Wednesday, 19 November 2014 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the first reading we continue through the reading of the Book of the Apocalypse according to St. John the Evangelist, who received the vision of the coming of the end of time while he was exiled at the Isle of Patmos. In that reading, we see the glory of God fully revealed, the triumphant glory of our Lord and King, He who is enthroned in heaven, Jesus the Lamb of God who had shed His blood to purchase us from the hands of death.

Such was the love and care which our Lord and God had showered us with, and we have been given so many things, just as Jesus Himself explained to the people using the parable of the talents in the Gospel today, the well-known parable where Jesus told of a master of the house and his servants, to whom the master entrusted silver talents as he left to assume the kingship in a distant country.

God gave us all many gifts in us, and each of us have different sets of this gift according to our own uniqueness and abilities. That is how unique and wonderful God’s works is. We are not meant to be perfect in all things, but we are to complement each other, and to live with one another, helping each other and showing love to one another. We cannot isolate ourselves from others around us, especially those who are in need of what God had given us.

The parable of the talents is a classic example of how Jesus showed mankind of His future coming into the world, as a triumphant King and Master of all, even though He once came in the form of a humble Human being, a mere carpenter’s son. At the end of time, as we all keep strongly the faith in our Creed, we believe that He will come again as the Great Judge of all, to judge all the living and the dead for all of their deeds in life.

The master is the Lord Jesus, who came into the world, and by His life, His suffering, death and resurrection, obtained for us all who believe in Him, the grace and gift of eternal life and salvation, a gift beyond any comparison. Thus, all of us who have been baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are truly like the servants whom the master entrusted with the silver talents.

Why is this so? That is because, indeed, we have life in us, as the basic and most fundamental gift of the Lord to us, but then, when we received the sacrament of baptism, we ourselves were welcomed into the Church and were made sons and daughters of the Lord. And as the children of God and the members of His Church, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit into us, and principal among these gifts are namely faith, hope and love.

But these gifts are dormant, brothers and sisters in Christ, and like a farmer sowing seeds in his field, if the field is not worked and tilled with hoe and effort put into the growing of the crops, then the seed will remain just that, that is as seed, and will not grow. In order for the seeds to grow into bountiful and strong plants, they need to be cared for and nourished with effort.

The same therefore applies to us all, as the gifts of God lying dormant within us are waiting for us to unleash them and release them to those around us, whom we can indeed touch and benefit with the gifts we have. We have a choice here, either to let those gifts remain dormant, because we are reluctant, or fearful, or doubtful, or simply plain lazy or selfish, that we are like the lazy and worthless servant, who hid his master’s silver talent, and in the end, the silver talent bore no profit or use.

Thus, our talents, gifts and blessings from God will be useless and worthless if we let them lie dormant in us. The other choice we have is to open up the doors of our heart, and allow these gifts to flow from us, and in the process, they will grow plenty, just like a small seed growing to such a big tree and plant, and just as the silver talent invested carefully bearing much profits and income for those who had wisely invested it.

Remember, just as in the parable, the master would return from the distant kingdom to ask all of his servants to account for the silver talents they have been entrusted with. The master who went off to a faraway kingdom, was indeed Jesus who after His resurrection, went forth to His kingdom in heaven, the everlasting kingdom, to prepare a place for all those who believe in Him. He ascended into heaven, but He will indeed come again as He had foretold.

And His return will be sudden and unannounced, so that many people will be caught unaware and unprepared. At that time, those who had lived righteously and acted according to the will of God are like the faithful and diligent servants, who worked on the silver talents and brought handsome returns with it, doubling whatever had been given to them.

These will be rewarded and blessed forever, and they will have inheritance in God’s kingdom. But for those who have failed to use whatever God had given them and blessed them with, they will suffer rejection by God and cast away into the utter darkness. The choice is ours, brothers and sisters, for it is fully in our control to utilise the gifts had given us.

May Almighty God give us the strength and courage to overcome our fears and reluctance, to put into use the various gifts, talents and abilities which He had given us, so that we may put them to good use, to benefit all those around us, our neighbours, our brothers and sisters. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/17/wednesday-19-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

 

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/17/wednesday-19-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/17/wednesday-19-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/

Friday, 27 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast that is truly important for us, that is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrating the very love that God has for us, and which He had shown to us through Jesus Christ, His life and ministry, and ultimately the death He faced on the cross, all the pure and concrete show of His love for us.

Today we also celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life, that is we pray for the priests and all those who had dedicated themselves to the Lord, to keep themselves holy and faithful, that they will keep themselves, in their thoughts, in their actions and in their deeds, to be always holy and representative of the Lord, and bring glory to Him through their actions.

God had chosen them out of His people to serve them, and to be His consecrated ones, to live life in holiness, and to help spread the love He had shown to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the actual and concrete manifestation of God’s love to us, the love made flesh, and the Word of God made flesh. Through Jesus God wants to tell us that He loves us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God loves us so much, and I keep on telling this to all of you repeatedly, because many of us fail to realise this, and we fail to realise how every single breath we take, and this life, are all because of His love for us. If not for His love and mercy, we would all have perished and be destroyed because of our sins and iniquities.

Instead, God who hates sin and rebellion against His will, is willing to look beyond our sinfulness and desires to welcome us back into His presence, after we have repented and changed our ways, that we leave behind our sinfulness and wicked lives, changing them for a new life in God. And He gave us the ultimate gift of His love, a concrete and real gift in Jesus, the proof of the ultimate love of God for us.

Brethren, the love of God has descended from the Lord and to us, through Jesus, whose heart is always filled with love and concern for each and every one of us. The devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a relatively recent occurrence, having been institutionalised only a few hundred years ago. However, this was born from the desire of mankind to recognise that love which God has for each and every one of us.

The Lord does not seek our destruction or for us to perish because of our sins, unless if we ourselves refuse to be saved. As we had heard in the Gospel today, through Jesus our Lord, God wants us to come to Him and be saved. He offers freely His love for us, and He stretches His hands wide to welcome us back into His loving embrace and protection.

He will bring us enlightenment and rejuvenation if we change our ways to trust Him and repent from our past, sinful lives. But sadly, the reality is that many of us do not realise this love that God has for us, flowing freely and generously from His most loving and merciful heart. We either fear God because we fear the punishments and consequences of our sins and faults thus we fear to approach the Lord, or we are simply too engrossed in our worldly lives for us to notice this love, ending up in our ignorance of God’s love.

This devotion to the Sacred Heart and this celebration we have today is meant to remind us of God’s great love for us, which is evident and enshrined in His own Most Sacred Heart. Yes, brethren, a heart that is full of love for us, full of mercy for our plight, and full of compassion for our difficulties in this world. This is the essence of the celebration we have today, a celebration of God’s love and mercy through His Most Sacred Heart.

This love is now given to us through the extensions of His love, that is through His disciples and holy Apostles, and from them through our priests, bishops and all those who gave themselves to the service of God and His people. Our priests and all those devoted to a life of service to God through holy ordination had been entrusted with power, love and authority to be Alter Christus, or in simple terms, to be the Christ personified and living in the person of the priests.

As such, it is imperative and necessary that our priests to have that sanctity and holiness, that they may truly represent Christ in our world today. Let us all pray therefore, that our priests will be and will remain holy and thoroughly dedicated in their service to God and mankind. We pray that through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus our Lord, they too may love tenderly and give of their love to those who are in great need for love.

Let us help one another, particularly our priests and religious, that our lives will be better aligned with the will of God, and that we will grow stronger in love and faith. God be with us all, and may the love of His Sacred Heart be with us and enter our heart, that we too may love one another and Him, just as He had loved us first. God be with us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 28-36

About eight days after Jesus had said all this, He took Peter, John, and James, and went up the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the aspect of His face was changed, and His clothing became dazzling white. Two men were talking with Jesus : Moses and Elijah. Appearing in the glory of heaven, Moses and Elijah spoke to Jesus about His departure from this life, which was to take place in Jerusalem.

Peter and his companions had fallen asleep; but they awoke suddenly, and they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. As Moses and Elijah were about to leave, Peter – not knowing what to say – said to Jesus, “Master, how good it is for us to be here! Let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

And no sooner had he spoken, than a cloud appeared and covered them; and the disciples were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then these words came from the cloud, “This is My Son, My Beloved, listen to Him.” And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was there alone. The disciples kept this to themselves at the time, telling no one of anything they had seen.

Sunday, 16 June 2013 : 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters, today we feel the love and mercy of God reaching out to us, willing to redeem us from our sins and our faults, despite our constant rebellion, and despite our constant complaints and whining. He is a merciful and loving God, that He sent to us His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as our only hope at salvation. For it is through the redemptive action of Christ by His suffering and ultimate sacrifice on the cross, through His priceless Blood, that we are all redeemed, and have hope in salvation, providing that we believe in Him and remain steadfast in our faith in Him.

Salvation lies only in the faith in Christ through the Church, that is, brothers and sisters, by the baptism sealed in the Holy Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, in which we are welcomed into the family of the saved ones in the Church of God, our Church. Outside the Church there is no salvation, although Christ did die for all and made all people righteous in redemption, by erasing from them the sins of their forefathers, the rebellion of mankind against the will of God.

The Lord did not come to save the righteous, for they are already saved. He came looking for sinners, for the worst of them, because these are the ones who need salvation the most. If they repent and accept Him as their Lord, they would be saved and be spared from the fires of hell and eternal damnation. The sinful woman, who repented and asked in great humility for forgiveness was a perfect example of this, how the Lord is willing to save those who had repented from their sinful ways and resolved to love God and serve Him henceforth, completing turning their backs to their old, sinful past.

The great and saintly Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen had once said that our relationship to the Lord is akin to that of a candle and a light. A candle and light illuminates its surroundings and reveal the hidden darkness, and unveil all the ugly things that lie hidden in the darkness. The closer something is brought to the light, the more is revealed of that thing in the light. The uglier is the defects, the more visible they become as it is brought ever closer to the light of God.

That is why, just as Christ had told us in the story of the creditor and the two debtors, in which the creditor graciously forgave both debtors from their debts, and as the Pharisees rightfully answer our Lord, that the one with the greater debt would appreciate and love the act more, because of the greater extent of the ‘debt’ that the one has over the other, so does the greater of sinners would then be ever more ready to be redeemed and reunited with Christ, and accepting His mercy.

It does not mean then those with less sin are then less worthy of our God or anything, or that they in any way would not be as pious and humble as those with the greater sin, in approaching the throne of God for forgiveness. Rather, what matters is what is within the hearts of each one of us, that we truly focus all our attentions towards the Lord our God.

What Archbishop Sheen and Christ had said is indeed that the greater is our sin, and the closer we are to the throne of God, the more our sins are being revealed. Therefore, as we approach closer to that throne of mercy, the more we should humble ourselves, because we are ever more reminded of the depth of our sins and our faults, and how unworthy we are before the Lord, who is good and perfect. But the Lord who is good and loving, is willing to make us worthy of Him and redeem us, and cleanse us from the darkness and ugliness that is within us.

That is why, it does not mean that being holy and pious then we become haughty and arrogant of our own holiness and our own sanctity, as indeed, if the words of Archbishop Sheen take hold, its meaning is clear, that those who are closer to God and always remain in His presence, will be even more aware of their sins and their darkness. The holy saints and holy people of God are always reminded of this fact, and the unworthiness of their own soul before the Lord, and that was what strengthened them and empowered them to strive always for holiness and purity of the soul.

Do not be like the Pharisees who were hypocrites, in that they glorify their own sanctity and purity in front of the people, in pursuit of human glory rather that divine approval, and also thought lowly of the sinners like the sinful woman, but he did not give glory to God, unlike the woman, who was in complete awareness of her sins, that she lowered herself before God and served Him in humility.

King David too, who was a great and righteous king of God’s people, Israel, was not free from the temptation of sin. The lust and desire for beautiful woman had corrupted his heart and clouded his judgment that he sinned before the Lord by causing the death of Uriah the Hittite and claimed his wife as his own. But King David also acted like the woman, in that when the prophet Nathan chastised him and brought him to the full awareness of his sins, he submitted to the wrath of God and humbly asked for His mercy and forgiveness, even though he was indeed a great and mighty king.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, do not fear the Lord, for although He was not happy with our sins, but He was willing to accept us back into His embrace and indeed He wants to embrace us again in His caring love, if we want to repent and change our sinful ways, the way that King David and the woman had brought to God their contrite hearts and their obedience to God.

Let us always be reminded of our sins and our unworthiness before God, and most importantly, remember the love of God, and His desire to be reunited with us, which will be accomplished if we accept His offer of salvation, that He made on the cross, and if we accept that offer, by accepting Him as our Lord and Saviour, we will receive eternal life and blessing in heaven.

May God be with us at all times, and purify our hearts from the taints of sin, empowering us with love and charity, to also help one another to return to God, our Father who loves us. Amen.

Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan, the Papabile

http://www.eitb.com/en/news/world/detail/1282802/candidates-new-pope–profile-cardinal-angelo-scola/

From the article (My commentary at the end) :

 

Election of new pope

Profile of Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan

APTN

03/11/2013

A conservative, and theologically close to both Pope Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II, Cardinal Scola is regarded as one of the leading European candidates to become Pope.

Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan.

Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, shot to the top of a list of possible successors to Pope Benedict XVI almost immediately the resignation was announced.

A conservative, and theologically close to both Pope Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II, Cardinal Scola is regarded as one of the leading European candidates to become Pope.

Some observers tipped him to succeed after the death of John Paul II in 2005, but the conclave instead chose Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who became Benedict XVI, the 265th pope.

But if there was rivalry between the candidates in 2005, it had little effect on their close relationship, and Scola remained a favourite of Pope Benedict’s, who appointed the Cardinal archbishop of the Milan Diocese in June 2011.

In the small town of Malgrate on Lake Como in northern Italy, many of the 5,000 residents are backing their hometown boy to become Pope. Scola was born in Malgrate on 7 November 1941 to a truck driver and a homemaker.

He entered the priesthood in 1970, became a Cardinal in 2003, serving first as Patriarch of Milan until he was elevated to his current post of archbishop.

Scola’s cousin, Angelo Colombo, remembers that during World War II he would spend time at his cousin’s home because Scola’s father was a truck driver and could get access to flour and bread.

Colombo said he would go to Scola’s family home, and his aunt and the future Cardinal would always share their food. When he asked if he thought his cousin would make a good Pope, Colombo laughed and responded: “he was a tough boy”.

Scola spent the early years of his life in a small home on Malgrate’s Salita Sant’Antonio. Alfredo Cagliandi was a classmate of Cardinal Scola and lived in the apartment below him.

“We would invite Angelo to come and play and he would repeatedly respond ‘I am sorry, but I don’t have time.’  He was too busy because was already involved in something religious,” said Cagliandi, who still lives in Malgrate.

Scola spent the first two decades after his 1970 ordination in the lecture halls and libraries of renowned Catholic universities and theological training grounds, notably in Fribourg, Switzerland, and the Lateran Pontifical University in Rome.

While pursuing theological studies, Scola was involved in Communion and Liberation, a conservative Italian Catholic group which blends political activism with faith-based fervour as it seeks to make its weight felt in the country’s decision-making.

Back in Scola’s home town, the local priest Father Andrea Lotterio proudly showed off the baptismal font where he says the town’s babies are still baptised today, noting that Scola was baptised there in 1941.

Father Lotterio said Scola has pleased the residents of Malgrate by never losing his strong ties to his hometown. “He has maintained his relationships with many local citizens, with his friends, with his relatives,” Lotterio said. “So much so that in this town he is called Don Angelo, instead of Cardinal or Patriarch of Venice.”

Pope Benedict resigned as leader of the Catholic Church on Thursday, becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign. For the time being, the governance of the Catholic Church shifts to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the camerlengo, or chamberlain. Bertone, along with the College of Cardinals will guide the church and make plans for the conclave to elect the 266th leader within the next few weeks.

 

Commentary and additions:

Indeed, Cardinal Angelo Scola has many strengths and characteristics that we need as the new Pope to lead the Roman Catholic Church, the one and Universal Church. He does have his weaknesses, but his strengths more than made up for him. After all, it is human to have weaknesses and to make mistakes.

Cardinal Scola is media-savvy, able to reach out into the hearts of many, including youths and those in the world, who are longing for the Lord to come to them. Being media-savvy, and also internet-savvy, Cardinal Scola is not shy of using modern media tools, such as the internet, twitter, YouTube, his own site, and many other means to evangelise to the world, and to reach out, especially to youths.

Cardinal Scola also has a positive outlook and optimism in the Church, and indeed, instead of being pessimistic on the Church, and instead of looking at a Church in trouble, he dismissed all this, and all the lies that the media had brought about the Church, that the Church instead of being in chaos and trouble, is in fact growing, and filled with vibrant and strong faith and love in God, and Cardinal Scola has the capacity to tap into all these energies.

Cardinal Scola also came from a poorer family background, and he understood the plight of the poor and the less fortunate. His hometown people has often remembered him as someone who not only did not forget about where he came from, and where he was born, but also someone who constantly gives them his care and his love, in imitation of Christ and His care for the poor.

Cardinal Scola speaks Italian, English, French, and Spanish, and although his English is not that good, but he has quite a strong command of these languages, which are essential in the Pope’s ministry as the leader of the Universal Church.

Cardinal Scola’s initiatives to reach out to the Christians in the Holy Land and in other areas where Christians are minorities, and his involvement in interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and even with atheists, had been fruitful and crucial in strengthening Christians in the areas where they had been persecuted, and where persecutions are ongoing.

His experience in the Archdiocese of Milan, Patriarchate of Venice, and Diocese of Grosseto clearly showed that he is a pastoral leader with a humble and yet intellectual mind, that matches that of our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Yet, his experiences in the Roman Curia too were many, with works as leader of Pontifical Institute of Marriage and the Family, which he also took a strong stand with the Church in the sanctity of both marriage and the family.

His intellect, knowledge, and publications especially in topics like bioethics, in the midst of the attacks against Church’s stand on bioethics, cloning, and contraceptions will be essential for the future leader of the Church, and his ability to connect and reach out to people, more than Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, will be valuable asset to have in the new Pope.

Nevertheless, now that the Conclave will begin soon, we continue to pray that God will pour His Holy Spirit on all the Cardinal-electors, that they can make a wise and inspired decision, to elect someone whom the Lord has chosen, as the best possible person to succeed His Apostle, Peter, and lead the whole Universal Church, that God Himself built in this world, to be the manifestation of His love, justice, and presence.

Friday, 8 February 2013 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Scripture Reflection)

We heard today of the tale of how St. John the Baptist was killed by Herod, out of Herod’s adulterous behaviour with his brother’s wife, and that wife’s hatred on John. St. John the Baptist, who had come before Christ to make straight the way for the Lord, met his death at the hands of the corrupt and immoral person who called himself the king of Judea at that time.

Who is John the Baptist? He is the cousin of Jesus, son of Elizabeth, miraculously conceived when Elizabeth was already old and barren, because the Lord desires that through her, a great prophet preceding Christ be born. St. John the Baptist indeed become the last prophet just before the coming of the Messiah, declaring to the world to repent and to be baptised at the River Jordan, in order to prepare themselves for the Messiah, who in fact at that time, had already walked on this world, in the form of Jesus, son of Mary, and Son of the Most High God.

John the Baptist’s call was heeded by many, who came to be baptised by John, and to truly repent from their sins. Nevertheless, the Pharisees and the scribes, just as they will later reject Jesus, they were also skeptical of John’s prophetic mission, and did not repent as many others do. But John managed to lay out the foundation for the later works of Christ and His disciples, just like a farmer plowing the soil preparing for it for the sower, who is Christ, who spreads the seeds on the plowed soil, fertile and ready, and thus are able to produce fruits hundredfold and thousandfold.

After Jesus was baptised by John, He arises in importance, which John in great humility said to his own disciples that just as the Lord for whom he has come to prepare the path for, is rising, he himself has to become lesser. His task in preparing the path for the Lord is complete, and in the last part of his life, which was told in the Gospel today, he was imprisoned for chastising Herod the king and his adultery with Herodias, his brother’s wife.

In ancient Jewish custom, this is actually not unacceptable for a brother to take care of a deceased brother’s wife, and take her as his own wife. Remember another story from the Bible, where the Saducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, asked the Lord about whose wife is the woman who was married to seven brothers, who died one after the other. Clearly, this custom is identified as the norm at that time, as the widow is perceived to be financially incapable of supporting herself, and therefore, it is justified for the brother to come in and take care of his sister-in-law by marrying her himself.

However, in this case, this is different because, just as Jesus later will stress, that marriage is a sacrosanct act, in which a man and woman is joined by God, and through God, this union, when made is eternal and cannot be dissolved by either man or even angels. For what God has made one, no man shall divide. This is the new commandment of the new covenant that Christ brought with His coming, and John, as the messenger of the Lord, did his last service to God by putting forward this teaching, against none other than Herod himself.

It is sad that today, many disregard the sanctity of marriage, and think that marriage is a trivial matter, and that divorce can be so easily contemplated and done. Divorce is something which should be avoided at all costs, as it directly violates what God has told us, that what He had brought together in marriage, which is a Sacrament on its own, no one, not even the husband and the wife themselves should divide back into two. It is sad that in our modern world, many take divorces lightly, and even marry again after the divorce. Many who did this, did so because they claim that they no longer love the wife, or worse that they have been tempted with lust and desire for another woman or man.

In order to maintain the sanctity of marriage, it is paramount that in the family, the faith in the Lord be kept strong, and that all actions should be carried out in love, and in accordance with God’s will. This is why it is important for couples and families, to come together and have meals together as best as they can everyday, so that they will stay close, despite challenges and temptations, and pray together, that the Lord will continue to bless them and strengthen their union, so that the evil one cannot come in between them and made them to decide to split.

Many couples are able to last for decades and many last beyond 50 years, and indeed, until death brought them apart, but not forever, since we know that we eventually will be reunited with the loved ones when we ourselves ascend to heaven at the end of our own lives. Indeed, their secret is no other than ensuring that couples constantly speak to one another from heart to heart, and coming together at all times, with their children, to pray regularly, to share the meal at the table. Remember that when more than two and three gathered in God’s name, He will be there, and will remain there with them, always.

Another story which I will bring to your attention, besides the already told story of John the Baptist, Herod, and Herodias, is the story of the divorces of King Henry VIII, the founder of the Anglican ‘church’ in his vain search for a male heir. King Henry VIII divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, because she was not able to produce a male heir for him, although she did produce a daughter. His appeal to divorce her to the Pope was rejected, and King Henry VIII, displeased at the Papal disapproval went his own way and rebel from the Church, creating his own Anglican ‘church’.

St. Thomas More, King Henry VIII’s chancellor, refused to follow his king into rebellion from Rome, and chastised the king for his immoral behaviour in seeking to marry Anne Boleyn, who was to become the king’s second wife. He was asked to choose between loyalty to his king, and be given great wealth and influence as he always had before that, and thus even greater afterwards, or death if he remains faithful to the true Church. St. Thomas More abandoned all of his worldly wealth and fame, and chose to remain faithful to the Lord, and was therefore martyred.

Ultimately, King Henry VIII would kill Anne Boleyn after she herself failed to produce a male heir, and eventually married no less than four more times, with a total of having six wives and at least two mistresses, and all ultimately in vain, since even when there was a male heir, he died young, and the dynasty died out.

All that futile attempts was most damaging especially if we see how today, 80 million Christians who are in the Anglican Communion, are the direct product of this adulterous behaviour of King Henry VIII. This is an example on how if marriage is not kept as sacrosanct and indivisible in nature, not only it can affect just the two, but especially in King Henry’s case, it caused the destruction of the unity in the Body of Christ, that is the Church. Until today, we still pray and hope that all of them will eventually return soon to the true Faith and Church.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Jerome Emiliani, an Italian charitable man who cared deeply for the poor and orphans in early 16th century northern Italy, and died after in his pious work of service to the sick and the poor, he contracted a disease that killed him, and St. Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian nun, who was once a slave from Sudan, who after being freed from slavery, converted to Christianity and committed herself to the Lord by joining the Canossians as a nun. She was noted for her great faith in the Lord, and her dedication to Mary, His mother. She was also very much noted for her great heart and forgiving nature, seeking not revenge against her enemies, and even her former slavemasters, but rather seeking to forgive them and bless them instead.

Therefore, in the footsteps of these great saints, let us all strive, especially for those amongst us who are married, to keep our lives holy and meaningful, by doing what is good for the sake of others, just like St. Jerome Emiliani in service of the poor and the sick, by giving and sharing what we have more to those who need them more, and by our gentle and forgiving nature, following the example of St. Josephine Bakhita, who strive to keep herself pure and holy in the presence of God.

Let us pray also for the unity of all Christians, that especially for the Anglicans today, that their detachment from the Body of Christ that is the Church can soon be reversed, through our constant prayers to God, and through God’s actions, may the unity of the Church be restored. What damages King Henry VIII had done in his adulterous ways parallel to what Herod had done, in direct opposition to the Lord’s will on the sanctity of marriage, may we begin to heal through concrete attempts to reunite back the branches of the Body of Christ back onto its trunk, the Church.

Pray for us, St. Thomas More. And St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us all too. Pray for God’s holy Church that it will be one again, and indivisible, just like marriage, as the Lord has made His Church one, just like He and the Father is one and indivisible in the Holy Trinity. Amen.

+Ut Omnes Unum Sint+

(That they all may be One)