Monday, 22 August 2022 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we as the whole Church celebrates the feast of the Queenship of Mary, the ever Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Mary is truly a Queen, as is befitting her role as the Mother of our God and King, Jesus Christ, in Whom we believe in and put our trust in. Mary is the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of Angels, the Queen of All Saints, the Queen of Peace and the Queen of many other titles that had been bestowed on her in the previous centuries and ages. What matters is that we honour her and emulate her, and entrust ourselves to her.

Why do we consider Mary as Queen, brothers and sisters in Christ? Some skeptics and all those who misunderstood our veneration for the Blessed Mother of God may think that we have given excessive or undue honour or praise to her. Some saw Mary as no more than any ordinary human being. But how can we treat Mary in such a way? No matter what, Mary is the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Divine Word Incarnate, Son of God Who through Mary took up the human flesh and existence, and because Mary is the Mother of God Himself, she is therefore respected and honoured as is befitting for her as the Theotokos, the Mother of God.

Even since ages past, from the early days of the Church, there had been those who tried to dissociate Mary from her motherhood of the Divine Word Incarnate, because they believed that she was merely the Mother of Jesus the Son of Man, and therefore not special in any sense. However, through the deliberations, discussions and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church and all the early Church fathers have agreed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Son of Man both, two Natures in one Person, united through an indivisible bond of perfect love. Although the two Natures are distinct, but they cannot be separated, and hence, Mary as the Mother of Christ, is the Mother of God.

That has been confirmed through the Ecumenical Councils, firstly in Nicaea and then Constantinople, and finally the Dogma of the Divine Motherhood of God or the Theotokos was finalised and approved at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus. Through all these, the Church has solemnly formalised the teachings and the truth as preserved from the Lord Himself and through His Apostles, that Mary as the Mother of our Lord and Saviour, is indeed the Mother of God, our Lord and King, the King of all the whole entire Universe. As such, because our Lord is King, then His mother rightfully is a Queen by the virtue of her Son’s Kingship.

In the historic times, the mother of the king is always treated with great reverence, even if that mother was never a queen in her own right. Whenever the son of this mother became a king, then the mother automatically became the queen mother of the kingdom, and was a figure of great reverence and honour. In the kingdom of Israel, the mother of the king sat beside her son as king and gave important advice to him, and she was very highly respected not only by everyone in the kingdom but also by her own son, who was expected to show his filial piety to his mother. If that was the case during the old kingdom of Israel, then how can we not give the same honour and reverence to Mary, the Mother of our Lord and King?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary has shown us not only her most loving Motherhood of her Son, but even more so, through her own virtues, her commitment to God and obedience to God’s will, she has shown us that she is truly worthy of all the veneration and the honour that we have given her. In fact, it honours a man or woman to see his or her mother being honoured and respected, and the same applies to the Lord and His mother Mary as well. If we honour Mary, and also emulate her examples, we honour and respect not only her but we also honour and glorify in even greater ways, her Son, our Lord and King.

We must realise that Mary as the Queen Mother of Heaven, the Queen of Angels and All the Saints, sitting close to the Throne of her Son in Heaven is truly our greatest ally in our journey towards her Son and His mercy and love. We have her in our struggle against sin and evil, as our Mother and guide, our loving mother who has always shown her tender care and compassion, and who has ever thought of us, reaching out to us patiently and calling on each and every one of us to embrace the mercy and forgiveness offered freely and generously by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, her Son. Through her, many had been saved and found their way to God and His salvation and grace.

Today, let us all therefore renew our commitment to the Lord through our renewed love and dedication to Him and also our honour and respect for His mother, Mary, our mother and Queen. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Queen, the Queen of Heaven, Queen of All Saints, Queen of Angels and our role model and inspiration, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Monday, 22 August 2022 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Monday, 22 August 2022 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 112 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

Alleluia! Praise, o servants of YHVH, praise the Name of YHVH! Blessed be the Name of YHVH now and forever!

From eastern lands to the western islands, may the Name of YHVH be praised! YHVH is exalted over the nations; His glory above the heavens.

Who is like YHVH our God, Who sits enthroned on high, but also bends down to see on earth as in heaven?

He lifts up the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. He makes them sit with princes, with rulers of His people.

Monday, 22 August 2022 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 9 : 1-6

The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. A light has dawned on those who live in the land of the shadow of death. You have enlarged the nation; You have increased their joy. They rejoice before You, as people rejoice at harvest time as they rejoice in dividing the spoil.

For the yoke of their burden, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors, You have broken it as on the day of Midian. Every warrior’s boot that tramped in war, every cloak rolled in blood, will be thrown out for burning, will serve as fuel for the fire.

For a Child is born to us, a Son is given us; the royal ornament is laid upon His shoulder, and His Name is proclaimed : “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

To the increase of His powerful rule in peace, there will be no end. Vast will be His dominion, He will reign on David’s throne and over all his kingdom, to establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forever. The zealous love of YHVH Sabaoth will do this.

Sunday, 22 August 2021 : Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all reminded of our faith in the Lord, and of the obligations that each and every one of us have as Christians, and that is to hold firmly to the Law and commandments that the Lord has given to us all, revealed to us through Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, and passed down to us through the Church, through His Apostles and disciples, and their successors.

In our first reading today, we heard of the story from the Book of Joshua, in which Joshua, the leader of all the Israelites, as the one who led the Israelites into the promised land, gathered all the whole assembly of the Israelites and reminded them to remain faithful to God and not to be easily swayed by the other gods and idols, and thus, he told them to make a stand right there and then, who they would follow and serve, whether the Lord or whether they preferred to follow the pagan gods and false idols instead.

We heard then how the people chose to follow the Lord and promised to follow Him and His path, and so would their descendants. Joshua then charged all the people to keep in mind the Lord’s Law and commandments, all that He had revealed and given to them, and pass them on to their descendants. They were charged with passing down all the stories and the faithful witnesses of the Lord’s great wonders and deeds, as He led them all out of the land of Egypt, took care of them throughout their Exodus in the desert, and finally led them to the promised land they were dwelling in.

Yet it was not easy for them to remain faithful to the Lord, or from time to time, again and again, they lapsed and fell into the wrong paths, as they abandoned the Lord and embraced the worship of pagan and false idols, and God sent to them His servants, the Judges and later on the prophets, to keep them in check, to guide them and to redirect their attention towards the Lord, and to remind them that as the people of God, they had an obligation to follow the Law of God and His commandments.

It is then we come to hear the account from the Gospel passage today, in which we heard the aftermath of the Lord’s miraculous feeding of the multitudes of thousands of people, and His discourse on the Bread of Life. At that occasion, the Lord told the people frankly and without hiding the truth, that He would gave them all His Body and His Blood for them all to partake, as real food and drink that they may eat and drink from. And this made the people to wonder and question Him and His truth, as they found it difficult to accept this truth, that the Lord as the Bread of Life is giving them His own Precious Body and Blood.

Many of the Lord’s disciples and the people who followed Him left Him at that time, and those who were left behind were few, including the Twelve who remained faithful, and who still trusted the Lord and His truth. Yet even they found the truth difficult to understand and endure, as represented by St. Peter, they told Him that such a harsh truth would be difficult for anyone to bear and stomach, and even they found it difficult to believe themselves, as some of them undoubtedly were still hesitating and still had doubts in them.

It was then that the Lord doubled down even more, by telling them that what He has revealed to them was just part of the greater revelation, that if they found it difficult to accept what He has just revealed to them, then it would be even tougher for them to accept and appreciate the things that they would come to witness, such as His Passion and death, and His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, which He did allude to in that occasion. And through this, we can see that to be Christians is not one simple matter or easy feat.

Often times we may have to go against the popular opinion or even logic in our faith, and we have to face persecutions, trials and troubles for our faith and trust in the Lord, and for standing up to His truth and love. Yet, we have to persevere and prevail, for the Lord’s truth has been revealed to us, the fullness of His love, care and compassion towards us as He has shown us through Christ, His Son. By His loving sacrifice on the Cross, He, our Eternal and True High Priest offered Himself, as the worthy Paschal Lamb of God, a sacrifice and offering of His own Most Precious Body and Blood, that we all who partake in His Body and Blood receive the assurance of eternal life through Him.

All of us as Christians have received this truth, and the revelation of God’s love. Therefore, as faithful servants and followers of the Lord, we should do our very best to commit ourselves to live righteously and strive to walk in His path, doing whatever we can, in our own capacities, and within our own communities and in the opportunities given to us, so that we may indeed be worthy of being called God’s chosen people, the members of His Church, with Christ as our Head, and we as the parts of this united Body of Christ, all sharing in the same Bread of Life.

Each and every one of us should embrace the Lord’s call for us to be more active in our faith life, and we should discern carefully what each and every one of us can do in order to be part of the Church’s efforts and good works in reaching out to more and more of our fellow brothers and sisters, especially those who have not yet known the Lord, and those who may have had a wrong idea or impression Him and our Christian faith. It is up to us to be genuine witnesses of our faith and be inspiration to one another as Christians.

Let us all therefore today commit ourselves anew to the Lord, making commitment and dedication that lasts a lot longer and far more than the promises made by the Israelites of old before God and Joshua. Let us all follow in the path of the Apostles and the many other faithful disciples of the Lord, following the inspiring examples of the saints, and striving to lead a worthy and holy life, that we can become a source of inspiration ourselves to help inspire one another, especially those who lack the faith and are filled with doubt.

May the Lord, our most loving God and Father be with us always, and may He help us to remain strong in our faith, and may He encourage and strengthen us as we continue to walk through our life’s journey with true and sincere devotion to Him, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 22 August 2021 : Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

John 6 : 60-69

At that time, after the Jews heard Jesus, many of His followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?”

Jesus was aware that His disciples were murmuring about this, and so He said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, not the flesh. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”

From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray Him. So He added, “As I have told you, no one can come to Me unless it is granted by the Father.” After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed Him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?

Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Sunday, 22 August 2021 : Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ephesians 5 : 21-32

Let all kinds of submission to one another become obedience to Christ. So wives to their husbands : as to the Lord. The husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, of Whom He is also the Saviour. And as the Church submits to Christ, so let a wife submit in everything to her husband.

As for you, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. He washed her and made her holy by baptism in the Word. As He wanted a radiant Church without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless, He Himself had to prepare and present her to Himself.

In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. And no one has ever hated his body; he feeds and takes care of it. This is just what Christ does for the Church, because we are members of His Body.

Scripture says : Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother to be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a very great mystery, and I refer to Christ and the Church.

Sunday, 22 August 2021 : Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

The eyes of YHVH are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked, to destroy their memory from the earth.

YHVH hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. YHVH is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.

Many are the troubles of the just, but YHVH delivers them from all. He keeps all their bones intact, and none of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked; the enemies of the just will be doomed. But YHVH will redeem the life of His servants; none of those who trust in Him will be doomed.

Sunday, 22 August 2021 : Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Joshua 24 : 1-2a, 15-17, 18b

Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel in Shechem, and assembled the elders, judges and secretaries. And together they presented themselves before God.

Addressing the people, Joshua said to them : “If you do not want to serve YHVH, make known this very day whom you shall serve – whether they be the gods your ancestors served in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites who formerly occupied the land in which you now live. As for me, I and my household will serve YHVH.”

The people answered : “May God not permit that we ever abandon YHVH to serve other gods! For it was He Who brought us and our ancestors out of Egypt, the house of slavery. It was He Who did those great wonders that we have seen; He protected us on the way and through all the land where we passed. So we shall also serve YHVH : He is our God!”

Saturday, 22 August 2020 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, one week after the celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption. Today traditionally therefore marks the last day of the celebration of the Assumption that used to extend for the entire week in an octave. And today, as we rejoice in the Queenship we recall what we had celebrated earlier in the Assumption of Mary.

Without the Assumption, there can be no celebration today of the Queenship of Mary, because we believe that Mary, who was assumed or taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, is now seated at the right hand of her Son in Heaven, as the Queen of Heaven, or more precisely the Queen Mother of Heaven, by virtue of the Lord Jesus, our God being the King of kings and King of all the Universe. If the Lord is King, then it is common sense that His mother is honoured as the Queen Mother.

Historically, the mother of the king has always been held in high esteem, and this also applied to the old kingdom of Israel, where king Solomon, one of its most famous king, had his mother Bathsheba seated by his side, providing him advice and guidance as the esteemed queen mother of the entire realm. Therefore, it is with this same consideration and tradition that Mary is honoured as Queen, the Queen of Angels, the Queen of All Saints, and the Queen Mother of Heaven.

It highlighted further the special role that Mary played in the history of our salvation, as it was by her full and complete cooperation, submission and obedience to God’s will, her faith and dedication that the Saviour of the world was born into this world. And by her Son’s grace, at the end of her earthly life, she passed through death without suffering for she was never subjected to sin, neither tainted by it, and enter the glory of Heaven as our greatest intercessor.

In Mary we have our Queen and our Mother, our role model and inspiration, our assistance and help in our darkest moments. Mary has always been praying for us, interceding for us sinners because she loves each and every one of us as her own children. The Lord has entrusted us to Mary His mother when He symbolically entrusted His disciple St. John to her as He was about to die on the Cross. And vice versa, we have also been entrusted with Mary as our mother when she was entrusted to the care of St. John the Apostle.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice today at the feast of the Queenship of Mary, our loving Mother and the Mother of our God and Saviour, we are all called to put our trust in our beloved Mother and seek her guidance and her intercession. Being our trusted Mother and the one who is closest to the Lord in Heaven, Mary is indeed our best ally and guide in this struggle we have against sin and in our journey towards God. As it is often said, ‘To Jesus through Mary’. Mary offers us the straightest and most direct path to her Son.

As we celebrate Mary and her Queenship, let us all strive to follow her examples in faith, in dedication and in her total commitment to God, that we may imitate her examples and be good and genuine Christians, that we may faithfully walk in God’s presence and be worthy of the eternal life and glory we are to receive. And Mary is an example of what all the virtuous and righteous people of God will receive, the eternal glory in heaven.

Let us all be obedient to God as Mary did in her life, in her complete acceptance and humility to take up her role as the Mother of the Lord and Saviour, and let us genuinely love the Lord from now on, showing it through our actions and our everyday interactions with each other, in loving those whom we meet in life, our brothers and sisters, especially those who need our love and those who are unloved and ostracised, those who are in darkness and need the love of God.

Let us all be like Mary in faith and let us all be loving as her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord guide us all and may He give us the strength to live our lives faithfully from now on, to the end of time. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of All Saints, Queen of Angels, our Mother and Queen, pray for us! Amen.