Saturday, 9 January 2016 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the actions of John the Baptist and Jesus, who were both baptising the people at the Jordan river. We heard about how he humbly rejoiced when his own Lord and Master gained popularity over that of his, and despite the protests from his own disciples, he remained true to his mission, that is as the herald and as the one who preceded the coming of the Messiah of God.

Through him, the world now knows the reality and the truth found in the Saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who came into this world in order to save it from the certain destruction if we were all to follow our usual path in the ways of the world, and in all the vices and sins we have committed daily in our respective lives. Through Him this world has found a new light.

And it is to this light that all of us have been called, that is to shed and to leave behind all the traces and taints of our sins and wickedness behind us, and to put forth righteousness and faith in our God. In Jesus our Lord, we have the example and the lead to follow if we are to be freed from the bonds of darkness and the servitude to sin and death that had kept us and many others chained throughout the ages.

As we approach the ending of our celebration of Christmas and all of its mysteries and nature, all of us should take some time to reflect on what Christmas and its joy, and indeed what our faith truly means for us. Is it just the celebration and joy because we are following what others had done, and then we just join in all the fun and the partying? Or did we rejoice because we know what the Lord had done for us?

St. John the Baptist knew all these, and as he knew the greatness of God’s love and all that He had planned to do for us all mankind, he rejoiced and praised the Lord with all his might whenever he heard the Lord Jesus making advances in His earthly works and missions, as he knew that he had been successful in the mission he was brought into this world for, that is to prepare the way for his Lord and Master, Jesus.

It is in our human nature to be jealous and to desire things for ourselves, such as power, influence, money, wealth and many other worldly goods and things. And therefore, the disciples of John the Baptist asked such questions because they thought it would have been natural for someone to be jealous and to be angry when another person seems to be better and doing things that are harmful or in opposition to what a person is doing.

But St. John the Baptist enlightened them and told them how as a servant of God, Whose works were then just beginning to take off, into the perfect fulfilment of God’s plan of salvation, he was just a tool in the hands of the Lord. And what is important is that the work of God was done, and as he diminished and became less, the Lord became more important.

In the first reading, we all heard at the end of the reading, where St. John in his letter or epistle reminded all the faithful who read that Epistle, of the importance of avoiding idols and keeping ourselves free from the taints of wickedness. This is applicable to us all today as well, as these idols will bring us further away from the Lord and ever closer to damnation.

We may think that we are safe from idols and from such corruptions, but we are truly wrong in this. Take note that these idols may not be the idols of gold, silver, wood or stone, carvings and images of animals as it was in the past, but our new idols are the idols of money, of fame, of recognition and affluence, all of which often come in between us and God.

Let us all therefore today commit ourselves anew in faith to our Lord, so that we may be able to better resist the temptation of these new idols, and therefore gain for ourselves the salvation that we can only find in the Lord our God. Let us commit ourselves to say and do things that will glorify God forevermore and let us no longer be idle or be distracted in our path. God bless us all in all of our endeavours. Amen.

Saturday, 9 January 2016 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 22-30

At that time, Jesus went into the territory of Judea with His disciples. He stayed there with them and baptised. John was also baptising in Aenon, near Salim, where water was plentiful; people came to him and were baptised. This happened before John was put in prison.

Now John’s disciples had been questioned by a Jew about spiritual cleansing, so they came to John and said, “Rabbi, the One Who was with you across the Jordan, and about Whom you spoke favourably, is now baptising, and all are going to him.”

John answered, “No one can receive anything, except what has been given to Him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’ Only the bridegroom has the bride; but the friend of the bridegroom stands by and listens, and rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice.”

“My joy is now full. It is necessary that He increase but that I decrease.”

Saturday, 9 January 2016 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips. This is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Saturday, 9 January 2016 : Saturday after the Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 14-21

Through Him we are fully confident that whatever we ask, according to His will, He will grant us. If we know that He hears us whenever we ask, we know that we already have what we asked of Him.

If you see your brother committing sin, a sin which does not lead to death, pray for him, and God will give life to your brother. I speak, of course, of the sin which does not lead to death. There is also a sin that leads to death; I do not speak of praying about this. Every kind of wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin leads to death.

We know that those born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them and the evil one does not touch them. We know that we belong to God, while the whole world lies in evil. We know that the Son of God has come and has given us power to know the truth. We are in Him Who is true, His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

My dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

Saturday, 11 January 2014 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

We may be confused at first, when we listened to the first reading today, how that there are two kinds of sin, one that does not lead to death and one that leads to death. But indeed, there are indeed two kinds of sin that we know of in the Church, one being the venial sins, the lesser sins that are not very serious, and the other being the mortal sins, sins that are both heavy and serious in consequences.

But this does not mean that we should not take all sins seriously. Indeed, every kind of sins are serious and deadly, no matter how light or small they are. We cannot treat sinfulness lightly or we may end up in death. What is this death? As we all know, that the Lord is the Lord of life, and in Him, we have hope of eternal life, and liberation from the power of sin and death.

If we sin, that we are no longer worthy of the Lord, who is perfect in goodness. Yes, goodness that is not marred by sin. Sin, no matter how small, prevents us from truly reuniting ourselves with the love of God. And you all know that even if you build a building slowly, brick by brick, it will eventually become a large building. So it is the same as our sins then.

That is why as the Church had taught us, it is important for us to go to confession frequently, and not just that, but resolve to live a life without sin, as best as we can, every single day of our life. Confession should not be taken lightly, nor should we fear it. That is because the priests who hear our confession has been given with the authority from on high to forgive sins, just as with Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is Lord over all and had the authority to forgive sins, which He imparted to His disciples and from them, to our priests.

Do not fear, for the priests are also charged with the maintenance of the seal of confession, that is nothing that is shared by us to the priests should ever be made known to anyone else other than the priest. We should not fear to confess even our most secret sin. After all, the Lord is a loving and forgiving God, who will see that we are sorry for having sinned against Him and if we truly repented our sinfulness.

Sin is serious, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should be conscious of our own sins, and understand the malice of sin above all else. Venial sins or small sins may not be a big hinder to our relationship with God, but they do make up to a big mountain of sin if we continue to do them without considering our state of sin.

We should indeed adopt the example of St. John the Baptist, who in great humility proclaimed the greatness of God, how great He was as compared to himself who is just mere servant of God. He readily said to his own disciples how he should decrease in importance while the Lord rose in importance. He did not let His human pride to get in the way, unlike many of us.

We often let fear and our human pride in the way of forgiveness. We do not let the Lord to come and absolve us from our sinfulness. We stood by our pride and let the devil to urge us to continue with our rebellion against God. No, this is not the way we should follow. Instead, cast aside our pride and fear, and instead put in a complete trust in the Lord and in His love and forgiveness.

Let us therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from now on, follow the steps of St. John the Baptist, lowering ourselves humbly before God, and asking for His forgiveness from our sins, that we will be made righteous once again through our. Lord Jesus Christ, who sanctified and made holy all those who believe in Him. Let us be thrall of sin and evil no more, and let us from this day henceforth, be free and liberated!

Go often to confession and confess our wrongs to God, for our loving Father will surely hear us, forgive us, and embrace us with His love. God forgive our sins and be with us all always. Amen.

Saturday, 11 January 2014 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 22-30

After this, Jesus went into the territory of Judea with His disciples. He stayed there with them and baptised. John was also baptising in Aenon, near Salim, where water was plentiful; people came to him and were baptised. This happened before John was put in prison.

Now John’s disciples had been questioned by a Jew about spiritual cleansing, so they came to John and said, “Rabbi, the One who was with you across the Jordan, and about whom you spoke favourably, is now baptising, and all are going to Him.”

John answered, “No one can receive anything, except what has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’ Only the bridegroom has the bride; but the friend of the bridegroom stands by and listens, and rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice. My joy is now full.”

“It is necessary that He increase but that I decrease.”

Saturday, 11 January 2014 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 149 : 1-6, 9

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in His Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips, and in their hands two-edged swords.