Sunday, 1 August 2021 : Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us about the love which God has shown to all of us, His generosity and compassion towards each and every one of us that He had revealed and delivered. From the very beginning God had always loved us and cared for us, and we really ought to be thankful for everything that He had done for us, as without Him and His love for us, we should have been cast to oblivion and fall into damnation, for all the terrible things and deeds we have done.

I refer to the sins our forefathers have committed, in abandoning the Lord and in refusing to believe in Him throughout history ever since the days of Adam and Eve, when mankind first fell into sin. They had refused to follow the Lord and instead chose to listen to the devil and his lies, his false promises and allowed themselves to fall into the temptations of human desires and wants, as we heard in our first reading today with the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. In that story, we heard how the people of Israel ungratefully rebelled against the Lord and complained against Him for having freed them from the Egyptians.

At that time, despite having themselves seen God’s power and might repeatedly, again and again as God rained down plague after plague on the Egyptians and their Pharaoh, and saved them from the whole might of the Egyptian armies and their chariots, opening the sea before their very own eyes, the people of Israel still refused to believe in God, and still disobeyed Him and doubted Him. Again and again, God had proven His steadfastness and commitment to His people, and yet the people still complained and grumbled, saying that God was leading them to their deaths in the desert from hunger.

They had such little faith in the Lord, but the Lord still loved them all in the end. He Himself showed this as proof, as He sent to the whole nation, every day’s providence and supply, in the form of the manna, the bread from heaven, which appeared every morning without fail except on every Sabbath day. That was how the Lord provided for the people and made them to have enough each and every day for the entire forty years that they were journeying through the desert towards the Promised Land.

And not just that, He also sent them flocks of birds every evening for them to complement their food, and provided crystal clear and good tasting water to drink from the rocks, that the whole multitudes of the Israelites, God’s people, could survive throughout their journey in the desert without the need to worry about their sustenance and survival. For God has always taken care of them and took care of them all the time that they had no need to be worried at all, every single moments of their lives. Those things we have heard and which our predecessors had witnessed in the past were proofs of God’s love for us all.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard about the Lord Who spoke to His people after He had performed the wondrous miracle of the feeding of the five thousand people, in which the large number of people assembled before the Lord all were satisfied and filled with food after they were hungry for many days, having followed the Lord and hearing His teachings. He took the few loaves of bread and little fishes present, gave thanks and blessed the food, and miraculously, out of the little food available, a vast multitudes of supply came about, feeding everyone and made them fully satisfied with plenty of leftovers.

Having heard of all these stories of the Scriptures on how God provided for the need of His people, we are actually reminded that God provides and He is always caring towards us, ever knowing what we truly need in life, be it for sustenance or for guidance and help. God is always ever there, with us and journeying with us. We are all never alone, no matter what. But we must not allow ourselves to be overcome by despair and our human desires, by the temptations of worldly pleasures among other things.

That is why we have to trust in the Lord and to grow in love towards Him, He Who has given Himself so completely towards us, that by giving Himself to us, we may all be saved and gathered together from all the ends of the Earth, and find justification in God. This is what the Lord Himself referred to in our Gospel passage today, as He referred to Himself as the Bread of Life, far greater than the manna that the people of Israel once consumed during the entirety of their Exodus journey. Far greater also than the bread and fishes that the people at the time of Jesus consumed and ate until they were all full.

For the Lord Himself provided all of us with not any form of worldly sustenance, or even any provisions in the manner of the manna of the time of the Exodus. Instead, He did what was unthinkable, and seemingly impossible, that is to give us His own Most Precious Body and Blood, to be shared, shattered and broken for us all. When He spoke to the assembled multitudes as recorded in our Gospel passage today, He gave a premonition and advance revelation of what He would do for the sake of all of us, God’s beloved people.

For it was by His later suffering, rejection, torture, pain and eventually death on the Cross that the Lord had given to us His own Body and Blood, as the sacrificial offering on the Altar of the Cross, and which we then share with one another, as we partake in the Eucharist. The Eucharist, the Most Holy Eucharist, that we celebrate in the Holy Mass, is this very gift of Our Lord, as the Bread of Life, giving us all His own Body and Blood as spiritual and real sustenance.

All of us who have been blessed to receive this gift of the Bread of Life, the Communion in the Eucharist, are those who have received the assurance from the Lord that they will share in the eternal life that has been promised, as long as we partake faithfully in this sharing of the Body of Christ. Through our conscious love for God and for one another, for our fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord, we have been called to follow the Lord wholeheartedly.

Are we able and willing to trust the Lord in all things, to give everything to Him, and focus our attention on Him from now on? Let us all be thankful for how beloved and cared we have been by God, all these while, and how He has always watched over us without cease. God Who has given us even His own beloved Son, and offering His own Most Precious Body and Blood for our sake is truly a most wonderful and magnificent Lord and Master. Let us all commit ourselves to the Lord and to His will and commandments, doing our very best in our every moments in life to be exemplary in all things so that we may inspire many others to follow the Lord as well.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen each and every one of us in faith, that we may be ever more courageous in embracing our Lord with ever greater love and devotion. May we all walk in God’s path and strive for His greater glory, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 25 July 2021 : Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. James, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the most wonderful love of God which He has shown us by sharing with us His blessings and graces, His kindness and providence by the sharing of food and sustenance for His people, as highlighted in our Scripture readings today. The Lord also wants to unite His people through the same breaking and sharing of the bread that is in essence, at the centre of our Christian faith.

In our first reading today we heard the account of the activity of the prophet Elisha from the Book of Kings during his ministry in the land of the northern kingdom of Israel. The prophet Elisha was followed by a large number of people, about a hundred in total, and a man they encountered brought them offering of bread from barley and wheat, about twenty loaves all in all. Those bread were nowhere near enough to sustain the whole multitude of people, and hence, the follower of the prophet asked him how he could get enough food to feed all of them.

The prophet reminded that follower and told him to do what he asked him to do, to give all the offered bread and food to everyone, and that God would provide for His beloved ones and they would not be lacking. True enough, everyone miraculously had enough to eat, and everyone had their fill just as the prophet had said, as God miraculously multiplied the bread for them all, and gave them all the share of bread and food to eat in the midst of their ministry and works.

This is a close parallel to what we know even better in the Lord’s miraculous feeding of the five thousand men and thousands of others in the Gospel as we heard earlier today. In that occasion, the Lord fed the whole multitudes of thousands assembled before Him, with even much fewer food, only five loaves of bread and two fishes offered by a young boy. The Apostles, especially St. Philip wondered how they were to go and obtain the food and sustenance to provide for all those people when the Lord asked them to provide the whole multitudes with food.

The Lord prayed and broke the loaves of bread, and also did the same with the fish, distributing them to the disciples who then gave the food to the assembled multitudes, all of whom received enough food and things to eat, had their fill, and still, twelve basket-full of leftovers were gathered. Everyone had enough and were happy, and the Lord showed to all of them, as well as to all of us again how wonderful God’s love and grace is, how He cared for each one of us. He did not send the people away, but fed them from the food which had been offered to Him, and provided for them in their hour of need.

How is this significant for us, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is exactly how it is like at every time we celebrate the Holy Mass, at the Liturgy of the Eucharist. At the offertory, we bring the bread and the wine as offerings to the Lord, which the priests gathered and took, giving thanks to the Lord just in the same manner as the Lord Jesus having given thanks to His Father, and then gave the bread for all of us to partake and share. But even much more so than what had happened in the past, at the Eucharist, which the Lord Jesus Himself instituted at the Last Supper, He gave Himself, His own Precious Body and Blood to all.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, at the pinnacle of our faith, at its very core, is our belief in the Real Presence of the Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist, that in miracle that surpasses any other miracles, not only that God feeds us and gave us all food to eat, but He Himself came down upon us, to be in our midst and to be with us. He has given us all Himself as the sustenance and food, to be partaken and shared among us that we truly become part of that One and united Body of Christ, the Church of God, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Church of God of which we are part of is united through this Communion, by the sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ, as we gather together to celebrate the Holy Mass and the Eucharist. Through the Eucharist, God did not just provide for us in our physical needs, but even more importantly, He shared with us the spiritual nourishment, His true and Real Presence that comes to dwell within us, and we become the Temple of His Presence, as He dwells in us with the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us in our path in life.

And as we therefore reflect on all these words of the Scripture we received this Sunday, then we should spend some time to discern and reflect on our attitude in the Church as one united community in Christ. Unfortunately, in the past few years and decades, especially in recent years, there have been those who wanted to harm the unity of the Church, either by being exclusive and Pharisaical, extremist and hardline in their ideologies and way of thinking, or by disrespecting and disobeying the core tenets and teachings of the Church.

I refer to those fundamentals and extreme groups who sought to either change the Church teachings or to adapt activities and ways that are not in accordance with our faith or sacred tradition, as well as those who have taken in to the extremes ideas such as being against the reforms of the Second Vatican Council that had been legitimate and inspired by the Holy Spirit through the assembly and discussion of all the bishops and the assembled prelates of the Church.

All these things caused divisions within the Church, as it had happened previously in the long history of the Church. It set brothers against fellow brothers, families against others, and segments of the faithful against other segments, groups against groups. And because of this, we ended up losing sight on the true calling we have as Christians, to keep the unity among us and to live together with faith, celebrating and sharing together the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Unity in the Holy Mass.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we recall and reflect on the love which God has shown to all of us, His faithful and beloved people, let us all therefore strive to put aside our differences, and abandon our illogical and unhealthy ideologies, especially those based not on the truth of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church, but on the basis of human prejudices, ambition, and even selfishness and evil. Let us all put aside all the things that divide us, and instead, focus our attention on the Lord, our God.

Through Him we have received this new life, for He Who is the Bread of Life, has given us all new life, that we receive, partake and share not just mere bread alone, but in truth, we have received nothing less than His own Most Precious Body and Blood, that we who partake worthily of Him, become one Body and one Church, and through this unity and the sharing of this holy union with God, we are made whole once again, and receive the assurance of eternal glory and true joy in Him.

Let us all remember what St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to the Ephesians, part of which is our second reading today, that we all have to strive for unity of the Church, through the Holy Spirit, and nurture a spirit of charity and love, of generosity and kindness towards one another, that we share this blessing and grace of God we have received with each other, that we remind ourselves of the need to build a truly united and harmonious community of the faithful and Church, that we do not only love the Lord with all of our might and strength, but also our fellow brethren, as part of the same Body of Christ, the Church of God.

Let us all therefore grow ever more in our faith in the Lord, deepen our relationships with Him, and entrust ourselves to Him with ever greater commitment and devotion, with greater trust and desire to seek Him in each and every moments of our lives. May the Lord be with us all, and may He empower each and every one of us to live together as one united Church, one united community of the faithful. May God bless us all and our every good works and good endeavours. Amen.

Sunday, 18 July 2021 : Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we are all called to seek the Lord, our true Guide and Shepherd, that we should turn our focus to Him, and follow Him and dedicate ourselves as His faithful disciples and flock, and remember the love with which He has patiently guided us, showed us the way forward, and nurtured us all with generous love and dedication. As we heard in our Scripture passages today, the Lord has always loved us and showed us His kindness, wanting us all to return to Him and be reconciled with Him.

In our first reading today, as we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, we heard of the Lord speaking to His people regarding the presence of wicked and unfaithful shepherds who had misled the people of God into the path of sin, as they cared more about themselves and their desires and ambitions rather than about those whom they had been entrusted with, which resulted in the people of God walking down the wrong path and losing their way, and in the end, were picked up easily by the devil and all seeking our downfall and destruction.

Contextually, by the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the people of Israel, God’s chosen people had gone through a long way in falling deeper and deeper in the path of disobedience and sinfulness against God, in their rebellious attitude against their Lord and Master. Far from the days of David and Solomon when the people of Israel were faithful and true to the Lord, for many generations they had fallen into sin, and lost their way, amidst the many temptations of the world. They were tempted and swayed by worldly glory, wealth, possessions and pleasures, that they began to veer off the path that the Lord has shown them.

And most responsible for this was the attitude and actions of the leaders of the people, the kings of Israel and Judah, and the elders of the people. Many of them were unfaithful and wicked in their ways of life and in how they exercised their authority. Their indulgence in worldly excesses and unlawful actions, and their promotion of pagan idol worship and the pagan gods led to many among the people to be swayed and turning away from God as well. That was why the Lord sent many prophets and messengers to His people, as He wanted all of them to be reconciled to Him, and to find their way to Him.

But the people were stubborn and refused to listen to the truth and to reason, abandoning the Lord ever more and persecuting His prophets and messengers. The Lord patiently reached out to them nonetheless, and sent more and more servants on their way to both Israel and Judah, leading the people and hoping that they would come to see reason and the love with which He has loved them. From the very beginning, God has always been committed to us, and He never forgot why He created us. It was out of love that He created us, and His desire to share that love with us, overflowing from His Heart.

This is what He has resolved to do, to continue to love us and to reconcile us, just as St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Ephesus, that Christ Jesus, the Lord and Saviour of all, had come into this world to reconcile all of God’s beloved ones to Himself, and to break the barriers and walls that separated us from God, that nothing else can hinder us from the fullness of God’s love and grace. This is what He desired to do, and which He had intended for us, and by His coming into this world, Christ has opened for us the path to God and to fullness of grace in Him.

And contrasted with the false, wicked and evil shepherds that were highlighted by the prophet Jeremiah, here was the one true Shepherd of all, the Good Shepherd of all of God’s people, the One Who would gather all of them into one flock, calling on all of the scattered flock of the Lord to be reunited to Him, and through Him to God, Whose love for them endures forever. While in the past, the sins and wickedness of the people of Israel and Judah had led them to be scattered among the nations, as they were defeated and conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians respectively, but God had gathered them back and returned them to their homeland, as they repented from their past faults and disobedience.

Thus, in the same manner, God is also seeking to gather us all, His scattered flock, just as He came into this world, revealing the truth of His love and the salvation He promised to all. He has come as our Shepherd and Guide, showing the path for us to be reconciled with Him. In our Gospel passage today, we heard how the Lord saw that the multitudes of people following Him had been following Him and seeking for guidance and help, like that of sheep without a guide or shepherd. That is why, the Lord came to their midst and taught amongst them.

Such was His love for them that even though He and His disciples were tired and exhausted from their ministry, but He still taught them patiently and revealed to them even more about God’s love. He has shown us yet and again, just how much He loves each and every one of us, despite all of our stubbornness and constant refusal to listen to Him. If we are to reject Him and continue to refuse to believe in Him, then it is our own conscious refusal that we shall be judged against. God has made His mercy and love available for us, easily and generously, and we have to appreciate the chances we have received.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard all of these this Sunday, let us all spend some good time to reflect and ponder upon all that God had done for us, all the love which He has shown us, His great and enduring patience in seeking us and hoping that we may be turned away from our waywardness and end our stubborn refusal to listen to Him and obey His will. He as our Good Shepherd has always devoted Himself to us, and patiently sought us out, that every single one of God’s lost and scattered flock may be found and reunited with Him.

Such was His love for us, that to this extent, that He laid down His life for our sake, just as He Himself said how the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. The Good Shepherd put Himself between us and danger, the destruction that is due upon us because of sin and death, and instead, bearing His Cross, He took upon Himself all these burdens and consequences of our sins and our punishment, and died on the Cross out of pure love for us, that by His wounds and His death, we can be healed and restored to perfection through Him.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all, from now on, bear witness to this ever wonderful and generous love of God, and be thankful for all that God has done for us. Let us all never take Him again for granted, but do our best from now on, striving to live faithfully in His presence, and to follow Him with all of our might and abilities, and do whatever we can in order to seek Him, and to make Him known to more and more people. Let us all be shepherds to one another as well, guiding each other in our journey of faith and life, that we will not be easily swayed and tempted to abandon God and His truth.

May the Lord, our Good Shepherd, our most loving God and Father, continue to watch over us and strengthen us at all times, that He may always help us to persevere through the trials and challenges in life, and that He may always guide us down the right path, resisting the temptations and pressures that lead us to the path of sin. Let us all renew our faith and commitment to the Lord, our loving Shepherd, and be ever more faithful from now on, ever onwards. May God bless us all, in each and every one of our good efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 11 July 2021 : Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all reminded that each and every one of us as Christians have been entrusted with the mission to reach out to the world, to the people we have been sent to, as missionaries and witnesses of our faith to the other people who have not yet heard the truth or known the Lord.

In our first reading today, we heard the tale of the prophet Amos, who was sent to the northern kingdom of Israel, composed of most of ten tribes out of the twelve tribes of Israel, who have rebelled against the house of David. While initially the first king of Israel, Jeroboam had been faithful to God, the fears of having the people of the northern kingdom going to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices as required by the Law, led to the king instating a rival worship practice and centre at Bethel in the northern kingdom.

This was the same Bethel that the prophet Amos came to as mentioned in our first reading today, as king Amaziah who ruled Israel a few generations after Jeroboam, told Amos to go off back into the land of Judah. Amaziah was likely angered by the works which Amos did in the land of Israel, and in Bethel no less, calling on the people to return to Lord and be reconciled with Him, abandoning their sinful and wicked ways. This included the pagan and unlawful worship carried out at Bethel among others.

Yet, Amos persisted and told the king that it was God Who called on him from his humble origin and background, from his ordinary life to be the shepherd of the people of God, Israel. Amos answered the Lord’s call and dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the mission that has been entrusted to him by the Lord. He encountered challenges and obstacles from those who refused to listen to him or believe in the Lord, but he worked hard nonetheless for the greater glory of God.

In our Gospel passage today, then we heard the Lord sending out His disciples to go before Him to many places, and to minister to the people, two by two, that they might help and cure the people of their sickness, and speak of the truth of God which He has revealed to them. He sent them out to the people to bring the Good News of God’s salvation to all, and those disciples had been entrusted with the care of the various peoples that God has called to be His own. They were tasked to reach out to the separated and lost sons and daughters of mankind, their own brothers and sisters, that more and more may come to know of the Lord and His truth.

They were told not to carry more than the barest essentials, and to wear very simple and minimal dressing as is appropriate and yet unassuming in nature. They were also told to stay in whichever place that accommodated and welcomed them in, and not to stay in the places where they were not welcome to stay or where the people rejected them. Through all of these, the Lord told His disciples to put their trust in Him and not in their own power, devices and strength.

He also told them plainly of the challenges and trials that they would face, all the things that they would have to endure to walk down the path that He has shown them. It would not be easy for one to become a faithful and committed Christian, as a dedicated disciple and servant of the Lord. There would be plenty of obstacles that they all had to overcome, and this is also therefore a reminder to each and every one of us. We shall also face moments when we can even question our faith and commitment to God, due to all the sorrows and sufferings we have to endure.

But the Lord reassured each and every one of us, that we are never alone, and He is always with us, by our side. And ours is a most important mission which the Lord Himself has entrusted to us, that is to be the bearers of the Good News of salvation and the Light of truth to many people who have not yet heard of them or seen the light of God’s truth. This is what our Christian faith is all about, that we do not just keep this faith and truth to ourselves, but rather, we are all required to share this faith and truth with others.

That is why today we heard all of these reminders from the passages of the Scriptures, as reminders for us that each and every one of us as Christians have that very important role to play and the obligation to reveal the truth of Christ to all the people, without exception. We have to entrust ourselves in the Lord and follow Him wholeheartedly in the mission which He has entrusted to each and every one of us in turn. We have to embark on this missionary journey, responding to the call which the Lord has made upon us.

We have been so blessed by God and received the bountiful grace of salvation through Christ, which we have heard in our second reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, as St. Paul told the faithful there of the wonderful grace that they have received from the Lord, and revealing to all of them, the desire that the Lord has in saving all mankind, be it Jews or non-Jews alike, and it is because of this that St. Paul himself and the other Apostles and missionaries of the faith had laboured hard, to spread the Good News and truth of God to all the people of all the nations.

St. Paul reiterated the Lord’s call to all of us, that each and every one of us have that responsibility and duty to be the faithful witnesses of our faith in our respective communities, reaching out to all those who are in need of guidance and truth so that by our actions and faithful witness to the truth of Christ, and by our exemplary life and commitment to God, we may be inspiration for many others that they may also follow our good examples and faith, and come to believe in the Lord as well.

Let us all therefore do our very best, and strive to be faithful to God and commit ourselves to the mission which He has entrusted us all, and be faithful and good in each and every moments of our lives that walking in the footsteps of the prophet Amos and the Apostles, we may always glorify the Lord by our lives and works, at all times. May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen us all with the courage and resolve to follow Him and dedicate ourselves to His cause. May God bless our good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 4 July 2021 : Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we are presented with the sad and unfortunate reality of how the people rejected those whom the Lord had sent to them, and refused to believe in them and in the message of truth and revelation which God has given them through those servants. This is all because of our stubbornness and our lack of faith and trust in the Lord, as we often trust more in our own abilities and we discriminate others based on our prejudices and biases.

In our first reading today we heard about the Lord sending Ezekiel to the people of Israel in exile in Babylon, to be His prophet and messenger among them. At that time, the people of Israel had been scattered in faraway lands, as the northern kingdom of Israel, composed of most of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel had been crushed and conquered by the Assyrians over a century before the time of Ezekiel, and most of the people had been brought to exile. Then, the Babylonians in turn subjugated the southern kingdom of Judah and brought many of its people into exile as well.

Thus, it was to this people that the Lord had sent Ezekiel to be His mouthpiece among them, to be the one to bring His message of truth to them and to call them to repentance and to turn away from their sinful and wicked ways. It was because of their many sins and refusals to obey the Lord that they had fallen from grace, and the glory of the old kingdom of David and Solomon had faded and gone from them. In a short time after God sent Ezekiel to the exiles in Babylon, the rest of Judah and the city of Jerusalem itself would be destroyed, and the remaining people brought to exile as well.

The sins of the people separated them from God, and without God, as they stood alone on their own, they faltered and failed, fell and became disgrace among the nations. Yet, we can see that the Lord still cared for them and did not forget about them. He could have destroyed and annihilated them easily, or abandoned them forever and chose other people to be His own people, but He still patiently sought them out, called them and sent prophets one after another to them, through the days of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and up to that time, the prophet Ezekiel.

Many of those prophets were rejected and ridiculed, and not few among them were made to suffer and even were killed for their works and faith in the Lord. The prophets laboured hard for the sake of the Lord and His people, and many gave their all to glorify the Lord and to bring His people to salvation. They endured all sorts of trials and troubles, sacrificing their time and many other things in following God’s call. But the people often still hardened their hearts against the Lord and refused to believe in Him.

The same thing happened to the Lord as we heard in our Gospel passage today, as we heard how He was rejected in Nazareth, in His own village and hometown. The people of Nazareth publicly doubted and questioned the Lord and His authority and authenticity when He came to His own town, teaching and preaching among them. This despite Nazareth itself being not far from the region around the Lake of Galilee where the Lord had performed many miracles and works.

Why did the people of Nazareth reject the Lord? That is because many of them were prejudiced against Him, thinking that they knew better than Him and they saw Him as an unworthy upstart, as the mere Son of the village carpenter, St. Joseph, His foster-father. No one in Nazareth beyond His immediate family knew the Lord’s true identity, and this is why everyone thought of the Lord as a fraud, and someone who was just the Son of a carpenter could not have gained such wisdom or taught with such authority. It was simply impossible in their minds.

That was why they refused to acknowledge the Lord and His truth, and they questioned and doubted Him, looking down on Him despite everything that they had heard and seen. They refused to open their hearts and minds to welcome Him inside, and kept Him out of their minds. And before we ourselves look down on them, let us remind ourselves that we have often done the same in our own lives, in each and every moments of our existence.

We should ask ourselves how often is it that the Lord had called us to follow Him and yet we hesitated and refused to listen to Him. And even though He has patiently reached out to us via various means, we still continued to harden our hearts and minds, and are stubborn in adhering to our old ways and paths, in opposition to God, in how we have been selfish and mean to others, in loving ourselves more than we love God and our fellow brothers and sisters, in indulging our various pleasures and pursuits in life, among others.

Therefore, as we listened and are reminded by this Sunday’s Scripture readings, we are all called as Christians to be humble and to be willing to open our hearts and minds to the Lord. And we can do this best by spending more quality time with the Lord, especially through prayer. Unfortunately, this is where many of us are falling short, as we do not regularly pray to the Lord, or when we pray, we do not pray in the right way. Prayer is not the same as asking God to do things on our behalf or to fulfil our desires and whatever we wanted. It is not about asking God to miraculously solve our problems and other things that we often did in our prayers.

Instead, we should be willing to listen to the Lord and learn to listen to Him more. We should open our hearts and minds, and allow Him to speak to us in the depth of our souls, that we may know His will more and be more attuned to Him in our lives and actions. This is what we are all challenged to do as Christians, to be ever more genuine in the way we live our lives with faith in God, and to devote our time and effort to glorify the Lord at all times. We should allow the Lord to lead us and guide our path in life.

And lastly, may all of us also be the beacons of God’s light and truth in this darkened world today. Like the prophets and the servants of the Lord whom He had sent into our midst, we should also follow in their footsteps and be inspired by their faith and dedication, as well as by their enduring love for God. Are we willing and able to do so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to love the Lord more and to put our trust in Him, that we will always follow Him and obey His Law and precepts, in each and every moments? May God be with us all and may He bless us always in our every good efforts and endeavours. Amen.

Sunday, 27 June 2021 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to each and every one of us and reminding us that we are all God’s beloved ones, and we have been intended for greater and more marvellous things by the Lord, because by His love, freely given to us, we have been so fortunate, for God to be so patient with us, so loving and so kind, despite all of our stubbornness and disobedience.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Wisdom, the truth that God never intended for any one of us to endure suffering in any of its forms or to experience death. All of us were meant to share fully in the love of God, in all of its fullness, the overflowing love from the perfect love of the Most Holy Trinity, by which He intended us all to exist with Him in perfect bliss and harmony, to enjoy forever the happiness and joy that can be found together with Him alone.

When God created the world and the whole universe, as we heard in the Book of Genesis, everything was good, and all things have no flaw or evil in them. It was the same with us mankind as well, as when God created Adam and Eve to dwell in the Gardens of Eden, they were meant to live there and share the bliss of perfection and goodness with God, not to suffer in any way or to endure death. But our ancestors allowed themselves to be swayed by desire, by the falsehoods of the devil.

That was why, they ended up disobeying the Lord and eating the forbidden fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The devil was able to convince them that they would be alright in disobeying God and that they would be able to gain immensely from such an action, by knowing all things good and evil, and therefore becoming like God Himself. It was pride and hubris, our human desires and greed therefore that led us astray and into our downfall.

Yet, despite all of that, God Who knew the sins and wickedness we committed, He did not crush or destroy us all, those whom He had made from His own image and as the most beloved of all of His creations. He gave them all a chance and even promised them all the salvation that would eventually come to them, through the Woman, as written in the Book of Genesis, and which would then come to fruition in Mary and her Son, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the whole world.

God could have crushed us there and then, to destroy sin and evil at its infancy, so that no more evil could exist in His presence. We must not forget that God is all good and perfect, and no sin can exist in His presence. When in the Old Testament, it was mentioned that man cannot survive in the presence of God or in seeing God, that is because, our sins and evil would destroy us first, as we cannot stand the perfect goodness of God.

It is our sins and evils that will judge us and bring us into damnation, and unless we remove these from ourselves, then we are bound towards the path of suffering and death. All of us perish because of our sins, as death is the punishment for sin, and sin came about because of our disobedience against God. As long as we have sin in us, we shall always remain sundered and separated from God, and in the end, left with nothing but eternal regret and suffering.

Yet, as mentioned, we are all indeed so fortunate because the Lord Himself did not want any of these to happen to us. He loved us all dearly and He created us all in the first place because of this love, and as such, He has always patiently waited on us to return to Him, sought for us and sent messengers, prophets, and servants, one after another to call us, to help us and lead us on the way to return to Him, that we may be fully reconciled with Him.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the story of the Lord’s two wondrous miracles, which He performed before many, as the sign of God’s salvation and love for His people, for each and every one of us, as well as to be the undeniable proof that the Lord alone has the power to save us, to heal us and to free us from our troubles and challenges, from the chains of slavery under sin and the tyranny of death that we are all suffering from.

When the woman suffering for many years from the haemorrhage or bleeding problem came to the Lord with faith, seeking for healing from Him, the Lord healed her and restored her to good health, because of her faith in Him. The Lord indeed could have healed her and any of other worldly problems, issues and troubles, but it was her faith which allowed her to be healed, not just physically, but also in fact, spiritually as well. She had faith in the Lord and did all she could to reach out to Him, and this is something that we should take note of.

It was the same with the synagogue official, Jairus, who came seeking the Lord for help, for Him to heal his ailing daughter, who had faith in the Lord and believed that He could heal her and make her whole. And when later on, the people told him and the Lord that Jairus’ daughter had passed away from her illness, he still kept faith in the Lord and believed in the Lord, even when others who were there and weeped for the daughter laughed at the Lord for suggesting that Jairus’ daughter was just sleeping.

They kept faith in the Lord and trusted in the Lord, and God showed them and everyone, that they are to trust in Him and put their faith in Him, and not on other things. For He has healed something that was considered incurable, in how He healed the haemorrhage in the woman with bleeding, and then He did something that was considered impossible, in resurrecting a dead girl back into life, showing that He is truly the Lord and Master of all, Lord over life and death.

This means that not even sin and death can keep us away from God. As St. Paul said in his Epistle to the Romans, ‘Who can separate us from the love of God?’, a reminder that God’s love is even more powerful than sin and death. And by His love and grace, we can be forgiven, healed and reconciled with Him, and through Him we shall gain the promise of eternal life. Yet, more often than not, it is we who refused to accept the Lord, His love and mercy.

We are often stubborn and we often hardened our hearts and minds, refusing to embrace the Lord’s most generous compassion and forgiveness. This is why we ended up falling deeper into sin, and eventually into eternal damnation. If we have no faith in the Lord and refused to accept Him, then there is no hope for us, and we will remain outside of His love and grace. And yet, still, the Lord tries His best to reach out to us and calls us to return to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are therefore called to the love that God has for us, and realise just how fortunate we are to have been beloved in such a way. We must never take God’s love for granted, and we have to appreciate the patience that God has for us all these while. Let us all turn ourselves wholeheartedly towards the Lord, and let us seek Him with renewed commitment and conviction. May God be with us always, and may He strengthen each and every one of us, that we may be ever faithful to Him and the Covenant which He has established with all of us. Amen.

Sunday, 20 June 2021 : Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we are all reminded that we should put our trust in the Lord and not to let fear to cloud our judgment or mislead us down the wrong path. We should trust in the Lord and how in Him alone we can gain true assurance and true hope, and through Him, we shall never be disappointed or need to be afraid anymore, as He is always with us, by our side, and He has always watched over us, and in Him we shall find succour and true joy in life.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Job, God’s words to Job stating how all things, even the mighty roaring waves and all sorts of forces of nature have a limit, and God has power over all of them delineating what each and every things in nature can do, and manages the scope of their appearance and influence. Contextually, this conversation between God and Job came to be because Job, who was God’s faithful servant, encountered great misfortune as many of us would have been familiar with his story.

Job remained firm in his faith despite the efforts of the devil who tried to test him, tempt him and coerce him through his misfortunes and sufferings in order to make him abandon the Lord. He did not blame God but he did wonder and ask the Lord why he had to suffer all that he had suffered, and in fact, blamed himself for his misfortune. And thus, for most of the Book of Job, the Lord brought him to a journey of discovery, as He revealed Himself to be in charge of everything, and how there are just so many things that are beyond our control and power.

But that is also exactly why we are all so fortunate that the Lord is always by our side and we always have Him loving us and caring for us. The Lord has always given us His attention and love at all times because we are His beloved ones, and we are precious to Him. The Lord has always put us as a priority, for after all, did He not give us the best and most ultimate gift of all gifts, by giving us His own Beloved Son, to be our Lord and Saviour. He gave it all for our sake that through His Son, we may find our way to eternal life and salvation in Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why as we recall what we have just heard in our Scripture readings today, we are all called to look at the Lord and put our trust in Him. For just as He has reassured His disciples and shown His might before all of them, we too should put our trust in Him. We should not be afraid of those obstacles, trials and challenges that we encounter throughout our lives, just as those disciples should not be afraid of the threats that the waves and the wind brought to them.

The Lord was in the boat together with His disciples, who were all representative of all of us, and the boat itself symbolises the Church. The great waves and the wind facing the boat, which threatened to sink the boat in fact represent the difficulties and challenges that are facing us in this world, in our path of life, facing us be it as individuals or as the Church of God together. But we should not be afraid because the Lord is with us, just as He was with His disciples, which symbolises His union with the Church and His presence in our midst.

We should not be afraid like those disciples who feared for their lives and doubted the Lord. They allowed their fears and uncertainties to sway their hearts and minds, that they lost faith in the Lord and failed to trust in Him, when they though that their end surely had come. The Lord hence chastised them and reminded them to keep faith and to trust in Him, as He calmed the wind and rebuked the waves, just as He has once reassured and reminded Job, that all things are under God’s control and power, and as long as we trust in Him, we have nothing to fear at all.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we going to entrust ourselves to Him and believe in Him, or are we going to allow fear and worldly concerns to affect us and to lead us down the path to ruin? Let us all keep this in mind as we discern the path that we are going to take forward in life and also as one Church, one Body of all the believers in Christ. Let us all stay firm in our faith and commitment to the Lord, and not to abandon Him or the Church, for if we abandon Him for false leads of safety and false hope, then we surely shall perish, just as those who jump off the boat in the storm will surely drown and sink.

Let us hence renew our faith in the Lord and strive to love Him just as much as He has loved us first. God has been so generous in loving us and caring for us all these time, all along. If He has loved us so patiently despite all of our stubborn refusal to follow Him and even our betrayals and infidelities, then we should appreciate how beloved we are and strive to return Him the same love that we should have given Him. Let us all grow together in our faith and love, and commit ourselves anew to the Lord with a new zealous faith from now on.

May the Lord be with us and may He guide and lead us down the right path, and give us the courage and strength to walk down this path faithfully, each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us all in our every good works, efforts and endeavours, and may He help us to love Him more and more and trust in Him in all things. Amen.

Sunday, 13 June 2021 : Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we heard the very obvious reference to the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Heaven throughout today’s Scripture readings, that try to give us a glimpse and understanding of what the Kingdom of God is all about. God had made it known and revealed to all of us the truth about His kingdom, where all of His beloved people are truly welcome.

In our first reading today we heard of the vision of the prophet Ezekiel who received the Lord’s message of hope and encouragement for His people, that He would restore them and bless them again, with the example of the cedar used to represent the people of God, restored and allowed to prosper once again. This message of hope and encouragement must be understood especially given the context that the prophet Ezekiel lived during the period of great humiliation and trials for the people of God, who have been scattered, crushed and driven away from their homeland.

And all these were caused by their own disobedience against God, their sinful and wicked ways, disregarding the Law and the commandments that God had given them, and instead, giving themselves to the worship of pagan idols and gods, and committing acts that were in violation of the Law and the Covenant that God has established with them. As a result, they had to suffer the consequences of their lack of faith and disobedience, and they were humiliated and uprooted from their ancestral lands, their cities destroyed and the Temple overturned.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, God wanted us all to see and know that He wants us to be reconciled with us, although we may have been sundered and separated from Him through sin. God’s love ultimately will overcome even the darkest sin and the greatest of obstacles and challenges, as long as we are willing to embrace the Lord and accept His love and compassionate mercy. Unfortunately, more frequently than not, we close ourselves off to the Lord and refuse to accept His generous love and mercy.

St. Paul mentioned this same truth when he spoke in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, our second reading passage today, reiterating how all of us although living in the body but we are separated from the Lord. And as long as we are separated and distant from Him, we will not be able to gain true joy, happiness and satisfaction that we can gain in the Lord alone. He also reminded us all the faithful that our every actions and deeds will be held against us if they have been contrary to the will of God, and these will determine our fate on the day of judgment.

That is why through today’s Scripture readings, God revealed to us just how wretched and pitiful our situation is being separated from Him and His love. That is why, just like the Israelites of old, who had suffered the consequences of their disobedience and sins, He reminded us all that ultimately, He still loves each and every one of us and wants us to be fully reconciled to Him, and to be restored to the graceful life that we all have been intended to enjoy and which is part of our assured inheritance.

Hence, He gave us all His own Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be His best and most perfect gift to all of us, to be the source of all of our Hope and to be our guiding Light in this world darkened by sin. Through Him, God has brought His kingdom into this world, to be ruled by His own Son, Our Lord and King, Who brought and gathered all of us together to Himself, and Who has united all of us to Himself by assuming our own human nature. That is why He has also established God’s kingdom in this world, by establishing the Church, that manifestation of the kingdom of God on Earth.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, what the prophet Ezekiel heard from the Lord regarding the cedar that the Lord picked to grow on a high mountain is fulfilled through Christ in His Church, our very own One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the one and only true Church that God Himself has established in this world, as the real and tangible representation of His reign and kingdom, as what the Lord explained in our Gospel today through the parable, of a great tree with its vast branches, upon which many animals and birds perched and made as its home.

The Church blessed and sanctified by Christ, has been established as the symbol of unity among all of us, God’s beloved people, who share through Him and with Him a bond of unity and love, by our shared faith and love for God, and by our partaking of the New Covenant that God Himself has established with us. All of us are members of His Body, the visible Body of Christ, the kingdom of God manifested in this world as the proof of God’s reign and His love for the whole entire world, and His desire to see all of us mankind reunited and reconciled with Him.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to the words of the Scripture today, we have to remind ourselves the important aspects of the Church, that is we are all One Church, all united in a common faith and love for God, a Holy Church that is always focused on the Lord and always obeying His will, His Law and commandments, a Catholic Church that is Universal in our reach and coverage, in welcoming all peoples regardless of their background, their race and origin, to come towards the Lord just as the great tree in the parable became a haven for all living beings.

And lastly, we have to be an Apostolic Church, that means we have to be a Church that is always reaching out and speaking up the truth of God, in being missionary and faithful, in being genuine in our way of life and faith, so that all those who see us, hear us and witness our actions and works will then come to know the Lord through us, and they may then also come to believe in Him through us. This is a calling and mission that all of us as Christians have, as part of our shared, common baptism, that as members of God’s Church, His kingdom on earth, we ought to glorify Him and made Him known to all.

Let us all not forget the Great Commission that the Lord has given to all of His Apostles and disciples in the end of His earthly journey, that we all ought to go forth to the nations, proclaiming His truth and love, and make all to be believers and faithful just as we believe in Him, to make disciples of all the peoples of all the nations and to baptise them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is so that more and more people may come to be part of the ever growing and ever expanding Church, God’s kingdom on Earth.

Let us ask ourselves then, brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we have done our part and done as we should as members of this wonderful kingdom of God? Or have we instead turned people away from the Lord and His Church by our own actions, filled with sin and wickedness, with selfishness and evil? These are the things that we really need to question ourselves and discern as we consider our path going forward in life. Are we going to continue living our lives walking in the path of sin and evil? Or are we going to allow the Lord to transform our lives to be His faithful servants and disciples?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith to the Lord and commit ourselves wholeheartedly from now on, that we may be ever closer to Him and be ever more devoted and faithful to Him in all things. And as part of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, let us all do whatever we can as part of His kingdom in this world, to call and bring ever more and more of our other brothers and sisters, to come to the Lord and be reconciled with Him, that everyone may come to know of God’s love and embrace Him as their Lord and Saviour, and be worthy together with all of us, to share in the divine and eternal banquet in Heaven.

May God bless us all and our every good works and endeavours, and may He strengthen each and every one of us with the courage and resolve to live ever more faithfully from now on, being good role models and inspirations of faith to one another. Amen.

Friday, 11 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrating the most wonderful love that God has shown to all of us, to each and every one of us from His Most Sacred Heart, the heart being the representative of one’s love and emotions, feelings and thoughts. Thus, we remember today the great love that God has for each and every one of us, the love that comes outpouring from His most loving heart.

In our first reading today, we heard of the passage from the Book of the prophet Hosea, in which we heard the Lord speaking to His people through Hosea, referring to Ephraim as the son whom God had brought up and led out of Egypt. This was a reference to the Israelites in the northern kingdom of Israel, which capital of Samaria is in the land of the tribe of Ephraim. The prophet Hosea has been sent to the people of the northern kingdom, to remind them of God and to repent from their wicked ways.

However, the people of the northern kingdom continued to sin against God as they had done multiple times previously, and this is what was referred by the prophet Hosea as ‘Ephraim’ having forgotten about God Who had done so much wonders for them and Who had cared for them all those while. And yet, God would not destroy them, as He truly loved them more than He despised their sins and wickedness. He still loved them, and the fact that He sent them the prophet Hosea, it was proof that He still wanted them to be saved.

God loves every single one of us, and He created us all because He loves us all and wants us to share in this love. Unfortunately, due to our disobedience we fell into sin, as we listened to the falsehood and lies of the devil rather than to trust in the Lord. The Lord could have annihilated us and crushed us there and then, willing us out of existence just as easily as He willed creation into being. Yet, He did not do that, and why? That is because He loves us, from His heart.

It is this same love that St. Paul referred to in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, our second reading today, how God has revealed to all of us, His most generous and wonderful love. And He revealed this love in the person of Jesus Christ, His own Beloved Son, sent into this world to reveal before all of us the full extent of that love, and it was that same love which St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples had preached about, and testified, for all the wonderful love He has shown to everyone.

They themselves had witnessed and seen the Lord’s ultimate expression of true love for each and every one of us, as He picked up His Cross and bore it upon His own shoulders, bearing upon them all of the punishments and the sufferings that are due for our sins and disobedience. He willingly laid down His own life, and was tortured and suffered for us that all of us may live. This action of Our Lord’s Most Holy Passion reminds us all that His love for us is truly vast and boundless, and enduring even despite our constant disobedience and refusal to believe in Him.

God’s most loving Heart continue to ache because of all of us being distanced from Him, separated by the chasm of sin. He wants to reach out to us and to embrace us with His mercy and compassion. However, unless we embrace that same mercy and compassion, by turning wholeheartedly towards Him, then we will still remain sundered from Him. That is why, He has always sent us reminders and His servants to call us to embrace Him and His loving Heart, to repent from our faults and sins, and to be forgiven from those sins.

As He lay dying on the Cross, He showed us all the most compassionate and loving face of God, a reminder of just how blessed and fortunate each and every one of us are. Through Him, we have received the assurance of eternal life and true joy, and we are all called to devote ourselves to this most loving aspect of Our Lord, His love being outpoured from His wounded and bleeding Heart, a vision seen by one of the most famous visionaries of the Church, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque saw a vision of the Lord and His Most Sacred Heart, calling on all mankind to turn towards Him and to seek Him, to be forgiven their sins and to find refuge in Him. Through this, the Lord wants us all to know just how wonderful His love for us is, and how blessed we are to be so beloved in such a manner by the Lord, Who generously showered us with His love and kindness despite us having betrayed Him, abandoned Him and refused to listen to Him and obey Him all these while.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we still going to be stubborn and refuse to believe in Him, although He has shown us all of His love? Do not forget that He has died for all of us, the testimony of which has been made by the pouring of blood and water from His pierced heart at the moment of His death, as mentioned in our Gospel passage today. Scientifically and medically, that is the sign that someone has truly died, and hence, the soldier who pierced the side of the Lord showed that the Lord died, on the Cross, all for our sake.

And through His Precious Blood, we have been washed clean from the taints of our sins and evils. We have been cleansed and purified from those wickedness and impurities that tainted our hearts, the taints of our sins. Yet, many of us remain in the stranglehold of sin, because we still allow sin reign over us, and we allow ourselves to be swayed by its many temptations. This is why we are all called to put our trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, to come to Him and to open our own hearts, and to find Him that we may enjoy the fullness of His love and mercy.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we also celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. As all of our priests have been called to be in the person of Christ ‘Alter Christus – in persona Christi’ in the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacraments, they have been called to model themselves after the one Eternal High Priest, Christ Himself. We therefore pray that just as we all trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, they too shall always trust in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and model themselves and their hearts after Him.

We pray for holy and dedicated priests, who is as enthusiastic and passionate in reaching out to the people of God as the Lord has tirelessly sought each and every one of us for such a very long time. We pray that they will all be as patient and loving as the Lord has been patient and loving towards us. And last of all, we pray that we ourselves may be ever more faithful to the Lord and that we may be ever closer to His Most Holy and Sacred Heart, to be forgiven by Him and to be filled with His love and grace.

May God be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us to live faithfully in love, and may He empower all of us to remain faithful despite the challenges and trials we may encounter in life. May God bless us all in each and every one of our good endeavours, in our every good works and efforts, for the love of His Most Sacred Heart. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Amen.

Sunday, 6 June 2021 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, celebrating this very important aspect of our faith that is central to our Christian beliefs. What is this central tenet and teaching, brothers and sisters? It is the belief that in the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Lord has appeared to us in the flesh and blood, in the Most Holy Eucharist at the Holy Sacrifice on the Altar. The bread and wine offered by the presider of the Mass has been turned into the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord.

This is the same belief that many of our separated brethren holding faithfully the Apostolic Tradition such as those in the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox churches also hold, as they all just like us, believe that the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, in His complete presence, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, all entirely present in the bread and wine transformed in reality and matter into the matter and the nature of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. There are of course those who still deny this truth, claiming that the bread and wine are just merely symbolic or that they did not really turn into the Body and Blood of the Lord.

Some may come to think of that because although the bread in the Eucharistic host and the wine in the chalice remains in appearance, taste and our human recognition as bread and wine, but what is indiscernible by our human senses is the truth that by the same power and authority that the Lord has given to His Apostles, our bishops and priests who offered the bread and wine, had turned the bread and wine, by the Holy Spirit descending onto the gifts and offerings, they had been turned completely into the matter of the Body and Blood of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

All the early Church fathers and the Ecumenical Councils, the Apostolic traditions and others concurred that the Eucharist is none other and nothing less than the Lord Himself truly present in all completeness and perfection, not just merely symbolic or spiritually present as argued by those who reject this truth. We believe in the Doctrine of the Transubstantiation, which means exactly what I had just elaborated slightly earlier on, that the bread and wine has been completely transformed in matter and reality, fully and perfectly into the Body and Blood of the Lord, although in the appearance it is to us still that of bread and wine.

In fact there is an important parallel here to Our Lord’s own Incarnation in the Flesh, as He assumed the form and existence of Man. In what is another very important tenet of our faith, we believe that Jesus Christ, is both Man and Divine, having two natures that are distinct and different from each other, and yet are perfectly and completely united in His one Person, inseparable and indivisible. The world may perceive Him as a Man, and He did indeed appear as a Man, but in truth, He is fully Divine as well, as He showed His disciples at the Transfiguration and after He has risen from the dead.

Therefore, in a similar manner, the bread and wine although they have the appearance of bread and wine, and yet unmistakably they are fully by nature and reality, the very essence, matter and Body and Blood of Our Lord. However, it goes further that the bread and wine has also been completely transformed and are no longer just mere bread or mere wine. This is what we have seen, known, understood and acknowledged with the eyes of faith. We have received the truth from God, and we believed in it, and we put our faith in Him, because we believe in His Real Presence in the Eucharist.

And this is where then we have to appreciate that the Lord has given us all an immeasurably great gift as He gave to us nothing less than His own Precious Body and Blood, to be shared amongst us and to be partaken as we become members of His Body, the Church of God. All of us who share in this Holy Communion are therefore said to be in Communion with one another, united as the visible Body of Christ, the Church, and those who have not partaken in this same Eucharist, are separated and sundered away from this Body of Christ, our separated brothers and sisters, some of whom did not acknowledge the truth of the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, yet, that is exactly what the Lord has told all of us, His people, plainly and clearly. In our Gospel passage today, as He gathered His disciples for His Last Supper with them, He told all of them as He broke the bread and offered it and the wine to the Lord, that the bread, is His Body, and the wine, is His Blood, plain and clear, concise and precise, never mentioning once that what He had done was just something symbolic or something that is not real. The same bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of the Lord at the Last Supper, which was not yet complete that night, is the same bread and wine at the Holy Mass transformed into our Lord’s Real Presence.

When He spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life before the assembled people, in one of His teaching sessions, He also referred to Himself as the Bread of Life, and explicitly and clearly mentioned that His Body is real Food, and His Blood is real Drink, and these things He spoke clearly and precisely too, without being ambiguous or figurative, and He clearly referred to all those who share in His Body and Blood that they will enjoy eternal life and will not perish, but live wonderfully with God forevermore. That moment is a foreshadowing of what would happen at the Last Supper and the Passion of the Lord.

The Lord completed His offering, of His own Body and Blood, as the High Priest representing all of us mankind, and at the same time as the Lamb of Sacrifice Himself, the Paschal Lamb, brought to the Altar on Calvary on Good Friday, the Altar of the Cross. And those who thought mistakenly that the Holy Mass is a repeat or reenactment of the Sacrifice of the Lord on the Cross failed to understand that at every single celebration of the Holy Mass, by all priests, bishops, and even the Pope, all of these are the very same Sacrifice that Christ has performed at Calvary, on the Cross that He had died on.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Altar on which the priests celebrate the Eucharist is the same Altar of the Cross on Calvary, and the same Body and Blood shed and given to us is the same sacrifice made two millennia ago, for all time and all occasions, the same offering and Sacrifice of the Lord, the Eternal High Priest, Who through His representatives, the ordained ministers, in persona Christi, or in the person of Christ, performed the very same sacrifice of Calvary at every single celebration of the Holy Mass, without exception.

When the Lord told His disciples ‘to do this in memory of Me’ it was not merely a memorial as how some misunderstood it. Instead, through that act, the Lord had authorised and empowered His disciples and their successors to be the priests ordained in His ministry, to be His priests representing Him in offering the most worthy sacrifice, the sacrifice of Our Lord Himself on the Cross. They are to perform the same offering and sacrifice of Our Lord that every Mass we are in fact celebrating and commemorating Our Lord’s Passion, His suffering and death for our salvation.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask ourselves, whether we have truly believed in the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, in His Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood that we celebrate every Mass, and which we share together as one Church, the one Body of Christ. Do we really appreciate God’s love given to us by the shedding of His Body and by the outpouring of His Blood? Remember that by His sacrifice, Our Lord has purchased us from our sins, and freed us from the certain destruction due to those sins.

If we truly believe in the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, then why we have not given Him the respect and worship that He truly deserves from us? Why have we instead acted as if the celebration of the Holy Mass is just like a mere ordinary gathering, and worse still, with inappropriate and profane music and attitudes unworthy of God? And how many of us also turned up at the Holy Mass unprepared both in body and soul, being dressed inappropriately and unrepentant from our sins?

There had been comments by those who had not believed in the Lord’s Real Presence, His Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist precisely because as Catholics, we ourselves have not acted in the manner fitting the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. If only that we ourselves have behaved ourselves and acted appropriately, there can be so many more people who will be convinced of the truth and come to believe in the Lord and in His Real Presence as well. That is why, as Christians, we have to understand our faith well and we have to live up an upright and good life in accordance to our faith.

We have to remember the love that God has shown all of us by His coming into the world in order to save all of us and seal with us a New and Everlasting Covenant, one that will last forever, undoing the effects of our sins. The Covenant of God was sealed by none other than the outpouring of the Blood of the Lamb of God, Christ Himself, Who surrendered Himself in perfect obedience and suffering, so that through Him, and by His suffering and death we may experience and receive the sure promise and guarantee of eternal life in glory and true happiness with God.

Today therefore, on this Solemnity of Corpus Christi, of Our Lord’s Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, broken and shared with us, let us all reflect on Our Lord’s most generous and enduring love for us, and we should also reflect on our attitudes towards the Lord, truly present in His full Divinity, His presence in the Flesh in the bread and wine transformed into the essence and reality of His Being. Let us all truly profess faith in the belief of the Real Presence of Our Lord from now on, striving to do our best to glorify the Lord especially at every celebrations of the Holy Mass, where He is truly present before all of us.

And let us all also strive to make our lives holy and worthy, to be exemplary in our way of living, in the most Christian manner possible, that as we share in the Lord and receive Him in the Eucharist, we may truly be worthy to be the dwelling place of Our Lord, the Temples of the Holy Spirit, of His Real Presence entering into us and uniting with us, body and soul. May the Lord be with us always, through His Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood, that through Him we may be sanctified and made worthy, and in all things, we may become great role models and inspiration for one another. Amen.