(Special) Friday, 31 January 2014 : Chinese New Year Day Mass (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 90 : 1-17

Lord, You have been our refuge through all generations. Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night. You sow them in their time, at dawn they peep out. In the morning they blossom, but the flower fades and withers in the evening.

Your fury consumes us like fire, and we are helpless before Your anger. Our evils lie before You, who scrutinize our hidden sins. Our days pass away in Your wrath; our years are gone in no time. Seventy years to our life or eighty if we are strong, yet most of them are sorrow and trouble; speeding by, they sweep us along.

Who knows the extent of Your anger? Who has seen the end of Your wrath? So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. Make joy endure as the misery did, and the years in which we were afflicted. Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children. May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us; may He prosper the work of our hands.

(Special) Friday, 31 January 2014 : Chinese New Year Day Mass (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Numbers 6 : 22-27

Then YHVH spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and say to them : This is how you shall bless the people of Israel; you shall say :

‘May YHVH bless you and keep you! May YHVH let His face shine on you and be gracious to you! May YHVH look kindly on you, and give you His peace!’

In that way shall they put my Name on the people of Israel and I will bless them.”

(Special) Sunday, 23 June 2013 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are celebrating the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist, the relative of our Lord Jesus Christ by virtue of his mother, Elizabeth, being the cousin of Mary, the mother of our Lord. St. John the Baptist is known for his role in preparing the way for Christ, straightening the path for His arrival into this world, preceding the Lord Himself by a few months. He baptised peoples and asked them to repent from their sins, so that they would not fall into damnation, and be open for Christ when He came.

St. John the Baptist is a great saint, brothers and sisters, and he is considered by many to be one of the prophets reborn once again, particularly that of Elijah, sent by the Lord for the sake of Christ, as His messenger, and as His herald, proclaiming His arrival into the world. The events surrounding his birth is not ordinary either, because he was born out of an aging parent, an aging mother who could no longer conceive, but because of the power of the Lord and the Holy Spirit, conceived, and brought John into this world.

Like the passage in the first reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah, the words themselves spoke about St. John the Baptist and his life, in that he had been chosen by the Lord since his conception, and before he was even born, as the angel told Zechariah, John’s father in the Temple of Jerusalem. He had been chosen from among many, to be the messenger of the Lord’s message and words, and to prepare the way for the Word Himself, Christ, our Saviour, who is also the Word of God.

Being chosen by the Lord, St. John the Baptist did not shy away in fear, but instead fully embraced the tasks that had been entrusted on him, and passionately went into his ministry, preaching to the people of God and repeatedly asking them to repent and return to the Lord who loves them. He worked tirelessly throughout his ministry in this world, and he did not show any fear even to the corrupt authority, the way he chastised King Herod for his improper relationship with the brother of his wife, Herodias.

He did not fear death while doing so, and faced death willingly when he was beheaded by the order of King Herod. In his humility he told his own disciples to follow Christ, and proclaimed to them the Messiah, with his words, “Behold the Lamb of God!”, and many who followed John then followed Christ in turn. He did not seek human glory and praise, and in his humility, told his disciples that while Christ increase, he must decrease.

He recognised his own human weakness and accepted the will of God without hesitation. He followed the Lord and obeyed His will. St. John the Baptist is indeed an example for all of us, how to be the true disciples of the Lord. When we are called by the Lord to be His servants, we must not give in to fear and doubt, but place all of our trust in the Lord, just the way that St. John had done, that we can truly give our all in the work for the sake of the Lord, and for the sake of God’s people, that is all mankind.

We should not give in to doubt as Zechariah, John’s father had done. It may be understandable because it may seem impossible for humans that an elderly woman should be able to bear a child. But to God, nothing is impossible. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we who have received the Good News of Christ, let us be renewed by the Holy Spirit of the Lord, and let us be courageous and passionate in spreading the Good News and salvation of the Lord, inspired by the example of St. John the Baptist.

Remember that God chose us and not we chose Him. He called us from the many, to be His disciples, and those of us who had accepted Him as their Lord and Saviour, gained salvation and life eternal. May God remain with us, bless us, and strengthen us in our task, that is to bring the Word of God to many in this world. St. John the Baptist, pray for us too. Amen.

(Special) Sunday, 23 June 2013 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Luke 1 : 5-17

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah, belonging to the priestly clan of Abiah. Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, also belonged to a priestly family. Both of them were upright in the eyes of God, and lived blamelessly in accordance with all the laws and commands of the Lord, but they had no child. Elizabeth could not have any and now they were both very old.

Now, while Zechariah and those with him were fulfilling their office, it fell to him by lot, according to the custom of the priests, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. At the time of offering incense, all the people were praying outside; it was then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

On seeing the angel, Zechariah was deeply troubled and fear took hold of him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, be assured that your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall name him John. He will bring joy and gladness to you, and many will rejoice at his birth.

“This son of yours will be great in the eyes of the Lord. Listen : he shall never drink wine or strong drink, but he will be filled with Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Through him, many of the people of Israel will turn to the Lord their God. He himself will open the way to the Lord with the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah; he will reconcile fathers and children, and lead the disobedient to wisdom and righteousness, in order to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

(Special) Sunday, 23 June 2013 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Second Reading)

1 Peter 1 : 8-12

You have not seen Him and yet you love Him; even without seeing Him, you believe in Him and experience a heavenly joy beyond all words, for you are reaching the goal of your faith : the salvation of your souls.

This was the salvation for which the prophets so eagerly looked when, in days past, they foretold the favour of God with regard to you. But they could only investigate when the Spirit of Christ present within them pointed out the time and the circumstances of this – the sufferings of Christ and the glories which would follow.

It was revealed to them that they were working not for themselves but for you. Thus, in these days, after the Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven, the Gospel’s preachers have taught you these mysteries which even the angels long to see.

(Special) Sunday, 23 June 2013 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Psalm)

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, o my God.

For You, o Lord, have been my hope, my trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

(Special) Sunday, 23 June 2013 : Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (First Reading)

Jeremiah 1 : 4-10

A word of YHVH came to me, “Even before I formed you in the womb I have known you; even before you were born I had set you apart, and appointed you a prophet to the nations!”

I said, “Ah, Lord YHVH! I do not know how to speak; I am still young!” But YHVH replied, “Do not say; ‘I am still young,’ for now you will go whatever be the mission I am entrusting to you, and you will speak of whatever I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them, for I will be with you to protect you – it is YHVH who speaks!”

Then YHVH stretched out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now I have put My words in your mouth. See! Today I give you authority over nations and over kingdoms to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”