down on evildoers but highly esteem God’s servants.

Who do not lend money at interest and refuse a bribe against the innocent. Do this, and you will soon be shaken.

Message to the Faithful and Reflections on the Scripture Readings on the Occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Mass of an important occasion and an important part of our faith, that is celebrating the Assumption of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven by the power and the will of God. This is the dogma and definitive teaching of the Church, declared by the great Pope Pius XII on this day, sixty-four years ago, on the fifteenth day of August of the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ has long been the subject of veneration and respect for many generations since the beginning days of the Church. Mary as the mother of Jesus, who is the Son of God, the Divine Word incarnate into flesh, has been considered as the Theotokos, or the Mother of God ever since the Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in the year of 325 of our Lord. This is because she was the vessel through which our Lord and Saviour was born into this world.

If you had noticed, that the readings today, the songs from the psalms and the Gospel itself talk about the Ark of God, or the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two slabs of stone on which God had written in stone His laws and commandments for His people, and for mankind to be kept faithfully for all eternity. That Ark of the Covenant came to be considered as the Holy Presence of God among men, as God Himself resided in the world, among His people through the Ark.

That was why in the Scripture Reading from the Book of Chronicles today, we are told of the meticulous and very detailed preparations for the carrying of the Ark of God into the Holy City of Jerusalem, that it may be brought from the wilderness where the Ark had resided, to the Tent which the king David of Israel had prepared for the Ark of the Lord. This is because the Ark itself represents the dwelling of God among men, and therefore, later on, it was to be enshrined in the holiest part of the Temple of Jerusalem, in what is called the Holy of holies.

So sacred is that Ark, that indeed, before the occurrence of what is in the First Reading today, what happened was that the Ark had been attempted to be moved to the city of Jerusalem earlier on, but one of the priests of the Levites tribe accidentally touched the Ark when it slipped along the way, and the offending priest was cast down immediately by God for the accidental touching of the Ark. The meticulous preparation was indeed partly because no one, and no human hands should ever touch the Holy Ark of God.

And how is this relevant to what we are celebrating today? That is because the Blessed Virgin Mary is herself an Ark of the Covenant, and in fact, she is the Ark, the one and true Ark, of a covenant that had been established anew by the Lord, the new covenant of Jesus Christ our Lord, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. As she bore the Lord and Saviour in her womb, she essentially became the new Ark of the new covenant which Jesus was to establish and seal by His death on the cross.

And as the Blessed Virgin Mary bore the Lord in herself, she has become the new Ark, that is indeed truly equally sacred and holy in all ways, the same as the old Ark had been. For truly, it must be inconceivable that for the Lord to be born into the world through physical attachments corrupted by sin. That is why, today’s feast is essentially inseparable from that of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin herself, which means that the Mother of our Lord was conceived without sin, pure and immaculate.

This dogma truly had the background in this purity and holiness of the Ark of God, which was then made anew through Mary, who was to bear the Lord and Saviour of all creation, and no longer just merely the two slabs of stone on which was written the laws and commandments of God. Mary was therefore prepared and made special, pure and immaculate, free from all forms of sin and evil. And therefore, just as in her birth, where she was without sin like her Son, it was truly also inconceivable that death should have any power over her.

This is why the Assumption, in which the Lord brought His own earthly mother into heaven, to show that for she was without sin, pure and immaculate, death has no power over her. Assumption is the proof that God showed men, using the example of His own mother, that death has no final say on us. Instead, He Himself by His sacrifice on the cross had conquered death, and death no longer bound us to itself, and we now have a new hope of life eternal in God.

In the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we honour and look up to Mary, who is both the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and also the foremost and greatest among all saints, as the one whose examples inspire all of us to do better and aim for the better for ourselves. Mary gives us hope that we too may one day be like her, receiving the gift of heavenly glory and our everlasting inheritance as part of the promise and hope which our God had given us.

However, on this sacred and joyful day, we also have to remember that we have our duties and obligations as well. Why is this so? Because all of us who believe in the Lord and who have accepted Him into ourselves, with our God becoming a part of us, and we as a part of the Lord as one Body, we too become the Arks of the Lord’s new covenant. And what is this covenant, exactly? We have to remember what Jesus said at the Last Supper, that the covenant He made was sealed by the giving of His Body and Blood to all mankind.

This covenant becomes ours and we are a part of the covenant when we receive the Lord who is present in the Most Holy Eucharist. Therefore, whenever we receive the Lord in the Holy Communion, we truly become like Mary, to bear the Lord unto ourselves, for the bread and wine are truly transformed completely into the very essence of our Lord, that He is truly present in us, and we become His Ark, or also known as what is called the Temple of God, or the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

And therefore it is very important for us to take note that as the Ark is holy and sacred, and as the Blessed Virgin Mary is holy and blessed, we too must also aspire and work towards having a holy and sacred Ark in ourselves, which means to avoid all sorts of fornications or sins that taint the body, or the soul or both body and soul.

If we are not able to do this, we will not be worthy bearers of the Lord, and we will be punished and cast out from our intended inheritance, and we will not share in the glory of Mary, whom God had brought body and soul into heaven for her role in the plan of God’s salvation of mankind. She is our role model and our hope, for through her God had made it clear to us, that death will not have any power over us, unless if we allow it to rule us again when we succumb to the temptations of sin and defile our bodies and our souls, unworthy of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all reflect on this occasion, and on God’s loving presence among us, and within us. Let us from now on, whenever we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, work harder and be more intent on keeping ourselves holy and worthy to receive our Lord into ourselves. Surely, we are all sinners and delinquents before God, but if we make the effort to keep ourselves holy and devoted to Him, He will grant us His favour.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven body and soul by the power and favour of our Lord Jesus Christ, continue to pray for us and intercede for our sake, that we too may also experience the same glory she had received, and join her with all the other saints and holy people of God, to be with God for eternity and where death no longer has any power or say over us. God be with us all, forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 : Thursday within Easter Octave (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the resurrection of Jesus is a fact of our faith, and it is true, despite the attempt by many people trying to disprove or ridicule the concept of the resurrection, or even that Christ is the Son of God, or even more so, the existence of the Almighty God Himself.

Mankind doubted God and His love, and they often rejected His undying love for mankind themselves, and as Peter rightly pointed out in the first reading today, that mankind likely did so because of their ignorance, or meaning the veil of darkness that covers their eyes, which prevented them from seeing the truth of God, and therefore resulting in the ignorance that mankind has pertaining God and His actions.

Yet for all of us who believe in God, we know that the Lord had indeed died for us on the cross, and He indeed rose from the dead and showed Himself to His disciples, which many had testified to its truth. We know this because we have that crucial faith in us, as well as the ability to love, that is to appreciate and comprehend the love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to treasure this faith we have in God, as it is due to this faith that we are all able to understand God’s love and therefore understand His mission and dealings in this world. After all, who could comprehend God’s actions in coming down into this decadent and wicked world if He is perfect and all-powerful just to die for us sinners and unworthy rebels against His will? How can we understand His actions therefore, without first understanding His eternal love for all of us?

This Easter we again commemorate the resurrection of Christ, but indeed, not just His resurrection, but indeed the entire life and happenings in Jesus’ earthly sojourn, to His death and resurrection, and what He proclaimed after He was risen. This Easter is a celebration of life, that all who were once condemned to death was saved and brought to a new hope, where a new dawn has risen with Christ, to be our beacon towards eternal redemption and joy.

Indeed, the truth is sadly that we have often neglected this spirit of Easter, and we have grown decadent and lax in our lives, that we end up forgetting our true aim in life, that is to bring glory to God and follow the Lord and His ways in our lives. We have grown to worry and care only about ourselves. And we grow to be selfish and self-serving in our actions and deeds.

We often care only about the desires that we have, the wants and the concerns of the world that frequently occupy our minds. This Easter we are called to rediscover ourselves and seek the Lord once again. This is the perfect opportunity for us to make a genuine change in our lives. Let us not waste this opportunity, and as we celebrate the joy of Easter, let us also make the concrete and concerted effort to seek the Lord once again in our lives, that we no longer have any doubt about the love of God, but just complete faith in God.

May Almighty God bless us with a fruitful Easter season, strengthen our faith and guide us to be ever more faithful and loving servants of His, that our actions may ever always reflect the nature of God, and our nature as God’s children. Keep the spirit of Easter alive! Amen.

Sunday, 20 April 2014 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 3 : 1-4

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

 

Alternative Reading

 

1 Corinthians 5 : 6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast makes the whole mass of dough rise? Throw out, then, the old yeast and be new dough. If Christ became our Passover, you should be unleavened bread.

Let us celebrate, therefore, the Passover, no longer with old yeast, which is sin and perversity; let us have unleavened bread, that is purity and sincerity.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the first Mass ever celebrated, that is when Jesus gave Himself in the form of His own Precious Body and Blood in the bread and wine to His disciples during the last supper He had with them before His Passion and death.

Today we celebrate that moment when Christ laid bare the love He has for all of us, and gave Himself completely for us through the gift of Himself. This gift He made freely to all of us providing we accept this gift and therefore accept the Lord as our God and Saviour. This Holy or Maundy Thursday is the birth of the Mass and the Church, because it is at this moment we celebrate that Jesus instituted the centre of our faith, the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Today’s celebration centres on the loving nature of our God, in how great is His love and dedication for us, that He is willing to come down and stoop to be our servant, giving His all to liberate us from the snare of death and return us to the embrace of the Father. That was why He also showed His loving nature, by showing it through real action and service.

He lowered Himself to take the role of a servant, and even like that of a slave, by washing the feet of His own disciples and dry them with a towel wrapped about His waist. This is a job only done by servants and slaves, the lowest and the meanest job in the society, and one that is looked down upon by the people. He did this to show that, while He is the all-powerful Lord and Master of all, but He also cared for all of us so much, that He showed the love not by mere words, but also through action.

And how is the action of the washing of the feet significant in this? That is because, mankind had long been swallowed by their sins and lived in great darkness. Mankind had forgotten what is meant by love, not just any love, but the great love of God. That is why men end up being individualistic and grew to care only about themselves and whatever it is that benefits them.

And as you all know, brethren, the greatest of sins is pride, the same that had brought down Lucifer, now known as the devil into sin and rebellion against God. Mankind had grow to love themselves and care only for their well-being, that the self, the ego is growing greater and greater. As a result, mankind also grew less and less capable to love and care for one another and this results in mankind progressing deeper and deeper in their sinfulness.

The Lord Jesus showed by example, that power and greatness do not have to come together with greed, self-centredness and ego. Indeed, He showed that the greater a person is, the more humble he or she should become. And that the essence of leadership is service, that service is when someone uses His abilities and powers to help others to achieve the same thing as that someone could achieve on his own.

On this moment that we commemorate, the Last Supper, Jesus showed His disciples how they should treat one another, by sharing with each other the love God had given them, and hence by doing so, they themselves will grow greater and greater in love and in the grace of God, while being examples for others to follow.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today is truly a great day for all of us, because not only just that the Lord gave concrete proofs of His love for us by giving us none other than His own Precious Body and Blood to have, so that we may have life in Him, but He also showed us through His disciples, how to live our lives that it will be meaningful and filled with grace.

As Christians we have to live up to the examples of Christ, and indeed listen to what Jesus told His disciples, that they ought to do what He had done to one another. We cannot be apathetic as Christians, for the moment that we fail to show care and love for one another, we should indeed no longer be referred to as Christians or as the followers of Christ.

On this day, Jesus gave Himself completely to us, and He surrendered even His life so that we may live. This is the essence and the heart of Christian love and Christian life. Therefore, as we keep vigil tonight with the Lord, let us be reminded of God’s gift to us and also His call for us that we may be true Christians, putting into practice our faith and what Christ had taught us.

May the Lord continue to bless us, and through the Real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist, may the Lord continue to nourish us with His own flesh and blood that we may always be strong, always be faithful and always be true to our Lord and His words. God be with us all and His blessing be with us all. Amen.

Monday, 14 April 2014 : Monday of Holy Week (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the Gospel is the sad reality of some portions of the Church and our faith, where people became and end up as hypocrites in their faith, in the name of false almsgiving, charity and humility and end up discrediting the faith itself.

What am I talking about here? It is about some of those who held the view that the Church has to become simple, but for the very wrong reasons. The poverty that these people talked about is literal poverty, stripping the beauty and splendour of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Lord at the Mass. In the name of false simplicity and poverty, they turned the Holy Mass and its celebration into a playground.

This is a true scandal of the faith, one that is sadly quite existent in our Church these days as it had been in the past decades. They substituted the Lord for their own human desires and lack of appreciation for the true faith that the Lord wants from us. In doing what they had done, they not only doom themselves, but also many others who were innocent, in the process.

In the recent years and decades ever since the end of the renewal of the Second Vatican Council, there had been many mistaken and wayward interpretations on what the Council was truly about, and it ended up on the destruction of the beauty of worship which had been preserved for millenia, and for many years, many parts of the world devolved into anarchy of the faith, because they have failed to understand what the Lord truly wants from them.

They brought low the true meaning of the sacrifice in the Mass, the offering of our hearts and love to the Lord. Yes, just as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus once offered her love and devotion to the Lord, only to be rebuked unfairly by the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. She offered the Lord her love and the best offering of her humble heart, anointing and preparing Him for His Passion, while Judas rebuked her for the reason of a hypocrite, pretending to love the poor while in his heart, it was truly a selfish concern for himself.

The same too can be said, even today, on those who wreak havoc on the offering of mankind, who had given their best of all as the gifts and offerings of their heart, in the name of false humility and concern for poverty, or the poverty gospel as one may say. We have to love and care for all, especially the poor for they have little or nothing, and there is much that we can give them. But, this must not be used as an excuse to attack the faith or those who love God and seek to glorify Him by giving Him their all.

We like to make these excuses because we fail to understand and have God in our hearts. Our hearts are not filled with the love and goodness of God, but with malice and ill intent, as Judas Iscariot once did, thinking only about himself and his own benefit with the pretext of giving lip service to God and His way.

This we must not do or we risk to walk the same path that Judas had taken. Mankind had lived for far too long under the influence and corruptions of the evil one. Shall we take the proactive stance and say a definitive no to the devil? Let us cast away all the temptations and false promises which the devil has offered us and instead be true followers of the Lord.

May God be with us, and guide us on our way, as we proceed on this journey of life, that we may always persevere and be strong, rejecting the evil and his falsehoods and be like Mary, giving her all to glorify and to serve the Lord. Let us all remain faithful, brethren! Amen.