Saturday, 18 March 2017 : 2nd Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Luke 15 : 1-3, 11-32

At that time, tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what He had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering, ‘This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So Jesus told them this parable : “There was a man with two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Give me my share of the estate.’ So the father divided his property between them. Some days later, the younger son gathered all his belongings and started off for a distant land, where he squandered his wealth in loose living.”

“Having spent everything, he was hard pressed when a severe famine broke out in that land. So he hired himself out to a well-to-do citizen of that place, and was sent to work on a pig farm. So famished was he, that he longed to fill his stomach even with the food given to the pigs, but no one offered him anything.”

“Finally coming to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will get up and go back to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against God, and before you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me then as one of your hired servants.’ With that thought in mind, he set off for his father’s house.”

“He was still a long way off, when his father caught sight of him. His father was so deeply moved with compassion that he ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.'”

“But the father turned to his servants : ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Bring out the finest robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Take the fattened calf and kill it! We shall celebrate and have a feast, for this son of mine was dead, and has come back to life; he was lost, and is found!’ And the celebration began.”

“Meanwhile, the elder son had been working in the fields. As he returned and approached the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what it was all about. The servant answered, ‘Your brother has come home safe and sound, and your father is so happy about it that he has ordered this celebration, and killed the fattened calf.'”

“The elder son became angry, and refused to go in. His father came out and pleaded with him. The son, very indignant, said, ‘Look, I have slaved for you all these years. Never have I disobeyed your orders. Yet you have never given me even a young goat to celebrate with my friends. Then when this son of yours returns, after squandering your property with loose women, you kill the fattened calf for him.'”

“The father said, ‘My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But this brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life; he was lost, and is found. And for that we had to rejoice and be glad.'”

Wednesday, 1 March 2017 : Ash Wednesday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Joel 2 : 12-18

YHVH says, “Yet even now, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. Rend your heart, not your garment. Return to YHVH, your God – gracious and compassionate.” YHVH is slow to anger, full of kindness, and He repents of having punished.

Who knows? Probably He will relent once more and spare some part of the harvest from which we may bring sacred offerings to YHVH, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, proclaim a sacred fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the community, bring together the elders, even the children and infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his bed, and the bride her room.

Between the vestibule and the altar, let the priests, YHVH’s ministers, weep and say : Spare Your people, YHVH? Do not humble them or make them an object of scorn among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples : Where is their God?

YHVH has become jealous for His land; He has had pity on His people.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Hosea 10 : 1-3, 7-8, 12

Israel was a spreading vine, rich in fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built, the his land prospered, the more he adorned his sacred stones. Their heart is divided! They shall pay for it. Their altars will be thrown down and their sacred stones broken to pieces.

Now they say, “We have no king (because we have no fear of God) and what good would a king do us?” As for the king of Samaria, he has been carried off like foam on water. The idolatrous high places – the sin of Israel – will be destroyed. Thorn and thistle will creep over the altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us,” and to the hills, “Fall on us.”

Plow new ground, sow for yourselves justice and reap the harvest of kindness. It is the time to go seeking YHVH until He comes to rain salvation on you.

Saturday, 25 June 2016 : 12th 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 firstly from the Book of Lamentations of the sorrows of Israel, the people of God, whom God had rejected because they had disobeyed Him and persistently refused to walk in His ways, preferring the company and worship of the pagan idols and gods. God had given them up to the hands of their enemies, and they looked for Him without avail, for they had been left behind.

But God Who loved all of His people would not abandon them forever. He extended His mercy and love to them, and called them back to Him. But their salvation and liberation required their repentance and their genuine faith, that is the genuine desire to seek Him and to change their ways wholeheartedly so that in all that they do, they would no longer do what displeased God but instead be faithful to Him from then on.

Yet, there were many obstacles for that path, as the people of God, as men are, are very susceptible for their desires and greed, and they were also renowned for their pride. It is not easy for sinners to come to terms with their sins and regret them, as their pride often came in the way. Pride caused men to refuse God’s mercy, love and forgiveness, and it made them to persevere and continue in their sinfulness.

And this is where Jesus came in with His experience with the captain of the guard, which we heard in our Gospel today. The captain of the guard had a servant who was ill with paralysis and suffered from it terribly, and he wanted Jesus to heal his servant that he might be whole once again and be freed from his sufferings. Here it may be just seen as another of Jesus’ healing miracles where He touched the person and that person was healed, but yet, there is something very important there which all of us should take note of.

And that is regarding what the captain had said to Jesus as He went on His way to the house. The captain said politely that he was not worthy to receive Jesus under his roof, for he was a sinner. And for us to be able to understand the meaning of these words fully, we have to understand the context and the situation facing that captain and then we will be able to know more what we ourselves are to do in our own lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the captain of the guard was not specified in the Gospel whether he was a Jew or a Roman, but firstly, if he was a Roman, then at that time, the custom of the Jews was that for a non-Jew like a Roman, and after all, a pagan, it was a taboo for a Jew to come and visit the house of a Gentile. And even if he was a Jew, being a soldier, his lifestyle and work which dealt with killing people and violence must have made him felt uneasy to welcome such a great Master to his place.

But he threw away all of his pride and fear, and he also overcame all of his anxieties and uncertainties, and came humbly begging for Jesus with complete faith in Him, that He would be able to heal his servant. And he bared it before all the people who followed Jesus, that he was unworthy, sinner, unclean and his conscience told him that he should not let the Lord to be besmirched by his unworthiness.

What does this tell us brethren? The captain of the guard showed us all how we should act as Christians before the Lord our God. God saw his great faith and praised him, and He listened to his petitions and fulfilled them. He healed the servant and showed the example of his faith to those who followed Him. That captain was an example of how we should live our lives faithfully before God, and most importantly that we must seek our God with great humility, owning up all of our sins and asking Him for forgiveness.

We may think that this is something trivial and easy to be done, but in fact, it is not. All of us must have experienced and knew how difficult it is for us to own up our mistakes, and we tend to hide them or to conceal them with lies and sweet words, so as not to ask for forgiveness and destroy our ego. But this is where our downfall comes from, and if we do not act, then I am afraid that it may drag us deeper into the darkness and from there into eternal damnation.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on today’s Scripture readings, and let us all commit ourselves anew to God, promising to live our lives more faithfully from now on, and no longer be afraid to seek Him and to confess our sins before Him. If we have not gone to confession for a while, then it may be the time right now for us to do so. Remember, we must not wait until it is too late, as we do not know when the time is up for us.

May God strengthen our faith in us, and may He empower us to live our lives faithfully and devote ourselves ever more strongly to Him. May He forgive us our sins and help us to walk more faithfully in His presence, that we may find our way to Him and receive the grace of salvation and eternal life. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 14 January 2016 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 43 : 10-11, 14-15, 24-25

Yet now You have rejected and humbled us; You no longer go forth with our armies. You have let our enemies drive us back and our adversaries plunder us.

You have made us the butt of our neighbours’ insult, the scorn and laughingstock of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations; they look at us and shake their heads.

Awake, o Lord! Why are You asleep? Arise! Reject us not forever. Why hide Your face from us? Why forget our misery and woes?

Thursday, 24 December 2015 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Vigil Mass (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 16-17, 22-25

So Paul arose, motioned to them for silence and began, “Fellow Israelites and also all you who fear God, listen. The God of our people Israel chose our ancestors, and after He had made them increase during their stay in Egypt, He led them out by powerful deeds.

After that time, God removed Saul and raised up David as king, to whom He bore witness saying : I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all I want him to do. It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Saviour of Israel, Jesus.

Before He appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life’s work, he said : ‘I am not what you think I am, for after me another One is coming Whose sandal I am unworthy to untie.’

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 : 3rd Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Zephaniah 3 : 1-2, 9-13

Woe to the rebellious, the defiled, the city that oppresses. She did not pay attention to the call nor accept the correction; she did not trust YHVH nor did she approach her God.

At that time I will give truthful lips to the pagan nations that all of them may call on the Name of YHVH and serve Him with the same zeal. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia they will bring offerings to Me. On that day you will no longer be ashamed of all your deeds when you were unfaithful to Me; I will have removed from your midst the conceited and arrogant, and My holy mountain will no longer be for you a pretext for boasting.

I will leave within you a poor and meek people who seek refuge in God. The remnant of Israel will not act unjustly nor will they speak falsely, nor will deceitful words be found in their mouths. They will eat and rest with none to threaten them.