Sunday, 18 September 2016 : 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Luke 16 : 1-13

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “There was a rich man, whose steward was reported to him for fraudulent service. He summoned the steward and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? I want you to render an account of your service, for it is about to be terminated.'”

“The steward thought to himself, ‘What am I to do now? My master will surely dismiss me. I am not strong enough to do hard work, and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do : I must make sure that when I am dismissed, there will be people who will welcome me into their homes.'”

“So he called his master’s debtors, one by one. He asked the first debtor, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write fifty.’ To the second debtor he put the same question, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ Then the steward said, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.'”

“The master commended the dishonest steward for his astuteness : for the people of this world are more astute, in dealing with their own kind, than are the people of light. And so I tell you : use filthy money to make friends for yourselves, so that, when it fails, these people may welcome you into the eternal homes.”

“Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted in great ones; whoever is dishonest in slight matters will also be dishonest in greater ones. So if you have been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth? And if you have been dishonest with things that are not really yours, who will give you that wealth which is truly your own?”

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to money.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)
Luke 16 : 10-13

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted in great ones; whoever is dishonest in slight matters will also be dishonest in greater ones. So if you have been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth? And if you have been dishonest with things that are not really yours, who will give you that wealth which is truly your own?”

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to money.”

Saturday, 13 December 2014 : Second Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue again to hear about the prophet Elijah and John the Baptist in our Scripture readings. Why is this so, brothers and sisters? That is because in this Advent season, it is particularly appropriate for us to heed their actions and their words, the proclamations of these faithful servants of God, who were sent to the people in order to turn their hearts back to the Lord.

They were sent to a people who had long lived in darkness and sin, and therefore, through their works, God hoped to bring back a people whom He loved to Himself so that they would be lost no more. Yes, He is the Good Shepherd who looks actively for His lost sheep, and desires greatly that all of us be reunited with Him. He wants us all to be freed from our bondage to the darkness of sin, and to this extent, He did the unbelievable, yes, indeed, for all those who did not have faith indeed, it was unbelievable, for He gave Himself, as the One through whom mankind would be saved.

Which other gods or entities who claimed divinity do this? None, and none beside our Lord and God, the One and only True God, who loves all that He created, and loves us in particular so much that He sent us Jesus, the incarnation of the Divine Word of God, to be our salvation. But so that the works of Jesus may come to a full completion and perfection, therefore, before His coming, God sent His servants to prepare the way for Him.

That was the purpose of the prophets and the messengers of God, great and chief among whom were St. John the Baptist and Elijah, who were in fact the one and same person, called to the service of God at two different times and eras, but nevertheless, they were called to the same mission, to call the people to repentance and for them to seek the mercy of God, and to change their ways and sin no more.

This is in perfect resonance to the very purpose and reason of this season of Advent, which means literally ‘coming’ or the coming of Christ our Lord at the end of time, when He will come again in glory to judge all the living and the dead, and it is for that coming of Christ that we should prepare ourselves thoroughly and completely. And in this, we should heed the examples of the prophets and the messengers of God.

All of us who have been baptised in the Name of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit had been made children of God, and also therefore as the members of His Body and His Church, the unity of all the faithful ones in the Lord. But at the same time, through our baptism, we have been given a mission, the same mission which Christ had given His Apostles and disciples before He left this world for heaven at the Ascension.

That mission was to proclaim the Good News and the salvation in Jesus Christ to all the nations, to all the peoples of the world, without exception, and to baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a call for all of us to walk in the same path as the prophet Elijah, who called for the people of the northern kingdom of Israel to repent from their sins, and also St. John the Baptist, who cried out in the wilderness for the people to repent and change their ways, to prepare for the coming of God’s kingdom, and who baptised them with the baptism of water.

We have the faith in us, and we have been granted God’s grace through baptism. Therefore, it is only fitting that we help one another, especially those who are still lost and in the darkness of the world, to find their way to God, so that at the end of the day, God may see in all of us, the same faithfulness shown by Elijah and John the Baptist.

Today, we also celebrate the feast of a martyr and holy virgin, St. Lucy, whose actions may also inspire us further to live according to the will of God, and according to what we have just discussed. St. Lucy was a young Christian maiden, who lived in Syracuse in the island of Sicily. St. Lucy or St. Lucia was a martyr of the Faith during the last great persecution of the faithful by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and according to tradition, she was executed for being faithful and refusing to recant her faith to the Lord.

St. Lucy devoted herself totally to the Lord, and like many of her contemporaries, she committed herself to a life of sanctity and chastity, vowing to remain in holy virginity for the sake of the Lord. But her mother, not knowing of this and sickened with disease, betrothed her to a rich young man from a pagan family. Nonetheless, through the intercession of St. Agatha, St. Lucy’s mother was healed and St. Lucy managed to persuade her to donate in charitable acts, her riches and wealth to help the poor of the society.

St. Lucy thus showed her genuine and real faith through her loving actions to her brethren in need, and thus stand as a witness of the Lord and of the faith in Him by her concrete actions. Her betrothed complained against her actions to the local governor, who demanded that she offered sacrifices to the Emperor, which she refused immediately and firmly.

St. Lucy was therefore tortured and punished severely, and the authorities tried to kill her by various means, but they always failed. The wood would not burn when they tried to burn her at a stake. She eventually was martyred by the sword. Nevertheless, through her witness and defense of the faith, she became a great inspiration to many of the later generations, and many were saved by her intercession and examples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, here we have seen what the faithful, that is all of us, have to do. The examples of St. Lucy and what we have discussed earlier showed that all of us have a responsibility to be witnesses of the faith, just as Elijah and St. John the Baptist had once done, to call the people who have lived in sin and darkness to return to the light of Christ, our Lord.

Indeed, it does not meant that we have to follow St. Lucy into martyrdom for this, but what is necessary is that we must realise that our faith cannot be a lukewarm one. We cannot sit on the fence and wait for things to happen. It is essential that we are proactive in our faith and actively spreading the Good News of our Lord, not just by words, but also through our concrete actions and love towards one another.

May St. Lucy intercede for us, that God may strengthen our faith and affirm us all in His love. May day by day we all grow stronger and more devoted in our lives. God bless us all, now and forever. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/12/saturday-13-december-2014-second-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-lucy-virgin-and-martyr-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/12/saturday-13-december-2014-second-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-lucy-virgin-and-martyr-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/12/saturday-13-december-2014-second-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-lucy-virgin-and-martyr-gospel-reading/

Monday, 10 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 17 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Scandals will necessarily come and cause people to fall; but woe to the one who brings them about. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck. Truly, this would be better for that person, than to cause one of these little ones to fall.”

“Listen carefully : if your brother offends you, tell him, and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he offends you seven times in one day, but seven times he says to you, ‘I am sorry’, forgive him.”

The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” And the Lord said, “If you have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree, ‘Be uprooted, and plant yourself in the sea!’ and it will obey you.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/09/monday-10-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-pope-st-leo-the-great-pope-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 34 : 1-11

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, speak on My behalf against the shepherds of Israel! Say to the shepherds on My behalf : Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should the shepherds not feed the flock? But you feed on milk and are clothed in wool, and you slaughter the fattest sheep.”

“You have not taken care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak, cared for the sick or bandaged the injured. You have not gone after the sheep that strayed or searched for the one that was lost. Instead you ruled them harshly and were their oppressors.”

“They have scattered for want of a shepherd and became prey of wild animals. My sheep wander over the mountains and high hills; and when they are scattered throughout the land, no one bothered about them or looks for them.”

“Hear then shepherds, what YHVH says : As I live – word of YHVH – because My sheep have been the prey of wild animals and become their food for want of shepherds, because the shepherds have not cared for My sheep, because you shepherds have not bothered about them but fed yourselves and not the flocks, because of that, hear the word of YHVH.”

“This is what YHVH says : I will ask an account of the shepherds and reclaim My sheep from them. No longer shall they tend My flock; nor shall there be shepherds who feed themselves. I shall save the flock from their mouths and no longer shall it be food for them.”

Indeed YHVH says this : I Myself will care for My sheep and watch over them.

Monday, 9 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the readings, we heard the famous Beatitudes or meaning, Blesseds, which is also known as the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus to the people. In that discourse and teaching, Jesus showed the people how people who do the will of God are blessed by Him for obeying His will. Through the Beatitudes, Jesus encouraged us all to carry out what we should be doing, to be truly blessed in the presence of God.

The Beatitudes showed us the criteria and the expectations that God kind of requires from His children, as they all embody the nature of God, that is love and mercy. However, in this world today we have often forgotten these things and be preoccupied by much concerns for the world and many other factors, that we fail to carry out what the Lord wants from us, as He laid them out in the Beatitudes.

For example, the Beatitudes blesses those who seeks peace and are peacemakers, and yet our world today is filled with hatred and violence, where brothers can fight against brothers, sisters fight against sisters, and quarrels are frequent among ourselves, which truly does not represent the peacemakers that we are supposed to be.

We too often find it difficult to show mercy to others and to forgive others for the mistakes, the wrongs, injustices and any other negative actions that they had done unto us. Indeed the Beatitudes blesses those who are merciful, but how many of us give mercy voluntarily to those who have hurt us? How many of us can genuinely forgive those who had wronged us? It is not easy, and it is in our human nature to seek vengeance and retribution rather than being merciful.

We often become judgmental of others, and we thought of ourselves as being the best, often in the disadvantage of others, that we get further and further from fulfilling the words of Christ in the Beatitudes. All these are because of our bad habits, tendencies and vulnerabilities in dealing with others and in our natural vulnerability to sin and evil.

Today we celebrate the feast of a saint, whose life has been dedicated to do the will of God, and in committing all that God has mentioned through the Beatitudes in his life. Today we commemorate St. Ephrem, also known as Ephrem the Syrian, who was a great inspiration source of many faithful during his lifetime, and a very faithful and hardworking servant of the Church and the people of God through his various ministries and roles in the Church.

St. Ephrem served the people of God dutifully and faithfully, and most importantly, he was very dedicated to the Lord, like the ones poor in spirit, as he sought the Lord for guidance. He received great graces and blessings, just as the Lord had pointed out in the Beatitudes. He also acted as mediator and communicator between many peoples, and between different ideas, providing important mediation between them and therefore promote unity and peace among the faithful.

As such, he was truly blessed by God, and he was made worthy of heaven, and recognised as such by the Church, in addition to the recognition of the vast amounts of work that he has done. He is our inspiration, and he should be our role model, someone who we aim to become, and perhaps even more, practising what the Lord Himself had recommended, as He stated in the Beatitudes.

Let us all ask for the intercession of St. Ephrem, that in our lives, we will always strive to become a good and responsible person, one who fear God, and yet love Him and who carry out His works dutifully. Let us all be like the persons whom the Lord described in the Beatitudes, beginning with small things, and gradually do all that the Lord asks of us.

May God remain with us, and through the intercession of His saints, let us all continue to profess and renew our faith, that we may truly be blessed by God, and be worthy of Him at the end of all times. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 1 May 2014 : 2nd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, which also falls on the same day as the day set aside for the celebration of the right of workers and labourers around the world, commonly known as either the Labour Day or May Day. On this day, workers around the world celebrate their right to equal pay, treatment and rights, as well as even protesting to demand for more, if they did not receive enough.

Today we celebrate the memory of St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, who was also a very diligent worker as a carpenter in the village of Nazareth. St. Joseph is the role model for all workers, not only that he is so diligent and hardworking, but he is also very upright in his actions and did not do things that were in opposition to the Law of God and the teachings of the prophets.

St. Joseph reminded all of us, not just the workers of who we are, namely the children and most beloved of all the creations of the Lord. We were created last by the Lord in creation, and we were made in His image, and as if that is not enough, He also endowed us with His own Spirit that bears life inside each one of us. And yet, we are at the same time, as the first reading from the Book of Genesis mentioned, also made of dust, which the Lord used to craft our mortal bodies of flesh and blood.

Thus the well-known saying that ‘We are dust, and to dust we shall return, which the priest utters every Ash Wednesday as he applies the ash onto our forehead. This is to remind us of our humanity, fragility and mortality, which should keep us to realise that we are in this world as its caretakers and everything that we do, we ought not to do it for our own sake and benefits, but for the sake of the Lord and all our brethren around us.

St. Joseph showed that above all, we should be the bearers of the good will of the Lord, and walk always in the way of God, be righteous in all of our actions and deeds, not turning left or right, or be persuaded or tempted by the world’s persuasions and temptations. As we work, we should always remember to have good work attitudes and openness to suggestions and advice, and not to close ourselves off from cooperating with others.

A truly major problem with our world and its working force is that we no longer work for the good of one another, but we ended up to be in the sole pursuit of one thing, that is money and even other forms of material possessions. As I have often mentioned, money is not necessarily evil, and indeed, it is perfectly neutral and is completely not a vice that we should avoid. The evil lies in us, that is in how we attempt to gain it, how we gain it, and eventually how we use it, and what we use it for.

This world has increasingly become a commercialised and materialistic world, where you can almost literally say that money is king, for those who have more will not just tend to have even more, but that they also are likely to have a better and more enjoyable life. For many of us, working and our actions in work had become nothing more than literally slaving away our lives and our precious time for money, and more money.

We forget that when we work we should be more like St. Joseph, who worked with great simplicity and humility, and while being serious and dedicated to his works, he dedicated it out of love towards God and to his fellow men. As a carpenter, he certainly did not earn much from his works, but certainly from every single furniture he crafted for those who ordered them from him, he gained much gladness and satisfaction, seeing the happiness on their faces seeing the completed product.

Surely we all can visualise and imagine how St. Joseph had worked hard to help provide for the Holy Family, for Jesus our Lord and Mary His mother. It is this kind of simple and yet genuine devotion to one’s work based in love that is the kind of work attitude that we need to have and follow. Sadly the truth is indeed that we have been so caught up in our busy life schedules and careers that we end up forgetting what is the most important thing in our lives.

As St. Joseph has shown us, we cannot discount God out of our lives, as without God our lives will be meaningless and empty, and this is also the reason why so many of us lost our true purpose as we work, that we no longer work for the benefits of others around us, and instead, for our own benefit, that is for our own selves, in our great ego, desire and greed.

It is easy these days to be tempted, brethren, for the temptations of goodness of this world is basically all around us, from all the promotions and commercials that we are exposed to every single day of our lives, that we really cannot escape but notice how much good that this world can grant us. Therefore we are prone to fall into this trap of materialism and commercialism, where we desire more and more the goods of this world, while forgetting that the true purpose we have in this world is to love and to dedicate ourselves completely to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate today’s occasion on the feast of St. Joseph the worker and the day of celebration of labour, let us always be reminded that we should not be working for the sake of working and to seek for more and more material goods. Instead, as we work, let us have a good purpose to it, especially praising and glorifying the Lord our God.

St. Joseph the worker, the foster-father of our Lord, pray for us all, that we will seek less of our own glory and pleasure when we so something or work, that we do not become creature of ego or the servant of material possessions. Help us through your prayers that we may instead work for the good of one another, and be dedicated to our work just as you had been dedicated to yours. May God be with us all and bless our work at all times. Amen.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 : Midnight Mass of the Nativity of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Titus 2 : 11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, teaching us to reject an irreligious way of life and worldly greed, and to live in this world as responsible persons, upright and serving God, while we await our blessed hope – the glorious manifestation of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus.

He gave Himself to us, to redeem us from every evil and to purify a people He wanted to be His own and dedicated to what is good.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John of Capestrano, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Once again, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded, just as in yesterday’s reading, the importance of being ever-ready, and preparedness in our lives, that when the Lord comes again unexpected, we will not be caught unprepared and unworthy. Sin is in particular something that we must always beware of, in our daily lives, that we be ever vigilant, against any commitment of sin that corrupts us and brings us away from the salvation in God.

All of us, brethren, had in fact been entrusted with much responsibilities by our Lord and God, and we had been made as stewards over God’s creations. Remember that when the Lord created mankind, He had commanded all creations to be within our sphere of responsibility. We are effectively made the stewards of this world, the caretaker of God’s creatures.

Yet as we all know, many of us are not always faithful to the Lord and His ways. Although we had been made stewards, the Lord is still our Master, and we have to follow Him and His ways, and not go our own way. That is essentially what many of us have done. We have cast away the words of the Lord and prefer to trust in our own human judgments and wisdom, rather than trusting in God.

Then, some of us also did not become good stewards of God’s creation, and we neglect our duties that we ought to do. We prefer to care and worry about ourselves, instead of giving ourselves to love and care for those entrusted to us. And remember that the more we had been given with, the more too will be expected from us. That is why, our possessions, our love, and our material goods can become both a great source of blessing and grace, as well as to be a vicious trap that blocks our path to the Lord our God.

We are often too happy with ourselves, with our comfortable life, that we end up forgetting about what we ought to do in our lives. It is completely not wrong for us to enjoy our lives and to gather or gain worldly things and possessions. It is, as I need to reiterate once again, the way that we use those gifts and graces the Lord had granted us, and our attitude towards others, which determine whether we are righteous or not.

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. John of Capestrano, a priest who lived in the early Renaissance Italy, who was once a secular noble and governor of the land. He relinquished his position and wealth after he received a calling, and together with the future St. Bernardine of Siena, he studied to become a priest, a monk, and a preacher, eventually joining the Franciscans.

St. John of Capestrano went on to preach in many different parts of Europe and Christendom as a whole, and his charisma is such that he always drew massive crowds, into tens of thousands and even over a hundred thousand people in some occasions, turning many back into the path of the Lord, and affirming many in the way of the Lord. In doing that, he had brought countless souls back on the path towards salvation in God.

St. John of Capestrano worked hard for the sake of the Lord even until his old age, preaching and urging the people to rise up and defend the true faith in God against any form of heresies and diabolical onslaught of the devil forces, especially in the pagan Ottoman Empire forces, which rose to prominence and power. He worked hard until he caught illness of the bubonic plague and died, ever still faithful and devoted towards the mission he had as the servant of God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of St. John of Capestrano, and also the examples of many other saints, who had worked hard for the glory of God, let us all then also follow in his footsteps, to be truly dutiful and faithful in our mission in this world, that is to be faithful, obedient, and loving servants and stewards of the Lord our God, as the steward over all creation.

May we all therefore be strengthened in our faith, and become ever more dedicated to the Lord our God, and through the intercession of St. John of Capestrano, we are made closer to our Lord and God. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 25 August 2013 : 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Lay Apostolate Sunday (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen to the warning and reminder from Jesus Christ our Lord, to be ever ready and ever alert on the coming of the kingdom of God, that is the time when God will finally make His move to end all the tyranny of sin and evil, and break the power of Satan for eternity, for a final time. That is the time when Christ comes as a conquering and victorious king, who will reward all who had followed Him faithfully and even suffer for His sake, and also punish those who had opposed Him and barred His way.

Following the Lord is not enough with just being with Him, and being idle. That was exactly what Jesus was referring to, when He mentioned the rebuke of the many, who cannot enter the kingdom of God, because they were unworthy, and because they were unprepared for the coming of the kingdom of God. They are caught asleep when the Lord comes again to claim His people for His own, and the Lord rebukes them and rejects them, denying them the reward He reserves only for those He deems to be worthy.

God is our Father and our Saviour, and He loves all of us very much, without condition. He truly cares for all of us, just like a father loves and cares for his own son, for his own children. He gives His love freely for everyone without exception, to the point that He even gave Himself in flesh and blood, His own Body, through the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ suffered on the cross, in His most loving Passion. He endured rejection, mockery, and suffering out of His love for us, that we will not die, die an eternal death in damnation, but may attain life eternal with Him for all ages.

Therefore, out of His great and unconditional love and compassion for us, He who gave us His life through His flesh and blood, wants us to be righteous, upright and worthy of Him. That is why, He corrects us, punishes us, and rebukes us when we make mistakes in our life, and when we go astray from the path to salvation, when the devil begin to take over our hearts. It is to ensure that we remain in Him and not fall into the temptations of Satan.

It may seem to many of us, that the devil seems to be very friendly to us, and yes, brethren, he will always present his smiling face to us, deceiving us into believing his lies and his alluring tactics. Remember, brethren, that the devil was once Lucifer, the greatest, brightest, and mightiest of all the angels of heaven. It is therefore easy for him to show his ‘bright’ and less sinister side to us, in order to deceive us into sin and disobedience against God, just as he had done with Adam and Eve, our ancestors.

We must always remember, that he is also Satan, the devil, the deceiver, the evil snake, and the great enemy of God and all that is good. We must be careful lest we be tempted and fall into his traps. The devil envies the Lord and all mankind, and he will certainly do his best, and use all the resources at his disposal, in order to make us fall. He had done that to our forefathers, and he will certainly do the same again to all of us.

God had given us His help and assistance to us, through His prophets, His messengers, and His own Son in the end. He gave us much assistance, and gave us His Law through Moses, first to His people Israel, and then to us. the core of that Law is the Ten Commandments, which was made clear by our Lord Jesus, as the commandments of love, the love for God and the love for our fellow men. The purpose of these laws? They are meant to be our guide, and our focus, that we will not be easily swayed by the sweet promises of the devil. Yes, brethren, sweet on the outside but bitter within indeed!

The devil placed many obstacles in our path towards the Lord, and that is why, following the Lord our God will not be easy, and it will not be like a walk in the park. Following our Lord will kean a constant, daily struggle, struggle against evil and all the temptations that threaten to divert us from salvation in God. Yes, as Jesus Himself had said, that following Him means to take up our own crosses and follow Him in carrying His cross to Calvary, yes, to our own Calvary.

To follow the Lord indeed means to die to ourselves, and to die to our sins. It is to die to our old lives with Christ’s own death. We die in this way through our own baptism, when we were welcomed and entered into the Church of God, as one family of the faithful ones. Through that ‘death’ we have also been risen up together with Christ, who had triumphed and conquered death, evil, and broke all the powers of Satan through His glorious Resurrection.

Once again, I will reiterate the great difficulty of following the Lord and to remain obedient to Him, His will, and His love, as the devil uses all the resources in his disposal to prevent us from being saved, to suffer and accompany him for eternity in damnation. He deceives and betrays all who believe in him, but he is sweet and smart in his ways, that we will see him as friend and someone good, but truly, nothing good can come of working with the devil. It is a choice we need to make, between the seemingly tough and challenging path of the Lord, but one that leads to eternal life, or the other path that seems to be easy and enjoyable, but is a path to damnation.

Today, brethren, we celebrate Lay Apostolate Sunday, and the purpose of this celebration is indeed to remain us, indeed all of us who belong to the laity, and also the priests alike, must all be apostles to one another, and ultimately be the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, just as the Apostles of the Lord, who gave their all for the sake of God, and spread the Word of God to the four corners of the world, and even gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel, we too should follow in their footsteps.

Christ had repeatedly warned them and therefore, all of us, that the path that He leads is not easy, and challenges are sure to be plentiful. The world itself will hate us, but we cannot fight back hatred with hate, brothers and sisters. We must reach out to them, reach out with our own love, the love God had given to all of us. That is the meaning of Lay Apostolate, that even all of us who do not belong to the priesthood, that is the laity, all of us, have an important part to play in our Church, in our faith. How? Precisely by making sure that we obey God and His commandments, that is love. Yes, love!

The gate to heaven is narrow, brethren, and that is why it is a narrow way. But with love, and with God’s love behind us, nothing is impossible. Yes, what is impossible for man is possible for God. For from men’s perspective, we had been far too dirty and unworthy of the perfection of heaven to have even the slightest hope of redemption, and yet, through Christ, the manifestation of Divine light, we have been promised salvation, as long as we remain faithful to Him and keep true to His path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today resolve, and indeed, vow to do our best, for the Church of God, for our brethren in need. Show them our great love, care, and compassion. Extend our hands towards them, and accept them into our embrace. The door is narrow, but to all of us who love, and who obey the Word of God, it is not narrow, brethren, but it is wide open for us! And do not forget to pray and support our priests, because just as we have much tasks to do ahead of us, to secure our salvation and the salvation of others in Christ through our actions and deeds, our priests have even greater responsibility. Continue to pray for them, support them in any way we can, while we continue to play our own part and contribute to the work of salvation, the good works of our Lord, made evident in this world, through us, His children and His apostles. God be with us, and bless us all always. Amen.

My Prayer Intention for Monday, 5 August 2013

1. For Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, who was appointed the new Almoner of His Holiness the Pope. May the Lord bless him in his new position and his new role, in managing the Pope’s charitable activities, that he will do his work dutifully for the sake of God’s Church and God’s people. We also thank You for giving him to us, through his excellent services as the Assistant Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, ensuring that we have wonderful Papal Masses that bring all of us as one in worshipping You through the Holy Mass.

2. For the people in positions of governance and responsibility to the people. May the Lord plant in them the seeds of responsibility and devotion to their position as people entrusted with others under their care. May they know to put those entrusted to them first before themselves, and dedicate themselves fully in the service to those given to them. May they become truly good shepherds that the people, the sheep of the flock of God, may look up to and follow. May they never be engulfed in their own selves and selfishness, and put love in all their actions, and not to be corrupted or tempted by the power and authority given to them.

3. For people who are in hunger, both for physical food, or for spiritual food of love. May the Lord satiate them and their hunger, through our own actions, their brothers and sisters. May we all learn to share with one another what we have more, what we have that may alleviate their hunger, their hunger for love, and their hunger for food. May we know that in sharing our love, and in sharing what we have, we will have more and not less, because we share them in happiness and joy, with our brethren in need.

May the Lord who is merciful and kind, look upon us His children who are suffering, who are in the darkness of sin, that our plight and petitions may be lifted up, and reach His presence in heaven, that He may show His love and mercy to us. God bless us all. Amen.