Wednesday, 20 June 2018 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the story of how the prophet Elijah was succeeded by his successor, Elisha, and Elijah himself was taken up by God in a flaming chariot, after which he was no longer present in this world. He was one of the few, including Enoch from the Book of Genesis, who was taken up to heaven, for the latter, it was his righteousness and upright life that made him to deserve heaven.

Elisha would go on to continue the works that Elijah had done in the land of Israel, going from places to places, and at times, even he had to go up against kings and rulers. Yet, Elisha fulfilled his calling and mission as faithfully as Elijah had done, and his many exploits, miracles and works can be found in the rest of the Book of Kings. Certainly, the calling is one of hardships and challenges, where difficulties and oppositions awaited him, just as Elijah had suffered.

Then, in the Gospel passage today, we listened to the words from the Lord Jesus, Who warned His disciples and followers not to be haughty, proud or ambitious because of their actions, or because of the achievements that they have made in life. He told them not to trumpet and glorify themselves for all the great things they have done, and instead, they must do them for the right purpose and intention.

He said the same thing with the practice of fasting and almsgiving, in which again, He exhorted them to avoid doing them for the sake of glory, human praise or influence and fame within the community. Instead, again, they must be humble, and do those practices required by the Law, with the right purpose, intention, and indeed, understanding of how those practices could benefit them.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, in order to be able to understand what the Lord Jesus told the disciples, we have to understand the context and the audience involved at that time. The Lord was clearly criticising the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who had followed Jesus and tried to undermine His work, criticising Him at every turn. In one occasion, they asked why they and the disciples of St. John fast while the disciples of the Lord did not.

But in truth, they fasted because they wanted to be seen, and they did their almsgiving with much revelry and signs so as to be noticed by other people. The Lord also criticised the way they pray, so as to bring people’s attentions to them. Ultimately, they did not pray, fast, or do their almsgiving for the right intentions and purposes, but rather to satisfy their own personal greed and ego.

And the Lord was angered at this, because those were the ones who had been entrusted to guide the people of God, and they have been given the authority to do so, but they misused their power and authority to satisfy their own interests and desires. And that in fact, also made others to lose their faith, or to go into the wrong ways, by following the wrong examples of their leaders.

Take for example, the two prophets we mentioned earlier, namely Elijah and Elisha. Both of them had to undergo persecution and rejection from the people, from the kings of Israel, and especially for Elijah, he had to go into exile at times to avoid the persecution carried out against him and face challenges, compounded by the famine and the lack of rain that God sent against the Israelites at the time.

Had they been prophets to seek their own personal advancement, glory, fame or influence, they would not have wanted that path of great suffering, where the returns for themselves were not just minimal, but even their own lives and survival were under serious threat. Yet, they remained true and faithful, committed to their calling because they have real faith in them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are therefore all called to be truly faithful to God, by putting Him at the centre of our lives. That is how we become genuine and true Christians, in action, deeds and words, in all the things we say and do. We should not seek our personal glory and fame by being followers of Christ, but rather, let us be humbler, the greater we are, and as we are given positions of power and responsibility, let us exercise due caution to do our best, not for our personal gain, but for the well-being of everyone we work with.

May the Lord be with us all and may He continue to bless us all in everything we do, and guide us to His everlasting glory. Amen.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Philip Minh, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the love and mercy which God shows us all, His people, whom He had created out of love. This is one fact which all of us should not forget, especially as we live our Christian life modelling ourselves on Our God Himself, Who has loved all, despite everyone having betrayed Him, disobeyed Him and He was filled with love and compassion for us.

In the first reading today, we heard about the prophet Elijah chastising king Ahab of Israel for his very wicked act in disposing of Naboth, the owner of a vineyard, whose land was desired by the king. Both the king and his queen, Jezebel, plotted to frame Naboth wrongly of blasphemy against God, and had him stoned. The king was then free to seize the belongings of Naboth, especially his vineyard.

This action, including Ahab and Jezebel’s many other wicked acts, and especially their persecution of the faithful people of God and promotion of the worship of Baal and other pagan gods that led Israel to sin, made God very angry against Ahab and his whole family, that the prophet Elijah pronounced today, the judgment of God on his family. Ahab and his whole family would perish in a tragic manner.

The moment Ahab heard this, as the Scripture mentioned, he immediately tore his royal robes, took it off and wore sackcloth as a sign of mourning and repentance. And God told Elijah that He saw his sincerity at wanting to be forgiven, and He withdrew some of His anger against him and his family. However, He would still mete out the punishment against them despite being postponed to a later time.

In this, as we heard from the Psalm 50 being sung today, we heard of God’s loving mercy and desire to forgive us our sins should we desire to be reconciled with Him. That psalm was the psalm composed by David when he sinned against God and regretted of his sin, and indeed, he repented and turned himself wholeheartedly to God. He was forgiven, and indeed, God’s promise to him was held.

What is the difference between Ahab and David? In David’s case, he was truly repentant, and made every effort to turn himself back to God. However, in Ahab’s case, although he was repentant, but it was likely that he did so out of fear for God’s anger and punishment, as he had experienced before through the prophet Elijah. Yet, Ahab and his family continued to sin and refused to fully repent their wickedness.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus told His disciples and the people whom He taught, that it is important that as His followers, we must be loving and forgiving just as He has loved us. He taught us to love even our enemies and pray for those who persecute and hate us. This is true Christian love, and one that we should be imitating from the Lord, Who Himself forgave His enemies and those who persecuted Him right from the cross.

But of course repentance is important for one to be forgiven, just as we have seen earlier with the contrasting examples of king Ahab and king David. Yet, it is indeed, right for us as Christians, to be generous in our mercy and forgiveness, for the Lord, Our God, Himself generously give us His mercy, and always extends out His hand to welcome us back into His embrace.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Philip Minh and his companions, the holy martyrs of Vietnam, who were persecuted over two centuries by the authorities, similar to how the early Christians were persecuted by the Romans. They were hated, made to suffer, arrested, and forced to abandon their faith on the pain of death. However, the Christians and the missionaries, both foreign and local ones persevered in their faith and continued to spread the Good News despite the dangers involved.

The actions of the missionaries and their love for everyone, including even those who persecuted them became exemplary among many, and in truth, even more people turn to the faith and became Christians, even among those who used to persecute the faithful. Despite the growing persecution against the faithful at that time, local clergy including St. Philip Minh and foreign missionaries alike stood together with the faithful flock entrusted to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the courage and zeal, and the love shown by the holy martyrs of Vietnam should become inspiration to all of us, to live more and more faithfully day after day, and to turn ourselves to God and put Him at the centre of our lives. Let us all be forgiving and merciful, be compassionate in all of our actions and dealings with one another, that God’s love be truly shown in us, and many more would come to believe through us.

May the Lord bless us all, and may the holy martyrs of Vietnam intercede for us always, that all of us sinners still living in this world, may come to the loving embrace of God, and receive the fullness of God’s inheritance and grace. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 18 June 2018 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scripture passages, beginning with the story of king Ahab and Naboth, as told from the Book of Kings. King Ahab was the king of Israel, who did not follow the way of the Lord, and instead, worshipped pagan idols and committed all sorts of sins and wickedness before God and man alike.

In the story today, Naboth was a vineyard owner, whose land was pleasing to the king of Israel. Ahab tried to persuade Naboth to sell him the vineyard so that he might be able to use the vineyard for his own purposes. But Naboth refused to do so, because the vineyard belonged to his ancestral land, and Naboth would not want to sell what his ancestors had passed down to him as inheritance.

The king was angry and felt dejected after his desire was not fulfilled. But his wife, Jezebel, made use of the opportunity to goad Ahab and persuade him to attain the vineyard even using wicked and underhanded means. As we have heard from the Book of Kings, false witnesses were set up, and they accused Naboth wrongly of blasphemy against God, and he was stoned to death.

King Ahab seized the vineyard for his own and later on, he was severely chastised by the prophet Elijah for this sinful action. Ahab was hurt by Naboth’s refusal to accede to his desire, and he was determined, under the influence of his wife, to inflict pain and vengeance against him. But as we can see, it caused him to fall further into sin and away from God’s grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is what we mankind often like to do, to keep grudges, to be filled with anger, hatred and vengeance. That is because first and foremost, we have too much pride in us, so much so that we could not admit that we have erred or made a mistake. We are filled with greed and desire, again because of our pride, that led us to sin further against God.

That is why we sin, because we put our selfishness and ego ahead of everything else, and we place ourselves as the most important of all things in this world. And when we are given power, we do not know how to make use of it responsibly, and it corrupts us, just as it corrupted king Ahab. But today’s Scripture passage reminds us that as Christians, we must not let this happen to us.

Instead, the Lord has taught us that, for those who follow Him and become His disciples, whoever is greater and more powerful must become the servants of those who are weaker and placed under the authority and responsibility of those more powerful. And He Himself showed the example, when He, at the Last Supper, took His outer garments off and wore the garment of a slave, and washed the feet of His disciples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to follow the example of Our Lord? Are we able to throw away our ego, pride, greed and desire, all the things that keep us away from truly being able to follow God. If we are so full of ourselves, how can we put God at the centre of our lives? And that is why we lack faith, because we have not been humble enough to acknowledge that we need God in our lives.

And as long as we continue to cause hurt to others, or step on them on our path to attain good things for ourselves and satisfy our wishes, we cannot be true Christians. Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we make a difference in our lives from now on, by turning to God with all of our hearts? Let us all not seek worldly glory and desires, all of which cannot truly satisfy us.

May the Lord be our guide, and may He continue to watch over us day after day, that we will not succumb to the temptations of power, wealth, glory, fame and all sorts of things that keep us away from God and His path. Let us all turn wholeheartedly towards Him, and devote ourselves from now on, as true and devout Christians. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 17 June 2018 : Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday of the Lord, we gather together listening to the word of God through the Scriptures, hearing the readings from the Old and the New Testament, and from the Holy Gospel. In all of these readings lie important teachings and truth about our faith in God. And then, we listen to the priest speaking to all of us, explaining the meaning and the importance of the word of God we have just heard, and how we ought to apply it in our own lives.

This is in essence what we have heard in the Scripture passages we have for this Sunday. In the Gospel passage today, written by St. Mark, we heard the Lord Jesus teaching the people using parables. He told them about the kingdom of God, using the parable of the sowing of seeds and the parable of the mustard seed. But why did Jesus use parables in His teachings?

That is because we have to understand that most of the people during the time of Jesus was illiterate and uneducated. They were simple people, carrying out professions such as farmers, shepherds, fishermen, carpenters, servants, and many others. These occupations do not require them to be able to write or understand complicated philosophies or science. Yet, in each of their professions, they certainly have great knowledge and experience pertaining to their respective professions.

By using the parables, which is actually approximations and summaries of the actual content that the Lord wanted to deliver to the people, something like a metaphor, comparing those content with familiar concepts to each of the professions present at the time of Jesus, such as mentioned earlier, farmers, shepherds, fishermen, and many others.

The parable of the sowing of seeds for example must be familiar to the farmers, as is our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel. We should realise that even parts of the Old Testament showed us that God spoke to us through His prophets in terms that are just like parables! He spoke of the kingdom of God in both cases, comparing it to the growing of seeds and the prospering of its branches, bearing fruits and crops ready for the harvest.

The farmers among the people, and even shepherds and others who lived in the community where agriculture was for most, the main staple of the economy and livelihood, will be able to understand better what the kingdom of God is like, by using those parables that the Lord told them. The parable of the mustard seed is also similar in that sense, as they would be familiar to what kind of tree the mustard seed would grow into, a tiny seed that grows into a large and prosperous tree.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now let us all see how God made everything known to us, the truth He had brought with Him and now shared with us. It was mentioned in the Gospel passage today that while the Lord always spoke in parables to the people, but in private He explained everything to His disciples, the Apostles and many of the first leaders of the Church.

And through the Holy Spirit that He sent them, He reaffirmed His truth in them, and gave them the divine Wisdom, that they might be able to preach those same truth to many more people, even after He had died, risen from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, no longer physically walking among us. The Church of God, of which we are a part of, is the custodian of that truth, the Good News that God had revealed to the whole world.

Through the many generations of bishops and priests, the truth present in the Church is kept and passed on, from generation to generation. Our bishops and priests are the successor in the unbroken link of continuity from the disciples of Christ themselves, and therefore, they were the ones who in the Mass, explain the truth espoused in the word of God, the Scriptures, through the homilies as well as through various other catechetical opportunities.

Now, all of us know that the truth of God has been given to us. And we are part of God’s Church. This is in fact, the living and active kingdom of God that the Lord had mentioned in His preaching, that we are part of this kingdom of God. Let us now recall what He has taught us using the parables mentioned just earlier.

The seeds sown in the field represent this truth, the seeds of faith, hope and love that God had sown in us. We are the field of God, the whole race of humanity living in this world. However, seeds need good soil to be able to grow, or otherwise, they will not grow, or else, even if they manage to germinate and grow, they may wither, shrivel up and die.

This is a reminder to each one of us, that our lives must be fruitful and rich in faith. Yes, all of us are sinners, and we have committed in one way or another, deeds and actions that are against God’s teachings. But no one should be sinners forever, and no one was born a saint. Even saints were themselves sinners, but they made the commitment to turn away from their sins, and they repented from the wickedness that came between them and God.

If we are faithful to the Lord, then we will grow and prosper in our faith. This was shown by the Lord through the parable of the mustard seed, in which the small mustard seed could grow to be one of the largest trees in the garden. Sometimes we may be wondering if we are people of little faith, but remember, brethren, that whatever little faith we have in our hearts, we must treasure and cultivate.

How do we do this? First of all, we must show genuine Christian love and compassion in our daily lives. We must do what the Lord has commanded us, that is to love one another just as much as we love ourselves. The problem that many of us currently have, is that our selfishness and pride come in between us and the ability to love as true Christians.

We are often too engrossed in our career, in our pursuit of worldliness, of power, glory, wealth, influence, fame, and many other worldly things that we mankind often crave and desire. It is even quite often that we end up sidelining or cause harm to our fellow men just so that we can satisfy our own desires and wishes. And in the same manner, we end up sidelining God Himself, putting Him far away from our minds and hearts.

How can we then call ourselves as Christians? It is not enough for us to be Christians just by attending the Holy Mass every Sunday. For some of us, we even only come to the Holy Mass during Christmas and Easter. However, what is important is that, when we come to the Holy Mass, we fully immerse ourselves and participate in the Holy Sacrifice offered by the priest at the Mass.

This means that we must be fully centred and focused on God, first of all at the celebration of the Holy Mass, and then, to our own daily lives, every day of our lives. First of all, many of us were regularly present in the Mass, and yet our minds were not filled with the right thoughts and intentions. Some of us grumbled that the priest’s homily was too long, and we could not wait for the Mass to end, before continuing with our own routines.

Is this the love and the faith that God wants each and every one of us to have? No! God wants us to be filled with true and genuine love for God, and this means that we must put God as the priority and as the very focus and centre of our lives. And we do not have to be ambitious, as what is important is the progress we make. Sometimes we are too preoccupied with the results that we forgot to take into account good progress that we have made.

Once again, let us look at the parable, a seed does not grow into a tree in one day. The growth process is slow, but as long as we ensure that the right condition for growth is present, growth will take place for sure. Therefore, it is the same with our faith. We have to nurture our faith, step by step at a time, by doing things little at a time, by extending our love and also forgiveness even to those nearest to us.

We will be surprised at the kind of impact that our little actions may have, but the ripple effect can be enormous. Now, more importantly, let us make the effort to be better Christians, devoting ourselves, our time and attention to the Lord. May the Lord be with us in this journey, and may He strengthen our resolve, and give us the courage to be ever more faithful, day after day, despite the challenges and difficulties we may encounter. May God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 16 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the calling of the prophet Elisha, who was called by God through His prophet Elijah, to be the one who would carry on the works of Elijah among the people of Israel. Elisha responded to God’s call, and after he said his farewell to his parents and leaving behind everything he had, he followed the prophet Elijah from then on.

Then in the Gospel passage, the Lord Jesus continued His discourse to His disciples about the Law and how to be truly obedient to the Law and the commandments of God. In today’s passage, He focused on the aspect of making promises and vows before God. What He went through with the disciples and the people was that, one should not take vows or make oaths.

But then, how come is it that the Church practices the making of vows and oaths? At the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, a husband makes a solemn vow to be faithful and true to his wife, and vice versa, that the wife also makes the same vow to her husband. And then, for those who were called to Holy Orders of priesthood or consecrated life as a religious brother or sister, they also make solemn vows to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must keep in mind what the Lord intended when He said those words to the people. What He was saying must be put in the context that many of the people of Israel, even the priests and the Pharisees, made many grandiose and highly publicised oaths before God and man, and yet, they did not remain true to their faith, either secretly or even openly.

In that manner, whatever oaths or vows they made were meaningless and empty, as they did not mean what they have said. Nobody would believe in those oaths and vows anymore, just as I am reminded of the folktale child story about the young boy who cried wolf. That story, which may be quite familiar to many of us, is about a boy who liked to trick people, many of whom were shepherds, by scaring them with false alarm of wolves coming to hunt their sheep.

The shepherds were angry that the young boy tricked them, and in time to come, no one would believe in him. And when one day, wolves did actually come to the sheep which the boy was guarding, he cried out for help. But all the other shepherds refused to believe in the boy, since he had lied and tricked them many times. Such was the weight of his folly, by making himself untrustworthy.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord Jesus did not actually say that we cannot make vows or solemn oaths. Rather, He is reminding all of us, that as Christians, we must be honest, truthful and good in all of our words and dealings. We cannot be dishonest or wicked, and we cannot be untrustworthy with our words, since after all, do we remember that we follow Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

And because Christ is the Truth, then we must also be truthful. We are called to be truthful in all things, and again, I would like to emphasise the importance of commitment. In the first reading, we heard how the prophet Elisha left everything behind and committed himself to a life of service to the Lord. Thus, we are also called to be committed, be it as husband or wife to one another, or as priests or religious in our dedication to God.

Are we able to give that kind of dedication and commitment in how we live our lives? Let us reflect on this question as we carry on living our lives in this world. May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our faith, day after day. Amen.

Friday, 15 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the continuation of the passage from the Book of Kings, which saw the prophet Elijah coming into the holy presence of God, at the sacred site of the mountain of God in Sinai. It was probably the same place where the people of Israel made the Covenant with God through Moses, when He gave them His Laws and Commandments.

God reassured Elijah that He would be with His people, despite their constant rebelliousness and their descent into sin. Elijah was one of the few of the people who were still faithful to God, and he suffered greatly at the hands of the pagans who refused to believe in God, and instead chose to worship pagan idols and gods. They have forgotten about God’s love for them, and they had abandoned His laws and commandments.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard about the discourse from the Lord Jesus, Who told His disciples about how to be truly faithful to the Law of God. In that discourse, He told them about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who on one side appeared to be devout and even fanatical defenders and practitioners of the laws and rules that God had given them.

Why is that so? That is because they did all the observances of the Law and all the works of piety, all because they wanted to be recognised and glorified by other men, for their piety and dedication. But they have forgotten completely that the Law was not given to mankind for that corrupted purpose. Instead, God gave His laws to man so that they may turn away from their wickedness and from their rebellious behaviour, and follow the way of righteousness.

That is why, on the matter of divorce, as the Lord also mentioned in another part of the Gospels, the Lord made it very clear that divorce is something that is sinful and wicked, when it is done for the purpose of adultery, because a man cannot be satisfied with his wife and vice versa, and thus seeking ways to dissolve the sacred and sacramental bond of matrimony, and remarry again.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law taught that the law according to Moses allowed the couple to enter into a divorce once they have completed the necessary administrative proceedings and satisfied the necessary documentations. In reality, it was likely that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, the priests and all those involved in the process benefitted, as they were able to earn compensation for their work, and it is not surprising that they encouraged such practices to continue.

God made it very clear, that His laws are not for us man to misuse and abuse to our own preferences and desires. He intended it to be a guide for us, showing us the way and the path forward to take, in order to remain true and faithful to Him. This is what the Lord has shown us and taught us to do, and which He has revealed through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore do our very best to be obedient to God, by truly loving Him and devoting ourselves to Him to the best of our abilities, and not showing merely external piety and devotion as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done, but with true love, genuine faith and dedication. After all, the Lord Himself had been ever faithful to His Covenant with us, that He gave everything for our sake, not even withholding Himself from accepting death for us, on the cross.

May the Lord awaken in each and every one of us, the strong desire to love Him, just as He has loved us first, and may He help us to persevere in our faith, so that in everything we do, we will always persevere and strive to resist the temptation of pride, greed, ambition and all other things that have kept us away from God all these while. May God bless us all and our endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 14 June 2018 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the word of the Lord Jesus, reminding us that as Christians, each and every one of us ought to remember our obligation to obey and follow the way of the Lord as He had taught us through His Church. The Lord reminded us that we must be loving towards one another, and we must not hold any grudges or hatred towards our brethren.

The reality is that, many of us have grudges against each other, especially when we have conflicting desires and wishes, when our human ambitions clash, and we do not want to give in to each other. This is exactly why we bicker and fight, even within our families and our closest relationships. If we think that close friendship and family relationship prevent us from having all these, I am sure that all of us who fought our close friends and families, our spouses, children or parents will be able to realise the truth.

In the first reading today, we heard about how Elijah spoke to king Ahab of Israel about God Who finally was going to give rain to the land after three long years of absence, and the rain did come as He had promised. In the first place, the rain was held from the land of Israel as punishment for the people’s sins, which were caused by the sins of their king, Ahab and his wife, Jezebel.

Both of them had acted wickedly and committed sins abhorrent to God, by acting tyrannically and abusing the power and authority which had been given to them. One particular occasion was the murder of the vineyard owner Naboth, who refused to sell his vineyard, part of his ancestral land and rightful possession to the king. The king desired the vineyard as he wanted to turn it into his own vegetable farm.

The king was very angry and was emotionally affected after that refusal from Naboth, but his queen, Jezebel, inflamed his heart and encouraged him to act tyrannically by reminding him that as king, he could do whatever he wanted, and he could have whatever he wished to have. To that extent, they arranged a sham trial where Naboth was wrongly accused of blasphemy against God, and was stoned to death.

That was how power, human greed and ambition led man to sin against God. And unless we make the effort to resist the temptation of those worldly desires and power, we will end up falling into sin as king Ahab had done, and in doing so, he led many more people down the path of sin. And that is also because he had no faith in God, and God was not at the centre of his life, but rather himself and his selfish ambitions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to a holier life in our daily lives. And what does this mean? It means that as the Lord Jesus Himself had said, that as Christians, we must strive to be exemplary in our actions, forgiving those who have hurt us and not to hold grudges against each other. We are called to love one another, and even those who have not loved us or even hated us and persecuted us.

Remember that the Lord asked us to pray for our enemies and those who persecuted us? This is what we must then do, or else we risk holding grudges and hatred against each other, which eventually leads to sin. Is this what we want to happen to us? Surely, it is not. The Lord Jesus Himself forgave His enemies from the cross, all those who have condemned Him to death. If He has done so, then why can’t we?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore devote ourselves, our effort and attention to be ever more faithful to the Lord, our God, by loving more generously, and placing Him at the centre of our lives. May God bless us all and may He be with us, all the days of our lives. Amen.