Friday, 14 August 2020 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ezekiel 16 : 1-15, 60, 63

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem its sins. You say on My behalf : Your beginning was in Canaan; there, you were born. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. On the day you were born, your cord was not cut; you were not bathed in water to make you clean; you were not rubbed with salt, nor were you wrapped in cloth.”

“There was no one to look with pity on you; or compassionate enough, to give you any of these attentions. You were left, exposed, in the open fields; because you were looked upon with disgust, on the day you were born. But I passed by; and saw you, immersed in your blood. I said to you, in the midst of your blood, ‘Live!’”

“I made you grow, like a plant of the field. You grew up and became tall; and were becoming of marriageable age. Your breasts were formed and your hair had grown; but you were naked and exposed. I passed by later, and saw, you were at the age of love; and spread part of My garment over you, to cover your nudity. I made a Covenant with you with an oath – word of YHVH – and you were Mine.”

“Then I bathed you in water; I cleansed you of your blood and anointed you with oil. I clothed you with embroidered cloth and put soft leather sandals on your feet. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with jewelry, putting bracelets on your arms, a necklace around your neck and a ring in your nose. I gave you earrings and a magnificent crown for your head.”

“You were adorned with gold and silver; your clothing was fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You were fed on finest flour, honey and oil; you became very beautiful and rose to be queen. Your beauty was perfect; and your renown spread through the nations, because of the splendour I had given you – word of YHVH.”

“But you relied on your beauty; you trusted in your fame; and you began to give yourself to every passerby, like a prostitute. But I will remember My Covenant with you in the days of your youth, and, make in your favour, an eternal Covenant, so that you may remember, be ashamed, and never open your mouth again, because of your humiliation, when I have pardoned you for all you have done,” word of YHVH.

Alternative reading

Ezekiel 16 : 59-63

For thus says YHVH : “I will treat you as you deserve; you, who despised the oath and broke the Covenant. But I will remember My Covenant with you in the days of your youth, and, make in your favour, an eternal Covenant. You will be mindful of your ways and be ashamed, when I take your sisters, both the elder and the younger; and give them to you as daughters, without prejudice to My Covenant with you.”

“For I will uphold My Covenant with you; and you will know that I am YHVH, so that you may remember, be ashamed, and never open your mouth again, because of your humiliation, when I have pardoned you for all you have done,” word of YHVH.

Thursday, 13 August 2020 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Pontian, Pope and Martyr, and St. Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Ezekiel 12 : 1-12

This word of YHVH came to me, “Son of man, you live in the midst of a house of rebels : they have eyes for seeing but do not see; they have ears for hearing but do not hear; for they are a house of rebels. Because of this, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage in their sight, as an exile does; and go as an exile, to another place, in their sight. Would that they might understand, because they are a house of rebels.”

“You will gather your things, an exile’s baggage, by day, to be seen by them; and you will leave in the evening, as for a departure of deportees. While they look on, dig a hole in the wall and leave from there. As they look on, shoulder your baggage and leave in the dark. Veil your face and do not look at the land, for I have made you a sign for Israel.”

I did as I was ordered, gathering my things by day, an exile’s baggage, and, in the evening, I made a hole in the wall with my hand. I left in the dark, in their presence, shouldering my baggage. In the morning, the word of YHVH came to me : “Son of man, did not the Israelites, these rebels, ask you, ‘What are you doing there?’ Answer them on behalf of YHVH : This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites remaining in the city.”

“Say, ‘I am a sign for you,’ for what I have done will happen to them : They will be deported, exiled. The prince among them shall shoulder his baggage in the dark and depart. They will dig a hole in the wall to let him leave by it. He will cover his face because he must not see the land with his eyes.”

Monday, 25 March 2019 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 7 : 10-14 and Isaiah 8 : 10

Once again YHVH addressed Ahaz, “Ask for a sign from YHVH your God, let it come either from the deepest depths or from the heights of heaven.”

But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask, I will not put YHVH to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign : The Virgin is with Child and bears a Son and calls His Name Immanuel.”

“Devise a plan and it will be thwarted, make a resolve and it will not stand, for God-is-with-us.”

Saturday, 30 December 2017 : Sixth Day within Octave of Christmas (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 36-40

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the Child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon Him.

Friday, 29 December 2017 : Fifth Day within Octave of Christmas, Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 22-35

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign, a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Monday, 4 April 2016 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Memorial of St. Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 7 : 10-14 and Isaiah 8 : 10

Once again YHVH addressed Ahaz, “Ask for a sign from YHVH your God, let it come either from the deepest depths or from the heights of heaven.”

But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask. I will not put YHVH to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God?”

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign : The Virgin is with Child and bears a Son and calls His Name, Immanuel. Devise a plan and it will be thwarted, make a resolve and it will not stand, for God-is-with-us.”

Friday, 7 August 2015 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Sixtus II, Pope and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Cajetan, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Deuteronomy 4 : 32-40

Moses said, “Ask of the times past. Inquire from the day when God created man on earth. Ask from one end of this world to the other : Has there ever been anything as extraordinary as this? Has anything like this been heard of before? Has there ever been a people who remained alive after hearing as you did the voice of the living God from the midst of the fire?”

“Never has there been a God who went out to look for a people and take them out from among the other nations by the strength of trials and signs, by wonders and by war, with a firm hand and an outstretched arm. Never has there been any deed as tremendous as those done for you by YHVH in Egypt, which you saw with your own eyes.”

“You saw this that you might know that YHVH is God and that there is no other besides Him. He let you hear His voice from heaven that you might fear Him; on earth He let you see His blazing fire and from the midst of the fire you heard His word.”

“Because of the love He had for your fathers, He chose their descendants after them, and He Himself made you leave Egypt with His great power. He expelled before you peoples more numerous and stronger than you, and He has made you occupy their land : today He has given this to you as an inheritance.”

“Therefore, try to be convinced that YHVH is the only God of heaven and earth, and that there is no other. Observe the laws and the commandments that I command you today, and everything will be well with you and your children after you. So you will live long in the land which YHVH, your God, gives you forever.”

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, 16 February 2015 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 8 : 11-13

At that time, the Pharisees came and started to argue with Jesus. Hoping to embarrass Him, they asked for some heavenly sign. Then His Spirit was moved. He gave a deep sigh and said, “Why do the people of this present time ask for a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this people.”

Then He left them, got into the boat again and went to the other side of the lake.

Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 22-40

When the day came for the purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the Law of the Lord : ‘Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God.’ And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the Law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord.

So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law. Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a sign, a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the Child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom : the grace of God was upon Him.

 

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 2 : 22, 39-40

When the day came for the purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom : the grace of God was upon Him.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/26/sunday-28-december-2014-feast-of-the-holy-family-of-jesus-mary-and-joseph-and-feast-of-the-holy-innocents-martyrs-homily-and-scripture-reflections/