Thursday, 15 August 2019 : Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 15 : 20-26

But no, Christ has been raised from the dead, and He comes before all those who have fallen asleep. A human being brought death; a Human Being also brings resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all die, so, in Christ, all will be made alive. However, each one in his own time : first Christ, then Christ’s people, when He comes.

Then, the end will come, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, after having destroyed every rule, authority and power. For He must reign and put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. As Scripture says : God has subjected everything under His feet.

When we say that everything is put under His feet, we exclude, of course, the Father, Who subjects everything to Him.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 15 : 54b-57

When our mortal being puts on immortality, the word of Scripture will be fulfilled : Death has been swallowed up by victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?

Sin is the sting of death, to kill, and the Law is what gives force to sin. But give thanks to God, Who gives us the victory, through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Thursday, 29 October 2015 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 31b-39

If God is with us, who shall be against us? If He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not give us all things with Him? Who shall accuse those chosen by God : He takes away their guilt. Who will dare to condemn them? Christ Who died, and better still, rose and is seated at the right hand of God, interceding for us?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Will it be trials, or anguish, persecution or hunger, lack of clothing, or dangers or sword? As the Scripture says : For Your sake we are being killed all day long; they treat us like sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all of this we are more than conquerors, thanks to Him who has loved us. I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor spiritual powers, neither the present nor the future, nor cosmic powers, were they from heaven or from the deep world below, nor any creature whatsoever will separate us from the love of God, which we have in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, All Souls’ Day (Feria II Classis) – Monday, 3 November 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, following the Usus Antiquior or the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite of the Holy Mass, we celebrate the commemoration of all the faithful departed, or the celebration of All Souls’ Day. We therefore today remember all of our loved ones and indeed, all of our fellow brothers and sisters who have gone before us into the afterlife.

The souls of the dead departed from their bodies, and to many of us, death seems like to be very dreadful and vile indeed. And that is why so many people feared death, as they see it as the separation from what is dear to them in the world, from all of their loved ones and from all of their possessions, indeed, from everything that they were and from everyone they ever knew.

Or so it seems. We often mourn at death because we do not understand death, and we often do not know that what we see as death, is not an eternal separation or indeed even as something to be dreaded at all. For some of us, we cannot endure death because we fear losing what we have in this life, our possessions and our ties to the things of this world. And then for some, we see death as something evil and scary, as how it was often portrayed to us.

What is death? Death is, as mentioned, the sting of sin, and death is the consequence of sin. Death is never meant for us, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we were created by God in perfection, intended to enjoy forever the bliss of life and harmony, with the Lord in complete and unadulterated love. Instead, men chose to follow their own path, and to listen to the lies of Satan, and thus sinned.

Sin is disobedience and rebellion against God’s will, against God who is love and who is life. As He is the source of life, when we rebelled against the Lord, we have been tainted by sin and therefore being cast off from Life itself, having no life in us. Hence, even though the breath of life which God had given us is within us, but the life we have in this world is temporary, and is bound to end one day, at the Lord’s time and choosing.

Yes, we are all mere mortals, and the life within us depends on God, who gives and takes Life as He pleases. And yet, this life which we have is in fact an opportunity for us all to atone and repent from our sinfulness. And the Lord Himself has presented us with a new hope and guidance, by the sending of His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ into this world.

Why is this so? That is because our Lord Jesus Christ offers us a new life, that is life in Him, the Lord of Life. He has life in Him as given to Him by His Father, and He is the Bread of Life who came down from heaven. Why is this allusion to food, the Bread of Life? Because Christ Himself had offered His own flesh and blood to become the very food and drink that gives us new life and nourishes us.

This food and drink is the food that gives us new life, not the life that is still subjected to the power of death, but a new life that is free from the depredations of death. And Jesus offered us this Bread and this Wine, His own Body and Blood, to be part of us, when we receive them with faith, so that we who share in His gifts through the sacrifice He made on the cross, gain everlasting life through Him.

Our mortal existence in this world may come to an end, but we have been assured the final victory against death, as the Lord Himself had conquered death through His own resurrection from the dead. And that resurrection is our hope, because through it we know that there is escape from death, and it will not have the final say against us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there are three fates awaiting the souls when they depart from this earthly life. If they are wicked in life, disobeying the Lord and refusing to listen to His calling, and even refusing to repent and believe in Him, committing evil in life, then hell is their lot. Hell that is the total separation and rift from the love of God, without hope of escape and salvation. No amount of help or prayer will help souls that have been condemned to hell for their irredeemable sins.

Meanwhile, the souls of the faithful will end up either in heaven or in Purgatory, depending on what they had done in life. If their lives had been exemplary in faith, filled with all forms of goodness and righteousness, then they merit the glories and joy of heaven straight away, and these are the saints, the holy men and women who keep their lives pure and worthy in the sight of God.

How about Purgatory, then? Purgatory is the place where the souls of the faithful dead, who has been faithful and devoted to God, and were found righteous, but still have the taints of serious sins on them. As such, they were not yet worthy of the fullness of glory of heaven, as the Lord dwells there, and in the presence of God, no sin should stand.

Therefore, the souls whose sins have not been completely purified have to wait in the Purgatory, suffering the consequences of their sins, the pain and sorrow of not being able to be with the Lord their God, and at the same time, being fully aware of the wickedness of their sins and shortcomings, which made them to end up in the Purgatory at the first place. They will indeed eventually proceed to heaven, but only after their sins had been absolved completely.

Today is therefore a reminder for us, on this feast of All Souls, that we have a clear choice in this life to follow the will of God and walk in His ways, or otherwise to follow the whims of our own desire and to listen to Satan and thus to sin. If we are not careful, and if our lives are filled with wickedness, then we may end up in hell, without hope of ever escaping it.

And the souls in Purgatory and their suffering there reminds us to lead a righteous life, free from even venial and seemingly minuscule and light sins. Even these may hamper us as we make our way towards the Lord. And the souls in Purgatory needs our prayer, as they cannot pray for their own sake. If we pray for the souls in Purgatory, we may obtain for them plenary or partial indulgence for the remission and absolution of their sins, so that hopefully they will be able to end their sufferings in Purgatory and proceed to the eternal glory in heaven.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us ask the holy saints and angels of God to pray, first to pray for the souls in Purgatory, that together with their prayers, our prayers for these poor souls may rise to the presence of God, and God in His mercy and love, may forgive them their sins and bring them into heaven to be with Him, having been made pure and blameless, so that they may not need to suffer anymore.

And finally, for them to also pray for us sinners who still walk in this world in this mortal life. That we may realise our sinfulness and mortality, and of the suffering of the souls in Purgatory, so that we may change our ways, avoiding and rejecting sins, that we may eventually be found worthy in heaven and that none of us will be lost to hell. May all the souls of the faithful dead in the Lord, find rest in peace and receive the eternal glory of everlasting heaven with Him. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 October 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together to celebrate the love of God and to listen to His words as written and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. And St. Paul in his letter to the Church and the faithful in Corinth praised the people of God for their faith in God, and how the Lord Jesus affirmed the faith of all those who believed in Him, so that all of them will be justified at the end of time and not perish.

And in the Gospel, we heard about the healing of the paralytic man, that is a man who cannot move or walk due to the paralysis of the body, and Jesus healed him to show His power and authority over all things, all sins and diseases, both those of the body and those of the soul. Yes, that is why Jesus came into the world, to show the power of God by the healing of the sick, but more than just the body, as more important is the healing of the soul.

Jesus is the Lord, the God of all creations. One and only God, not created but existing and with the Father before all ages and before the beginning of the reckoning of time, and before creation. He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as a trinity of Godhead, Three separate and equal brings, but one in nature. This is our faith and this is what we believe in, in the Most Holy Trinity, Three Godhead but One in perfect unity of love, the One True God, whom the people of Israel also believed in.

And thus, He who is the Word of God, who created heaven and earth and all the creatures and creations in them, was willing to come down upon us, to be with us and to walk among us, taking in humility our humble human form, not that of a king but the lowly Son of a carpenter of Nazareth, that through Him, what God had planned for the salvation of mankind might proceed and be fulfilled completely.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that men often fall sick, suffering from the disease of the body. We know now of many diseases, both those that are contagious and non-contagious. We know of the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa, of which many thousands have died, and many thousands more suffered from the disease. And we know how many millions are affected by dengue fever, malaria, polio, smallpox and many other diseases, which many of these cause not just suffering and pain, but eventually even death.

And death comes especially when the disease is left untreated, either because the sufferers are unable to afford the fees needed to cure their respective illnesses, or that the disease itself has yet to be curable, namely no cure has yet to be found. Some disease like HIV, diabetes, cancer and others have not yet been curable, and hence what doctors can do, is mostly to reduce the suffering, or in the case of cancer, that is to excise and cut out the cancerous cells to remove them from the body, or to use chemicals to kill and destroy them.

But all these bodily diseases, illnesses and afflictions pale in comparison to the disease of our heart and soul, namely sin. Sin is indeed a disease, since it attacks us in the depth of our own beings, and not just our soul and heart can be affected, but even our body, for the body obeys the will of our heart and soul. And if sin corrupts our heart and soul, our body will likely also be corrupted by the same sin.

And sin is more dangerous and harmful than the effects of the bodily diseases that I mentioned earlier on. It does not mean that those bodily diseases are trivial, but considering their seriousness and the sufferings they can inflict on us, then we should be even more aware of the kind of harm which sin can cause to us. Remember that Jesus said, that we do not need to fear those that can bring about the destruction of the body, but we ought to worry indeed, those that can bring about the destruction of the soul.

One of the intentions of Jesus is indeed that, we should not fear the devil and his agents. We have seen how scary and destructive they may seem to look, but they have no power over us. They may strike at our body, but they cannot harm our soul. The One who can bring about the destruction of our soul is indeed God Himself, the Lord and Master of all, who has the authority over all things. We know of the Last Judgment, and how the righteous will be separated from the wicked, and while the righteous will enjoy the fruits of God’s promise and love, the wicked will suffer for eternity. What will they suffer for? For their sins indeed!

Yes, so we need to indeed be wary of sin, and how it can bring about our destruction, and how it can harm us both in this life, and the life that is to come. That is why our Lord Jesus is the One with the power and authority to forgive sins. He is the One with the power to heal us from all of our afflictions, body and soul. That is why He rebuked the Pharisees when they doubted His ability to forgive sins, and even accused Him of blasphemy.

Why so? This is because they failed to recognise Christ, when it was so clear that the prophets from all ages had spoken about the Messiah who was to come. And in Jesus all of their prophecies, and all the promises of God were fulfilled. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, and all who believe in Him will gain life eternal, and total liberation from the sins that have chained us mankind to death.

That marked the difference between the paralytic man and the Pharisees. Both of them were afflicted, with sin and darkness in their hearts. But the paralytic man listened to the Lord and allowed Him to work His wonders in him, healing him from all of His afflictions. Thus, if we follow the Lord and remain completely faithful to Him, we will gain healing through Him and be made justified through our faith, and thus eligible of eternal life.

On the other hand, if we act like the Pharisees, thinking that we are perfectly alright and have no need for healing, then the pride, greed, arrogance and wickedness in our hearts, just as they were in the hearts of the Pharisees and the scribes will be our undoing. Is this what we want for ourselves? Certainly not. Therefore, it is imperative that we take heed of what our Lord Jesus had done and what He had taught and shown us through our Faith and through the Scriptures.

May Almighty God therefore guide us, heal us from our afflictions, empower us, and grant us strength, as well as humility, so that we may have the courage and will to ask Him humbly to heal us and to make us whole again, that we sinners, filled with the sins of our ancestors and the sins of our own daily lives, may be made pure like snow, white and pure as a diamond, and be cleansed from all the diseases of our body and soul. That in the end, after excising all that is evil from our beings, and after decisively rebuking Satan, we are precious and worthy, and are welcome into the eternal life God had prepared for us all. Amen.

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

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we begin the celebration of the holiest week of all the weeks in our year. There is no greater occasion than this week in our calendar, and that is why we call it the Holy Week, or the Week of the Lord’s Passion. Why so? That is because during this week itself we celebrate the Lord’s greatest works in this world, that is manifested through His suffering, death and ultimately, His resurrection from the dead.

This week commemorates the time when the Lord finally came forth to bring His long planned salvation, the long-awaited rescue for mankind finally came, through Jesus and the events that He set in motion, to bring forth finally the salvation and eternal rewards God had promised His people since the day of Adam, when he became the first man to fall into sin.

This day is the day commemorating the beginning of that solemn week, when Jesus embark towards His goal, that is also known as the Passion of the Christ, which is why this day is also known as Passion Sunday, marking the beginning of the Passion of Jesus, which He went through out of His great and unfathomable love for us, so great that indeed, in His passion and love, He was willing to give up even His own life for us, and shed His Blood for our sake.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why today some of us may ask, why do we commemorate both the glorification and the death and suffering of Jesus at the same time? Why do we commemorate the glory of Jesus when He entered Jerusalem with a great procession with palm fronds and leaves, only to have the Passion reading heard afterwards? Why so?

Yes, all these are related brothers and sisters in Christ, for Jesus as He headed towards Jerusalem, He perfectly knew that He would be glorified and welcomed just as the prophet Zechariah had prophesied that the promised King would come to Jerusalem riding on a donkey, and in that occasion, Jesus was glorified and acclaimed as the promised King and Saviour long foretold by the prophets. Yet, the very same people would in less than a week, betrayed Him for the powers of the world, and cried out for His death.

Jesus knew all of these, and yet He pressed on, and that is His love for us, the passion that He has for all of us, and this is why we call this momentous event, the Holy Passion of our Saviour. He marched on to His death without fear, knowing that by laying down His life, He became that perfect sacrifice, through which all mankind, that is all of us, are made righteous and worthy of new life in God.

Jesus is the promised Saviour, the Son of David, as the heir and descendant of that faithful king and servant of God, the fulfillment of God’s promise to mankind since the beginning of time. Jesus Christ is the One long awaited and One promised to Adam and Eve, the first mankind.

After Satan tricked both of them in the form of a snake, God promised them that even though Satan would follow through and haunt and dominate mankind for ages, a deliverer would come through the descendant of Eve, that is Jesus, and the woman through whom the Saviour was to be born of, would crush the snake under her heels, and this refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

And God promised Abraham that He would make him great among mankind and among the nations, and He would make Abraham the father of many nations, and to David his descendant, God promised an everlasting rule of His descendant on the throne of His people Israel, and all these were fulfilled in Jesus, the Son of David, Son of Abraham, Son of Man, and the Son of God, Divine incarnate into flesh.

That is why the people hailed and welcomed Jesus as He entered the city of Jerusalem, the heart of the kingdom of Israel. He came as a King, the One and true King of God’s people, and the King over all the kings and the kingdoms of the world. But He did not come as a proud and boastful King, and instead, He came knowingly of His ultimate purpose, to be the ultimate servant King, to give up His own life for the life of His beloved people.

Today, as we begin this holy week when Jesus finally began His last week on earth as the Messiah born as a human, and as we cheer Him as the King of kings, as the Son of David, let us also remember what He came into this world for, that is to rescue us, and this He did out of His undying love for us. Remember how He loved each and every one of us that He was even willing to suffer the consequences of our sins in our place, and die for us.

Therefore, as we continue to proceed into this holy week, this holy time, let us use this perfect opportunity to think about our actions, on whether we have been good and faithful servants of our Lord, or whether we have been disobedient and rebellious in our ways, just as the people of God had been. Remember always, that Christ died for our sake, and He went through all that suffering and death just so that we will not have to suffer for eternity the suffering of hell.

God offered His love freely for us, and He laid down His passion freely for us, and it is our part, to accept or to reject this generous offer. Should we then reuse this? After what our Lord had gone through for us? Let us therefore think twice and more than twice from now on, every time we are seduced by the temptations of Satan to sin against the Lord. Let us think well of the consequences of our actions, for the Lord, and even more so, for ourselves.

Let us never be separated again from God, and as we embark on this journey through this sacred time, let us appreciate what Jesus our Lord and King had done for us. Never again take His love and kindness for granted. May this holy week be truly holy and beneficial for us, that we may draw ever closer to God who loves us. Amen.

Friday, 28 March 2014 : 3rd Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

The essence of God is love, and everything about God is love. Love is the driving force of all His actions, and the meaning of His Law is love. This is what we have to remember when we obey the Lord and His commandments. God did not wish to burden us with His laws, or to punish us, but instead they were meant to bring us all closer to Him, and that we may learn to love Him more and more.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God gave His people Israel, the gift of the Ten Commandments, His own laws in which He gave them guidelines in life of what to do in order to live in God’s favour. But even though there are indeed ten laws in the Ten Commandments, as Jesus had revealed to His people, that they can be grouped together into two main laws, to love God and to love one another.

Indeed, this is the essence of love, as taught by Jesus to His disciples, that first of all we have to give it all in complete dedication to God, our Lord, our Creator, and our loving Father. Then, we also need to give our hearts, filled with love, to each other, for we are all equal, servants of the same One God, and the children of that same God who created us. We are all brothers and sisters to one another.

Obeying the law must not mean that we blindly obey to the letter, the words of the Law, or make empty proclamations and professions, to fulfill the Law superficially. Our observation of the Law must be genuine and true, filled with total love and dedication to all, to God and our fellow mankind. Thus, we have to have love in ourselves, and fill our words, actions and deeds with genuine love.

These days, it is difficult to love genuinely, as love itself in our understanding had been twisted such that we no longer understand what love truly means. Our understanding of love had been corrupted with the pleasures of the flesh and the lust and greed of this world, with material goods and possessions in train. That is how our families and marriages today are under threat, because they were often no longer based on love.

In our faith and in our life, we have to give our attention and focus on the Lord, devoting ourselves wholly to Him, that we will not serve or worship any other gods, and keep holy His Name and His presence, that we will not sully It by any form of blasphemy or misconduct. We have to put our complete faith and trust in Him.

But we cannot just love God alone, for to love God completely also means that we must also give our love to our brethren, especially those in need of that love. God Himself said through Jesus that all that we do for the least, the lost, and the rejected ones of our society, we do it for the Lord Himself, and therefore, in the same argument, to love our brethren means to love God Himself.

And because God is love Himself, it is impossible for us to not love Him and just love one another. Our love cannot be not based on Christ. Yes, the love of God must and is always at the centre of our love, the love that we show to one another. Outside of that, the love we have is not true and genuine love, but one that is tainted by the evils of the world.

We have to be able to distinguish true love from lust and desires of the world. We have often confused between love and lust, and between love and desire for pleasure and for material goods of the world. That is why we end up not doing the will of God, because we mistook His true desire for us with the desire and things of this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we therefore should renew our commitment in faith to our Lord, by loving Him all the greater, through our obedience and following His will, doing our acts all in accordance with God’s love and care for us. Let us not forget our brothers and sisters out there who need our love and attention.

May we grow stronger in love, that day by day we may be ever more solid in our dedication and faith to the Lord. Let us not be hesitant to love God who is our Father, who loves us all with all of His might and care for each one of us. Let us never be separated from God’s love and remain ever in His grace. Amen.