Saturday, 8 January 2022 : Saturday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are called to be good and committed Christians who do our part to care for one another, in reminding each other to live good and virtuous Christian lives at all times, distancing ourselves from sin. All of us are called to be part of the missionary outreach and works of the Church, for the salvation of many more souls, for us to be great role models for our fellow brethren at all times and in every opportunities.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. John, we heard the Apostle exhorting the faithful people of God to follow the Lord and His path, to be faithful to Jesus Christ, the One Whom God has sent into our midst, God’s own beloved Son incarnate in the flesh, and born of His mother, the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary. The Lord has shown us the path of freedom from the bondage of sin and the tyranny of death. By His suffering and death, He has purchased for us the redemption for all of our multitudes of sins.

In that same passage, we heard how sin can lead to death, for sin is caused by our disobedience against God and our refusal to obey His will. And since we have rejected the Lord of life, Our Master, then it is only right and just that we have to suffer the consequences of our sins, that is death. But death is not the final fate for us unless we have consciously rejected the Lord right to the very last moments of our lives, refusing all the opportunities and the generosity by which God had given us the chances time and again to repent and turn away from our sinful ways.

When St. John mentioned that not all sins lead to death, this highlighted the fact that Christ Our Lord has freely given His love and merciful compassion to us. He has reached our even to those who have condemned Him to death and made Him to suffer, praying for them all and forgiving them their sins and their faults. He has given even the worst of sinners the chance to find redemption and the path to eternal life through His compassionate love. He came into our world, to our midst to look for us all, to find those who have been lost to God due to sin.

Yet, it was our stubbornness that had led us astray and prevented us from finding our way back to Him. Our continued attachments and desire for worldly temptations and sins eventually led us back into a wicked life and a state of sin, from which God kept on calling us and trying to bring us out, to allow us to return to Him. He has prepared the path and the place for us with Him, but everything in the end depends on us and whether we are willing to accept His love and compassionate mercy. Too often that we have rejected His love and mercy, brothers and sisters in Christ.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard how St. John the Baptist, the Herald of the Messiah worked hard for the glory of God, and when the Lord came and revealed Himself, and gained more and more followers, he humbly receded from the public popularity and allowed his Lord and Master to become more important than he was. When some of his disciples confronted him regarding this, he humbly mentioned how it has been his purpose from the very beginning to serve his Lord and Master, the One for Whom he had been sent into this world, to prepare His way before His coming.

In that way, St. John the Baptist was very happy that the Lord was gaining more follower and attention, and he was happy that everything went as it should be. He did not do all his works, the baptisms and others for his own sake and glory, unlike what many other people would have done. He did everything all for the greater glory of God, and gave his whole life to serve the Lord and to follow Him, and show the path to His salvation to all who followed him and were willing to listen to him. He is truly an example that all of us can and should follow.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the great examples of faith and dedication showed by St. John the Baptist, let us all strive to walk humbly from now on before the Lord, dedicating ourselves to follow Him and to be faithful to Him in all things. Let us all appreciate all the love and compassionate kindness, the mercy and forgiveness that God has shown us all these while. Let us embrace God’s love through Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, and strive to become ever better Christians, ever better disciples of Our Lord from now on. May God be with us all, and may He remain with us in His love for us, always. Amen.

Saturday, 8 January 2022 : 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, 8 January 2022 : 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, 8 January 2022 : Saturday after the Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 14-21

Through the Son of God 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, 9 January 2021 : Saturday after Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we heard the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded of the obligation that each and every one of us have in proclaiming the Lord’s Good News of salvation, in living our lives with faith and rejecting the many temptations to sin. All of us should be inspirations to each other that we may show one another what it truly means to be Christians, that is to be those who truly believe in Christ.

In our Gospel reading today, taken from the Gospel of St. John the Apostle, we heard of the account of what happened after the Lord Jesus was baptised by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. Jesus began His ministry and was gathering a lot of followers at the same time as St. John the Baptist himself still performing his ministry and baptised many. The disciples of St. John were worried and came up to him with the concern that the Lord was drawing more and more people away from them.

But St. John calmly and gladly remarked that it was just exactly as how it was supposed to be. As the servant, his role was merely to do the will of God, and as the Herald to announce the coming of the Messiah, his role was to prepare the way for the Lord in this world. And at that time, all these had been accomplished, and the Lord has begun His ministry to a great and successful beginning. St. John the Baptist humbly remarked that it was only right that while his Lord and Master increased in importance and prominence, that he decreased in these.

He showed us that as a true disciple of the Lord, all of us need to focus ourselves on God and adhere closely to Him, and we should not allow pride, ambition, ego and desire to dictate how we live out our lives. Otherwise, we will easily swayed by those many worldly temptations and lose our way, falling deep into the trap of sin. Instead, all of us are called to be humble and to be faithful to God at all times.

In our first reading today, St. John the Apostle in his Epistle mentioned how all of us as Christians are the holy people of God and that therefore we should be free from sin and reject the path of sin, so that we will not end up being trapped more and more in the path of sin, which will end up in our eternal damnation if we are not careful. If we are truly God’s children and His beloved ones, we should reject all the corruptions of sin.

This means that we should be righteous and just in all of our actions and dealings as true Christians. Of course this is much easier said than done, as there will certainly be plenty of obstacles going forward if we choose to walk down this path. But as long as we stay true to our faith in God, then we should not falter or fall, and by the grace of God, we can overcome even the greatest challenges ahead.

Now, the question is, what are we then going to do as Christians in our living actions and in our daily lives? Through our baptism all of us have received the commandments of God, to love one another and to love Him with all of our heart, with all of our might and strength, and dedicating ourselves to His cause. As we are about to conclude the celebrations of the season of Christmas, let us all make good use of the time and opportunities given to us, to be true witnesses of the Lord.

Let us all devote ourselves each and every moments of our lives like St. John the Baptist and the many others had done, and let us all do our best, in whatever we do so that, no matter how little or insignificant those actions that we may do, we may indeed bring a difference into the lives of others, and help many more people to come closer to God and receive His providence, grace and love just as we ourselves have received from God.

May God be with us always, and may He continue to guide us through this life, helping us all to remain faithful to His laws and commandments, and inspire in our hearts strong love and faith in Him. May God bless us all generously, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 9 January 2021 : Saturday after 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 2021 : Saturday after Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5 and 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 2021 : Saturday after Epiphany (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 5 : 14-21

Through the Son of God 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, 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.”