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

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 12 : 2-6

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.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 15 : 1-6, 17-18

I will sing to YHVH, the glorious One, horse and rider He has thrown into the sea. YHVH is my strength and my song and He is my salvation. He is my God and I will praise Him; the God of my father, I will extol Him.

YHVH is a warrior, YHVH is His Name. The chariots of Pharaoh and his army, He has hurled into the sea; his chosen officers were drowned in the Red Sea.

The deep covers them; they went down like a stone. Your hand, o YHVH, glorious and powerful, Your right hand, o YHVH, shatters the enemy.

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of Your inheritance, the place You chose to dwell in, o YHVH, the sanctuary prepared by Your hands. YHVH will reign forever!

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 15 : 5, 8-11

O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.

I keep the Lord always before me, for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.

Friday, 13 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 26 : 7-8a, 8b-9abc, 13-14

Hear my voice when I call, o Lord, have mercy on me and answer. My heart says to You.

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.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Sunday, 4 May 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate and continue to glorify God who is risen in glory, and we know this God, who has been revealed to us, as the Saviour Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary as a Man, but unlike that of other man, He is without sin and perfect, as He is both God and man at the same time. And this truth is kept on being repeated in this holy season of Easter, so that we may know and understand this and be faithful.

Brethren, Christ had been revealed to us through His Apostles, and He had revealed Himself to those who believed in Him, that they all may believe and be affirmed in their faith. He had taught His precepts to the people, and showed them His truth and His nature as both the Son of God and the Son of Man. He came in love for them and for us, for a singular reason, that is to save all of us from certain death for our rebelliousness and sins.

The Messiah had been promised by the Lord since the beginning of creation and time, when God first told of the promised rescue and salvation of mankind through Adam and Eve, the first of mankind. But this Messiah is not one who comes in glory and power, or rule the people by the force of power or strength. Instead, as written in the Book of the prophet Isaiah, this Messiah would be a healer and brought healing to the souls of the sick and the wicked.

And also that this Messiah would be a suffering Messiah, who suffered for the sins and the rebellions of God’s beloved people. This blameless and innocent servant of God would suffer that we may not suffer the consequences of our sins, that is death, separation that is eternal from God, and hence, hell. He descended into hell so that we would not fall into hell ourselves, and be risen with Him in glory, as He rose on Easter day.

Those who did not believe in Christ failed to see how impossible it is for them to comprehend that the Messiah should suffer for their sake. The Jews in particular refused to believe in Him because of the lies of the elders and chief priests desperate to retain their teaching authority amongst the people, even though that amounted to lying and having blatant disregard for the truth. They blinded the people against the truth itself, and even agitated them to resist and reject the truth.

Thus were the people led to sin, and to reject the salvation of God. But the Lord did not give up on them, and instead He sent them His servants, that were the Apostles, by sending them the Helper, the Advocate He promised them, the Holy Spirit of God. Thus then in the first reading today, St. Peter preached with great courage about the truth of Christ, and in the process gained many for the cause of the Lord.

The same happened to the disciples who walked on the way towards the village of Emmaus from Jerusalem, they were in doubt and their hearts were in tatters, but the Lord Himself who was risen, appeared to them and guided them along the way, that from doubt, they turned into faith, and their tattered hearts He made anew with the words of courage and love. The Lord appeared to them and strengthened their minds, hearts and souls.

Then these two disciples when they recognised Jesus at the breaking of the bread became courageous and vigorous proclamators of the Lord and His resurrection. They courage that God had placed in their hearts turned into the courage to spread the Good News of salvation, which they joyfully spread to the Apostles who were themselves in fear, that they too may believe. They courageously ran the entirety of the distance back to Jerusalem, with joy and adulation, where previously they had walked with doubt and fear in their hearts.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we progress through Easter, today we are all challenged, to be true disciples and faithful people of God, with the necessary change in attitudes and hearts as experienced by the servants of God mentioned, that we undergo a profound and complete transformation from our old lives that we lived in sin, into a new life that is anchored firmly on the faith and love of God.

We have to be courageous, like that of Peter, the Apostles and the other disciples of Christ, and also that of the holy martyrs who defended the faith even unto suffering and death, and yet rejoice because they managed to gain for the Lord the salvation of many souls and their liberation from the darkness of sin. We have to be strong and motivated in our lives to always preach the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, through none other than our own actions, words and deeds, that in all the things that we do, we will always proclaim and reflect the truth of the Lord in us.

May God be with us all, guide us as we go through this life, that not only our lives may be holy, but we may have the energy and strength to carry out what He has laid down for us, that is to bring the Good News of His glorious resurrection and the hope He brought, to all the peoples of all nations. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 45 : 2-3, 5-6, 8-9

God is our strength and protection, an ever-present help in affliction. We will not fear, therefore, though the earth be shaken and the mountains plunge into the seas.

There is a river whose streams bring joy to the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within, the city cannot quake, for God’s help is upon it at the break of day.

For with us is the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, our refuge. Come, see the works of the Lord – the marvellous things He has done in the world.

 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 : 3rd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 147 : 12-13, 15-16, 19-20

Exalt the Lord, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion! For He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you.

He sends His command to the earth and swiftly runs His word. He spreads snow like wool; He scatters frost like ashes.

It is He who tells Jacob His words, His laws and decrees to Israel. This He has not done for other nations, so His laws remain unknown to them. Alleluia!

 

Sunday, 9 March 2014 : 1st Sunday of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s readings, we see how the ‘old’ Adam and the ‘new’ Adam are compared to each other. You may be asking, why is there two Adams? That is because, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, is the new Adam who came to rectify the faults and mistakes committed by the first Adam, as what he had done in the Book of Genesis.

In the readings, we see the clear contrast between the two Adams. The first Adam, our first ancestor, fell to the temptation of Satan with Eve, and they disobeyed God’s will by eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge, thinking that they might become like God as the devil spoke to them about. Yet Christ, as the new Adam, did the exact opposite, refusing to listen to the sweet lies of the devil and firmly held onto the faith in God His Father.

Yes, how right it is when it is said that because of the first Adam, every single one of humanity, including all of us have been condemned to a life in difficulty on this earth, and a life that is subjected to the power of death because of the disobedience of our ancestors. Initially, because of the disobedience of the first Adam, we were also destined for doom and destruction, which were our due for our disobedience, but all that was changed with Christ, the new Adam.

In Christ, the new Adam, mankind was made anew. Christ our Lord became one of us, the sons and daughters of Adam, that through His perfect obedience to the will of God and the total rebuke and refusal to follow the ways of Satan, He had made all of us anew, and bring us into the light of God. As the new Adam, He broke free the fetters and chains holding us, that is the sin of the first Adam, our ancestor.

Adam and his wife, Eve, the first two mankind to be created by the Lord, showed us the things that we are vulnerable to, when the devil came and offers us things that are contrary to the goodness and to the will of God. And the temptation of Jesus in the desert by the devil further highlighted the many vulnerabilities that the devil may attack us, to tempt us away from the salvation in God.

Yes, brethren, even though Jesus through His death had liberated us from the chains of original sin, that is the sin of the first Adam, that tainted all mankind until the moment when Christ broke free that chain of sin as the new Adam, the progenitor of new life of man, the devil can still attack us and as he always does, he tries at every moment to bring us away from the salvation offered through the new Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ.

The temptations which Christ went through can show us the venues through which the devil may strike at us. The devil can strike at our desires, our greed and desire for things like food, as in the first temptation of Jesus. He can also strike at our ego and our desire and affinity for praise, and that was the second temptation of Jesus.

And lastly, the temptation of power and glory, which he may strike us with, is one of the most dangerous, which he made in the last of his three attempts to tempt Jesus. All of these he can utilise to break us and bend us to his ways. It is easy for us to fall if we do not prepare ourselves well. The devil has many tools in his disposal to trap us and make us fall.

Do not think that we can also use the Scriptures to ward off his attacks, if we are unprepared. The devil himself quoted from the Scripture passages when he tried to tempt Jesus! If he did so before, then certainly if we are unprepared, then we will be more vulnerable to the devil’s attacks. We have to prepare ourselves, by deepening our faith in God, and strengthening our devotion to Him.

Yes, brethren, we need to strengthen our faith, the shield of our souls, that we will not fall to the tricks of the devil. Our faith should be firm like the faith of Jesus. It is not easy, brothers and sisters, as the devil will be merciless and relentless in his attacks. We need to strengthen ourselves, and reject the alluring temptations of Satan, rejecting the false pleasures that he may offer us.

This is because the joy and pleasures he offers us are just temporary and illusionary in nature. They are pleasures that gives happiness briefly for a moment, and later on may bring about great sorrow and suffering. And ultimately, if we want to gain these false promises from Satan, we will have to serve and pay him our obedience.

Brethren, we cannot have two masters, either we serve the Lord or Satan, we have to make a decisive and concrete choice. And if we serve Satan we all should know that for a brief moment of joy and pleasure, we will suffer for eternity with the devil. Serving the Lord will not be easy, and there will be challenges awaiting us.

Therefore, let us from now on, seek the Lord with all of our strength. Do not be complacent in our faith but keep our faith living and strong, by devoting ourselves genuinely and sincerely to God, giving out our love to Him and to our fellow mankind. Be faithful brethren, and be strong always, against the evil one! Amen.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Casimir (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Brethren in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Casimir, the patron saint of arts and youth. St. Casimir was once the heir apparent to the kingdom of Poland, but he died before he succeeded to the throne as king. Nevertheless, he was revered as a saint and holy man of God because of his exceptional character and good deeds which were recognised by the people, who looked up to him and his character.

Today, the readings told us about the importance of our faith and our devotion to the Lord and His ways. And St. Casimir showed us how to be truly devoted to the Lord, not just in words but also in concrete and actual deeds. St. Casimir was known for his humility despite of his position and influence, as the crown prince of the kingdom.

St. Casimir grew in his devotion and faith to God as he grew in life. He was renowned at the end of his life, of his piety and exemplary devotion, which was evident in his works and charitable acts to the poor in the society. He took great responsibility and took it seriously, and worked hard for the good of those whom he had worked for.

He was powerful and great, and he has great influence, and yet he remained humble and unassuming. And that is the kind of faith and devotion that we should also have, brothers and sisters in Christ. We have to be obedient to the will of God, and listen to His words. And most importantly is that we have to act, and act in full devotion, offering ourselves in love to God, by our love for one another.

Reject all of the corruptions of this world, and reject all the temptations that assail us and attempted to change us for the worse. Let us all follow God and His laws, and not disobeying Him in any way. Be like St. Casimir in his devotion. Our faith must be true and genuine, and it must be an active faith, one that is based on strong foundation of love and action.

Be humble and be righteous, those are the things expected by the Lord from us. Let us not harden our hearts or close our minds against the Lord and His love. Instead, open wide the doors of our heart, that the Lord may be able to come in, enter and speak to us, so that we may know His will, and keep faithful to His commandments.

Let us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, renew our faith in God, that our faith will be made stronger, and that we may live always in God’s grace. Let us all never be separated from God or be outside of His salvation and love. Let us walk humbly with God and serve Him with all our strength, just as St. Casimir and many other saints had done throughout the generations.

May the Lord bless us, give us strength to be faithful to Him at all times, and may He be with us at all times, and let us never be separated from Him and His love. God be with us all, always and forever. Amen.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brethren in Christ, today we are confronted with the reality of this world, that is the corrupting nature of wealth, affluence, and possessions. This does not necessarily mean that being wealthy is wrong, or being rich means one is automatically condemned. That is the flawed argument of those who did not understand the meaning of the Lord’s words.

This corruption instead befalls those whose faith are not strong in the Lord. The riches and material possessions themselves are pure and not faulty in themselves. It is how we as those who own them and use them that turn them into evil purposes. Remember though that wealth too can be turned into good purposes, as much as it can be turned for evil.

Indeed, what is important is that we keep ourselves pure and strong in the faith. Do not let the devil to come in and corrupt our hearts and minds. If we do so, then even if we have things and riches of this world, our heart will be more resistant to such attempts by the evil one to corrupt us. Remain pure! And remain faithful! Those are the messages that Christ wanted us to know, the key message that He wanted to deliver to us in the Gospel today.

Again, we cannot take the words of Christ at mere face value, or literally. We have  to understand what He truly meant. Does He mean that we have to literally chop off our hands if they have caused us to sin? The hands themselves are not at fault, just like our worldly wealth and riches. Does cutting our hands stop us from sinning, especially in our hearts?

Yes, brethren, sin originates in our hearts, which is then committed by our limbs and bodies, but this does not in itself condemn these to destruction. Remember brethren, that our hands and legs too can do great deeds, helping others and fulfilling the will of God. If we have chopped them off just because of one sin or a few, how are we going to use them for good things?

The key here is to genuinely change our hearts. We have to resolve to change our hearts, to turn our attention towards the Lord. We have to be consistent in our devotion to the Lord, and that begins from the heart, just as sins also begin from the heart. That is why we ought to seek profound change in ourselves, committing ourselves to a total change, that we will from now on, change ourselves to be truly servants and disciples of the Lord.

Let us change the purpose of whatever possessions we have with us. Let us change how we use whatever blessings and graces that had been granted us, that we may use it for good purposes. Brothers and sisters in Christ, be good, do good, and profess what is good, so that the Lord who sees what is good in us will grant us His blessings.

May the Lord bless us with His love, and may we all also be able to return Him the same love and devotion. Let us all profess our faith and love for He who has always been faithful and loving to us from the very start. May the Lord continue to guide us in our lives and strengthen our devotion towards Him. God bless us all. Amen.