Saturday, 20 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 16 : 1-10

Paul travelled on to Derbe and then to Lystra. A disciple named Timothy lived there, whose mother was a believer of Jewish origin but whose father was a Greek. As the believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him, Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him. So he took him and, because of the Jews of that place who all knew that his father was a Greek, he circumcised him.

As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions of the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem, for the people to obey. Meanwhile, the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number every day.

They travelled through Phrygia and Galatia, because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to do this. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.

There one night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and begged him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” When he awoke, he told us of this vision and we understood that the Lord was calling us to give the Good News to the Macedonian people.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 121 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

Jerusalem, just like a city, where everything falls into place! There the tribes go up.

The tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stand the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
1 Corinthians 15 : 1-8

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, of the Good News that I preached to you and which you received and on which you stand firm. By that Gospel you are saved, provided that you hold to it as I preached it. Otherwise, you will have believed in vain.

In the first place, I have passed on to you what I myself received that Christ died for our sins, as Scripture says; that He was buried; that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures; that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. Afterwards He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters together; most of them are still alive, although some have already gone to rest.

Then He appeared to James and after that to all the Apostles. And last of all, He appeared to the most despicable of them, this is to me.

Friday, 31 March 2017 : 4th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Psalm 33 : 17-18, 19-20, 21 and 23

But the Lord’s face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.

He keeps all their bones intact, and none of them will be broken. But the Lord will redeem the life of His servants; none of those who trust in Him will be doomed.

Thursday, 23 March 2017 : 3rd Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the Scripture passages that speak to us about the need for us to follow and obey the Lord, and not to harden our hearts and minds against Him, as what some of our predecessors had done, and exemplified by the examples of the Israelites and those who lived during the time of Jesus and His earthly ministry.

God had done so many good things for His people Israel, liberating them from the Pharaoh and from the Egyptians, allowing them to pass unharmed through the sea, and caring for them throughout their journey in the desert. He provided for them food and water, and all that they ever needed were taken care of. Such was the love which God had shown His people, and He wanted them to do only one thing.

And that thing is to obey His commandments and laws, to be righteous just as He is righteous, to be holy just as He is holy. But they were easily swayed by the temptations of their flesh, which caused them to fall into sin, and into disobedience against God. They hardened their hearts and minds against God, that even though He has loved them so tenderly and cared for them so graciously, they complained and grumbled against Him.

In the same manner, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were the elders and leaders of the people of God, who were entrusted with the leadership and guidance of the people, as they were supposedly the best educated and the ones most knowledgeable about the Law of God. Yet, in their pride and in their closed hearts and minds, they refused to believe in the One Whom God had sent into the world in order to bring His truth to them, Jesus.

They went so far as to accuse Jesus of colluding with the forces of the devil, through Beelzebul, one of the princes of demons, in His miraculous works and actions. That is when Jesus firmly rebuked them and chided them for their hard-hearted attitude, and in their refusal to open their minds to the Lord, even to the point of spreading and telling lies for the sake of trying to undermine the good works of our Lord, just because they were jealous of the influence and attention which Jesus was getting for His actions.

We may think that all of these things only happened to the groups of people we have mentioned, and will not happen to us. However, in reality, if we think about it again carefully, there are many occasions in our respective lives, when we shut ourselves from God, because we are too busy with our worldly dealings and works. Sometimes we do not realise it, but we can be too busy to know that God wants to come to us and enter into our lives.

We can shut our hearts and minds from God, because we are so self-centred and concerned so much about our own well being and worldly cares, that we end up shutting ourselves from our brethren as well. This is what we as Christians must not do, or else we will end up as those who call themselves as Christians, but are such in name only, and in their hearts, they do not have God inside them.

During this time of Lent, it is important that we use this opportunity to think about our lives, and reflect on how we have lived our lives thus far, through all of our actions and deeds, through our words and all that we have acted in this life, in how we approach and live with our fellow brethren, and how we have chosen our actions. We really need to ask ourselves, if we have allowed God to be the mover of our lives, or whether we have put Him aside, replaced by our attachment and obsession with worldliness.

Perhaps, in this matter we can also follow the examples of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, a holy bishop and a devoted Spanish missionary, who became the Archbishop of Lima in what is now modern day Peru. He was thoroughly devoted to God, and gave himself completely to the mission to which he has been called. He preached among the natives and the people who have not yet heard the word of God, and he converted many people to the faith.

However, he did not have it easy at all. He had to go on very long journeys to go around his vast Archdiocese, visiting his people in various places, from the deepest parts of the jungle, with all of its associated risks and dangers, to the steep hills and mountains, to the deserts and dry lands, encountering hostile tribes and dangers along his way.

But St. Turibius de Mogrovejo did not give up despite all of those challenges. We may be wondering what is the reason for his strong resolve and commitment. St. Turibius de Mogrovejo had God as his source of strength and resolve. He put his trust in God, and that was how he was able to persevere through all the difficult times and through all the challenging moments.

Are we able to follow the Lord in the same way as St. Turibius de Mogrovejo had done? Are we able to commit our lives to Him, and to do good deeds as that holy saint had done? It is entirely up to us, if we want to allow God to be our foundation and our strength, putting our trust completely in Him. But, we really need to allow Him to come into our hearts and allow Him to transform our lives, that we may truly be His in heart, mind, body and soul.

Let us all renew our commitment to the Lord, devoting our effort and our time to serve Him, by loving one another, our fellow brethren, and commit ourselves to do what is good in the sight of God. In that way, we are loving God with sincerity and genuine intentions, and God will reward us with His grace and love in the end of it all. May the Lord strengthen our faith and empower us all in our faith. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 23 March 2017 : 3rd Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Luke 11 : 14-23

At that time, one day Jesus was driving out a demon, which was mute. When the demon had been driven out, the mute person could speak, and the people were amazed. Yet some of them said, “He drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God, has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters.”

Thursday, 23 March 2017 : 3rd Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (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.