(Holy Week) Friday, 14 April 2017 : Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Isaiah 52 : 13 – Isaiah 53 : 12

It is now when My Servant will succeed; He will be exalted and highly praised. Just as many have been horrified at His disfigured appearance : “Is this a Man? He does not look like One.” So will nations be astounded, kings will stand speechless, for they will see something never told, they will witness something never heard of.

Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has YHVH revealed His feat? Like a root out of dry ground, like a sapling He grew up before us, with nothing attractive in His appearance, no beauty, no majesty. He was despised and rejected, a Man of sorrows familiar with grief, a Man from Whom people hide their face, spurned and considered of no account.

Yet ours were the sorrows He bore, ours were the suffering He endured, although we considered Him as One punished by God, stricken and brought low. Destroyed because of our sins, He was crushed for our wickedness. Through His punishment we are made whole; by His wounds we are healed. Like sheep we had all gone astray, each following His own way; but YHVH laid upon Him all our guilt.

He was harshly treated, but unresisting and silent, He humbly submitted. Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearer He did not open His mouth. He was taken away to detention and judgment – what an unthinkable fate! He was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for His people’s sins. They made His tomb with the wicked, they put Him in the graveyard of the oppressors, though He had done no violence nor spoken in deceit.

Yet it was the will of YHVH to crush Him with grief. When He makes Himself an offering for sin, He will have a long life and see His descendants. Through Him the will of YHVH is done. For the anguish He suffered, He will see the light and obtain perfect knowledge. My just Servant will justify the multitude; He will bear and take away their guilt.

Therefore I will give Him His portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong. For He surrendered Himself to death and was even counted among the wicked, bearing the sins of the multitude and interceding for sinners.

Thursday, 15 September 2016 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of our Lady of Sorrows (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Hebrews 5 : 7-9

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him Who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His humble submission.

Although He was Son, He learnt through suffering what obedience was, and once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for those who obey Him.

Thursday, 31 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, Thursday within Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

At that time, the two disciples from Emmaus told the Eleven what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”) In their panic and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.)

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Sunday, 19 April 2015 : Third Sunday of Easter, Tenth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 35-48

At that time, the two disciples from Emmaus told what had happened on the road to there, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you.” In their panic and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost, but He said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at My hands and feet, and see that it is I Myself! Touch Me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” As He said this, He showed His hands and feet.

In their joy they did not dare believe, and were still astonished; so He said to them, “Do you have anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them. Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you : Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

And He said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”

Wednesday, 1 April 2015 : Wednesday of the Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 50 : 4-9a

The Lord YHVH has taught Me so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn.

I offer My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

He who avenges Me is near. Who then will accuse Me? Let us confront each other. Who is now My accuser? Let him approach. If the Lord YHVH is My help, who will condemn Me?

Sunday, 29 March 2015 : Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Isaiah 50 : 4-7

The Lord YHVH has taught Me so I speak as His disciple and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes Me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord YHVH has opened My ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn.

I offered My back to those who strike Me, My cheeks to those who pulled My beard; neither did I shield My face from blows, spittle and disgrace. I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to My help. So, like a flint I set My face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

Sunday, 13 April 2014 : Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Holy Week (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we begin the celebration of the holiest week of all the weeks in our year. There is no greater occasion than this week in our calendar, and that is why we call it the Holy Week, or the Week of the Lord’s Passion. Why so? That is because during this week itself we celebrate the Lord’s greatest works in this world, that is manifested through His suffering, death and ultimately, His resurrection from the dead.

This week commemorates the time when the Lord finally came forth to bring His long planned salvation, the long-awaited rescue for mankind finally came, through Jesus and the events that He set in motion, to bring forth finally the salvation and eternal rewards God had promised His people since the day of Adam, when he became the first man to fall into sin.

This day is the day commemorating the beginning of that solemn week, when Jesus embark towards His goal, that is also known as the Passion of the Christ, which is why this day is also known as Passion Sunday, marking the beginning of the Passion of Jesus, which He went through out of His great and unfathomable love for us, so great that indeed, in His passion and love, He was willing to give up even His own life for us, and shed His Blood for our sake.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why today some of us may ask, why do we commemorate both the glorification and the death and suffering of Jesus at the same time? Why do we commemorate the glory of Jesus when He entered Jerusalem with a great procession with palm fronds and leaves, only to have the Passion reading heard afterwards? Why so?

Yes, all these are related brothers and sisters in Christ, for Jesus as He headed towards Jerusalem, He perfectly knew that He would be glorified and welcomed just as the prophet Zechariah had prophesied that the promised King would come to Jerusalem riding on a donkey, and in that occasion, Jesus was glorified and acclaimed as the promised King and Saviour long foretold by the prophets. Yet, the very same people would in less than a week, betrayed Him for the powers of the world, and cried out for His death.

Jesus knew all of these, and yet He pressed on, and that is His love for us, the passion that He has for all of us, and this is why we call this momentous event, the Holy Passion of our Saviour. He marched on to His death without fear, knowing that by laying down His life, He became that perfect sacrifice, through which all mankind, that is all of us, are made righteous and worthy of new life in God.

Jesus is the promised Saviour, the Son of David, as the heir and descendant of that faithful king and servant of God, the fulfillment of God’s promise to mankind since the beginning of time. Jesus Christ is the One long awaited and One promised to Adam and Eve, the first mankind.

After Satan tricked both of them in the form of a snake, God promised them that even though Satan would follow through and haunt and dominate mankind for ages, a deliverer would come through the descendant of Eve, that is Jesus, and the woman through whom the Saviour was to be born of, would crush the snake under her heels, and this refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

And God promised Abraham that He would make him great among mankind and among the nations, and He would make Abraham the father of many nations, and to David his descendant, God promised an everlasting rule of His descendant on the throne of His people Israel, and all these were fulfilled in Jesus, the Son of David, Son of Abraham, Son of Man, and the Son of God, Divine incarnate into flesh.

That is why the people hailed and welcomed Jesus as He entered the city of Jerusalem, the heart of the kingdom of Israel. He came as a King, the One and true King of God’s people, and the King over all the kings and the kingdoms of the world. But He did not come as a proud and boastful King, and instead, He came knowingly of His ultimate purpose, to be the ultimate servant King, to give up His own life for the life of His beloved people.

Today, as we begin this holy week when Jesus finally began His last week on earth as the Messiah born as a human, and as we cheer Him as the King of kings, as the Son of David, let us also remember what He came into this world for, that is to rescue us, and this He did out of His undying love for us. Remember how He loved each and every one of us that He was even willing to suffer the consequences of our sins in our place, and die for us.

Therefore, as we continue to proceed into this holy week, this holy time, let us use this perfect opportunity to think about our actions, on whether we have been good and faithful servants of our Lord, or whether we have been disobedient and rebellious in our ways, just as the people of God had been. Remember always, that Christ died for our sake, and He went through all that suffering and death just so that we will not have to suffer for eternity the suffering of hell.

God offered His love freely for us, and He laid down His passion freely for us, and it is our part, to accept or to reject this generous offer. Should we then reuse this? After what our Lord had gone through for us? Let us therefore think twice and more than twice from now on, every time we are seduced by the temptations of Satan to sin against the Lord. Let us think well of the consequences of our actions, for the Lord, and even more so, for ourselves.

Let us never be separated again from God, and as we embark on this journey through this sacred time, let us appreciate what Jesus our Lord and King had done for us. Never again take His love and kindness for granted. May this holy week be truly holy and beneficial for us, that we may draw ever closer to God who loves us. Amen.