Monday, 22 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 15 : 26 – John 16 : 4a

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “From now on the Helper, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I have told you.”

“Peace be with you! I give you My peace; not as the world gives peace do I give it to you. Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, but I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

“I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen you may believe. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the prince of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in Me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father, and that I do what the Father has taught Me to do. Come now, let us go.”

“I am the True Vine and My Father is the Vinegrower. If any of My branches does not bear fruit, He breaks it off; and He prunes every branch that does bear fruit, that it may bear even more fruit. You are already made clean by the word I have spoken to you. Live in Me as I live in you.”

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how the Apostles continued to carry on the mission they had been entrusted with, and brought the Word of God to many peoples, bringing them closer and closer to the salvation in God. The Apostles and their disciples went to spread the Good News to many people, some of whom accepted them and the message they brought to them, while some were reluctant and doubtful while others rejected them outright.

That what the Apostles were doing, and in their hard toils, they managed to convert many to the faith and in the process. The Apostles went around to many places, around the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard, facing tough challenges in order to evangelise the people. They spread the Good News about the Lord and Christ who has died for us and was risen in glory, and whose peace and love, He wanted to share with all the nations.

Not all the people were receptive to this revelation though, because many would prefer to remain in the darkness of ignorance and sin, die to various reasons, mainly because they cannot part with the goodness and all the pleasures that this world can offer, although by indulging in these they risk corruption with sin and hence damnation.

In this world, it is increasingly becoming more and more commercialised and materialistic, to the point that many pursue their career and work, that they can gain more prosperity and more financial strength, or simply more money. This world offers so much good things to us, that we end up being bought over, and our attitudes and lifestyles change.

We have not been able to keep our faith strong because of all these temptations, which are ever present and keep us separated from the Lord and His love. This world is ever moving towards the tendency to drift away from God and indulge in oneself, that is in pleasures of the flesh and goodness of the world. Gluttony, desire and greed are common problems and weaknesses that mankind has.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena, a humble and holy man, who was a priest and a Franciscan missionary, who was well known as the Apostle of Italy during his time, because of his hard works and dedication to eliminate evil and vices in the society that prevented mankind from seeking and be reunited with God.

St. Bernardine of Siena was well-known for his preaching and evangelisation works. He worked hard to spread the Gospel and explain the message of the Good News to the people of God, and calling on them to repent for their sins and unworthy behaviour. He was persuasive and yet rich of love and mercy, and his sermons and exhortations never failed to inspire the people and made many convert to the true faith and keep their lives free from sin.

St. Bernardine of Siena was particularly known for his attack on the excesses of life, where he encouraged the people to cast down and throw away those excesses into a bonfire. In that way, he encouraged the people to turn their back to the excesses and the corruptions promoted by the world, which are not different in form, even in this modern day. Yes, to turn their back on these excesses and impurities and seek the Lord with all of their heart.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, following the example and heeding the call of St. Bernardine of Siena, let us all resolve in changing our ways, that we no longer seek what is vain and corrupting, namely the pleasures of the flesh and the decadent and opulent lifestyle as promoted by the world. Especially for us who live in prosperous and developed countries, it is easy for us to fall into the temptation of possession and material wealth.

Instead, let us resolve to seek the Lord with all of our might, and commit ourselves completely and entirely to Him. How do we do that, brethren? We should be charitable in all of our actions, that in all things, we bring good to others and dedicate ourselves to make better the life of others. Shall we do this, and follow the Lord and St. Bernardine of Siena in their way? Let us cast away the old life of vice and excesses, and embrace the new life based on love.

May God be with us and guide us on our way, and may He bless us ever more with His love, and therefore grant us His light to light our path. Amen.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 27-31a

Peace be with you! I give you My peace; not as the world gives peace do I give it to you. Do not be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, “I am going away, but I am coming to you.” If you loved Me, you would be glad that I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it takes place, so that when it does happen you may believe. It is very little what I may still tell you, for the prince of this world is at hand, although there is nothing in Me that he can claim. But see, the world must know that I love the Father.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 21

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.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age. Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

Let my mouth speak in praise of the Lord, let every creature bless His holy Name, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 14 : 19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against them. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him for dead. But when his disciples gathered around him, he stood up and returned to the town. And the next day he left for Derbe with Barnabas.

After proclaiming the Gospel in that town and making many disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and on to Antioch. They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.”

In each church they appointed elders and, after praying and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had placed their faith. Then they travelled through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. They preached the Word in Perga and went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commanded to God’s grace for the task they had now completed.”

“On their arrival they gathered the Church together and told them all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the non-Jews. They spent a fairly long time there with the disciples.”

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Scripture Reflection)

Prayer is very powerful, brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayer gives us the important link between us and the Lord our God, because prayer is a form of communication that put us in a special link, all of us, each at once, with the Lord, in a two-way conversation, that we can speak to God, and God can also speak to us.

But too often, brethren, that when we pray, we focus too much on ourselves and our selfish ideas, that we bombard the Lord with our requests, our needs, and our wishes, that we fail to listen to God speaking to us in silence. It becomes then a one-way conversation, with our voices overpowering the Lord’s voice within our hearts.

The Lord does not speak to us in audible voice, brothers and sisters. Do not expect that the Lord will announce His speaking to us with trumpets of the angels and loud voices like thunder. Instead, the voice of the Lord is like the softest breeze of the wind, that can only be heard, when we took our time and remain in silence. In silence, and in retreat from the busy schedule of our world, even for a short time, will allow us to listen to God speaking within us, in His own subtle way, and we can then know what God wants for us.

But prayer is also important because it gives us power and strength in our daily struggle against the devil and his agents in this world, that always attempt to corrupt us and all mankind with the seductions of pleasure and temporary joy, that lead to evil and damnation. Prayer gives us advantage over the devil because with prayer, we anchor ourselves and keep our link with God our Father, who is the supreme sovereign over all creations, even over Satan and his angels, and therefore, with God at our back, no one, even the devil can harm us.

Prayer makes us into a fortress of faith that protects us from the devil, and yet, with the power and wisdom of God, prayer not only protects us from the power of the evil one, but it also can bring about healing and purification in others, helping others who also struggle against the power of Satan. Prayer can overpower the devil and force him out, replacing him with the presence of God that will stay and dwell, preventing the devil from coming in again, as long as that person remain faithful in the Lord.

We need God in our fight against the devil, and our strong faith must be supplemented with the strong connection that we have to the Lord. That was why the disciples of Jesus cannot remove the devil from that young boy, because they simply did not keep up their prayer life, to anchor themselves strongly in God’s power and authority that would have triumphed over the devil.

Today, brethren, we also celebrate the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena. St. Bernardine was a great Fransiscan monk who became a great evangeliser and preacher, in Italy, where many corruptions of the world had entered the Church and the society. He campaigned strongly for the purification of the faith, and the return to the true faith, and preached strongly against the corruptions and wicked practices in the society and the Church at the time.

That is what we should do too, brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though our Church now is not like that in the past, that of the time of St. Bernardine, the world still corrupts much of our world today. It is up to us, and to the many missionaries and champions of God’s Gospels, to bring God’s light into the world. St. Bernardine of Siena, pray for us, that God will continue to strengthen our faith and give us courage to stand up against the world and the devil.

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Mark 9 : 14-29

When they came to the place where they had left the disciples, they saw many people around them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished and ran to greet Him.

He asked, “What are you arguing about with them?” A man answered Him from the crowd, “Master, I brought my son to You, for he has a spirit, deaf and mute. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes stiff all over. I asked Your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”

Jesus replied, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me.” And they brought the boy to Him.

As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it shook and convulsed the boy, who fell on the ground and began rolling about, foaming at the mouth. Then Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “From childhood. And it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water to destroy him. If You can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you say, ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe, but help the little faith I have.”

Jesus saw that the crowd was increasing rapidly, so He ordered the evil spirit, “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you : ‘Leave the boy and never enter him again.'” The evil spirit shook and convulsed the boy and with a terrible shriek came out.

The boy lay like a corpse and people said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him and the boy stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive out the spirit?” And He answered, “Only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else.”

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Psalm)

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

The Lord reigns, robed in majesty; the Lord is girded with strength.

The world now is firm, it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o Lord, from all eternity, You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your house day after day without end, o Lord.

Monday, 20 May 2013 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (First Reading)

Sirach 1 : 1-10

All wisdom comes from the Lord and endures with Him forever. The grains of sand, the drops of rain and the days of eternity, who can count them? The height of heaven, the extent of the earth, and the depths of the abyss, who can measure them?

Wisdom was created before all things and the prudent intellect before the beginning of time. To whom was the source of Wisdom revealed? Who has known her secret designs? One alone is wise and greatly to be feared. The One who is seated upon His throne.

The Lord Himself created Wisdom. He looked on her and knew her value. He poured her out over all His works; upon all mortal beings, in accordance with his goodness. He lavished her on those who love Him.

Monday, 29 April 2013 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not dwell in the false gods and idols, and remain true in our faith in God our Lord. Let us not be like the pagans at the time who failed to see the truth in God, and instead dwell in their imaginaries deities and gods, made out of earthly materials of stone, wood, silver, or gold. For these are merely empty vessels, vessels of deception by the devil to lure the faithful away from the true faith in God.

For today, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, even though we no longer see and worship idols made out of gold and silver, in the form of pagan and heathen false gods, the likes of Zeus, Hercules, and countless other gods, today in our world, a new kind of idols are rising, and not in the form of merely false gods in craven false imageries, but in the form of money and wealth itself.

For wealth and material possessions had been alluring to mankind for long ages past, and today, with God becoming ever more distant in the hearts of many, because of the rising secularisation and detachment of God from the world, due to the evil forces of relativism and scientific development, which marginalised God from the once central role He had in our daily lives, had become the new gods, which attempt to replace the One, True God in our hearts.

But they will not succeed, for God our Lord is mighty, and His love is everlasting, and despite all the attempts by the evil one to turn mankind away from God, God always stays ahead of Satan’s attempts, and send the helper and the advocate through the Holy Spirit, that inflames the hearts of many of the faithful to love God ever more, and strengthen our faith in Him.

Many of us had become myopic in our obsession with the material and the temporal possessions in this world, and so obsessed that we failed to look beyond our desires and obsession, in order to find the truth that is in the Lord and in His love, which He made manifest through Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary. Let us not limit ourselves to only viewing our desires and our needs, but let us always take a step back, and take some time to reflect, that our vision will not be then limited just to our desires, but our eyes will then be opened to see the plight of our fellow men, who are still suffering.

Today, we commemorate the feast day of a great saint and Doctor of the Church, that is St. Catherine of Siena. St. Catherine of Siena is a great saint and teacher of the faith through her numerous laters and literary works, which became inspiration for many Christians of her era and even today. She zealously defended the faith in God and zealously love Him in her actions and her life. She was also important in the bringing back of the Papacy from its self-imposed ‘exile’ from Avignon in France to return to Rome, where the centre of the Church is. Therefore, she played a great role in the reestablishment and rejuvenation of the Church as we know it today.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today renew our commitment to serve and love our Lord, and to grow ever stronger in our faith in Him, that we will be transformed by His love, into beings of light and love, that in our every actions, words, and thoughts, we reflect the nature of God, and everyone can see that God is in us, and He is working through us. Let us pray for ourselves, for our brethren, and for our world, that it will be filled with God’s love and presence forever more. St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us. Amen.