Saturday, 3 May 2014 : Feast of Sts. Philip and James, Apostles (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. James and St. Philip, two of the Twelve Apostles of Christ, who brought the faith to faraway lands, dedicating themselves to the Lord and His mission that He had entrusted to them. Today we learn from the readings that we ought to be firm in our faith, and to proclaim the truth about the Christ, that is Jesus our Lord.

For Jesus is the Son of God, anointed with power, and through Him the salvation of all had come. Through Jesus, God worked His great miracles and brought His mercy to all peoples, bringing them closer to the embrace and eternal life He had offered freely to us. Yes, freely through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus is the bridge that connects us to God our Father, as the only way through which we can return to the Father who loves us and wishes nothing more for us other than that we all may be saved.

Brethren, we have to preach Christ our Lord and the Good News He bore to all the nations, beginning from those who are around us. How do we do so? Remember what Christ told us in the Gospel today, that those who believe in Him, will do even greater things than He had done, but doing similar works nonetheless, for we are the extensions of God’s good works which He began when He came into our world through Jesus.

This means that we have to carry out the teachings of our faith and practice it concretely in our communities and in our surroundings, that having our actions and deeds based closely on Christ and His teachings, we become the reflection and living manifestations of that teaching, and thus show the truth about Christ to all those who see us, and therefore they may believe in Him too, through us and our works.

Therefore, just as Jesus had reflected the will and nature of the Father, we too should reflect the nature of Jesus and be like the Father in all things, that we be worthy of Him. We have to open our hearts and minds to listen and understand the will of the Father, through Jesus and His teachings, that we may walk in His ways and hence remain in His grace.

The holy Apostles had laboured hard for the sake of the Gospel, and they encountered enormous difficulties and challenges as they went on their ministries to the people of God. They went on delivering the words of God’s salvation to all the peoples regardless of these, and they persevered despite the oppositions.

They passed on the truth that had been revealed to them by Christ Himself. From them they passed on this truth which is kept for generations as a deposit of the faith and is kept in the teachings of the Church. And this is why we must uphold with the greatest care and devotion what the Church had taught us and kept the faith we have with greatest effort. We cannot be complacent in this, just as the Apostles were not complacent in their works to evangelise the people of God.

St. James the Apostle, also known as St. James the Lesser, went on to spread the Good News in the western parts of the Roman Empire, evangelising the people where none had heard the Word of God before. He was eventually martyred in Hispania, the place known as Spain today. His most important shrine and place of remembrance is at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the well-known and famous pilgrimage site of our faith.

Meanwhile St. Philip the Apostle was known for his conversion of the attendant or official of the ruler of Ethiopia as he made his way through Judea in a carriage. This is a well-known story in the New Testament, in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, telling us how the Ethiopian official discussed the faith with Philip, and in the process, convincing him of the truth about Jesus who came as the Messiah and Saviour of the world. Philip baptised the official and from him came the seed of faith that is preserved even until today in Ethiopia.

He went on to spread the Good News to areas of Greece, the province of Roman Asia and other areas, until he too was martyred for his faith and missionary works. St. Philip even in his suffering and death managed to do good works for the people of God, converting many to the cause of the Lord. Together with St. James, both these Apostles are truly role models for all of us the faithful ones in Christ.

Yes, brethren, we are also called in this modern era to be the Apostles and disciples of Christ of our times. We should not be afraid or reluctant to proclaim the truth about the Lord just as the Apostles had done before. This world lies in darkness, and many languished in that great darkness, bereft of the opportunity to see the Lord and His light, having been barred by the darkness itself. It is often up to us, to be the ones to bring them into the light and therefore show them the path towards eternal life.

May God bless us and guide us, as we walk in this path, that we may follow the footsteps of the Apostles St. James and St. Philip, that we too may be courageous in our lives that we may do our best to bring the people of God ever closer to salvation and perfection in God. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 : Wednesday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 50 : 4-9a

The Lord YHVH has taught Me, so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple.

The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn. I offered My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace.

I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced. He who avenges Me is near. Who then will accuse Me? Let us confront each other. Who is now My accuser? Let Him approach.

If the Lord YHVH is My help, who will condemn Me?

Sunday, 13 April 2014 : Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Isaiah 50 : 4-7

The Lord YHVH has taught Me so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple.

The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn. I offered My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace.

I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

Thursday, 27 March 2014 : 3rd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before the Lord, our Maker. He is our God, and we His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would that today you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

 

Monday, 3 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 17-27

Just as Jesus was setting out on His journey again, a man ran up, knelt before Him and asked, “Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments : Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat, honour your father and mother.”

The man replied, “I have obeyed all these commandments since my childhood.”

Then Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him and He said, “For you, one thing is lacking. Go, sell what you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow Me.”

On hearing these words, his face fell and he went away sorrowful, for he was a man of great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were shocked at these words, but Jesus insisted, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

They were more astonished than ever and wondered, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked steadily at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God; all things are possible with God.”

Monday, 6 January 2014 : Monday after the Epiphany (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 2 : 7-8, 10-11

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to me : “You are My Son. This day I have begotten You. Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Now therefore, learn wisdom, o kings; be warned, o rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and fall at His feet; lest He be angry and you perish when His anger suddenly flares. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 : Mass of Christmas Day, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

The Lord has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

With melody of the lyre and with music of the harp. With trumpet blast and sound of the horn, rejoice before the King, the Lord!