Thursday, 16 August 2018 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Stephen of Hungary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Ezekiel 12 : 1-12

This word of YHVH came to me, “Son of man, you live in the midst of a house of rebels : they have eyes for seeing but do not see; they have ears for hearing but do not hear; for they are a house of rebels. Because of this, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage in their sight, as an exile does; and go as an exile, to another place, in their sight. Would that they might understand, because they are a house of rebels.”

“You will gather your things, an exile’s baggage, by day, to be seen by them; and you will leave in the evening, as for a departure of deportees. While they look on, dig a hole in the wall and leave from there. As they look on, shoulder your baggage and leave in the dark. Veil your face and do not look at the land, for I have made you a sign for Israel.”

I did as I was ordered, gathering my things by day, an exile’s baggage, and, in the evening, I made a hole in the wall with my hand. I left in the dark, in their presence, shouldering my baggage. In the morning, the word of YHVH came to me : “Son of man, did not the Israelites, these rebels, ask you, ‘What are you doing there?’ Answer them on behalf of YHVH : This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites remaining in the city.”

“Say, ‘I am a sign for you,’ for what I have done will happen to them : They will be deported, exiled. The prince among them shall shoulder his baggage in the dark and depart. They will dig a hole in the wall to let him leave by it. He will cover his face because he must not see the land with his eyes.”

Wednesday, 2 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 38-44

At that time, leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the house of Simon. His mother-in-law was suffering from high fever, and they asked Him to do something for her. Bending over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and waited on them.

At sunset, people suffering from many kinds of sickness were brought to Jesus. Laying His hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out, howling as they departed from their victims, “You are the Son of God!” He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, for they knew He was the Messiah.

Jesus left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place. People went out in search of Him, and finding Him, they tried to dissuade Him from leaving. But He said, “I have to go to other towns to announce the Good News to the kingdom of God. This is what I was sent to do.”

And Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee.

Sunday, 8 February 2015 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Sexagesima Sunday and Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Job 7 : 1-4, 6-7

Man’s life on earth is a thankless job, his days are those of a mercenary. Like a slave he longs for the shade of evening, like a hireling waiting for his wages. Thus I am allotted months of boredom and nights of grief and misery. In bed I say, “When shall the day break?” On rising, I think, “When shall evening come?” and I toss restless till dawn.

My days pass swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, heading without hope to their end. My life is like wind, You well know it, o God; never will I see happiness again.

Request of Prayer for the People of the Philippines asking for the Lord’s protection from Typhoon Hagupit

Dear brothers and sisters, just as November last year brought the Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) to the Philippines, which devastated many regions in Central Philippines and causing numerous death, displacement and sufferings, this month of December, we witness yet another Super Typhoon, Hagupit, on the same path as Haiyan and it has the potential to wreck even more damage and suffering to those who are still suffering from the effects of the last year Super Typhoon.

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The above prayer is a prayer for deliverance from the calamities, especially from the typhoon as given by His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila. Let us all pray together as one people and one Church of God, that the Lord may show His mercy and love on His beloved people, those suffering, in the Philippines and also in the other parts of the world.

Pray, brethren, pray and devote our wishes to the Lord!

Friday, 28 November 2014 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the readings are about what is to come at the end of time, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as King and Master of all, and ultimately as the Judge of all creations. Our Lord Jesus Christ is going to come in triumph and glory, vanquishing and defeating evil once and for all, and cast them all into the utter darkness and the eternal lake of fire prepared for them.

In the first reading, it was told about the final defeat of Satan, who will be cast down and have his power forever broken. The authority which Satan once has over us, through sin, has been broken through the actions of our Lord Jesus, by His death and resurrection, and then the might and kingdom of Satan itself will be crushed when the Lord comes again.

That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, as long as mankind still commit sin and evil in their actions, in their words and deeds, they will always come again under the rule and tyranny of Satan, who is the lord over evil and sin. As long as we sin and commit things evil and abhorrent in the eyes of God, Satan is our master and we are his thralls.

And as long as we remain in sin, and allow sin to affect our hearts and our lives, then death will also have power over us. This is the first death, and also will be the second death for us, if we do not change our ways. What is the first death and the second death, brothers and sisters? The second death was mentioned in the first reading today taken from the Book of Revelations. It is an eternal death and an eternal suffering, from which, all those who suffer that second death, will never be able to escape.

All of us mankind were not meant to suffer death or suffering, brethren, for our ancestor Adam, the first man, and his wife, Eve, the first woman, were created to enjoy the eternal bliss and happiness of the Lord’s creations in Eden. They were meant to enjoy for eternity the goodness of God and not to suffer death and suffering in this world. Alas, sin entered the hearts of men by the disobedience of men, who listened to the sweet lies of Satan, who charmed and twisted them away from true devotion to God.

Satan appeared to Eve as a snake, the most cunning and intelligent of all the creatures, and it is the same old snake that the angel of God will chain up at the end of times, Satan the deceiver, to be bound up so that all of us may be freed from his tyranny and control. Satan played on our desires and our curiosity, and those took the better of us, when he managed to persuade the first men to eat from the forbidden tree and thus sinned against God.

After mankind sinned against God, then we deserve to be punished, and that punishment, is to suffer in our life, whereas the original intention had been for us to enjoy our life in bliss and happiness, and then also to die, suffering from death, just as the words say that, ‘from dust you have come, and to dust you shall return’. This is the first death, the death because of men’s disobedience against God, and all of us mankind are subject to this.

Yes, one day we will all die, and all those who have gone before us have also tasted death, and those who are yet to be born, will one day also suffer death, the first death, but not a final death. For our Lord Jesus Christ had come as our Saviour, who offered a new hope and light amidst the darkened outlook of our future. By His death on the cross, He broke free the chains of sin that enslaved us to death, and by His resurrection, He brought us the offer of a new life everlasting.

And thus, we have no need to fear death, the first death. After all, all of us will go through it at one point of time or another. We will all die, but what matters is, if after that first death, whether we will suffer the second death or instead go into the eternal life promised by our God. This will depend on our actions and deeds in this life on earth, and will be judged upon us at the time of the Last Judgment.

Yes, the second part of our first reading today tells us about the Last Judgment, where the Lord will separate those who have done good and those who have failed to do so, or those who did what are wicked in the sight of God. The good ones He will give His promised reward of everlasting life, in the fullness of glory and happiness which He had always intended for His beloved men from the very beginning, but taken away from us because of the sins of our ancestors and also our own sins.

How about those who are found to be wicked and unworthy then? They will be judged and condemned for their actions, and the second death will be their portion. The second death is eternal, hell-like suffering of total and eternal separation from God and His love, and no hope is to be found there, for there is no escape, and those who are found wicked will be cast down there together with Satan and his fellow fallen angels, who also rebelled against God and brought mankind down with them.

Ultimately, the Gospel today reminds us of the fact that we need to do something, and that we can no longer be passive in our faith and in our lives. Jesus was talking about the signs of nature and the seasons, and how if the people of His time could tell of the coming of the season and time by observing the nature around them, then the coming of the Lord Jesus and the end of time can surely also be known by us, not in exact timing, but in the imminency of it.

Jesus always told us that the coming of the kingdom of God will be like that of a thief, sudden and unannounced. And indeed, only God Himself knows the exact time of His coming. If we think that we still have time and remain idle, not doing things which may help us to secure our salvation, then we may be caught unaware and unprepared, and at that time, if we are judged to be among the wicked, then no amount of pleading or begging will help us anymore.

Therefore, what we need to do brothers and sisters in Christ? We have to be proactive in our faith, and practice it with full sincerity and genuinely show love, as what the Lord had taught us. We have many opportunities in this life, every single day, hour or even minute. Whenever we see that there are people being ostracised, treated badly against, hungry or lonely, are we courageous enough to show them our love? Or do we prefer to remain idle and ignore them?

The choice is clearly ours, to be loving and good, or to be selfish and wicked. The ball is in our court, and it is our choice whether to take up the opportunity and use them, or let them go to waste. May Almighty God awaken in us the courage as well as the sense of urgency to seek Him and do what He had taught us to do, so that at the end of the days, He may find us worthy and righteous, and worthy to enjoy the eternal graces and happiness which He had prepared for all of us. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/26/friday-28-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/26/friday-28-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/26/friday-28-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 2 November 2014 : Feast of All Souls, 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Black

Matthew 11 : 25-30

At that time, 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 is what pleased You.”

“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 work hard and who carry heavy burdens, and I will refresh you. 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 good, and My burden is light.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/01/sunday-2-november-2014-feast-of-all-souls-31st-sunday-of-ordinary-time-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

 

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 5 : 1-12a

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. He sat down and His disciples gathered around Him. Then He spoke and began to teach them :

“Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.”

“Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God.”

“Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God. Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are My followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 25 : 1-13

At that time, Jesus told a story that throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven : “Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were careless, and the others were sensible.”

“The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were, and did not bring extra oil. But those who were sensible, brought with their lamps flasks of oil. As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep.”

“But at midnight, a cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here, come out and meet him!’ All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps. Then the careless ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.'”

“The sensible ones answered, ‘There may not be enough for us and for you. You had better go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.'”

“They were out buying oil when the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the doors were shut. Later the other bridesmaids arrived and called out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered, ‘Truly I do not know you.'”

“So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him, and as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your house. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.”

“Then the good people will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?'”

“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : whenever you did this to these little ones who are My brothers and sisters, you did it to Me.”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do it for Me.'”

“And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to eternal life.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Mark 15 : 33-39 and Mark 16 : 1-6

At that time, when noon came, darkness fell over the whole land and lasted until three o’ clock; and at three o’ clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You deserted Me?”

As soon as they heard these words, some of the bystanders said, “Listen! He is calling for Elijah.” And one of them went quickly to fill a sponge with bitter wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Now let us see whether Elijah comes to take Him down.”

But Jesus uttered a loud cry and gave up His Spirit. And immediately the curtain that enclosed the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The captain, who was standing in front of Him, saw how Jesus died and heard the cry He gave; and He said, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God.”

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salone brought spices so that they might go and anoint the Body. And very early in the morning of the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb.

They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they looked up, they noticed that the stone had already been rolled away. It was a very big stone.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right, and they were amazed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified; He has been raised and is not here. This is, however, the place where they laid Him.”

Shorter version

Mark 15 : 33-39

At that time, when noon came, darkness fell over the whole land and lasted until three o’ clock; and at three o’ clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You deserted Me?”

As soon as they heard these words, some of the bystanders said, “Listen! He is calling for Elijah.” And one of them went quickly to fill a sponge with bitter wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Now let us see whether Elijah comes to take Him down.”

But Jesus uttered a loud cry and gave up His Spirit. And immediately the curtain that enclosed the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The captain, who was standing in front of Him, saw how Jesus died and heard the cry He gave; and He said, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 7 : 11-17

At that time, Jesus went to a town called Naim. He was accompanied by His disciples and a great number of people. As He reached the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; there followed a large crowd of townspeople.

On seeing her, the Lord had pity on her and said, “Do not cry.” Then He came up and touched the stretcher, and the men who carried it stopped. Jesus then said, “Young man, I say to you, wake up!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

A holy fear came over them all, and they praised God saying, “A great Prophet has appeared among us; God, has visited His people.” This news spread throughout Judea and the surrounding places.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 12 : 35-40

At that time, Jesus said, “Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him.”

“Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”

“Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 23 : 33, 39-43

At that time, there, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one of His right and another on His left.

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this Man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 23 : 44-46, 50, 52-53 and Luke 24 : 1-6a

At that time, it was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph. Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ Body. He then took It down, wrapped It in a linen cloth, and laid It in a yet unused tomb, cut out of a rock.

On the sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the Body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the Living among the dead? You will not find Him here. He is risen.”

Shorter version

Luke 23 : 44-46, 50, 52-53

At that time, it was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph. Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ Body. He then took It down, wrapped It in a linen cloth, and laid It in a yet unused tomb, cut out of a rock.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, that same day as the resurrection, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what has happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel.”

“It is now the third day since all this took place. It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Shorter version

Luke 24 : 13-16, 28-35

At that time, that same day as the resurrection, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 5 : 24-29

At that time, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; and there is no judgment for him, because he has passed from death to life.”

“Truly, the hour is coming and has indeed come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and, on hearing it, will live. For the Father has life in Himself, and He has given to the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has empowered Him as well to carry out Judgment, for He is Son of Man.”

“Do not be surprised at this : the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear My voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 6 : 37-40

At that time, Jesus said, “Yet all those whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me.”

“And the will of Him who sent Me is that I lose nothing of what He has given Me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day. This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall live eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 6 : 51-58

At that time, Jesus said, “I am the living Bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is My Flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”

The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, live in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, who is Life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 11 : 17-27

At that time, when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. As Bethany is near Jerusalem, about two miles away, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. And she said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

Shorter version

John 11 : 21-27

At that time, Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 11 : 32-45

At that time, Mary, when she came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping, who had come with her, He was moved in the depths of His Spirit and troubled. Then He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They answered, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

The Jews said, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “If He could open the eyes of the blind man, could He not have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus was deeply moved again, and drew near to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across it. Jesus said, “Take the stone away.” Martha said to Him, “Lord, by now he will smell, for this is the fourth day.” Jesus replied, “Have I not told you that, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone.

Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You for You have heard Me. I knew that You hear Me always; but My prayer was for the sake of these people, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

When Jesus had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him, and let him go.”

Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what He did.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 12 : 23-28

At that time, Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

“Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

“Now My soul is in distress. Shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour? But I have come to this hour to face all this. Father, glorify Your Name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified My Name, and I will glorify It again.”

Shorter version

John 12 : 23-26

At that time, Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

“Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 14 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 17 : 24-26

At that time, Jesus prayed, “Father, since You have given them to Me, I want them to be with Me where I am, and see the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

“Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me. As I revealed Your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal It, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I also may be in them.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 19 : 17-18, 25-39

At that time, bearing His own cross, Jesus went out of the city to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew Golgotha. There He was crucified, and with Him two others, one on either side, and Jesus in the middle.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “There is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Jesus knew all was now finished and, in order to fulfill what was written in Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of bitter wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a twig of hyssop, they raised it to His lips. Jesus took the wine and said, “It is accomplished.” Then He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit.

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 it, 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 fulfill the words of Scripture : ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’ Another text says : ‘They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.’

After this, Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate, for he was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly, for fear of the Jews. And he asked Pilate to let him remove the Body of Jesus. Pilate agreed, so he came and took away the Body.

Nicodemus, the man who at first had come to Jesus by night, also came and brought a jar of myrrh mixed with aloes, about a hundred pounds.

Monday, 6 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s readings from the Holy Scripture and the Gospel, we heard about how the Lord through His servant Paul the Apostle wanted to remind us to remain true to our faith, and that we should keep strongly to the faith which we have received through the Church, that is the true and orthodox faith, and reject all forms of heresies and heterodoxies that is present in our society and all around us, the falsehoods and lies which Satan spread to try to divide the Church of God.

For there exists in our society, false prophets and false teachers trying to proclaim the word of God in a twisted manner, to serve their own purposes, and also to serve the purposes of Satan, the evil one, for these false prophets and teachers indeed belong to Satan and his allies, as the ones who tried so desperately to wrench control over us from the Lord and to themselves.

And the sad fact is that many mankind, our own brothers and sisters willingly heard their words and went over to their side, and therefore becoming corrupted and unworthy, many were lost to us and to the Lord, condemned for eternity together with the false prophets, with Satan and his fellow fallen angels, the demons. Some did repent and return to the faith, but the damage had indeed been done to the unity of the Church.

Over the centuries, numerous false prophets and teachers of the faith sprung up, causing various heresies and divisions in the Body of the Church of God, and while some of these were healed and brought back into the truth of the Holy Mother Church, many remained lost to us, and in turn, they led even more people to be lost from the salvation which God had promised through His Church.

And to those who believe in ‘new’ revelations supposedly proclaimed and brought through the means of angels, and in one, even claiming that the Archangel Gabriel himself brought the ‘new’ revelation, they have to all beware, that unless it affirms the faith in the Lord, and in our Lord Jesus Christ, who has died for us, and who has risen in glory and majesty, then it is no angel, but Satan and his evil spirits that came to deceive mankind with their lies.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should rebuke Satan and reject all of his empty and false promises. We should also ignore and not heed the false teachings and the lies of the false prophets who taught falsehood instead of the truth of the Lord. Instead, we should follow the true way of the Lord, as Jesus His own Son, who came into the world, had revealed to us.

If the false prophets often appealed to our sense of self-preservation and satisfaction of our self, and our needs and wants, then the Lord showed that the true way to the Lord is through love, and this is none other than through loving God and loving one another, to think less of the self and the ego, and grow deeper and stronger in the love that is in our heart.

We cannot truly love God without having love for our brethren and all those around us who are always in need of our love. Similarly, we cannot truly love one another with full sincerity and genuine nature, without love for God. Love without either or both of the love we ought to have for God and others is imperfect love, and it may lead to harm rather than good.

And Jesus showed that it is important for us to take heed on how to love. He showed it through the story we all know, on the actions of the Good Samaritan, who went all the way to tend to the robbed and wounded man, taking care of him with genuine love and care, as an example of what love is, and what love should be. The Good Samaritan, as compared to the supposedly pious and respected Levite and the priest, is the one who had gotten the essence of love.

Samaritans as we all know, were highly discriminated against at the time of Jesus, in the territory of Judea in particular, where the robbing incident took place between Jerusalem and Jericho. They were seen as pagans and barbarians who did not follow the way of the Jews and did not worship and believe in the one true God. Yet, when Jesus came into the world, they were among the first to believe Him while the Jews doubted and rejected Him.

The actions and the deeds of the Jews did not represent what they professed to believe in. Their actions, as represented by the priests and the Levites were not representative of what they said they have faith in. All said, it is not all of the Jews that were in the wrong, as there were also many among them who followed Christ, such as His family and His disciples, but the problem truly lay with the prejudice with which the Jews in general held against the Samaritans.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, all of us should learn from the readings of the Holy Scripture and the Gospel today, from the actions of the Good Samaritan, who went the extra mile to help the unfortunate man. We should also therefore do the same, not just to those whom we loved, but also to everybody, including to those who are even against us and those who are not among those who we normally care for.

And we do not have to accomplish big and extensive things in order to do this. Even in simple things, like helping anyone, even strangers around us who are in need of even simple help, will do it just nicely. Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a new life filled with love, both for God and for our fellow brothers and sisters, in real action, that in everything we do, we may show love, and through that love we may find justification for our faith.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Bruno, a priest and a contemporary of many other saints of the tenth and eleventh century Middle Ages Europe. He was the founder of the Carthusian religious order, and he was a great intellectual and a great educator. Many of those whom he had educated and influenced in life eventually became great saints themselves, as well as great and influential leaders of the Church, including even Pope Urban II, who initiated the First holy Crusade against the infidels.

St. Bruno, even though he was influential and well-respected, he remained humble and dedicated to his works, to advance the cause of the Faith in the world and to save souls. He refused the opportunity to be appointed and made a bishop, and he rather renounced himself from all worldliness, that he might focus much more of his abilities and time to help those who need his help, just as the Good Samaritan had once done.

May Almighty God put in us the spirit of love, that we may be more like the Good Samaritan, who devoted himself in love to his suffering brethren in need, and that we may also follow in the footsteps of St. Bruno of Cologne. May we grow less dependent and free from our ego, our desire and our selfishness, that we may truly be found righteous and just in the sight of our Lord and our God. God be with us always, and may His blessings and graces always be abundant in our lives. Amen.