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

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 18 : 8-11

The Law of the Lord is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of the Lord is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of the Lord are clear, they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure; it endures forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, all of them just and right.

They are more precious than gold – pure gold of a jeweller; they are much sweeter than honey which drops from the honeycomb.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 103 : 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24 and 35

Bless the Lord, my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; O Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment; You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

You set the earth on its foundations, and never will it be shaken. You covered it with the ocean like a garment, and waters spread over the mountains.

You make springs gush forth in valleys winding among mountains and hills.

Birds build their nests close by and sing among the branches of trees. You water the mountains from Your abode and fill the earth with the fruit of Your work. You make grass grow for cattle and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. May sinners vanish from the earth, and may the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, my soul!

 

Alternative Psalm

Psalm 32 : 4-7, 12-13, 20, 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. He gathered the waters of the sea into a heap, and stored the deep in cellars.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield.

O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 5-11

But now I am going to the One who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief, because of what I have said. Believe Me, it is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send Him to you, and when He comes, He will vindicate the truth before a sinful world; and He will vindicate the paths of righteousness and justice.

What is the world’s sin, in regard to Me? Disbelief. What is the path of righteousness? It is the path I walk, by which I go to the Father; and you shall see Me no more. What is the path of justice? It is the path on which the prince of this world will always stand condemned.

Saturday, 15 March 2014 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 5 : 43-48

You have heard that it was said : Love your neighbour and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you : love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun rise on both the wicked and the good, and He gives rain to both the just and the unjust.

If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much?

As for you, be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect.

Monday, 2 December 2013 : 1st Week of Advent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we begin the first of the weekdays of Advent, and appropriately, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, we are reminded on our humanity, and our frailty, one which needs help from the Lord. We heard this from the story from the Gospel, where Jesus healed the servant of the army captain, and the humility and faith of the captain, which he showed in all sincerity before Jesus.

We are all definitely too familiar with the words that the army captain had said, “I am not worthy that You, the Lord, should enter under my roof.” That is the statement that we always recite and repeat all over and over again every time we celebrate the Mass, just after the Agnus Dei, or the Lamb of God hymn. The other statement, “But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” is certainly also a very familiar phrase to all of us, as this phrase is also used at the same time with the previous phrase.

These phrases were the words that the captain had said to Jesus, after he asked Him to heal his ailing servant, and he turned to no other help but Jesus the Lord. To some, the initial reaction of hearing these words would be that of detesting the captain’s arrogance. Some may even say, ‘How dare this captain say these things to the Lord when He had agreed to come and heal the ailing servant of the captain?’

This is our natural response, but we have to look beyond the surface into the true meaning of those words the captain had uttered. The captain in fact had so much faith in the Lord Jesus, that he knew even if Jesus did not come physically into his home, He, as the Lord of all and Almighty God has the power to heal his servant at that moment even there, where the two of them were far away from the captain’s home. Such was the faith of the captain, that he believed completely in Jesus without question.

But that is not all that there is in the faith and devotion of the captain. The captain’s response to the Lord also showed the quality and the truth about his faith and devotion. Not only that he is devoted to the Lord and placed his full trust in Jesus, but that he showed great humility and understanding of his own unworthiness as he sought the Lord for help with his servant.

All of us are sinners, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all sinners ever since our ancestors first disobey the instructions and the will of the Lord, but we are not lost. Our Father and Lord loves us still, and He proved that to us by sending Jesus His own Son to us. Yet, many of us still deny our sinfulness and turn our back to the salvation which Christ has offered us freely.

That is how Christ praised the faith of the army captain. He may be an army captain, and to many people of his time, he may not be seen as someone who will do good deeds or have faith in God. Worse still, the army captain, as it was during the dominion of the Roman Empire, may well be a Roman centurion. And the people of Israel looked at them with disdain, treating them as pagans and unworthy of salvation.

Yet, you knew what happened. Jesus praised the faith of the army captain, not just because of his total dedication, but also because of his humility, a great humility indeed, to realise his sinfulness and unworthiness, to the point of saying it publicly that he was not worthy to have the Lord at his home. And compare this to the faith of the Pharisees, as you all notice that they are the ones considered holy and pious by the people. Yet, they were arrogant and proud, disdaining the sinful while not realising that they themselves were sinful too.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, now we all know the meaning of the words we always say at the Mass. From now on, every time we say those words the captain had once said, let us remember the faith of the captain, and also try to emulate the faith he had. We have to be aware of our own sins and unworthiness, while at the same time, trying our best to dedicate ourselves to the Lord without being taken in by the temptations of the evil one.

May the Lord who rewarded those faithful to Him, also reward us in the same way, and that we may realise the depth and gravity of our sinfulness, and therefore strive to draw ever closer to the Lord our God, seeking His generous mercy and love, that we may strive to be more like Him, and aspire to reach the heavenly glory that He had promised us. Amen.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 16-17, 18-19

I will bless the Lord all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

The eyes of the Lord are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth.

The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.

Saturday, 9 November 2013 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 2 : 13-22

As the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple court He found merchants selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple court, together with the oxen and sheep.

He knocked over the tables of the money-changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, “Take all this away, and stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!”

His disciples recalled the words of Scripture : “Zeal for Your House devours me like fire.”

The Jews then questioned Jesus, “Where are the miraculous signs which give you the right to do this?” And Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”

The Jews then replied, “The building of this temple has already taken forty-six years, and will You raise it up in three days?” Actually Jesus was referring to the Temple of His Body. Only when He had risen from the dead did His disciples remember these words; then they believed both the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.

Monday, 4 November 2013 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White (Bishops)

Romans 11 : 29-36

Because the call of God and His gifts cannot be nullified. Through the disobedience of the Jews the mercy of God came to you who did not obey God. They in turn will receive mercy in due time after this disobedience that brought God’s mercy to you. So God has submitted all to disobedience, in order to show His mercy to all.

How deep are the riches, the wisdom, and knowledge of God! His decisions cannot be explained, nor His ways understood! Who has ever known God’s thoughts? Who has ever been His adviser? Who has given Him something first, so that God had to repay Him?

For everything comes from Him, has been made by Him and has to return to Him. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

Saturday, 2 November 2013 : Solemnity of All Souls (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Black

Brothers and sisters in Christ, after we celebrated the feast of all saints yesterday, today we also remember all of our faithful departed, the souls of the dead, those who departed before us, some of which are known to us, as our own relatives, brothers and sisters in Christ. They have departed from us, but certainly they are not forgotten, as they remain with us, united in God.

Just like all saints, those who had departed this world are also our intercessors. They pray for us who are still in this world, this sinful world, immersed in our sinfulness. At the same time we also pray for them, that the Lord will welcome them into the kingdom of God, opening the gates of heaven for them, forgiving their sins, and purifying them that they will be able to join the company of saints and angels.

The Lord had given all of us and the souls departed a new and great hope, that they may receive salvation in Him, and be freed from the bondage of sin and evil. Previously, mankind had no hope for salvation, as the gates of heaven was closed shut tight before them, as the consequence and punishment for their rebellion and sinfulness.

It is through Jesus then, that we are made righteous again. It is because Christ took unto Himself all of our sins and defects, suffering for all the consequences of our sins in place of us, and die a humiliating death, all that so we can have a new hope in Him, the hope of a life eternal in glory with God in the afterlife. Through His resurrection, we then too share the hope of the same resurrection, that we will be brought body and soul, purified and made worthy by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

But this salvation is only offered to all those who receive and accept Christ as their Lord, their God, and their Saviour. In accepting the Lord Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, they receive the fullness of the salvation promised to all of us. But those who rejected Him and spurned His love will have no part in the glory promised to them. Instead, they shall perish and suffer everlasting death in the eternal darkness of hell.

If we are saved, then why do we need to pray for our departed ones, the souls of the dead? That is because, we believe that, in our faith, as a central dogma, is the presence of the purgatory, as a temporary place where souls transit on their way towards heaven. These souls have been found worthy by the Lord, worthy of heaven and therefore, they did not deserve hell and the devil’s fate for their destination. Yet, for them, they still have venial and small sins that prevented them from truly being with the Lord. This is why we have the souls in purgatory.

In purgatory, the souls are being purified of their sins, through suffering that they are not yet able to be with God. Nevertheless, this is unlike hell, which is a state of total and complete separation from God, in which there is no hope, an eternal suffering without end. In the purgatory are good souls who deserve to be with God, but they need to be rid of these little imperfections first before they can enter heaven. God is so great and perfect, and so perfectly good that no evil can hope to stand in His presence and survive. That is why, we have souls in purgatory.

Through our prayers, we help the souls departed in purgatory, that the Lord will pardon them completely, and allow them to be completely reunited with His love. Our prayers do help, brothers and sisters, if we are sincere. These souls, suffering the temporal separation from God, also pray for us, that we can grow more faithful and evade damnation, together with the saints, who intercede for us daily and at all times without cease.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, today, as we pray for the souls departed and the souls in purgatory, let us also take some time to reflect on our own actions, that we may seek to rectify any errors and unworthiness that we still maintain before the Lord, which distanced us from the embrace and love of God. Let us from now on, seek to be righteous and to be worthy, loving God’s children and He who is our Father Himself, with all of our hearts, our minds, and our souls. Amen.