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/

Saturday, 22 November 2014 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr of the Faith. St. Cecilia was also well known as the patron saint of Church music and hymns, and as the patron of choirs. She was a Roman noblewoman who lived a pious Christian life, and was martyred for her faith together with her husband, and other Christians, who were also counted the holy martyrs.

St. Cecilia is one of the most renowned and prominent saints of the Church, as she is the patron of musicians and songs made to glorify God. St. Cecilia married her husband, whose name was Valerian, and during the wedding it was said that St. Cecilia sang in her heart full of joy and praise to God, which then became the reason why she is associated with musicians and all those involved in Church music.

When the time came for her to consummate her marriage to her husband, an angel of the Lord appeared to her and proclaimed to her that the wrath of the Lord would come upon whoever it was that tried to violate the virginity of St. Cecilia. When her husband inquired about the angel, St. Cecilia pointed out where he could witness the sign of God, and as a result, her husband became a believer of Christ and was baptised.

St. Cecilia was martyred and her memory was preserved by veneration of the faithful. Her former residence became the site of the Church of St. Cecilia, to where many people thronged to, even until this day. St. Cecilia became a long time patron of music, and in particular the beautiful Church music and symphonies of praise to God, and numerous musical establishments and choirs were named in her honour.

Today, as we come together to celebrate the feast of this great saint and martyr, we listened to the words of the Sacred Scripture, in the Gospel we heard how the Lord rebuked the Sadducees, the faction of the people of Judea who did not believe in the resurrection from the dead, angels, or any other supernatural phenomena, beyond what they could prove with their senses.

The Sadducees thought that resurrection of the dead was meaningless and a nonsense, using the example of a woman who was betrothed to seven brothers as a justification. But their view and opinion on the laws of Moses was twisted and false. They thought not in terms of the divine, but in terms of the flawed senses of men. They trusted their own judgments and wishes rather than to trust in the Lord.

They thought in terms of human lust and desires, and they thought that this life in this world ought to be given to hedonistic pleasures and desires. But they failed to realise that in the world that is to come, all will have no more need for worldly things and desires, for the faithful will be made perfect and united in full perfection with the Lord. And what matters is the purity and sanctity of one’s soul. Being united with God makes us all perfect and all our needs are satisfied. And thus it is shown as if we are like angels before God, praising and singing hymns to God at all times.

Do you know, brothers and sisters in Christ, that singing with devotion is worth twice the prayer? Thus, on this feast day of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music and hymns, let us all seek to bear witness to the Lord through sacred music. Just as in the first reading today, it was told of the witnesses of God who would come at the end of time to preach the truth of God, we too should be witnesses of the Lord, and there is indeed no better way to do so, than to sing hymns of praise to God with the full devotion and focus of our hearts.

The songs of our heart should be song of joy and rejoicing, mimicking the song of the glory of the Lord sung by the angels. That is because we know that we have hope through the Lord who had forgiven us our sins, and to those of us who remain faithful to Him, as St. Cecilia had been, our victory and triumph against evil and darkness is already assured.

St. Cecilia was resolute and firm in defending her faith, and she was also firm in maintaining the purity of her soul, by maintaining her sacred virginity as ordained by God. Through that grace, she had saved not just herself, but also her husband and all those whom she had met and encountered, and many more people inspired by her examples also received the same grace of God.

This is the proof of what Jesus had told to the Pharisees, that in this world, life is more than just enjoyment and pursuit of worldly desires, but indeed, our lives should be filled with meaning and purpose, just as St. Cecilia offered herself to the full and total service to God, singing the hymn of her faith and joy, knowing that she has been found worthy of the Lord and be made pure just as our Lord is pure and good.

The holy witnesses from the Book of revelations were also resolute and firm in their faith, and amidst opposition and threats to them, they remained fully faithful and devoted. And through their witnessing of the faith, they had shown to us, that there is indeed nothing to fear from the power of evil and death, for if we are faithful and truly devoted to God, we have absolutely nothing to fear. The beast might have been able to destroy the body, but it cannot harm our soul. The souls of the faithful are pure and holy, and they are under protection of the Lord, our loving God.

Therefore, be not afraid, brethren! But sing the song of our joy and adulation for the Lord, who alone is worthy of all praise, and be brave in defending our faith and the purity of our hearts. Let us not be like the Sadducees and those others who put their trust in themselves and in the things of this world. Be courageous and faithful in living our faith life, and let us all, inspired by the examples of St. Cecilia, raise the song of our Lord’s praise from our hearts, that through our joyful and triumphant song, we may bring more souls to salvation in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

May Almighty God bring us into His eternal kingdom, which He had prepared for those who had laid down their lives for Him, and also for those who had remained faithful despite the temptations of the world. Let us all be like angels in our honour and praise to God, that our song will echo throughout the heavens and the earth, proclaiming His glory and majesty for all eternity. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/saturday-22-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-cecilia-virgin-and-martyr-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/saturday-22-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-cecilia-virgin-and-martyr-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/saturday-22-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-cecilia-virgin-and-martyr-gospel-reading/

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us through the readings of the Holy Scriptures we are all shown the virtues of obedience and proper behaviours according to the teachings and the ways of the Lord. In the first reading, in continuation of the letter which he sent to Titus while he was in captivity in Rome, St. Paul exhorted the faithful ones of God to follow the rules and expectations for each members of the Church, be it man or woman, old or young.

Meanwhile, in the Gospel reading, Jesus told a parable to His disciples, about a servant and his master, and the relationship between them, which ought to be proper, as how a master should be, and the servant should also act and do things as is expected of him. In this, we also see a clear link with the exhortations of St. Paul, on how the Church consists of many members, made up of many different kinds of peoples, all of whom should behave as they are expected to behave.

Mankind had the nature to rebel and disobeying others. It is often difficult for us to listen to others and follow what they want us to do. Ever since the beginning, we have rebelled against our Divine Master, the Lord God, who was so generous with His love and care for us, His servants, and yet we still chose to walk on our own path, disregarding the commandments of God, and rather, we listened to our own hearts’ desires.

Just look at the people of Israel, the chosen people of God, who for generations continued to rebel against the Lord’s will, and even after the Lord had given them His Law, from time to time, they continued to follow their own paths, worshipping pagan gods and idols, sacrificing to these idols, and also committing other forms of debauchery and wickedness in their lives.

And they wanted a king to rule over them, and God gave His permission for them to do that, and they had kings, some of whom were good, but many were wicked and disobedient to God, acting not as they should. The kings of Israel were the vicars and regents for the Lord’s true reign over His people, Israel, and yet they misappropriated and abused their powers and authority, serving their own purposes, leading the people even deeper into sin and rebellion against the Master of all.

And even in the world today, we still see such rebellious attitudes running rampant among us. It is difficult for many of us to know who we are and what we are expected to do, as a member of God’s Church. That is why, if we look at the various issues at hand, we can see that there are many dissenting voices trying to disturb and in fact destroy the order of things, as God had ordained.

Each of us has our role to play in the Church of God, as the presbyterate, the members of the ordained priesthood, or as the laity, the people of God who live on their daily lives as normal. And the men and women, each of whom had their own unique and complementary roles in the Church, as the members of God’s people. Yet, many people who did not understand how the order of things is like, are trying to disrupt the harmonious way of things is working.

Therefore, we ought to stand up against those who cry out for gender equality in the Church in any of its forms, and the subversion of the roles of the priest and the laity, by the blurring of the differences in their roles. Those who called for such horrendous changes are not educated and ignorant in the truths of our Faith, and as St. Paul had said in his letter, we should help them to learn the truth, find their roles in the Church and act accordingly according to those roles.

The truth is that, each members and parts of the Church have unique roles and expectations, and their roles are distinct and complementary to each other. One cannot usurp the function and role of another without disrupting the proper and good order in the Church.

The priests are the ones who celebrate the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, and also are the ones authorised to give the Holy Sacraments to the people of God. Meanwhile, the laity are not allowed these roles, but instead, what are their roles? Their roles are to help the priests in their ministry and works, and in living their daily lives, they ought to be exemplary and faithful, and in building up their families, they should lead a true Christian way of life, creating good and faithful Christian families.

None of them can function without the other, as they support each other and becoming pillars, strong pillars of the Church and the Faith. And then, with regards to the roles of men and women in the Church, each of them have their own complementary roles, that support each other and perfect each other in the running of the Church.

Only men can become priests, as chosen by the Lord, and it is an unchangeable and unalterable Law of the Lord, given that the Apostles were men. But this does not mean that women are sidelined or discriminated against in the Church. Instead, women also occupy very special role in the Church, as the guardians of the Faith in the family, by her faith and dedication to God, she became role model for her family.

And we also know that there are many female religious, as nuns and others, who dedicated themselves fully to the Lord in prayer and loving service. These religious support the good works of the priests, by assisting in their missionary and loving works, and through dedicated service to mankind, showing a great example of faith to be followed by others. There had been many saints who were holy women, both religious and the laity who had dedicated themselves to the way of the Lord.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a renowned saint and Bishop of Tours during the late Roman Empire. St. Martin of Tours was once a Roman soldier, who was pious and devoted to the Lord. He was born of a pagan family, but he attended Christian services since youth and became a believer against the wishes of his father.

The qualities of St. Martin of Tours had been evident even since his youth. When he was still a centurion in the Roman Army, he met a poor beggar in a town, who was freezing to death on the cold road. St. Martin of Tours was moved with love and pity, cutting his own centurion’s army cloak in half, and giving that half of a cloak to cover the body of the poor beggar.

At night, St. Martin of Tours had a vision of the poor beggar, who brought the half cloak to him, and revealing himself to be none other than the Lord Jesus Himself. He rewarded St. Martin for his actions, and this vision and event simply pushed St. Martin further in his zeal, and it also brought him into the faith completely, for he was still a catechumen at that time.

As a member of the Roman Army, he was often intrigued by the need for him to shed the blood of others, of his enemies, which he felt was against his conscience as a Christian and follower of the Lord. Therefore, eventually he renounced his part in the Army and became a full time follower and servant of the Lord, by becoming disciple of another famous saint, St. Hilary of Poitiers.

As the bishop of Tours, this holy man carried out numerous good works for his flock, building up churches and places of worship, setting numerous standards to be followed by the followers of Christ, and establishing strong foundations of the faith in his diocese. Through his various works as bishop and shepherd to the people of God in Tours, he brought many blessings and goodness to them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, on this holy day of St. Martin of Tours, let us all take home two messages, and two important things which we need to heed in this life. First, is that all of us should play our roles actively in the Church, not by trying to be what we are not supposed to be, but to be faithful to the Lord and His will, just as He had said in the Gospel today, that we fulfill the will and wishes of our Lord and Master, without succumbing to our desires and pride.

And then second, we have to emulate the example of St. Martin of Tours in how he had lived his life. We have to show mercy and charity to others, helping those who are in need of help, so that our faith in the Lord will not be just merely empty faith, but will instead be alive and vibrant, filled with the love of God. And after we have done all these, remember that we have done it not for ourselves, but as the actions of the loving servants of our God.

Let us all say to the Lord, that we have all done our duties faithfully and as a servant of God should have done. Let us grow richer and stronger in our humility, so that we may learn how to live according to the role which God had given us, and not to seek to gain more for our own purposes. And we hope that He who sees all and knows all that we do, will reward us with His everlasting grace and love. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-first-reading/

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-psalm/

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-gospel-reading/

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 17 : 7-10

At that time, Jesus said, “Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner?’ No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterwards.'”

“Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I do not think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.'”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29

Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and live on it. Make the Lord your delight, and He will grant your heart’s desire.

The Lord watches over the lives of the upright; forever will their inheritance abide. The Lord is the One who makes people stand, He gives firmness to those He likes.

Do good and shun evil, so that you will live secure forever. The righteous will possess the land; they will make it their home forever.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Titus 2 : 1-8, 11-14

Let your words strengthen sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be sober, serious, wise, sound in faith, love and perseverance.

The older women in like manner must behave as befits holy women, not given to gossiping or drinking wine, but as good counsellors, able to teach younger women to love their husbands and children, to be judicious and chaste, to take care of their households, to be kind and submissive to their husbands, lest our faith be attacked.

Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. Set them an example by your own way of doing. Let your teaching be earnest and sincere, and your preaching beyond reproach. Then your opponents will feel ashamed and will have nothing to criticise.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, teachings 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 for us, to redeem us from every evil and to purify a people He wanted to be His own and dedicated to what is good.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/10/tuesday-11-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-martin-of-tours-bishop-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 19 October 2014 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mission Sunday and Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs; and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 22 : 15-21

At that time, the Pharisees went out and considered how they could trap Jesus by His own words. They then sent out their disciples, with members of Herod’s party, for this purpose.

They said to Jesus, “Master, we know that You are an honest Man and truly teach God’s way. You are not influenced by others nor are You afraid of anyone. So tell us what You think : is it against the Law to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus understood their bad intentions, and said to them, “Hypocrites, why are you testing Me? Show Me the coin with which you pay the taxes.” They showed Him a silver coin, and Jesus said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose name?”

They answered, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus replied, “So give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.”