Friday, 8 June 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this day, we focus on the most loving Heart of Our Lord, Who has given everything for our sake, the Lord Jesus, Who even did not hold back from suffering for our sake, and dying on the cross for our salvation.

This Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus had its roots from the long-established and traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart, which began hundreds of years ago, as popular devotion to the love which God had shown us, and which the Lord showed His servant, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, in a vision of His Most Sacred Heart, crowned with thorns and pierced, with a burning flame above the Heart, as a sign of His ever-burning and living love for each and every one of us.

This devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the oldest existing devotions in the Church, and one that all of us should be appreciative about, as it brings us to remember about the great love which God has shown to us, in His generous and rich mercy. The Church has decided to celebrate this Solemnity with great devotion, in order to benefit all of us on the way to our salvation in God.

First of all, we have to realise just how great the love which God has for each and every one of us, from the holiest of persons to the greatest among the sinners. To everyone, to all the children of men, God has shown His love, as personified in none other than the Lord Jesus Himself, the Love of God made Man, as St. John wrote in his Gospel, that God so loved the world, that He sent to the world and to us, His own Beloved Son.

And just as we often represent love with a heart, as the heart, is the source of our life, through the beating heart that is a sign of life, and also of emotions, because our heartbeat increases when we are feeling happy, intense, or in love, then, God’s love is represented in the same way, as the loving Heart of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is how the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus gained its place in our faith.

And symbolically, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, we heard about another important event involving the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord. It was during His crucifixion, right after He gave up His Spirit and died. As the chief priests and elders did not want the bodies to remain on the cross throughout the Sabbath, the Roman soldiers were instructed by their superior to ensure that the thieves and the Lord Jesus were dead.

Hence, they broke the bones of the legs of the thieves, an act which through our scientific research discovered that this could cause immediate death or very quick death to those criminals who has been left to hang on the crosses for hours. But at that time, the Lord Jesus was already dead, and many of the people who were there, including the soldiers witnessed His passing.

Nonetheless, in order to ensure that the Lord Jesus was truly dead, the Roman soldier, which by tradition was known as St. Longinus, pierced the side of the Lord with his lance, and immediately came pouring out blood and water from the Lord’s side. One would wonder why the Roman soldier pierced the side of the Lord to ensure that He was dead, if the heart is not even located at that part of the body.

That is because a Roman soldier like St. Longinus was very well-trained in numerous arts of warfare, and he must have been well-trained to hit the critical parts of the body, including the heart, from various places including from a person’s side. And when a person died, it has been determined by experience that if a person’s heart is pierced, there would be water accumulating in the spaces surrounding the heart, and hence, water and blood will come pouring out.

But the symbolism of the blood and water that came out from the side of the Lord Jesus was much greater than all of that. At every time the Holy Mass is celebrated, the priest mixes the wine with a little bit of water into the sacred chalice, and the material for the Precious Blood of the Lord was prepared. Both water and wine must be present, so as to make the whole process and Sacrament to be valid.

This is because the wine, usually red wine, with the colour of blood represents the Divinity of Christ, while the water represents His humanity, which are mingled together yet separate, distinct yet united, at the moment when the Lord offered Himself as the perfect Sacrifice on the Altar of the cross at Calvary, offering Himself as the perfect oblation for all of our sins.

The blood and water, symbolically represented by the wine and the water at the Mass, therefore shows us the salvation of God, brought forth by the giving of His life, the outpouring of His Body and Blood, given to us and shared with us, that all of us who partake in His Body and Blood, will have eternal life and share in the joy and glory of God forevermore.

That is just how much the Lord has loved us, and therefore, we ought to love Him just in the same manner. And that is why we devote ourselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, because ultimately, we believe that despite our shortcomings and sins, God has shown us His love, and He is willing to forgive us, provided that we are also willing to repent from our sins and turn wholeheartedly towards Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore deepen our devotion to the Lord, especially today, in His Most Sacred Heart. Let us draw ever closer to Him, and be filled with resolve to love God with a renewed vigour and faith. And let us also show the same love to our fellow men, as He has taught us to do. May the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord continue to pour His love upon us, and give us His generous mercy as always. Amen.

Friday, 8 June 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 31-37

At that time, as it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away.

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.

The one who saw that, has testified to it, and his testimony is true; he knows he speaks the truth, so that you also might believe. All this happened to fulfil the words of Scripture : Not one of His bones shall be broken. Another text says : They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced.

Friday, 8 June 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 8-12, 14-19

This grace, was given to me, the least, among all the holy ones : to announce to the pagan nations, the immeasurable riches of Christ, and to make clear to all, how the mystery, hidden from the beginning, in God, the Creator of all things, is to be fulfilled.

Even the heavenly forces and powers will now discover, through the Church, the wisdom of God in its manifold expression, as the plan is being fulfilled, which God designed from the beginning, in Christ Jesus, Our Lord. In Him, we receive boldness and confidence to approach God.

And, now, I kneel in the presence of the Father, from Whom, every family in heaven and on earth has received its name. May He strengthen in you, the inner self, through His Spirit, according to the riches of His glory; may Christ dwell in your hearts, through faith; may you be rooted and founded in love.

All of this, so that you may understand, with all the holy ones, the width, the length, the height and the depth – in a word, that you may know the love of Christ, that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled, and reach the fullness of God.

Friday, 8 June 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

He is the God of my salvation; in Him I trust and am not afraid, YHVH is my strength : Him I will praise, the One Who saved me.

You will draw water with joy from the very fountain of salvation. Then you will say : “Praise to the Lord, break into songs of joy for Him, proclaim His marvellous deeds among the nations and exalt His Name.”

“Sing to the Lord : wonders He has done, let these be known all over the earth. Sing for joy, o people of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Friday, 8 June 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hosea 11 : 1, 3-4, 8c-9

I loved Israel when he was a child; out of Egypt I called My Son. Yet, it was I Who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; yet, little did they realise that it was I Who cared for them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with leading strings of love, and I became for them as One Who eases the yoke upon their neck and stoops down to feed them.

My heart is troubled within Me and I am moved with compassion. I will not give vent to My great anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not human. I am the Holy One in your midst: and I do not want to come to you in anger.

Friday, 23 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate a great solemnity in honour of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion and tradition which had deep roots in our faith in the Church, beginning from an ancient tradition of devotion to the great love which the Lord Jesus had shown us all His people, through His most loving and merciful Sacred Heart, a devotion which was given in its modern form through the visions which was received by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque approximately four centuries ago.

In many of the icons of the Most Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus, we often see Jesus our Lord revealing His Sacred Heart, which is crowned with thorns and pierced with a lance, and with a flaming fire above the Heart, showing the great love and the intensity of which love, through which, our Lord resolved to redeem us from our sins and save us from the disaster that was about to be our fate. It was by this love, that He was willing to go through all sorts of persecutions and sufferings, for our sake and for our salvation.

In His appearance to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Lord Jesus showed His Most Sacred Heart to her, and spoke to her, saying that while His love for mankind had been great and magnificent, but most of mankind had rejected Him and His love, and spurned His love. We have rejected God’s love for us by our disobedience and refusal to follow His ways, and by continuing therefore to live in sin.

That is why it is important for us to devote ourselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, by understanding and knowing that great love which God in His heart has shown us all. There are indeed those who refused to believe in the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, because they deemed that it was idolatry and false to worship the supposedly physical heart of Jesus, but that was because of a misunderstanding of what the devotion to the Sacred Heart is really about.

In essence, our devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion to the physical or human Heart and the Divine Heart of our Lord and Saviour, Who has two natures, God and Man, which are yet united in perfection of love, in one singular Divinity. If the Lord had assumed the flesh of Man, then surely His whole entire Body is a reflection of both His humanity and divinity, including His Most Sacred Heart.

All of us know that the heart is among the most important organs in our body, without which the blood which provides our body cells and other organs with nutrients and oxygen cannot flow. And in figurative terms, the heart is the centre of our emotions and is often associated with love. That is why as I have mentioned earlier on, and in what our Lord Jesus Himself had told all those to whom He revealed His Most Sacred Heart, He told them how He loved all mankind, and yet His people rejected Him and His love.

At the moment of His crucifixion and death, the soldier named Longinus was tasked to attest the fact of His death. He took up his lance and pierced the side of Jesus, which hit towards His heart. Immediately from the Most Sacred Heart came forth blood and water, which poured down upon all who saw it, and those who saw it, including Longinus, believed in Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through all of these, we have seen how Jesus our Lord has loved us so much, that because of that love, poured out freely from His Most Sacred Heart, He was willing to endure suffering, pain, rejection, ridicule and all sorts of punishments, all of which were meant to be ours. Because of our sins, all of us ought to have been crushed and be destroyed due to them, but the Lord willingly shouldered all those sins, and were wounded for our sake.

Do we all realise just how much it was that the Lord had done for us? His Most Sacred Heart and all the love He had within has made everything possible for us, including our salvation and liberation from our fated destruction because of our sins. Every single wounds inflicted on Him, every single pain, be it physical or mental, from all the rejection, ridicule and mockery, are our sins, caused by our sins, and made by our disobedience.

Let us all therefore do our best, in order to seek to be closer to God, by relying and depending on His Most Sacred Heart, and all the love which He had kept in His Sacred Heart. Let us all remember that whenever we sin and whenever we turn away from His ways, we are taking part in ridiculing and persecuting the Lord, Who had borne all of our sins upon Himself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians therefore, all of us need to become role models in our devotion and commitment to the Lord, particularly today in the aspect of His Most Sacred Heart, remembering the great love and compassion which He had shown us, poured out from His ever loving Heart, filled with genuine love and mercy for us all mankind. Let us all turn wholeheartedly to Him and be good for the rest of our lives. May the Lord, in His Most Sacred Heart, bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 23 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 11 : 25-30

On that occasion, Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You; because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this was Your gracious will.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”