(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after Seventh Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 41 : 3, 5 and Psalm 42 : 3, 4

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I go and see the face of God?

Now as I pour out my soul, I remember all this – how I used to lead the faithful in procession to the house of God, amid shouts of joy and thanksgiving, among the feasting throng.

Send forth your light and your truth; let them be my guide, let them take me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You reside.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my gladness and delight. I will praise You with the lyre and harp, o God, my God.

 

Alternative Psalm (If there is baptism)

Psalm 50 : 12-15, 18, 19

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers Your ways and sinners will return to You.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it.

O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise.

Monday, 23 September 2013 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezra 1 : 1-6

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, YHVH willed to fulfill the word He had said through the prophet Jeremiah, so He moved the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his kingdom.

Thus speaks Cyrus, king of Persia : “YHVH, the God of heavens, who has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, has ordered me to build Him a Temple in Jerusalem, in the land of Judah. To everyone belonging to His people, may his God be with him! Let them go up to Jerusalem with the help of their God and there build the House of YHVH, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.”

“In every place where the rest of the people of YHVH live, let the people of those places help them for their journey with silver, gold, and all kinds of goods and livestock. Let them also give them voluntary offerings for the House of YHVH which is in Jerusalem.”

Then they rose up – the heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, and all those whose spirit God had stirred up – and they decided to go and build the House of YHVH. And all of their neighbours gave them all kinds of help : gold, silver, livestock, and precious objects in great quantity, besides every kind of voluntary offering.

Monday, 27 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (First Reading)

Sirach 17 : 20-28

Their misdeeds cannot be hidden from Him, all their sins are before the Lord. He holds a man’s almsgiving dear as a priceless signet ring; He cherishes a good deed like the apple of His eye.

One day He will rise and reward them; He will place their prize on their heads. He allows those who repent to return; He comforts those whose hopes are fading.

Be converted to the Lord and give up your sins, plead with Him to lessen your offense. Return to the Almighty, turn aside from wrongdoing and totally detest evil.

For who in the grave will praise the Almighty, if the living do not give Him glory? The dead man is as if he did not exist and cannot give praise; He who has life and health can praise the Lord.

Sunday, 12 May 2013 : 7th Sunday of Easter (Second Reading)

Revelation 22 : 12-14, 16-17, 20

I am coming soon, bringing with Me the salary I will pay to each one according to his deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Happy are those who wash their robes for they will have free access to the Tree of Life and enter the city through the gates.

I, Jesus, sent My angel to make known to you these revelations concerning the Churches, I am the Shoot and Offspring of David, the radiant Morning Star.

Thursday, 9 May 2013 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is Ascension day, a very important day in our faith, because today we celebrate a central tenet of our faith. That is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is resurrected on the third day after dying on the cross for the salvation of all  mankind, but that today, most importantly, we celebrate the glorification of God, in which Christ, who had descended to this world as a humble man, returns to His glory in heaven as the divine God.

For Christ, our Messiah and our Lord, is both fully man and fully divine at the same time, with both of His human and divine nature united indivisibly in a mysterious and holy link that is beyond our best understanding. In Christ, who had been made incarnate to be a lowly human like us through His birth in Mary, His mother, lies our salvation, and our only hope.

Because, Christ, who is the Lamb of God, gave up Himself to be the sacrifice for the sake of our sins, just as God instructed the people of Israel to sacrifice unblemished lambs to erase their sins and their unworthiness before God. Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God is not merely unblemished, but also perfect, and as the only perfect and worthy sacrifice to take away all the sins of the world, once and for all, through the sacrifice He made on Calvary.

We celebrate this every time we celebrate the Mass, in which the bread and the wine that we offer are truly turned into the Precious Body and the Precious Blood of the Lamb, which He Himself had offered to His disciples at His last supper, so that He will continue to live in them, and therefore remain within us, that He will be within us, and therefore belong to Him and the Father. We have all been mark as His own, and we will not be lost, as long as we keep Him ever in our hearts, and invoke Him in all our actions.

He may be no longer with us in physical form, because He was indeed taken up to heaven with His glorious Ascension, when He parted ways from His disciples and left physically this world, but He actually remains with us, within all of us, that we are empowered with His presence. He granted us the Holy Spirit, the Helper, which came to the Apostles at Pentecost, and from them, the Holy Spirit is passed down to us, with the Sacrament of Baptism and strengthened at Confirmation, the fire of the spirit is burning with us, the living symbol of Christ’s presence within each one of us.

This Spirit that we have within each of us will stay dormant if we do not do anything to make use of the gifts that the Spirit had granted within each of us. Yes, all of us have the power and ability to make the difference, in our own lives, and in the lives of many of those who are around us. The Spirit has planted within us the seeds of faith and love, and these seeds will not sprout unless we provide them with ever greater faith and love, that can only be provided through solid and true actions made in the name of the Lord, and reflecting that we truly are God’s children.

If we allow the Holy Spirit to grow within us and use our beings to bring about love and peace in both ourselves and those around us, it will allow us to grow and bear much fruit, fruits of love and blessings, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Christ who was taken up on Ascension will come again as He promised all of us, in His Second Coming, which is coming soon. When He comes again, He will see if we, the plants that He, the seed spreader, had grown to the results that He wants.

If we do not bear any fruit, like that of the barren tree, He would destroy us and curse us, because we have not bear any fruit, despite having been planted with seeds of faith. Just like those who had been given money by the master to be invested, but wasted the money in idleness, and did not invest it to let the value of the money to grow for profits. In this, the love that God had given us had become useless, because love cannot just remain within ourselves, because love is between us and another party, and remember that the Lord Himself had commanded us to love both Himself, and our fellow brethren.

The Lord Himself has told us that to love the least and weakest of our brethren, we have loved Him. That is why to just love the Lord alone, is in fact not sufficient, because this love that we have is not perfect, and can only be made perfect by us also loving our fellow brethren, particularly those who lacks, and those who are weakest and persecuted. Therefore, only in living our faith, and using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has placed in us that we can truly bear fruit and be found worthy when Christ once again comes into this world to judge it.

He will welcome and congratulate us, if we had done what we can to fulfill His wishes and His commandments. He will say to us, “Well done, My faithful servants. Come and take your rightful place at My Kingdom.” But if we do not make use of the chance we have now, and waste it on idleness, or worse, that is to spurn God’s love and Spirit, and indulge instead in the worldly temptations and pleasures and the world of hatred, we would be banished by the Lord from His presence, because we will be found unworthy of Him.

The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ therefore, serves also as a reminder. Indeed, we rejoice in His glorification and ascension in heaven, to take up His rightful place at the right hand of the Father, but as the angels had said to the disciples on that day, that Christ will come again and that time when He comes again, He will judge the world and gather His faithful ones to Himself while banishing those who strayed from His way, together with Satan and his fallen angels, into the eternal damnation that awaits them.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today, let us not be complacent, and let us strive to be always ready for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, which indeed will come soon, and will come at a time when many are at their most unprepared moments. Do not be caught unprepared, and let us make sure that all of us, from now on, put Christ at the very centre of our lives, and reflect Christ in all our thoughts, our words, and our actions, that we show that we belong to Christ and to Him alone.

Love one another and love God with all our hearts, our minds, and our beings. Put our trust completely in Him, and let Him transform us with His Holy Spirit, and bear much fruit in us, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Christ ascended to heaven, is always within all of us, with all of us serving as the Holy Temples of His Divine Presence. May God be with all of us, always, till the end of time. Amen.

Monday, 29 April 2013 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not dwell in the false gods and idols, and remain true in our faith in God our Lord. Let us not be like the pagans at the time who failed to see the truth in God, and instead dwell in their imaginaries deities and gods, made out of earthly materials of stone, wood, silver, or gold. For these are merely empty vessels, vessels of deception by the devil to lure the faithful away from the true faith in God.

For today, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, even though we no longer see and worship idols made out of gold and silver, in the form of pagan and heathen false gods, the likes of Zeus, Hercules, and countless other gods, today in our world, a new kind of idols are rising, and not in the form of merely false gods in craven false imageries, but in the form of money and wealth itself.

For wealth and material possessions had been alluring to mankind for long ages past, and today, with God becoming ever more distant in the hearts of many, because of the rising secularisation and detachment of God from the world, due to the evil forces of relativism and scientific development, which marginalised God from the once central role He had in our daily lives, had become the new gods, which attempt to replace the One, True God in our hearts.

But they will not succeed, for God our Lord is mighty, and His love is everlasting, and despite all the attempts by the evil one to turn mankind away from God, God always stays ahead of Satan’s attempts, and send the helper and the advocate through the Holy Spirit, that inflames the hearts of many of the faithful to love God ever more, and strengthen our faith in Him.

Many of us had become myopic in our obsession with the material and the temporal possessions in this world, and so obsessed that we failed to look beyond our desires and obsession, in order to find the truth that is in the Lord and in His love, which He made manifest through Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary. Let us not limit ourselves to only viewing our desires and our needs, but let us always take a step back, and take some time to reflect, that our vision will not be then limited just to our desires, but our eyes will then be opened to see the plight of our fellow men, who are still suffering.

Today, we commemorate the feast day of a great saint and Doctor of the Church, that is St. Catherine of Siena. St. Catherine of Siena is a great saint and teacher of the faith through her numerous laters and literary works, which became inspiration for many Christians of her era and even today. She zealously defended the faith in God and zealously love Him in her actions and her life. She was also important in the bringing back of the Papacy from its self-imposed ‘exile’ from Avignon in France to return to Rome, where the centre of the Church is. Therefore, she played a great role in the reestablishment and rejuvenation of the Church as we know it today.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today renew our commitment to serve and love our Lord, and to grow ever stronger in our faith in Him, that we will be transformed by His love, into beings of light and love, that in our every actions, words, and thoughts, we reflect the nature of God, and everyone can see that God is in us, and He is working through us. Let us pray for ourselves, for our brethren, and for our world, that it will be filled with God’s love and presence forever more. St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us. Amen.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican on Wednesday, 1 May 2013

http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/vaticano/dettaglio-articolo/articolo/papa-el-papa-pope-bergoglio-ratzinger-24332/

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According to the original Italian language article of the Vatican Insider/La Stampa above, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican from his stay in Castel Gandolfo, the Papal summer residence on Wednesday, 1 May 2013.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had stayed at Castel Gandolfo since his retirement as reigning Pope of the Church on 28 February 2013, 2 months earlier. He will be staying in the former Mater Ecclesiae monastery which was originally a cloister for nuns, and now vacated to accomodate the Pope Emeritus and his assistants, which include the current Prefect of Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who is also Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s private secretary.

This will make the work better for Archbishop Ganswein as in his capacity as both the private secretary to the Pope Emeritus and the Prefect of Papal Household, he had to travel daily between the Vatican and Castel Gandolfo.

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(Above : Archbishop Georg Ganswein, current Prefect of the Papal Household and private secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)

May God bless our dear Pope Emeritus, bless him with good health, that he will continue to pray for our Church, and that the reforms that he had begun in the liturgy, worship, and new evangelisation can continue to flourish and grow.