Tuesday, 30 January 2018 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 5 : 21-43

At that time, Jesus then crossed to the other side of the lake; and while He was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around Him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and, seeing Jesus, threw himself at His feet; and begged Him earnestly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may get well and live.”

Jesus went with him, and many people followed, pressing around Him. Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Because she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind Him and touched His cloak, thinking, “If I just touch His clothing, I shall get well.”

Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint. But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from Him, so He turned around in the crowd, and asked, “Who touched My clothes?” His disciples answered, “You see how the people are crowding around You. Why do You ask who touched You?”

But He kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward, trembling and afraid. She knelt before Him, and told Him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be free of this illness.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official’s house to inform him, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?” But Jesus ignored what they said, and told the official, “Do not fear, just believe.” And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion, with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered, and said to them, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead, but asleep.” They laughed at Him. So Jesus sent them outside, and went with the child’s father and mother and His companions into the room, where the child lay.

Taking her by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kumi!” which means, “Little girl, get up!” The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old.) The parents were amazed, greatly amazed. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it; and He told them to give her something to eat.

Monday, 29 January 2018 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 5 : 1-20

At that time, Jesus and His disciples arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. No sooner did Jesus leave the boat than He was met by a man with evil spirits, who had come from the tombs. The man lived among the tombs, and no one could restrain him, even with a chain.

He had often been bound with fetters and chains; but he would pull the chains apart and smash the fetters; and no one had the strength to control him. Night and day he stayed among the tombs on the hillsides, and was continually screaming, and beating himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell at His feet, and cried with a loud voice, “What do You want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? For God’s sake, I beg You, do not torment me!” He said this, because Jesus had commanded, “Evil spirit, come out of the man!”

When Jesus asked the evil spirit, “What is your name?” It replied, “Legion is my name, for we are many.” And it kept begging Jesus, not to send them out of that region. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside, and the evil spirits begged Him, “Send us to the pigs, and let us go into them.”

So Jesus let them go. The evil spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs; and immediately, the herd rushed down the cliff; and all were drowned in the lake. The herdsmen fled, and reported this in the town and in the countryside. So all the people came to see what had happened.

They came to Jesus, and saw the man freed of the evil spirits, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind; the same man who had been possessed by the legion. They were afraid. And when those who had seen it, told what had happened to the man and to the pigs, the people begged Jesus to leave their neighbourhood.

When Jesus was getting into the boat, the man, who had been possessed, begged to stay with Him. Jesus would not let him, and said, “Go home to your people, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.”

So he went throughout the country of Decapolis, telling everyone how much Jesus had done for him; and all the people were astonished.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Galatians 5 : 18-25

But when you are led by the Spirit you are not under the Law. You know what comes from the flesh : fornication, impurity and shamelessness, idol worship and sorcery, hatred, jealousy and violence, anger, ambition, division, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I again say to you what I have already said : those who do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy and peace, patience, understanding of others, kindness and fidelity, gentleness and self-control. For such things there is no Law or punishment. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its vices and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us live in a spiritual way.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)
Galatians 5 : 1-6

Christ freed us to make us really free. So remain firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. I, Paul, say this to you : if you receive circumcision, Christ can no longer help you. Once more I say to whoever receives circumcision : you are now bound to keep the whole Law.

All you who pretend to become righteous through the observance of the Law have separated yourselves from Christ and have fallen away from grace. As for us, through the Spirit and faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. In Christ Jesus it is irrelevant whether we be circumcised or not; what matters is faith working through love.

Sunday, 31 July 2016 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 3 : 1-5, 9-11

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

Therefore, put to death what is earthly in your life, that is immorality, impurity, inordinate passions, wicked desires and greed which is a way of worshipping idols. Do not lie to one another. You have been stripped of the old self and its way of thinking to put on the new, which is being renewed and is to reach perfect knowledge and the likeness of its Creator.

There is no room for distinction between Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, foreigner, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 : 2nd Week of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 3 : 7b-15

At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again from above. The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus asked again, “How can this be?” And Jesus answered, “You are a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things? Truly, I say to you, We speak of what We know and We witness to the things We have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. If you do not believe when I speak of earthly things, what then, when I speak to you of heavenly things? No one has ever gone up to heaven except the One who came from heaven, the Son of Man.”

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”

(Special – Singapore) Saturday, 14 February 2015 : Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 84 : 9-14

Would that I hear God’s proclamation, that He promise peace to His people, His saints – lest they come back to their folly. Yet His salvation is near to those who fear Him, and His Glory will dwell in our land.

Love and faithfulness have met; righteousness and peace have embraced. Faithfulness will reach up from the earth while justice bends down from heaven.

The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its fruit. Justice will go before Him, and peace will follow along His path.

Friday, 13 February 2015 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the theme of the readings that we hear is sin and forgiveness of that sin, which had been the bane for all of us men. Sin came about because of the disobedience which we had shown to the Lord, when we chose to listen to the words and sweet temptations of Satan rather than listening to the will of God.

In the first reading, taken from the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we heard the account of how mankind fell into sin for the first time, the sin of our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, who listened to the wicked serpent, that is Satan, eating the fruits of the forbidden tree which God had forbid them to eat from. That tree of knowledge of good and evil is the reason why we mankind have ever since been exposed to evil and to sin, which is because of our inability to distinguish between the two due to the limitation of our intelligence, wisdom and abilities.

We were too greedy, brothers and sisters in Christ, and since the days of our ancestors, we have desired to seek many things that we ought not to have with us. As a result, we fall into a state of disgrace and separation from the love of our God. Sin entered into us, and we are rendered sick, blinded, deafened and made mute by the taints of that sin.

And yet, someone did not give up on us, no matter how fallen and wicked we have become, and no matter how hopeless we appear to have become. And that One is our Lord Himself, who loved us so much beyond everything else. He loves us all and He is concerned about us, worried about the fate which will be ours if we continue to walk on this path towards disaster, that is the path of sin.

That is why in the Gospel today we heard the story of when Jesus our Lord healed the deaf and dumb man, whom the Lord healed by the outpouring of His mercy and love, to open the ears and the mouth of the man and enable him to finally speak and listen again. Indeed, to listen to the wonders of the nature, all of God’s creation, and to speak of the Lord’s glory and everlasting life for all of us.

Too long we have dwelled in the darkness, and too long we have been corrupted by the snares of Satan. We have been blinded, made deaf and mute by the sins which Satan had tempted us with, and with our desires and greed piling up and growing, it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult for us to escape from the snares and the chains that kept us in this world of darkness. But, our salvation comes from the Lord, and He personally came to ensure that all of us be saved from the dangers of death and annihilation because of our sins.

In baptism according to the traditional and reverent rite, the same ritual is performed, following what Jesus did to the man, by touching the ears and the tongue with spittle, and saying the words ‘Ephphata!’ which means, ‘be opened!’. This is to symbolise that through baptism, our Lord had lifted us up from the darkness of sin, and by cleansing us with the holy water of baptism, He had unveiled from us, the true light that exists within us, dispelling all the veils and the falsehoods that Satan had planted all around us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all recall our own baptism, the time when we have the waters of baptism being poured onto us. Baptism is the important moment in time when we are freed from the shackles of sin that hold onto us, and brought by the Lord to enter into His eternal light. Thus, as we remember our own baptism, let us all renew our commitment of faith to God, and awaken in us all the passion and desire to love Him more and more.

Let us all shun all forms of sin, repent and be glad once again, for our Lord had come to liberate us, and all of us who believe in Him, will not be disappointed, but will forever enjoy the grace and love of our Lord. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 6 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 26 : 1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fail; though war break out against me, I will still be confident.

For He will keep me safe in His shelter in times of misfortune; He will hide me beneath His roof, and set me high upon a rock.

I seek Your face, o Lord. Do not hide Your face from me nor turn away Your servant in anger. You are my Protector, do not reject me.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the famous parable of the sower in the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ to the people. This parable told us of the gifts of God’s love in all of us, and what can happen to that gift, either be it for out own good, for our benefit, or whether it will become dead and useless, meaningless for the sake of our salvation. It is all truly entirely up to us, in our own actions in life, on what will become of the gifts which God had given us all.

In the first reading we are told of the action of God, who by the singular act of our Lord Jesus Christ had made the impossible possible for all of us. While we were once sinners who deserved only death and damnation, He had brought us out from the precipice of death, through the loving sacrifice of our Lord Himself, who had borne all of our sins at once, and carry that cross of sin, of shame and of damnation upon His shoulders to Calvary.

And by that act, we were all saved. Redemption was given to us and salvation is offered freely to us, if only we believe in what Christ had done for us, that is God’s love. And it is therefore, in this that we should see how God had planted His love within us all. Through Jesus, He had revealed unto us, the seeds of faith, the seeds of love, and the seeds of hope, which all of us, upon our acceptance of the Good News of the Gospels, receive from the Lord Himself, who is the Sower of those seeds.

But what we all should realise is that, those seeds need something to be able to grow. As all farmers should know, that Jesus was referring to them by that parable, so that they might be able to understand His intentions. That intention was that to show mankind how our faith requires an active participation and contribution by all of us without exception. And this is perfectly shown by the parable of the sower.

In rich soil, the seeds will prosper and grow well, and very well indeed, bearing many and many more fruits and results than what had been planted. Such will also be our reward, rich and plentiful, should we decide to walk in the way of the Lord. Our Lord and God will never disappoint us, and He will always guide us and be with us, just like the farmer taking care of its good crops. But bad crops He will uproot and destroy.

And even worse, for many people, the seeds would not even have the chance to grow and develop, for the various reasons summarised in the parable of the sower. For some, the seeds of faith, hope and love did not even manage to take root at all, unable to penetrate the hardness of the hearts of some of us. Yes, just as the Israelites in the past had hardened their hearts against God, and just as the Pharaoh had hardened his heart against the Israelites, so are many of us who have dwelled too long in our pride, in our prejudice, our greed and desires, so that we have no place for God at all within us.

And from among those whom the seeds had been sown in, there are those who are so concerned with worldly things, to the point that they are unable to fully commit to the Lord’s way and teachings. To them, the temptation of the world is too much and too good for them to ignore, and therefore, they gave in to the temptations of Satan, much like weeds growing around the crops and choking them to death, and thus they bore no fruit at all, and have no part in God’s salvation.

Today, we celebrate the feast of a great saint of the Church, that is of St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Doctor of the Church and the revolutionary philosopher saint who advanced greatly the Theology of the Church, by showing through his brilliant mind, the truth of God made real and concrete, and many understood the true meaning of their faith through his works.

St. Thomas Aquinas told us that there is much we do not know about the Lord, and that we can understand Him by observing what we have around us in the world, through the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas developed greatly the understanding on the nature of God, and what He had done for us through His various graces. And that is exactly by understanding the Lord, that we may grow stronger in faith and empower ourselves, that our lives will be made richer and the seeds of faith, hope and love our Lord planted in us may grow and be strong.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, shall we seek to overcome the temptations of this world and cast out all forms of worldliness from our lives? Shall we seek to be closer to the Lord our God by striving to know Him better? Surely we all can put in more effort to be closer to our God and strive to live according to what He had told us.

Let us all therefore work hard to provide ourselves with the optimum environment and condition necessary for the faith in us to grow, for the hope in us to blossom, and for the love in us to bear forth great fruits. That is why, with the inspiration from St. Thomas Aquinas, we should all seek to understand our faith more deeply, by regularly reading the Holy Scriptures and learning the teachings of the Church.

By doing so, therefore we have strengthened the faith within us, and then we should bring forth that same faith, that same hope and love in our actions, and then truly that seed which had been planted in us will bear rich fruits that will be truly thirtyfold, sixtyfold, hundredfold and even more. May Almighty God witness the faith we have for Him, through what we have done to one another, and may He bless us always with His rich graces. God bless us all. Amen.