Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Scripture passages reminds us of the love which God had given us generously and willingly, that He has blessed us beyond all other beings in creations, far surpassing even the Angels and other creatures. We are all reminded of the kindness of our Lord, Who treated us not as slaves and servants, but instead as children, and as He is our Father, He blesses us and treats us in the best way that is possible for us.

He has created us in His own image and blessed us so abundantly, that no one else could have hoped to compare with us. For we mankind have been made to be God’s very own children, to partake in His inheritance and in His glory, and to enjoy forever the blessed fruits of the glorious kingdom of God. That was what God intended for us mankind, certainly not to see us suffer and perish in the darkness and sin, but instead to have us enjoy the fullness of His love for us.

Yet, we all know that we have spurned the love of God and rejected the grace which He had offered us. We have disobeyed Him as those who have lost their way and chose to follow their own paths, and although God had revealed His glory and might in various occasions throughout history, we mankind often always tried to find reasons and excuses for not following Him and fall deep into the wickedness of our sins.

This is when all of us should heed what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples in today’s Gospel reading, that all of His people ought to welcome the children and allow them to come to the Lord, and embrace Him, and follow the examples of these children in their own faith. And there is indeed a very good reason in this, and this requires us to understand what the faith of a child is like.

A child is a very innocent person, whose heart and mind is still pure and unburdened by the many concerns of the world. Unlike many of us, a child is still pure at heart, and the faith of a child is a pure faith. The children look towards the Lord and desire to be with Him, because that is our true human nature, who have been created out of love by God, and in that love, we receive the grace and the desire to love Him back.

Unfortunately, we have often been distracted by the many worldly concerns and temptations. Yes, all the things that have distracted us and kept us away from being able to truly be able to love the Lord with all our hearts. We have been burdened by monetary concerns, by the temptations of worldly pleasures, the sinful pleasures of the flesh, the temptation of desire, lust, the pull of pride, ambition and human greed. These are all the things that have kept us away from God.

We need to spend some time to think about this, brothers and sisters in Christ. Have we been so occupied and distracted by our worldly living and concerns that we have failed to see the real purpose and aim of our life, that is our God, and to love Him with all of our heart and with all of our strength just as He Himself had loved us first? This is what we all need to do, and we need to begin from now if we have not done so yet.

Let us all seek to purify ourselves from all forms of sins and wickedness, that all of us will be like children in our faith, genuine and true, unmasked by all the ugliness of our sins, desires, human greed and all the other things that have kept us away from God. Let us show the Lord our God, that we are truly worthy of being the ones to receive the inheritance which He had intended for us when He created us. Let us prove that we want to be with Him, and desire to be reconciled and be reunited with Him.

May the Lord continue to love us, and may He continue to be merciful towards us, that in all of our daily lives and daily works, we may gradually be more and more attuned to His ways and learn to be more like Him in all our ways, actions, words and deeds. May the Lord help us on this journey to return to Him, that all of us may be filled with joy. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Mark 10 : 13-16

At that time, people were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, and the disciples rebuked them for this. When Jesus noticed it, He was very angry and said, “Let the children come to Me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then He took the children in His arms and, laying His hands on them, blessed them.

Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Psalm 102 : 13-14, 15-16, 17-18a

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

The days of mortals are like grass; they bloom like a flower of the field; but the wind passes over it, and it is gone, his field will not see him again.

But the Lord’s kindness is forever with those who fear Him; so is His justice, for their children’s children, for those who keep His covenant and remember His commands.

Saturday, 25 February 2017 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Sirach 17 : 1-13

The Lord created man from the earth and let him return to earth. He settled a fixed time for them and a set number of days, giving them power over everything on earth. He endowed them with a strength like His own, making them in His own image.

He put fear of them in all living things, thus they had mastery over the animals and birds. He endowed them with knowledge; He gave them tongue and eyes, ears and a mind to think with. He filled them with wisdom and knowledge; He taught them good and evil. He put His own eye in their hearts so they would understand the greatness of His works. They will praise His holy Name and relate the magnificence of His creation.

He gave them revealed knowledge as well and handed over to them the Law of life. He established an everlasting covenant with them and let them know His judgments. Human eyes saw the splendour of the Glory of God; their ears heard the grandeur of His voice.

Saturday, 18 February 2017 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are presented with the passages from the Sacred Scriptures, calling us to be faithful to the Lord our God, by the examples of our forefathers, who had been made just and righteous by their faith, from the time of Abel, whose faith was a great and shining light amidst the darkness in the hearts of men, to the time of Enoch and Noah, and finally to the time of Jesus itself.

While mankind had been corrupted by sin, and through their disobedience they had been sundered from God’s love, but among the sons and daughters of mankind, there had been those who were willing to resist the temptations to sin, and preferred to walk in the path of the Lord, following the path of righteousness and faith, and for that, they had been greatly rewarded.

Abel had been faithful to the Lord, and offered to Him a worthy sacrifice, and He had been faithful to the Lord’s commands, offering only what was the best for Him. Abel gave his offering with a sincere heart, and God answered Abel’s faith with His approval. But Cain was jealous of his younger brother’s acceptance by the Lord, while his offering was rejected, because he was likely not sincere and genuine in offering his own gifts.

As we know, Cain murdered Abel for that, and were cursed for what he had done. For he had sinned before God and men alike. But Abel did not suffer and die for nothing, for his faith in God had justified him, and by his blood, the blood of his martyrdom for his righteousness had made him just, and God surely welcomed him into His place in heaven.

Enoch was exceptional among the sons and daughters of mankind, for he alone among all others, have been raised and lifted up directly to heaven, not having to endure the pain of death, which is the punishment and consequence for our sins. Enoch was righteous and just in all of his actions, and therefore God rewarded him with the gift of heavenly grace, for his faith and dedication to Him.

And Noah had been faithful amidst a world filled with wickedness, evil and all sorts of sin. He alone among all others had been faithful, and therefore God rescued him and his family from the great flood, with which God cleansed the whole world from the taints of mankind’s great sins. By his faith, Noah had been made worthy and brought away from the calamities that befell all others around him.

And it is the great contributions and examples of these three great predecessors of ours which should inspire us to also walk in their footsteps and be obedient to the Lord as they had been obedient and faithful. In the Gospel today, Jesus was transfigured before His disciples on Mount Tabor, where He revealed the truth about Himself and His glory to St. Peter, St. John and St. James, showing to them Who He really was, and indeed what they and all other men and women are going to be, as a preview of the time that is to come.

The story of the Transfiguration of our Lord is more than just the revelation of our Lord Jesus as the Divine Word of God and the Messiah to His disciples, but even more so, because He has taken up the nature of our flesh and blood, and therefore as the perfect Man, He had shown us all our future, if we are to follow Him and obey Him in all of His laws and precepts.

The Transfiguration of our Lord is a prelude and a brief taste for us to see how God revealed to us what awaits all those who have kept their faith in Him. This is because by sin we have been made dirty and tainted, unworthy to receive the grace of God, but at the same time, God wants us to be cleansed and be purified from all those things that had tainted us, all for the same reason that God loves each and every one of us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend some time to reflect on today’s Scripture passages, and ask ourselves whether we have been faithful to God in all of our actions, words and deeds. Have we loved and showed care for one another, for our brethren and neighbours around us, just as the Lord had taught us to do? Have we committed ourselves faithfully to be true disciples of our Lord, or is our faith just an empty and meaningless faith without action?

Let us all remind one another, that each and every one of us will always do our best to help each other to reach out to the Lord and to His salvation, that we may always persevere to resist the temptations to sin and the pressure to commit things that cause corruption and wickedness to enter into our beings. Let us all pray that all of us may become more like Christ in our ways, that we will be transformed by His light and His love, that we are no longer children of sin and darkness, but instead like Abel, Enoch and Noah of the ancient times we may be found worthy to be with God and receive His eternal life and grace. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 18 February 2017 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Mark 9 : 2-13

At that time, six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain. There His appearance was changed before their eyes. Even His clothes shone, becoming as white as no bleach of this world could make them. Elijah and Moses appeared to them; the two were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter spoke and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say : they were overcome with awe. But a cloud formed, covering them in a shadow, and from the cloud came a voice, “This is My Son, the Beloved; listen to Him.”

And suddenly, as they looked around, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus with them. As they came down the mountain, He ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this to themselves, although they discussed with one another what ‘to rise from the dead’ could mean.

Finally they asked Him, “Why then do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus answered them, “Of course Elijah will come first, so that everything may be as it should be. But why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be despised? I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they have treated him as they pleased, as the Scriptures say of him.”

Saturday, 18 February 2017 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Psalm 144 : 2-3, 4-5, 10-11

I will praise You day after day and exalt Your Name forever. Great is the Lord, most worthy of praise; and His deeds are beyond measure.

Parents commend Your works to their children and tell them Your feats. They proclaim the splendour of Your majesty and recall Your wondrous works.

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.