(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 103 : 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24 and 35

Bless the Lord, my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; O Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment; You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

You set the earth on its foundations, and never will it be shaken. You covered it with the ocean like a garment, and waters spread over the mountains.

You make springs gush forth in valleys winding among mountains and hills.

Birds build their nests close by and sing among the branches of trees. You water the mountains from Your abode and fill the earth with the fruit of Your work. You make grass grow for cattle and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. May sinners vanish from the earth, and may the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, my soul!

 

Alternative Psalm

Psalm 32 : 4-7, 12-13, 20, 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. He gathered the waters of the sea into a heap, and stored the deep in cellars.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield.

O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Monday, 22 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Psalm)

Psalm 62 : 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

O God, You are my God, it is You I seek; for You my body longs and my soul thirsts, as a dry and weary land without water.

Thus have I gazed upon You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.

I will bless You as long as I live, lift up my hands and call on Your Name. As with the richest food my soul will feast; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

For You have been my help; I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You, Your right hand upholds me.

Sunday, 23 June 2013 : 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Zechariah 12 : 10-11 and Zechariah 13 : 1

I will pour out on the family of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of love and supplication. They will look at the One who was pierced and mourn for Him as for an only child, weeping bitterly as for a firstborn. The mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning of Haddadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

On that day a spring will well up for the family of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse themselves of sin and defilement. YHVH, God of hosts says.

Sunday, 26 May 2013 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (First Reading)

Proverbs 8 : 22-31

YHVH created Me first, at the beginning of His works. He formed Me from of old, from eternity, even before the earth.

The abyss did not exist when I was born, the springs of the sea had not gushed forth, the mountains were still not set in their place nor the hills, when I was born before He made the earth or countryside, or the first grains of the world’s dust.

I was there when He made the skies and drew the earth’s compass on the abyss, when He formed the clouds above and when the springs of the ocean emerged; when He made the sea with its limits, that it might not overflow.

When He laid the foundations of the earth, I was close beside Him, the designer of His works, and I was His daily delight, forever playing in His presence, playing throughout the world and delighting to be with humans.

Monday, 13 May 2013 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (First Reading)

Acts 19 : 1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples whom he asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered, “We have not even heard that anyone may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Paul then asked, “What kind of baptism have you received?” And they answered, “The baptism of John.”

Paul then explained, “John’s baptism was for conversion, but he himself said they should believe in the One who was to come, and that One is Jesus.” Upon hearing this, they were baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came down upon them; and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of them in all.

Paul went into the synagogue and for three months he preached and discussed there boldly, trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God.

 

Reading from the Mass of Our Lady of Fatima

 

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Sunday, 21 April 2013 : 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday, World Day of Prayer for Vocations (50th Anniversary) (Second Reading)

Revelation 7 : 9, 14b-17

After this I saw a great crowd, impossible to count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands.

They are those who have come out of the great persecution; they have washed and made their clothes white in the blood of the Lamb. This is why they stand before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His sanctuary. He who sits on the throne will spread His tent over them.

Never again will they suffer hunger or thirst or be burned by the sun or any scorching wind. For the Lamb near the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will bring them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away their tears.”

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 30 March 2013 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after First Reading)

Psalm 103 : 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24 and 35

Bless the Lord, my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; O Lord, my God, how great You are! You are wrapped in light as with a garment; You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

You set the earth on its foundations, and never will it be shaken. You covered it with the ocean like a garment, and waters spread over the mountains.

You make springs gush forth in valleys winding among mountains and hills.

Birds build their nests close by and sing among the branches of trees. You water the mountains from Your abode and fill the earth with the fruit of Your work. You make grass grow for cattle and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.

How varied o Lord, are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all – the earth full of Your creatures. May sinners vanish from the earth, and may the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, my soul!

 

Alternative Psalm

 

Psalm 32 : 4-7, 12-13, 20, 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. He gathered the waters of the sea into a heap, and stored the deep in cellars.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield.

O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Ezekiel 47 : 1-9, 12

The man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple and I saw water coming out from the threshold of the Temple and flowing eastwards. The Temple faced the east and the water flowed from the south side of the Temple, from the south side of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing the east and there I saw the stream coming from the south side.

The man had a measuring cord in his hand. As he went towards the east, he measured off a thousand cubits and led me across the water which was up to my ankles. He measured off another thousand cubits and made me cross the water which came to my knees. He measured off another thousand cubits and we crossed the water which was up to my waist. When he had again measured a thousand cubits, I could not cross the torrent for it had swollen to a depth which was impossible to cross without swimming.

The man then said to me, “Son of man, did you see?” He led me on further and then brought me back to the bank of the river. There I saw a number of trees on both sides of the river. He said to me, “This water goes to the east, down to the Arabah, and when it flows into the sea of foul-smelling water, the water will become wholesome. Wherever the river flows, swarms of creatures will live in it; fish will be plentiful and the sea water will become fresh. Wherever it flows, life will abound.”

“Near the river on both banks, there will be all kinds of fruit trees with foliage that will not wither and fruit that will never fail; each month they will bear a fresh crop because the water comes from the Temple. The fruit will be good to eat and the leaves will be used for healing.”

(Special Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes) Monday, 11 February 2013 : Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes (Scripture Reflection)

Today we commemorate especially our Lady of Lourdes, Mary, who appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous 155 years ago, in February 1858, who showed her to a spring, which today is well-known as the grotto with the spring, where if one who is sick is to immerse himself or herself in it, in faith, they will be healed. This is why, today, is also the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. All the sick in this world are commemorated today. But not only physical illness we should consider, but rather, we should also pray for all those mentally sick, and most importantly those who are empty spiritually and seek the Lord.

Today also, we have received the news of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, which will be effective at the last day of this month on 28 February 2013, at 8.00 pm Rome time. He has been discerning on this matter for years of his Pontificate, and finally came into a decision which he announced today, well, to the surprise of the entire Church and the world. Our Pope too is old, and he will be turning 86 years old this coming April. His walking is increasingly becoming difficult, and he has to use a portable platform to move around in his celebrations of the Mass and Vespers at the Vatican.

One would also note that the Pope no longer travel overseas much in these past two years. Our Pope loves to travel and visit the faithful, his flock, around the world, and he placed a great importance in his Apostolic journeys. However, as his strength to do so is waning, this is another reason why he decided to withdraw from the office of the Bishop of Rome and pray. That the next Bishop of Rome, as our Pope will be able to continue his works, and once again visit God’s people around the world.

Mary is honoured in our faith, as the mother of Christ, and our Pope has deep devotion to Mary, and our late Pope too, Blessed Pope John Paul II had very great dedication to her, especially in his motto, Totus tuus, in which he give himself totally to God, through Mary, which in his coat-of-arms is symbolised as the letter ‘M’ at the foot of the cross, just as Mary once stood faithfully, though sorrowful, watching at her crucified and beloved son.

God who created our world and our universe, loves all His creations so much, and that is why He said that all are good. Sadly, the power of the rebellious angel, Lucifer, as Satan, has ruined that perfect goodness, and brought men away from the Lord. Mankind, being the Lord’s most beloved creation, has been taken away, and an unbridgeable chasm lay between the Lord and us. However, so great is God’s love for us that He is willing to come down to us, to reach out to us, through Jesus His Son, whose sacrifice on the Cross on calvary became the great bridge that span the chasm between us and God, finally allowing us to return to He who created us.

Mary, who we commemorate today as the Lady of Lourdes, is the one who made all this possible, through her great dedication to God, by allowing God’s will to manifest through her, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ was incarnate as man, through Mary. Through her, we have Salvation in Christ. Her life and her steadfastness in her support of her Son in His ministry is an example to all of us who believe in Christ. Despite all the challenges and humiliations, she stayed strong and did not leave the side of her Son until the very end.

Mary is our great intercessor, and the greatest Saint of all, who is the first to be brought to heaven, bodily in the Assumption, when Mary was brought up to heaven by the Lord Himself, her Son, at the end of her earthly life. She often then came again to visit this world, through visions to those whom the Lord has chosen, of which one of this occured in Lourdes 155 years ago.

She always called the world to repent from the sins it has made, and for all people to return back to Christ, who is the source of all Salvation. She longs for all of us to be able to be reunited with God the Father, through Christ His Son, who as the great bridge, becomes our sole hope of reunion with the Father. Mary is like the handmaid of the Lord, who nourishes us along the way of the great bridge, and the guide, who keeps us at the centre of the cross that is the bridge.

Even when we are crossing that great bridge, temptations and sins are abound, and we may sway to the left or right, we may fall off the bridge, into the chasm that is death and ultimate separation from God in hell. Never fear though, for in Mary indeed, we have our greatest guide. For who is better to lead us to Christ than through Mary, His mother? Just like in Cana, in the wedding, that Mary made Christ manifested His first miracle, as Christ is obedient to His mother and her love for mankind, just as He is obedient to the will of the Father.

Through Mary, we can better reach God our Father, through Christ His Son. Let us all pray that with Mary’s intercession, the Lord will listen to our sincere wish to be reunited with Him, and our sincere wish to repent from our sins and our sinful ways, and to rejoice forever in Him who created us and loved us dearly.

Let us also pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who in his great humility and his great devotion to Mary, has decided to resign his office, to dedicate himself in prayerful life to the end of his life. He also dedicated our Church to Mary and to the Lord, whom he asked to guide the Cardinal electors in their election of the new Pope. May God be with all of them, with all of us, with the Church God has established on this world, that we will always, led by the Bishop of Rome, as Christ’s Vicar in this world, be a shining beacon of light in the great darkness of this world. Amen.

Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, Monday, 11 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation or retirement from the office of the Bishop of Rome, and he made his announcement on the Feast day of our Lady of Lourdes, which is also the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, in remembrance of the miraculous healing at Lourdes.

Our Pope has given up his office as he is getting older and unable to shoulder much further the burden of the leadership of the Universal Church, and he is getting sick as old people do. Let us commend him to our Lady of Lourdes, and remember him always in our prayers through his retirement.

Here is the message from the Pope for the occasion, released in January 2013 :

MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER ON THE OCCASION
OF THE TWENTY-FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE SICK
(11 FEBRUARY 2013)

“Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. On 11 February 2013, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the
Twenty-first World Day of the Sick will be solemnly celebrated at the Marian
Shrine of Altötting. This day represents for the sick, for health care workers, for the
faithful and for all people of goodwill “a privileged time of prayer, of sharing, of
offering one’s sufferings for the good of the Church, and a call for all to recognize
in the features of their suffering brothers and sisters the Holy Face of Christ, who,
by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind” (JOHN
PAUL II, Letter for the Institution of the World Day of the Sick, 13 May 1992, 3). On this
occasion I feel especially close to you, dear friends, who in health care centres or at
home, are undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering. May all of you be
sustained by the comforting words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council:
“You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by
Christ and are his living and transparent image” (Message to the Poor, the Sick and the
Suffering).

2. So as to keep you company on the spiritual pilgrimage that leads us from
Lourdes, a place which symbolizes hope and grace, to the Shrine of Altötting, I
would like to propose for your reflection the exemplary figure of the Good
Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37). The Gospel parable recounted by Saint Luke is part of a
series of scenes and events taken from daily life by which Jesus helps us to
understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted
by sickness or pain. With the concluding words of the parable of the Good
Samaritan, “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37), the Lord also indicates the attitude that
each of his disciples should have towards others, especially those in need. We need
to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in
prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good
Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or
not we know them and however poor they may be. This is true, not only for
pastoral or health care workers, but for everyone, even for the sick themselves, who
can experience this condition from a perspective of faith: “It is not by sidestepping
or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for
accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ,
who suffered with infinite love” (Spe Salvi, 37).

3. Various Fathers of the Church saw Jesus himself in the Good Samaritan; and
in the man who fell among thieves they saw Adam, our very humanity wounded
and disoriented on account of its sins (cf. ORIGEN, Homily on the Gospel of Luke
XXXIV,1-9; AMBROSE, Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, 71-84; AUGUSTINE,
Sermon 171). Jesus is the Son of God, the one who makes present the Father’s love,
a love which is faithful, eternal and without boundaries. But Jesus is also the one
who sheds the garment of his divinity, who leaves his divine condition to assume
the likeness of men (cf. Phil 2:6-8), drawing near to human suffering, even to the
point of descending into hell, as we recite in the Creed, in order to bring hope and
light. He does not jealously guard his equality with God (cf. Phil 2:6) but, filled
with compassion, he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the
oil of consolation and the wine of hope.

4. The Year of Faith which we are celebrating is a fitting occasion for intensifying
the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a
good Samaritan for others, for those close to us. Here I would like to recall the
innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate
the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an
example and an encouragement. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy
Face, “an expert in the scientia amoris” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 42), was able to
experience “in deep union with the Passion of Jesus” the illness that brought her
“to death through great suffering” (Address at General Audience, 6 April 2011). The
Venerable Luigi Novarese, who still lives in the memory of many, throughout his
ministry realized the special importance of praying for and with the sick and
suffering, and he would often accompany them to Marian shrines, especially to the
Grotto of Lourdes. Raoul Follereau, moved by love of neighbour, dedicated his life
to caring for people afflicted by Hansen’s disease, even at the world’s farthest
reaches, promoting, among other initiatives, World Leprosy Day. Blessed Teresa of
Calcutta would always begin her day with an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist
and then she would go out into the streets, rosary in hand, to find and serve the
Lord in the sick, especially in those “unwanted, unloved, uncared for”. Saint Anna
Schäffer of Mindelstetten, too, was able to unite in an exemplary way her sufferings
to those of Christ: “her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a
missionary service. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring
intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her
counsel” (Canonization Homily, 21 October 2012). In the Gospel the Blessed Virgin
Mary stands out as one who follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on
Golgotha. She does not lose hope in God’s victory over evil, pain and death, and
she knows how to accept in one embrace of faith and love, the Son of God who was
born in the stable of Bethlehem and died on the Cross. Her steadfast trust in the
power of God was illuminated by Christ’s resurrection, which offers hope to the
suffering and renews the certainty of the Lord’s closeness and consolation.

5. Lastly, I would like to offer a word of warm gratitude and encouragement to
Catholic health care institutions and to civil society, to Dioceses and Christian
communities, to religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, to
health care workers’ associations and to volunteers. May all realize ever more fully
that “the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and
generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick”
(Christifideles Laici, 38).
I entrust this Twenty-first World Day of the Sick to the intercession of Our
Lady of Graces, venerated at Altötting, that she may always accompany those who
suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope. May she assist all who are
involved in the apostolate of mercy, so that they may become good Samaritans to
their brothers and sisters afflicted by illness and suffering. To all I impart most
willingly my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 2 January 2013
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI