Thursday, 30 October 2014 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the lamentation of Jesus on the evils that exist in the world, the forces of evil that prowl about seeking the destruction of all that is good, and the thwarting of all the good works of the Lord, designed to break mankind free from the tyranny of this force of darkness, represented by Satan and all of his fellow fallen angels, the demons.

But we also hear of the method on how to handle this great wickedness and evil, by the means of faith and zeal, and most importantly through the power of prayer, made in genuine devotion and love for God, which are our armour against the power and advances of the evil one. And therefore, we are not naked and defenseless against the attacks of the devil, for God is with us, as long as we put our trust in Him and live according to His teachings and love.

Today Jesus spoke of His upcoming suffering and death, the Holy Passion which He would go through in Jerusalem. He knew of the fate of the many prophets who had been sent to the people of God and to the Holy City, who were rejected, cast aside and were tortured for their faith and works by the people who adamantly refused to believe in them and in the One who sent them.

Why did Jesus lament on Jerusalem and her people? Not because He feared the suffering and death that was to come for Him, and not because He was complaining about the treatment which His prophets had received, and which He would soon receive as well, but it was because He was genuinely and utterly concerned about the wickedness with which the city of Jerusalem, which in fact referred to God’s people, had lived, and how if they continued in such actions, they would be lost to Him forever into death.

Yes, as Jesus had said, with the metaphor of a chicken, a mother hen trying to gather her chicks under the protection and care of her wings, so does the Lord try His best to bring all of His beloved people, that is all of us, under His love and protection. God never intended us to suffer the consequences of our sins, that is death and separation from Him, but He wants us to be reunited with Him in full reconciliation and love.

This however, would not be possible if we do not embrace the ways of the Lord and continues with our ways of living in sin and darkness. If we allow Satan to have his ways on us, indeed we are defenseless, naked and weak against his assaults on our body, mind, heart and soul, which he corrupts through sin, and which therefore will bring mankind into eternal damnation.

This is why we have to heed the words and teachings of St. Paul, where in his letter to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, he said that we need to wear the complete and whole ‘armour’ of God. This armour is not a physical armour of medieval knights we often associate with, but the spiritual armour which God gives to all those who put their complete trust and faith in Him.

And this spiritual armour is powerful tool against Satan’s attacks, and as long as we hold up high the shield and keep the armour together, no attack from Satan, no matter how vile and wicked they are, will be able to penetrate the defenses to reach into the depths of our soul, and thus we will remain free from corruption, the corruption of sin and wickedness.

This armour consists of faith, justice, zeal, truth and the grace of salvation in God. We have to be mindful that we are in constant and ever continuous battle, a spiritual battle for the sake of our souls. What is at stake is no less than our very souls which will be under great harm if we are not aware of this spiritual warfare raging around us. The angels, our guardian angels are also fighting for us, against the forces of the devil sent to corrupt us. But we cannot leave them to fight alone, as most importantly is that we have to take an active role in this spiritual warfare.

Hence, we have to wear the spiritual armour of faith, that is the firm belief in the truth and love of God, not dividing our focus and attention to the distractions and the corruptions of the world, and not listening to the lies and sweet words of Satan and his angels. And then we also must wear the shoes of zeal, that in all of our words, actions and deeds, we have to always implement our faith, whatever we believe in, and put them into concrete action, done for our own salvation and for the salvation of those around us.

And it is also important that we wear the armour of justice and truth, as all of our actions must be just, especially when we deal with one another and when we interact with each other. We must uphold justice and truth in all the things that we do. The moment that we allow injustice, desires and falsehood to darken our actions, then we can say that we have failed to prevent the devil and sin from penetrating into the depths of our heart and soul.

If we want to seek salvation in God, therefore, we must be serious in our faith and devotion to God, and we must be ever ready and vigilant. And the way to do this, according to St. Paul is through devout and genuine prayer. Yes, genuine prayer and not just recitation of prayer without a clear intention from the heart. It is indeed possible for us to pray just for the sake of praying, but our heart is not focused at the Lord and instead on some other things.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all make it a habit to pray from our heart, to seek the Lord with all of the strength of our soul and heart, giving the best of our love as holy offering to God, who will then in turn affirm that love and strengthen our faith, giving us powerful armour and defense against all the possible assaults of the evil one and sin.

May all of us be strong amidst the persecution and the temptations of evil, and may we all be able to resist the temptations to follow Satan into our destruction, and let us all grow ever stronger in faith and love, and practicing them actively and regularly in our own lives, and show justice and mercy in all of our actions as well, that evil has no place in our hearts and we will be saved through the justification of our faith and actions. Amen.


First Reading :

Psalm :

Gospel Reading :

Saturday, 25 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 13 : 1-9

At that time, some people told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple : Pilate had had Galileans killed, and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus asked them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this? No, I tell you. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

“And those eighteen persons in Siloah, who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you : no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener, ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree, and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?'”

“The gardener replied, ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertiliser; perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it does not, you can cut it down.'”

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented with this clear message from the Scriptures, on whether we are ready to stand up for our faith and show a genuine, living faith to God, where it is founded on love and true devotion to God and not just mere lip service. And it was also highlighted the importance for us to be ever ready and be prepared, so that we may not lapse in the observation of our faith.

We know and we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time, at the time of His choosing, to judge all the living and the dead, in short to judge over all creations, whether they deserve eternal life and salvation, or whether they should be cast away into hell and eternal suffering. He has warned us of His coming, which will be completely unexpected for us, like a thief breaking into a house, and like a master of the house returning to the house without the knowledge of the stewards.

We have been given this world under trust from God, so that all of us are indeed stewards of creations and stewards of this world. We have been entrusted with the care of the living things and also things of the world around us, so that we may guard with care and love all the precious creations of God, and as we often forget, that we too have been appointed stewards and guardians of each one of us, our own brothers and sisters.

Yes, this means that we have to show love to one another, care for one another, and avoid all forms of vices or any acts that cause harm or disadvantage on others. We who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and have been accepted into His Church by baptism, has indeed been made stewards, to take charge over this world and all its inhabitants, not by power but through love and through zealous conversion of those who still live in darkness.

The truth has been revealed to us through Christ, and therefore, just like the Apostles and disciples of Christ, we ought to become living witnesses of Christ to the world, and not just by showing an empty and superficial kind of faith, but faith that is lived through our loving actions, when we practice the faith taught to us from Jesus, and how we should carry ourselves in life, so that all who see us will immediately and instantly know that we belong to God.

And so that all who see our actions may also follow in our footsteps and examples, thus walking down together with us on the same path towards salvation. Do take note that our actions have great impact on others who are watching our behaviours and actions, as who will follow the Lord if the world is to see the wayward actions of those who professed to believe in Him?

That was also why Jesus was so critical on the actions and deeds of the Pharisees, scribes and the teachers of the Law, the supposedly educated and pious ones, the so-called leaders and teachers of the faithful in the matters of the faith, but they did not practice what they preached. They had empty faith and superficial faith, the kind which I have warned against just now, which is empty and meaningless, and does not bring about salvation, not just for ourselves but also for others around us.

The Pharisees imposed heavy and burdensome sets of laws upon the people of God, but the observations of such laws became merely ritualistic and empty, devoid of the original meaning of the laws, and in their actions, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law contradicted their own teachings and faith. They preferred human praise and fame, as well as maintaining their own earthly authority and power over the maintenance of the love of God. Indeed, the purpose of the Law is love.

Now, what we need to do is to ask ourselves sincerely, and look deep into our hearts and minds. Have our actions and deeds represent the actions of a faithful and devoted servant and steward of the Lord’s creations? Are we acting in a way that we are serving God and His people with fullness of faith and love? Or do we instead serve ourselves and succumb to our own human desires and greed, such as what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done?

Remember always, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we must always be ready for the Lord when He comes again. As I have mentioned, the time of His coming is known to Him alone, and no one will expect it when He suddenly comes again in His glory. Do we want to be counted among the unfaithful and the condemned just because we are not prepared, or that because we always like to postpone and delay things till the end, thinking that we still have time?

Of course we do not want such fate to happen to us, and therefore, brethren, if we have done what is just and righteous in the sight of God, then we should continue it faithfully and try to do even more, becoming even inspiration where possible, to inspire and lead others to also believe in the Lord and act as what we have done, that all may eventually be justified by their living faith.

If we have not begun to do what the Lord had asked from us to do, then there is no better time to start than now. Now is the time to begin, and do not wait! For the time is not infinite, and our time may be counted by days even now, by the Lord who is Lord over life and death. Never hesitate to begin now and change our lives for the better, for I can assure you that regret will indeed come too late to save us from our fate of destruction and damnation, if we do not change.

Let us ask our Father and loving God, the Almighty God to bless us and empower us, and to awaken within our hearts the love we ought to offer Him with all of our hearts, souls, minds and indeed with our entire beings. Let us prepare ourselves entirely, heart, mind and soul, to offer ourselves completely to the Lord, that He who sees our devotion may justify us in Himself and bring us into eternal salvation and life. Amen.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 3 : 1-9

I could not, friends, speak to you as spiritual persons but as fleshly people, for you are still infants in Christ. I gave you milk and not solid food, for you were not ready for it and up to now you cannot receive it for you are still of the flesh. As long as there is jealousy and strife, what can I say but that you are at the level of the flesh and behave like ordinary people.

While one says : “I follow Paul,” and the other : “I follow Apollos,” what are you but people still at a human level? For what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are ministers and through them you believed, as it was given by the Lord to each of them.

I planted, Apollos watered the plant, but God made it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who makes the plant grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work to the same end, and the Lord will pay each according to their work. We are fellow-workers with God, but you are God’s field and building.

Thursday, 24 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Sharbel Makhluf, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear the admonition, almost to the point of lamentation, on why the people of God, whom God had loved so much, did not appreciate that love and refused to budge and listen to the kind words of the Lord, offering hope and comfort. God had done so much for men, as we all may testify and witness in how He cared for His people throughout the Scriptures, and yet they rejected His love.

But the Lord is not someone who would just leave sinners like that once His approach had been spurned. In fact, He tried many times and sent reminders after reminders to tell mankind, both how much He loves us, and also how He gave us chance after chance, which we either ignored or cast aside in our pursuit for the goodness of the world. We have tasted the corruptions of this world, and into sin, where we have fallen into.

Our hearts and minds are corrupted with the darkness of sin, and our beings are filled with darkness that prevents us from seeing the light and living in the light. We are truly the creatures of darkness, unlike the children of the light we all ought to become. And precisely as it had been written in the Scripture reading today, how we trust rather in the leaking faucet and pipes, that is our own flawed strength and feeble foundations, over the strength of the everlasting spring of God’s power.

We are easily tempted, and too easily bribed by Satan who offered the sweetest of his treacherous lies and temptations. He has all of his forces arrayed against us, tempting us daily that we may eventually falter along our path towards salvation, and be dragged together with him into the hellfire. That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must be vigilant and be solid in our faith, that we have a strong defense against whatever it is that the devil is using against us.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Sharbel Makhluf or St. Charbel Makhluf, a renowned Maronite saint, who lived just over a hundred years ago in today’s Lebanon. St. Sharbel Makhluf is a holy man and a deeply devoted person to God, who was born to a devout Christian Maronite family, a group of Christians that has dwelled for a very long time in Lebanon area since the days of the early Church, and which remained loyal to the authority of the Apostles even though many others had apostasized.

St. Sharbel Makhluf joined the religious life and devoted his life entirely to God. He was truly a role model for the faithful, and his life was an example for all to see. His life might have been relatively uneventful, and he dedicated all of his time to God. However, upon his passing from this world to the heavens to be with God, miracles came abound from his body and his grave. This is a mark of favour by God, showing how much He blessed those who are with Him and who devoted themselves to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, should we not follow the examples of this great and yet humble saint of God? In his life, St. Sharbel Makhluf had shown us that it is perfectly possible for us all to be faithful servants of our God, provided that we set our sights, our attention and our hearts on Him alone. If we do these things, certainly God will bless us just as He had once blessed St. Sharbel Makhluf.

Let us all therefore seek God in this life, and devote ourselves ever more to our loving God. God wants nothing other than our love and devotion, just as He Himself had first been devoted to us. Let us no longer spurn His love, but with great humility, ask Him for His grace and forgiveness, that we may once again enjoy the fullness of His love. God be with us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Song of Songs 3 : 1-4a

On my bed at night I looked for the one I love, I sought him without finding him; I called him and he did not answer. I will rise and go about the city, through the streets and the squares; I will seek the love of my heart…

I sought him without finding him; the watchmen came upon me, those who patrol the city. “Have you seen the love of my heart?” As soon as I left them, I found the love of my heart.

Alternative reading

2 Corinthians 5 : 14-17

Indeed the love of Christ holds us and we realise that if He died for all, all have died. He died for all so that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again for them.

And so from now on, we do not regard anyone from a human point of view; and even if we once knew Christ personally, we should now regard Him in another way.

For that same reason, the one who is in Christ is a new creature. For Him the old things have passed away; a new world has come.

Saturday, 19 July 2014 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 9 : 22-23, 24-25, 28-29, 35 (1-2, 3-4, 7-8, 14)

Why, o Lord, do You stand afar? Why hide from us in times of distress? The wicked are in power; the weak suffer harassment; the poor become victims of evil schemes.

Exploiters boast in their power and greed; the covetous blasphemes and defies God. In their pride the wicked say, “There is no God.” They see no further.

Their mouths are filled with cursing, deceit and threats; spite and mischief are under their tongues. They lie in ambush near the villages, murdering the innocent and the unfortunate, spying upon their next victim.

But You see those in misery, o God, and You take it in hand. The unfortunate commits Himself to You; the orphan turns to You for help.