Wednesday, 9 August 2017 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Numbers 13 : 1-2, 25 – Numbers 14 : 1, 26-30, 34-35

YHVH then spoke to Moses, saying, "Send men to explore the land of Canaan that I am giving to the Israelites; send one man from each of the ancestral tribes, all of them leaders."

After forty days of exploration, they returned. They went and met Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They gave an account to them and the whole community and showed them the fruit of this land.

And they said, "We entered the land where you sent us, truly a land flowing with milk and honey and here is the fruit. But how strong are the people who inhabit the land! The cities are fortified with walls and bars, and we even saw there descendants of the Anakites. Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb; Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; the Canaanites are by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."

Caleb then quieted the people who rose up against Moses and said, "We should go up and take over the land, for we shall surely overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We cannot advance against these people for they are stronger than we are."

And they spread an unfavourable report about the land that they had explored, saying to the Israelites, "The land we went through to explore is a land that devours its inhabitants and all the people we saw there are men of great size. We even saw giants (these giants were the Anakites). We felt like grasshoppers before them, and to them we must have seemed the same."

Then all the community broke out in loud cries and wept during the night. Then YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, "How long will this wicked community grumble against Me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel against Me. Say to them : As truly as I live, it is YHVH Who speaks, I will do to you what you have said in My hearing."

"All of you of twenty years and more, numbered in the census, who grumbled against Me, your corpses will fall in the desert. You will not enter the land where I swore to settle you, except Caleb, son of Jephunneh and Joshua, son of Nun. According to the number of days spent in exploring the land – forty days, for every day a year – for forty years you shall bear the guilt of your sins and you shall know what it is to oppose Me."

"I, YHVH, have spoken. Surely this is what I will do to this wicked community that has conspired against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed and this is where they shall die."

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 : 2nd Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 23 : 1-12

At that time, Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees have sat down on the chair of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them.”

“They do everything in order to be seen by people : they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first places at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and they like being greeted in the marketplace, and being called ‘Master’ by the people.”

“But you, do not let yourselves be called Master, because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father, because you have only one Father, He Who is in heaven. Nor should you be called Leader, because Christ is the only Leader for you.”

“Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself, shall be made great.”

Saturday, 6 June 2015 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops and Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Mark 12 : 38-44

At that time, as Jesus was teaching, He also said to the people, “Beware of those teachers of the Law, who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace, and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues, and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow’s and the orphan’s goods while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!”

Jesus sat down opposite the Temple treasury, and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings, but a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins. Then Jesus called His disciples and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty, and put in everything she had, her very living.”

Monday, 16 February 2015 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the readings of the Scriptures which told us about how the first sons of mankind, Cain and Abel, got into conflict between them out of jealousy and due to the taint of sin in mankind’s heart. And in the Gospel we heard how Jesus refused to give the sign which the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had demanded from Him as a proof that He came from God.

Today’s readings are truly about us all, brothers and sisters. It is truly about ourselves and how we act in this life with regards to our own selves. We mankind are always by our nature selfish and thinking only about ourselves and acting for our own benefit. How many times in a day we utter the word ‘I’? Certainly in a lot of scenarios and circumstances we like to defend ourselves first and gain something for ourselves.

The same therefore happened in the case of Cain and Abel. Both of them gave their respective offerings and sacrifices to God on the altar. However, Abel’s sacrifice was more pleasing to Him than that of Cain’s. As a result, Cain was jealous of his brother, Abel, and in his mind he already plotted mischief and evil things for his brother. The rest of the story we have heard it, on how Cain murdered his brother and pretended not to know about it when the Lord asked him.

But God sees all and He knows all things that happen in this world. He knows all the thoughts of men, and whatever Cain had planned in evil thoughts and purposes against his brother Abel, the Lord knew them all. There is no escape for mankind to think of evil without the Lord knowing about it. Thus, it was the same as well when the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law tried to embarrass Jesus by asking Him for a sign. Jesus knew it all, and that was why in His heart, He was so deeply moved and disturbed.

Indeed, imagine what the Lord would have thought of this wayward creation of His, who have disobeyed Him so many times and broke His covenant so many times so that they all would have deserved annihilation and total destruction. But yet, the Lord was still willing to help them and He continued to love them nevertheless. Such is the greatness of His love for us! And yet, so many of us continue to ignore His love, reject His mercy and act in the same way as Cain had done, and as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done.

The psalm today indeed rightly criticised the latter, as if to foretell the actions of those who would hamper the works of the Lord. They pretended to love the Lord and obey Him, by the disguise of following and observing the laws, rites and customs which they also imposed on all others. In reality, in their hearts, there is not a place for God, but only their ego and their self-serving nature.

Thus, today we are all reminded to throw far, far away our ego and pride, which often will become a great stumbling block in our way to achieve salvation. Like Cain, who was older than Abel, it was likely that his pride and the attempt to preserve his ego that led him to contemplate such a great sin like murder, and a murder of one’s own brother no less. How many of us have harmed others around us, both intentionally or unintentionally because we are unable to control ourselves?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to grow stronger in faith and also in the grace of God, and become reduced in the self. Christ always taught us to love one another just as we love ourselves, and therefore, our consideration of the self, while it should still be there, should not come in the way of how we should love one another.

May Almighty God bless us always and may He guide us to live faithfully and serve Him with love, that we will grow less in our selfishness and individuality, growing more in our humility and desire to love each other, all brothers and sisters in the presence of God, and to love the Lord Himself with all of our strength. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 29 December 2014 : Fifth Day within the Octave of Christmas, Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about listening to God and obeying His laws, and fulfilling the commandments which He had given to us. It is highlighted in the first reading today from the first letter of St. John the Apostle, that as the servants and disciples of God, that we have to live out our faith and be concrete in that faith, showing it in our actions, words and deeds, and not doing what is contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus.

If we call ourselves as the children of God and as the members of His Church, then we have to behave as one. We cannot profess to be the children of God, and yet our actions prove to be completely otherwise. The very reason why it has been so difficult for many to believe in Christ and indeed why many of them refused to believe in Him is because we who are the disciples of Christ preached about Him but we did not practice what we preached.

How can they believe in us and in what we preached to them if we ourselves did not embody what we have preached. Instead, we become an embarrassment of the Faith, and our Lord will not be pleased at us. Not only that we have failed to observe His laws and commandments, but we have also made others to lack the faith in Him because of our own wicked actions and deeds, not in line with what we preached.

Therefore, we have to mean what we say, and we have to act on what we believe in. Otherwise, our faith in God is empty and meaningless, and instead of salvation we will gain condemnation from God and eternal punishment. St. James in his epistle, the letter of St. James, highlighted in it that faith without works is essentially the same as dead. That means faith without action based on that faith is a useless one and indeed, as I have elaborated, this kind of faith is harmful to us.

Yes, and that is the same faith which the hypocrites committed. The Pharisees and the scribes of the Law whom the Lord condemned as hypocrites were externally and outwardly seeming to be pious and good servants of the Lord, but in reality, they have no God in them, for whom they spared no place in their hearts. They preached faith and devotion to God and trumpeted their devotion loud for others to see, and yet they did these for themselves and to satisfy their own vanity.

Jesus condemned them precisely because they have no regards for the Lord and did not obey His laws and commandments as they should have. They have besmirched the Name of the Lord and spat on His precepts. They cared not for the Lord nor for His people but for their own self-aggrandisement. They were the ones who should have recognised the Christ when He came, and yet they doubted Him, rejected Him and laid difficulties along His works and His paths.

Our actions must not be like that of theirs, and instead we have to do as we believed, and we have to act in the way not contradicting the very Creed we profess. And this is what we can learn from the saint whose feast we are celebrating today, namely St. Thomas of Canterbury, also known by his name, St. Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury during the high Medieval age of the twelfth century, during the reign of King Henry II of England.

St. Thomas Becket was a devoted man of God, who followed the will of God wholeheartedly and who took the laws and commandments of God seriously in his heart. He was particularly staunch at the enforcement of the law of God and the Church. He was once a servant of the king entrusted with many matters because of his skills in management, appointed to chancellorship by the king.

The king had hoped that if he appointed St. Thomas Becket to the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of England and the chief of the religious officer of the state, he would continue to show preference to serve the king and the state as he had been before. But St. Thomas Becket would prove him to be wrong. He was a faithful and pious servant of the Church, who did not mince his words and who was sorrowed by the great corruption in the lives of the king and his servants.

St. Thomas Becket practiced his faith faithfully to the core of its foundations, fulfilling the teachings of Christ. He showed mercy and love to sinners who sought God’s help, but to those who were wicked and unrepentant, and to those who persisted in their love for the world, he had no love for them. He excommunicated and expelled many from the Church those who had followed the path of the Pharisees, getting themselves rich at the cost of others and those who have caused untold sufferings for many.

He gained the enmity and hatred of many in the king’s court and circles, and this eventually led to a group of knights who plotted to assassinate him as he celebrated the solemn prayers. He was assassinated in cold blood at the holy places, while he surrendered himself completely to God. Those who were involved in the assassination including the king were punished severely by the Church, excommunicated and asked to do serious and long series of penance for their murder of the holy man of God, who was canonised as a martyr and saint soon after his murder.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the example of St. Thomas Becket should inspire us all to walk and practice our faith with genuine intention and devotion to our God. If only that all the faithful would emulate his upright life and devotion to his Faith, then the whole world would have been converted upon seeing our brilliant examples and dedication to the way of the Lord.

It is therefore necessary that we mean what we say, and if we are to preach the Word of God, then we have to mean what we preach and practice it ourselves, so that others who see us may know that we truly belongs to Christ, and not following our own selfish way. May St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Thomas Becket pray for us and intercede for us sinners. Amen.

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(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Double II Classis) – Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, commemorating those children in Bethlehem who were slaughtered mercilessly by King Herod the Great, in his insecurity and fear that the promised King of Kings, Heir of David would dethrone him and made him to lose everything. He slaughtered all the infants and babies of age two and below, innocent as they were, in order to fulfill his own ambitions and desires. Thus, he had sinned greatly against God.

This feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us of our human nature. We are by nature often selfish and thinking only about ourselves and how to aggrandise ourselves. And in the process of that, we often bring harm and suffering to others, as we stride forth in our quest to bring more to ourselves, be it fame, human praise, wealth, influence, and many other things we often covet and desire.

In order to fully understand the story of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents we have to understand more about who King Herod the Great and why he did the deeds he had done. King Herod was an Idumean or a Nabatean, the group of people who lived to the south of the land of Israel. He was not even one of the Jewish people, but he was rewarded the kingship by the help of the Romans, who contracted the help of King Herod and his father to overthrow the previous ruler of Judea.

In exchange, king Herod had to pay his respects to the Romans who became his overlords, and Herod had to acknowledge their power and superiority over him, and thus he was no more than just a puppet king installed by the Romans. Yet his example then shows us how the greed and ambition of men can have no bounds. In the case of king Herod, he did all he could to preserve his own power and kingship, showing jealousy and hatred to all those who seek to challenge his authority.

But while Herod dwelled on earthly things and sought in vain to aggravate his own personal and worldly agenda, Jesus the true and one King of all showed that His kingship and authority is not one based on the ways of the world, but based on the goodness that is in Him. In this we can make a stark comparison between Herod and Jesus, and this comparison can also be extended into our own, personal lives.

While Herod was vain and power-hungry, Jesus was humble and contented. And while Herod used violence to project his authority, the Lord Jesus had no need for such a thing, as He made His authority clear simply by the clarity of His teachings and messages, and the truth which He preached and bore witness to. By His obedience, He brought mankind into the Light of God and many are saved through Him, while Herod committed a great sin trying to eliminate the One whom to him is none other than a potential rival.

Brothers and sisters, it is therefore a clear reminder to all of us, that as we live this life, we cannot strive to seek what is vain and what is worldly, in expense of the fate we are to have in the world to come. Christ Himself told His disciples explicitly, not to build for themselves wealth and power in this world, but build instead the guarantee and wealth in the world to come.

And how do we do this? We have to stop and reject the temptation to bring about our own benefit and selfishness at the expense of others. Otherwise, we will end up like king Herod, who committed a great sin of murdering the holy innocents of Bethlehem just so that he might satisfy his worldly desires and greed. And in the end, those who have committed wicked deeds will be punished, just as Herod died not long after that, and his kingdom divided among his sons, and eventually these were destroyed shortly after by the Romans.

Most importantly, he has to answer before God for what he had committed. The holy innocents gained the glory of heaven even though they were still very young, as they have suffered great persecution and martyrdom for the sake of the Lord. But Herod is likely to fall into hell for what he had committed. He is likely to suffer there for eternity without any hope for salvation.

Do we want this fate for us? Certainly not. I am sure that we want to avoid this as far as possible. But in order to do that, that is why we have to take the lesson from king Herod and his actions in slaughtering the holy innocents to our heart. We have to get rid of our selfishness and desires that often come in the way of our ability to follow the Lord with the whole of our heart.

As we still continue to proceed through this Christmas season, let us share the joy we have and the graces and blessings which we have received. Let the Lord’s love and grace permeate through all the peoples and all creations so that all of us together may be drawn closer to His ways and away from the selfish ways of the world. May Almighty God bless us and guard us, so that we may not succumb to our emotions and desires, the same one that had brought down Herod to damnation in his murder of the Holy Innocents. Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, pray for us! Amen.


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Friday, 7 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the parable of the wicked and dishonest servant, whom the master punished for his dishonesty with his properties. Jesus told this parable to the people, so that they may understand that, the ways of this world are diametrically opposite to the ways of the Lord. And in the first reading, St. Paul told us how there are many those who did not follow the way of the Lord, as the enemies of the Lord, and there are then others who walk in the way of Christ.

It was mentioned that those who did not put their trust in God think only of earthly things, and their belly was their god. And this is indeed what the unfaithful and dishonest servant had done, as he was first of all, serving his own purposes and desires. The dishonest servant was not honest in his activities, and he was clearly not faithful to the charge given to him by his master.

It is likely that what the dishonest servant had done, that he was reported to his master, was exactly what he is doing afterwards to save his own neck. He lied to his master even more, corrupting the funds which is supposed to be under his care and responsibility. A steward is charged with taking care of his master’s wealth and property, and he is supposed to oversee all transactions done in his master’s name.

Thus the debts which the master collects from the people, were the responsibilities of that dishonest steward. And what did the steward do, according to Jesus? He was not trying to defend his innocence or try to do something good to atone for his mistakes. Instead, what he was doing, was exactly what he knew how to do, that is the wicked way of corruption. He went about to secure his own livelihood after his firing from his job.

He made the debts of those who owed money and things to his master to become lesser, for what purpose? It is so that when he was out of job, he would have people who were grateful for what he had done, even though it was wicked and dishonest, so that he would be taken care of properly. And this is indeed the way of the world, how the people of this world commonly act, to preserve their own well-being and safety, over that of the concerns for others, and over the principles of justice and righteousness.

But are we children of this world? Yes, we once were children of this world, and we lived according to the ways of this world. But ever since we were baptised in the Lord, and when we were immersed in the holy water of baptism, we were made the children of God, and as the children of God, we are no longer bound to the ways and customs of this world, but we are bound to the ways of the Lord.

And what the wicked servant had done, will not save him when he goes to face the Lord for judgment. Why is this so? It is indeed right that when Jesus said that the children of this world is good with the ways of the world, and indeed they do, for they know how to deal with the world. But all these are useless when we talk about the life that is to come. These ways may endear us to the world and its inhabitants, but it is not right and good in the sight of God.

Instead, the actions that conform to the desires of this world are contrary to the ways of the Lord, and they bring about condemnation rather than safety. Remember what Jesus said in one of the occasions? He said that it is better for us to build up and store riches for the afterlife, the world that is to come, rather than to build up wealth for ourselves in this world.

Why is this so? That is because whatever we have in this world, we will not carry over into the next life, that we will have with the Lord. Nothing that we have in this world, all the riches and wealth will help us to attain the glorious promises of God. Instead, what will truly help us on our way, is by obeying the will of God and His teachings, that is to love, to be merciful and forgiving, and to be faithful.

And we also have to be righteous and just in all judgments and in all the dealings we make with others. We must have love in all of our actions, and indeed if we have love, we would not even do anything that cause any discomfort for others and benefit only ourselves, which is exactly what the dishonest steward had done. Many people corrupted the funds in this world, which would have gone to help the poor and the less fortunate, and instead, they corrupted the funds to serve their own purposes and made themselves richer at the expense of others.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore what the master of the house praised the unworthy and dishonest servant was because that his cunning had saved him from the troubles of this world, and indeed, through what he does, he will certainly do well and thrive in the world. However, it does not secure him the passage to the life that is to come. To cheat and to be dishonest, and to be infatuated with money and possession are behaviours that will lead to damnation, or eternal death in hell.

Therefore, we are all presented with a clear choice. Should we strive to do well in this world, by being cunning, selfish and filled with desires? Or should we rather focus on building up our wealth in the life to come? Certainly, the answer is clear, that we have to do the latter. It does not mean that we have to reject or shun the world completely, but rather that we have to mind our actions, that they be based not our own human and personal desires, for wealth, possessions or anything else, but based on love which we ought to show first for God, and then also to our fellow brethren, our neighbours.

We cannot serve both God and money, and we cannot be both devoted to the Lord and to the possessions we have. Rather, what we should do is that, whatever blessings and graces we have received in the possessions we have, and what excess we have with us, we should dedicate it to helping those around us in need.

May Almighty God therefore awaken in us the love which we need to have, that in our actions, we may grow less and less selfish, and become ever more selfless. We hope that at the end of the day, we will be able to gain justification through our actions, and be found worthy of the glory of heaven, through what we have done well in this life, in accordance with the will of God. Amen.


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Wednesday, 29 October 2014 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s most important message and lesson from the Scriptures to us is the nature of our faith and how important it is to our salvation and to the salvation of our souls. Few would be saved indeed, just as Christ had mentioned it, but not because they are not faithful in the Lord. Many indeed among the people did not have faith in God and even despise His offer of salvation, however there are equally many of those who do have the faith in them, and yet this faith is dead or not living.

Why is this so? That is because faith cannot be just mere statement or creed. It cannot be limited to just reciting the Creed as we always do during the Sunday or major celebrations of the Holy Mass, as mere recitation and saying of the words that we believe in God and in His laws and commandments without being accompanied by true and complete devotion to that faith through our concrete action in life, is meaningless and empty. And an empty faith does not lead to salvation, but instead to condemnation.

That is because the faith that is empty, is no better and in fact is the same as the faith of hypocrites, namely like the faith of the Pharisees, the elders of Israel, the teachers and scribes of the Law, who promoted external and superficial devotions to the Law and the ways of the Lord, but without fully understanding the purpose and meaning, as well as the potential use for the Law, and therefore their faith remained just as that, empty and superficial.

This is the same as what Jesus said to the people, in His parable of the master of the house and the guests, when He said that the door is narrow and that it will be difficult for many if not most people to pass through it to enter into the promised kingdom of heaven and everlasting life. That is because we are unable to enter the door because of the desire and the pride that made us all bloated, filled with self-righteousness and self-praise, our desire and greed, our jealousy and all the negativities that prevent us from truly reaching out to the Lord our God.

This is also similar to the story and parable which Jesus had told the people as well, on how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God compared to that of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Somewhere in Jerusalem there was actually this gate where the gate is so low that whoever pass through it, humans and camels alike have to lower their heads or else they would knock their heads over the gate and would not be able to enter the gate.

The rich and proud man was unable to enter because for him it was humiliating and demeaning that he should lower and bow his head while he enter through the low gate, and meanwhile, the camel had no problem passing through it, because what it did is simply that it lowered its head and body, so that it was able to pass through the gate readily, even though it was larger in size than the rich and proud man.

The same therefore applies to the case of why it was so difficult for many people to pass through the narrow gate into the house. That is because the narrow gate represents the challenges that we need to face in life in order for us to follow the Lord and to obtain salvation in Him. We do not like it difficult or when challenges come our way, and we prefer to have the path to be smoothened for us, and yet there is no such thing when we decide to follow the Lord.

Many people professed to have the faith, just like the people who professed that they have seen the works of the Lord and even ate and drank with Him, but when we asked again, on whether they truly have faith in the Lord, can we say with confidence that they have such love for God? Most of us stay on with something or someone only when things are favourable for us, but when things start to go downhill, it is our human nature to abandon the things and go to seek greener pastures.

Thus, it is the same with most of the people, who cared only to be satisfied in body and to have it easy, and to avoid all sorts of difficulties and problems. Once difficulty and challenges come their way, they would evacuate and go to pick other things. Thus their faith in God is likely to be superficial and not real. Their faith and devotion will quickly evaporate once they are faced with challenges in life, the temptations of the flesh and the world, and the opposition of Satan. Thus it is imperative that we reject Satan and have control over our own desires.

So what should we do brothers and sisters in Christ, how do we then pass through that narrow door and into salvation in God? It is by being vigilant at all times against the temptations and the works of Satan, and then in addition by following what St. Paul had suggested in the letter he wrote to the Church and to the faithful in Ephesus.

St. Paul suggested obedience and sincere love for God through the good understanding and observation of the Law, as the way for us to seek God and His salvation. Obeying God as His servant, we cannot be divided in our hearts. We cannot be half-hearted, or even worse if our faith is superficial only. We have to be committed to the Lord and remain true to His path to the end of days.

If we do all these, the Master of the House of God, that is Jesus, will welcome us with His great love, forgiving us from our sins and iniquities and replacing from within us the selfishness and reluctance and doubt that prevented us from truly seeking and reaching out to the Lord. The Lord who sees all these will know that we truly understand His laws and commandments, and thus will justify us in faith.

May the Almighty God bring us into new life and salvation in Him, and give us strength and understanding so that we may always walk in His path, not tempted and not to fall from the path which leads us directly to God. Let us cast away all forms of wickedness and evil, as well as all all doubt from our hearts. This is so that we may believe and love the Lord with all of our strength, with all of our soul and with all of our beings.

May more and more souls come to the Lord to seek His forgiveness and mercy, and to attain salvation and eternal life in God. Let us not end up like those who refused to listen to the Lord and follow His ways, gaining temporary satisfaction at the price of the corruption and sin of their souls, hearts and body. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.


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Saturday, 27 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the reality of how we are insignificant before the Lord our God, and how limited our minds and intellect are before the Lord, whose will and plans are often not what we want in our lives. Thus, this was why the Apostles and the disciples of Christ did not comprehend the reason why Jesus spoke of His death and His suffering at the hands of the Pharisees and the elders of the people.

Our minds and thoughts are limited, and we are often not aware of what we are doing in our actions. In fact, we often act before thinking. We often jump into action not knowing that we should first carefully consider them, or else we risk consequences for our actions, which are more often than not, negative and harmful rather than positive.

And thus if we dwell always in our pride and our desires, then we are bound to worry, and worry and worry even more, because it is in our nature to worry and to care for our own well-being, to the point that we are deep in our own selfishness and self-preserving attitude, that we even are capable of deeds that cause discomfort and pain to others, so that we may preserve our own benefits and supposedly our happiness.

The disciples themselves still thought in the same way, and worked in the same way. They followed Jesus because they saw first in Him, a great Prophet and miracle worker of God, through whom many people were healed and made whole, had their demons exorcised and cast out of them, and even the feeding of a numerous multitude of four and five thousand men, and many more women and children. And in the end, they even witnessed how Jesus raised dead people back to life.

And in the Transfiguration, we knew how St. Peter, with St. James and St. John were brought by Jesus to the peak of the Mount Tabor, where they witnessed the glory and the true nature of Christ’s divinity, and how they were so joyful and buoyed by the happiness there, that they wanted to remain there forever, asking even Jesus that they ought to pitch tents there to stay on.

That is how mankind are like, as we always prefer the easy path and easy ways, and as much as possible, we tend to prefer to avoid ways of difficulties and challenges. And that was why the three Apostles pleaded with Jesus that they might stay in that place, in the glory of the Lord. But Jesus reminded them with a rebuke, that the reality and the plan of the Lord for us all, is not always a rosy one. He went down the mountain, away from His glory, and eventually, to strip Himself voluntarily from all of His glory and majesty, to suffer and die like a common prisoner and slave on the cross.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is also the reality about our faith and our lives as the children of God and part of His Church. At times we will encounter challenges and difficulties, and then we will truly be tested on our faith, on whether we ought to keep our own beings first before others and thus succumb to the temptations of our flesh and being, or to listen to the will of God, and do things as He had once done.

And perhaps, the life of the saint whose life we commemorate today will inspire us to do more in our faith, and this saint is in particular, known for his charitable works and even until today is still the patron saints of charitable actions and organisations. He is St. Vincent de Paul, a priest who lived in the late Renaissance era Europe and were renowned as the Great Apostle of Charity.

St. Vincent de Paul was once caught and enslaved by the infamous Berber Muslim pirates, who forced him to work as a slave on rowing ships and eventually was sold from one master to another. One of his master was a lapsed Christian who had converted into the religion of the heretics and apostates, and it was through the patience and hard works of St. Vincent de Paul, that he and his family was converted back into the true faith, and at the same time, St. Vincent de Paul gained his freedom.

St. Vincent de Paul worked hard throughout his life, dedicating himself to the poorest and the weakest in the society. Challenges and persecutions, opposition and hardships were common part of his life, but just as he had suffered even slavery and hardships earlier, he did not give up, and through his works, he became renowned for his great faith and charity, becoming a great source of inspiration to many who followed in his example.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we reflect on the readings of the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels, let us all also take note of the examples and perseverance of St. Vincent de Paul. And we too ought to follow in his footsteps, exercising charity and love in all of our actions, casting away all of the pride and selfishness in us. Instead, let us all follow the way which our Lord Jesus Christ had set up before us, that is to love one another just as He had once loved us first.

May Almighty God thus also awaken the spirit of love and charity inside each one of us, that we may do something to help our brethren in need, especially those who are weak and poor, that the Lord who sees all and knows all, will approve of our actions and justify us in our faith and in our actions. God be with us all, brethren in Christ. Amen.

Friday, 26 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Ecclesiastes 3 : 1-11 (or Qoheleth 3 : 1-11)

There is a given time for everything and a time for every happening under heaven : A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building.

A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing. A time for throwing stones, a time for gathering stones; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing. A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for throwing away.

A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace. What profit is there for a man from all his toils?

Finally I considered the task God gave to the humans. He made everything fitting in its time, but He also set eternity in their hearts, although they are not able to embrace the work of God from the beginning to the end.