Thursday, 20 June 2019 : 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, on this day we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Holy and Most Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, a great day and occasion dedicated to one of the most important central tenets of our Christian faith, in our belief and firm conviction that God Himself has given us His own Precious Body and His own Precious Blood to be partaken.

We believe that in the celebration of the Holy Mass, or more appropriately, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest minister as the representation of Christ Himself, acting in persona Christi, unites the offerings of the bread and wine made at the Offertory with the offerings that Christ Himself had made to His heavenly Father as our one and true Eternal High Priest from the Altar of His Cross at Calvary.

The bread and wine themselves have been completely and fundamentally transformed into the essence and material of the Lord’s Body and Blood Himself, in what is known as the Transubstantiation. Therefore, while the bread and the wine themselves still appear to be the appearance and texture of bread and wine, but the moment they are consecrated by the priest they become completely and truly the matter and the essence of the Lord’s own Body and Blood.

There are those who doubted the veracity and truth behind this seemingly mysterious and otherworldly transformation, as by our eyes and senses, by the appearance and by the taste and texture, the bread and wine seemingly remain unchanged as they were. However, this is where our faith is essential and necessary, because we truly believe that each and every one of our priests, moulded and ordained in the same order of priesthood as Christ is, and representing Christ Himself, has truly been given the power and authority to turn the bread and wine into Our Lord’s Body and Blood.

The Lord Himself made it clear in one occasion as He taught the people about Himself as the Bread of Life, the Living Bread Who has come down from heaven to the midst of His people, to give them the true Bread by which all of those who partake in this Bread will never hunger again and will have a share in the eternal life promised to all those who have received this Bread worthily and with faith.

He was not just mentioning this Bread of Life randomly at that occasion without reason. In fact, He was referring to His very own Flesh and Body, His own Blood as He made that teaching to the people. The Lord speaks only the truth, and therefore, how can the Lord bluff or lie to the people about His own Body when He spoke of it then? He spoke of His own Body as real Food, to be partaken by His people, His faithful ones.

And in today’s Gospel passage, we heard yet another occasion in the Gospel, when the Lord miraculously provided for the need of His people, in feeding the five thousand men and countless other women and children when they were hungry and without food, giving them bread and fishes to eat, out of merely five loaves of bread and two fishes that were available. This occasion was in fact a prefigurement and premonition of what was to come in the Sacrifice of the Cross, though the people then did not know it as yet.

As the Lord offered the bread and the fishes and giving thanks to His heavenly Father, He was representing His own upcoming sacrifice, in which He offered Himself instead as the perfect offering for the oblation and atonement of all of our sins. In the olden days, lambs and other animals were used in sacrifices according to the Jewish laws and customs to be the sin offerings to atone temporarily for one’s sins.

And in the time of the Passover, if we remember, the people chose a young, unblemished lamb to be slaughtered and as a sign of God’s providence and salvation, with the blood of the lamb being smeared and placed on the doorposts of the houses of the people of Israel, as sign for God’s Angels to ‘pass over’ them as they scourged the whole land of Egypt for the firstborn sons of the Egyptians.

Therefore, at the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross, we mark our new Christian Passover, in which a new Covenant had been made by God to be binding between Him and all of us. He offered not the imperfect offerings of lambs and animals of this world, but His own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, as He was ‘slaughtered’ on the Cross for the crimes that His enemies had charged on Him.

He laid down Himself and offered His Body and Blood as the perfect sacrifice and offering before God, on the Cross which is His Altar. He is our Paschal Lamb by Whose Blood we have been marked as those who are faithful and worthy to be saved from eternal damnation and destruction because of our sins. By His Most Precious Blood, if we refer to the Book of the Revelations of St. John, the holy martyrs have been washed and made clean in their own outpouring of their blood, and thus, we too are made clean by His Blood.

The Lord Himself has given His all for our sake, laying down His own life and giving His own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood for us all to partake, in that same Sacrifice at Calvary, to which each and every celebrations of our Holy Mass are united to, not as separate and different sacrifices as some would have misunderstood it, thinking that the Lord is being sacrificed and offered again and again, but in fact, the truth is every time the Eucharist is celebrated, it is the same Sacrifice of Our Lord at Calvary again.

And this is what we truly believe, that God Himself has truly become present in our midst, in the form of His own Most Precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist, and therefore, He is truly and really present in that Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist we receive and partake, a Holy Communion that each and every one of us members of the Church share with one another, and that is why we become the part of the Church, the Body of Christ.

If God Himself has come into our midst and entered into our bodies as we receive Him, then it is of the utmost importance that we understand what this means for us, and how we live our lives from now on, or else we scandalise our own faith and God by our unworthiness and by our own actions that are against His ways. What do I mean by this? I mean that if we believe that the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist then we will do our very best to make sure that we are properly prepared and worthy to receive Him.

Of course this must be understood also in the context that the Lord also seeks to gather all those who have been lost to Him, in extending His mercy and forgiveness to those who have sinned, and the Eucharist is one way that this reconciliation has been made in full. Yet, if one is to receive the Eucharist, the Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord in a state of continuing sin, then it is also a scandal to our faith.

We have to be properly predisposed and be prepared to receive Him into ourselves. And we do not have to look far but see how in the liturgical celebrations, we do our very best in everything, to make use of the finest and greatest materials to contain the most Precious matter of God’s Body and Blood, using only precious and incorruptible materials such as gold and silver for the chalices and ciborium used to contain the Sacred Host and Blood of the Lord.

And the Tabernacle housing the Lord’s Presence in that same Eucharist is also made using the finest materials, in a way comparable to that of the Temple of God in Jerusalem at the time of Solomon, where everything that is finest and good were used to adorn the whole Temple, with the Ark of the Covenant being the most precious of all, made using gold and finest materials, and so holy that no one was allowed to touch it.

Then, we know of an even better Tabernacle, the one who had contained the Lord Himself for nine months in her womb, and she is none other than Mary, Our Lord’s own Mother, who had borne our Lord and Saviour in her, and for this very purpose, the Lord made her, as the finest Tabernacle, not crafted by human hands unlike our chalices, ciborium, Tabernacles or the Temple of God in Jerusalem, but the perfect and unblemished human being, not tainted by the corruption of original sin, Mary, conceived and born without sin.

God did so much to prepare His own Mother to bear His holy and most sacred Presence in her, to show that when God is truly present in our midst, there can be nothing less than doing our best just as He has done His best, to bear His Presence, for nothing evil and wicked can truly exist in His Presence and survive. In the same way therefore, do we realise that when we receive the Lord into ourselves through the Eucharist, we too have become the Tabernacles and Temples of God’s own Presence?

St. Paul spoke of this, how by receiving the Lord into ourselves we have made ourselves into Living Temples, the Temples of His Presence and the Temples of the Holy Spirit. And if we sully the sanctity of this Holy Temple, that is our body, heart, mind and soul with the corruption of sin, it is indeed a great sin and wickedness we have committed against God Himself. That is why, as Christians, we are called to be worthy and to be ready to welcome the Lord’s Holy Presence into ourselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is where and when we are called to recommit ourselves in our faith, to live in accordance with our faith again if we have fallen away and went astray from the true faith. We are called to turn towards God, Who is ever loving and merciful towards us. We only need to ask, and He will forgive us our sins, and that is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for, readily available through our priests.

Let us all from now on truly show it in our lives, in our every actions, in how we consciously and actively participate in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in how we reverently receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist, to show everyone that truly, the bread and wine which we brought to Him in offering, has become nothing less than God’s own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, which He offers to us generously for the sake of our salvation.

May the Lord, Who is ever present in us, and Who is our Bread of Life continue to be with us, and guide us in our journey of life, so that each and every one of us who have worthily received Him into ourselves, may be transformed by His Presence into beings truly worthy to be called God’s own beloved people and God’s own beloved children. May God be with each and every one of us, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 20 June 2019 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God in the Scripture speaking to us about the matter of prayer and how we should be praying to the Lord in the right way. We should understand what prayer truly is, that is communication and connection between God and us, an intimate and close relationship between us and Him and not as what many of us might have thought.

Many of us prayed because we wanted something to be fulfilled, which are things that we did not have and then now desire to have, and we ask God for the favour hoping that we may get what we want through prayer. But when we do not get what we want through our prayers, we become angry with God and become disillusioned with Him, often causing us to forget about God and abandon Him without knowing and understanding His true intentions for us.

Instead, true prayer must be first and foremost an active and fruitful conversation between two parties, that is between us and God, or between our community and God in our communal prayers gathered together by the priest for example during the intercessions and the collect during the Holy Mass. First and foremost we must be willing to listen and we must be open-minded and be willing to accept the word of God in our heart and mind.

That is what true prayer is all about. Without the open-minded attitude and willingness to listen to the Lord speaking in our hearts, and with our insistence to have our desires and wishes heard by God, our prayer will not end up being genuine or true, and instead of a good and fruitful prayer, we will have something akin to the whining of a child who does not get what he wants from his or her father.

How do we pray then? It is by following the example of what the Lord Jesus Himself has done. The Lord Jesus, although He is indeed God, but at the same time, in His person, He also unites to Himself the Humanity, the Son of Man and Son of God, two natures in one person, Jesus Christ, and in today’s Gospel, we heard of the prayer which the Lord Jesus Himself had made to His heavenly Father, as a Son praying to His Father.

He showed us all how we mankind, united to His own Humanity, should be praying. First of all in prayer we glorify God and we thank Him for all that He has done for us, and we open our minds to listen to His will, and acknowledge that whatever it is that we seek or request from Him, His will ultimately shall be done. What the Lord Jesus had said in His prayer is the expression of what true prayer is like, a prayer where we mankind seek to glorify and to come into close and genuine contact with Our Lord and Saviour, Our loving Heavenly Father.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, following the examples of the Lord’s own prayer, are we able to deepen our own relationship with God, and strengthen our own spiritual life by devoting ourselves to the Lord and by refocusing our lives on God instead on our own selfish desires in life? Let us all reflect on this as we continue living our lives in this world, as St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle today, being tempted constantly by the forces of the devil.

Let us all be strengthened by our sincere and genuine prayer, committing ourselves to the Lord anew, with a new and more devoted heart and mind, that are constantly attuned to the Lord, our heavenly Father in prayer, at all times. Let us all be ever prayerful and commit ourselves, day after day, to be ever closer to God and to be more faithful to Him each and every days of our lives. May the Lord continue to bless us all and may He listen to our sincere prayers and supplications. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Philip Minh, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture in which we heard of the matter of prayer and fasting, two of the practices of our faith which we constantly do all the time and at the prescribed times of the year. And He reminded all of us to pray and fast with the right attitude and intention, or else we are not doing what is right for us to do as Christians.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? First we must understand the context of what the Lord had said to His disciples at that time, as He compared the practices that the Pharisees at that time did, in showing of their piety and prayers in public, not with the intention to glorify God but glorifying themselves and seeking for attention and human praise. And that is exactly what the Lord does not want His disciples and all of us to do.

The Pharisees were influential group of people who were intelligent and educated at that time, who held sway over a lot of the people, highly respected and honoured because of their role in safeguarding and keeping the customs and practices of the Jewish people, which they came to guard zealously and strongly against anyone or anything that might threaten those practices and customs, and all the privileges that they had earned by safeguarding those customs and laws.

But at that time, their preoccupation and excessive focus on maintaining the customs and the practices of the Jewish people ended up on them focusing on the external appearances and the superficial obedience to those laws and customs, rather than truly appreciating the significance and the real substance and intention of the Law of God. They ended up practicing those customs and laws not because they truly had God in their mind, but a lot of time because they had to do them.

As Christians, all of us are reminded by today’s Scripture readings not to follow the examples of many of the Pharisees who have forgotten the true importance of the Law and the customs they practiced, doing it all for appearances and praise rather than for the true purpose that is to worship, glorify and communicate with God. We must remember that as we live through our faith life, we must practice our faith with sincerity and commitment, not just by paying lip service.

In our first reading today, St. Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians reminded us of the gifts that God has given us, His blessings and wonders, and consequently, as those whom the Lord has blessed, all of us should make good use of the gifts He has given to us, that we may truly be fruitful and bountiful in God. He said, those who have sowed meagrely will reap meagrely, and those who sowed generously will reap generously as well.

Therefore, in our lives we should be exemplary in our faith, and in our actions, in how we pray, in what we do in our daily lives we must reflect our faith and dedication to the Lord. We should put God as the focus and attention of our whole lives, and do our best to glorify Him and not ourselves. And today, we also can follow the examples showed by St. Philip Minh and his companions in martyrdom, the Holy Vietnamese Martyrs.

At that time, the authorities in Vietnam were very hostile to the Christian faith and the missionaries who worked among the people proclaiming the truth of Christ. They were viewed with suspicion of collaboration with the French and other colonial powers. St. Philip Minh was among the first of the local Vietnamese to be ordained a priest and ministered among his own people before he and many others throughout those difficult years were arrested and made to suffer for their faith.

Yet, these courageous saints did not give up their faith despite the many temptations, persuasions, pressures and coercions to do so. They remained firm in their faith and dedication to the Lord. Had they placed their own safety, well-being and glory before that of the Lord, they would have abandoned God to gain the safety and acceptance of the world. But they showed all of us what it means to be true disciples and followers of Christ.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all be inspired by the examples of the holy saints of God, especially St. Philip Minh and his companions, the Holy Vietnamese Martyrs. Let us all dedicate ourselves to the Lord in the same way as they have done and do our best to be true disciples of the Lord. May the Lord bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the need for all of us to be truly faithful in all the things we do, in being genuinely faithful through our dedication and love for the Lord. And being true in our faith requires us all to be filled with love, and not just any love, but love that is selfless and generous, to all people.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus saying that we all should love everyone, including even our enemies and all those who have persecuted us and rejected us. He called on us all to bring love to our fellow brethren, regardless of who they are and give our very best in love for others not counting for the love to be returned or reciprocated. This is indeed something that is easier said than done.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because loving an enemy is something that is not easily done, as when we love, we commonly love with the intention of being reciprocated and appreciated, to be loved back in the same way if not more than how we have loved another person. But to love an enemy seems to be like a folly, a giving of one’s love to someone whom in our minds may be unworthy and undeserving.

But that is where we really need to change our mentality and mindset, to redirect our thoughts and change our prejudices about others. For we must understand that love is not a transaction or something where we expect to gain things for our own benefit. If we think of love in that manner, then perhaps it is time for us to change our mindset and how we see love in our daily interactions and lives.

Love in truth is not of receiving but in fact of giving, the giving of oneself and even making sacrifices for another. That is in essence, what true love is all about. True love does not lead to jealousy, and neither does it lead to selfishness and desire, but rather, it leads to happiness in knowing that we have given of ourselves for the sake of another, and the other person is better because of the love which we have given.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we do not have to go far to see the example, other than what the Lord Jesus Himself had shown us all. The Lord Jesus had shown us all what it means by true love, love that is selfless, self-giving, in all that He had done for our sake, even to us all who have disobeyed and not listened to Him all these while. St. Paul himself said of how wonderful God’s love for us is, that even if it is possible for someone to love and to be willing to die for the sake of a very good person and friend, God did so for all of us who are wicked and sinners.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us are called to follow the examples of Our Lord in the generous and true love that He has shown to each and every one of us. He has loved us all so greatly that we should love Him in the same way as is only right for us to do so. It is indeed not easy for us to love everyone, especially those who have hurt us and caused us harm and pain.

May the Lord help us all to be more loving and to be more forgiving, to all our brothers and sisters just as He Himself has done it. May He strengthen in us this love that we have so that each and every moments in our lives we may draw ever closer to Him and be more faithful with every passing moment. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 17 June 2019 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the actions and things we need to do with our lives as Christians, as those who profess the faith in God and have been taught what it means for us to be His followers. We must be exemplary in all things so that our lives truly become testimonies of our faith.

In today’s first reading we heard St. Paul encouraging the faithful and the Church in the city of Corinth that they should be courageous in living their faith, becoming good examples for others in how they lived their lives with genuine faith so that everyone who see them will truly know that they are Christians, full of faith and righteousness, and not just faithful in formality only.

And in the Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples about what we may be expected to do as Christians, when He spoke of giving one’s left cheek if one is slapped on the right side, and not to seek vengeance and retaliation unlike how people then behaved, and to go the extra mile when one is walking and helping someone. Essentially, as Christians, we are expected to do as the Lord has told His disciples.

It means that while the world and its people expect selfishness, greed and pride to be the force driving every actions and every words and deeds of the people, as Christians we are expected to eschew all of these selfishness, greed, human pride and all sorts of things that prevent us from being true Christians. The world expects us to seek our own happiness, joy and satisfaction first over all else, but the Lord taught us otherwise.

After all, we have to realise that happiness and satisfaction as what we usually know in this world cannot last forever, be it money, be it material possessions, satisfaction of the mind and body, pleasures of the flesh and body, or whatever else that we have been accustomed and inundated with, in all the things we seek in this world. As Christians we are called to be above all these things, and to seek greater things beyond this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect on our lives and think of how we can make good use of this life to be instruments of God’s greater glory. We are called to follow the teachings of Christ, to do our best on each and every days of our lives, without seeking glory for ourselves, to be generous in all things and to give our very best to be examples of our faith.

Let us all spend our every moments in life to glorify God, spending our time, effort and attention, committing ourselves to the cause of the Lord, and enduring difficulties, challenges and all sorts of temptations and all that prevented us from truly devoting our whole selves to God. Let us all persevere through even those who oppress and challenge us, and do our very best to be model Christians in all things.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He continue to guide us through this journey of life. May He bless us all in our every endeavours, spending every moments of time to follow Him and to dedicate ourselves to Him. May God be with our every actions, words and deeds, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday after the Solemnity of the Pentecost, the Universal Church again celebrates another great and very important Solemnity, one that is concerning the very centre tenet and distinctiveness of our Christian faith that is the belief in God Who exists in Three Divine Persons and yet, at the same time, is also One and Indivisible. And that is why on this Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

On this day, we focus our attention on Who we worship, God Who is ever loving, merciful and compassionate towards us, He Who is One, and only One, but existing in Three distinct Persons, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The true nature of the Most Holy Trinity has eluded many people and many among us the faithful throughout time, but all of us must realise and know Who is Our Lord Whom we worship, so that we can better appreciate our faith in Him.

We do not believe in three different Gods, as the most common misconception about the Most Holy Trinity is often about. We believe that even though there is distinction between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but they exist in perfect unity and harmony with each other, as the one and only True God. Three Divine Persons but One Unity in One Godhood. That is what the Most Holy Trinity is about.

Yet, throughout the history of the Church, particularly during the early days of Christianity, people constantly were conflicted on the nature of their God, and there had been many divisions, conflicts, disagreements and bitterness over the nature of the Most Holy Trinity, the relationship that the Father has the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, and the nature of the Son Himself, the relationship that He has with the Father, and also with the Holy Spirit.

And there were those who doubted and questioned the divinity of the Son in particular, those who doubted that Jesus Christ Our Lord is God as well as Man in the same person. And there were those, like the Arians, who considered Christ as being lesser than the Father. They regarded Him as a Being Who was created and therefore not equal with the Father, not co-eternal with Him. And therefore, they did not believe in the Most Holy Trinity in the way we believe today.

At that time, many people actually subscribed to the teachings and the faith of Arius, the one who propagated the Arian heresy. And there were bitter struggle for the belief of the faithful as those bishops and priests who remained true to the orthodox and genuine Christian teachings struggled with the many bishops and priests who embraced Arianism. And one of the most courageous and faithful defender of the true faith was St. Athanasius, the Patriarch of Alexandria, whose defence of the faith in the Most Holy Trinity and the equality between the Son and the Father is memorialised in the now famous Athanasian Creed.

The Athanasian Creed was an expansion of the usual Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed we have always used, in which the Athanasian Creed is a much more detailed and clearer version of the Creed where in particular, the nature of the Most Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is explained clearly and succinctly against the heresies of the time that tried to diminish the Holy Trinity or mislead the people with wrong ideas and thoughts about the Trinity.

In the first part of the Athanasian Creed, it is clearly mentioned that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three equal parts of the One Godhood of our one and only True God, avoiding the idea of worship of more than one god and at the same time, also stressing on the importance and distinctiveness of each of the three members of the Most Holy Trinity. The Father is not the same as the Son, and the Son is not the same as the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the same as the Father, and yet all three are united perfectly and indivisibly as one indissoluble union of perfect love.

And being equal, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not submitted to the Father or less equal from the Father in anything, neither created nor made. The Son of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, has existed with the Father from the very beginning, from before the beginning of time, co-equal, co-eternal and equally omnipotent and Almighty. He is not created but rather begotten from the Father, remaining distinct and yet inseparable from the Father and the Holy Spirit. He assumed the appearance and flesh of man, uniting in Himself, the Divinity of the Son of God and the humanity of the Son of Man.

The Holy Spirit meanwhile is also co-equal, co-eternal and omnipotent as well as Almighty as the Father and the Son is. He is not created by the Father either, nor is subservient or created or begotten from the Father or from the Son. Rather in this case, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, equal in all things, and is God’s Spirit that is in all things and performs His works in all things.

Many have tried to explain the concept of the Most Holy Trinity, with St. Patrick of Ireland being the most prominent one. St. Patrick made use of the three-leaf shamrock as a way for him to explain the Trinity of Christian God to the pagans then living in the land that is now called Ireland. He used the three-leaf shamrock, now closely associated with St. Patrick himself, as the representation of the Most Holy Trinity, as if any of the three leaves is taken out, the whole shamrock becomes incomplete.

Therefore, just as a person can clearly distinguish each of the three leaves of the three-leaf shamrock, we can distinguish between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit clearly. But at the same time, they are also perfectly united as One, just as the three-leaf shamrock is part of the one whole shamrock leaf, which if any of the parts are taken out, the whole shamrock becomes incomplete just as the Most Holy Trinity is not complete without any one of its members.

Another way for us to try to explain the concept of the Most Holy Trinity is that of a lighted candle. A lighted candle has three main important properties, that is the light produced by the candle, the heat produced by the candle and the flame produced by the candle burning. All these three cannot be separated from each other and yet they are also easily distinguishable from each other.

The candle cannot have light without the burning flame, and without the flame there can be no heat either. And neither can there be flame without heat to make the candle burn in the first place, and with heat energy comes light that is produced by the heat of the reactions of the burning of the candle wax. And lastly, without light, it does not make sense for a candle that is burning to have no light, as flame always produces light and heat.

We can see from this example alone, how flame, light and heat are easily distinguishable from each other, as the light is clearly different from the heat, and flame itself is distinct from the light. The flame has a limited shape but the light illuminates the entire room far beyond the physical reach of the burning flame, and the heat can be felt on our bodies when we stand nearby the burning candle. Yet, each one of them cannot be separated from the other, or else we would not have a burning candle.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having listened to what the Most Holy Trinity is all about, and how we try to explain this concept both to ourselves and to others, now that we have probably greater understanding and grasp of this concept, we must then also be aware of the significance of the Most Holy Trinity of Our God to ourselves as Christians. We must first and foremost remember that as Christians we are called to model ourselves on God Whom we believe in.

If Our God exists in a perfect love and harmony in the Most Holy Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, then surely our Christian communities must also have this same love within us, that in the Church of God to which we belong to, we must be united in love and not being divided one against the other. And each and every one of us, just like the members of the Holy Trinity, are unique and have our own distinctiveness that we can bring in to enrich the good works and wonders of the Church of God.

Are we able to practice what we believe in the nature of our loving Triune God, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in our own lives? Are we able to imitate the loving examples and unity of the Three Divine Persons in our own Christian communities united in love and harmony with each other? This is how we as Christians reflect God in our own lives, in showing the same love that He has within Himself, which He has shared with us and now, we share with one another.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith, commitment and devotion to Our God, the Most Holy Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us all be witnesses of our faith in Him, in each and every moments we live, in our every actions so that all the people around us may see our faith and come to believe in God, the Most Holy Trinity as well, fulfilling what He has commanded us all to do, to make disciples of all people of all the nations and baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Let us glorify our God, the Most Holy Trinity once more, with the prayer “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

Saturday, 15 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the importance of being true in our faith and dedication to the Lord, in all of us our words, deeds and actions so that we truly are worthy to be called the disciples and followers of Christ, our Lord and Saviour. For the Lord has given us everything and done everything for our sake, and therefore the least we can do is to give our whole beings to Him in sincere and genuine faith and love.

In our Gospel passage we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples on the matter of making oaths and swearing those oaths before the Lord and the people. And He said how they should not be making oaths and swearing them on anything or on anybody, or even on themselves. In order to understand what the Lord truly meant by His words, we must then understand in the first place how people then (and even in our world today) make oaths and promises.

People made oaths more because of their fear that the other party who witnessed the oaths would not believe or trust in the sincerity and commitment of the person making the oath in maintaining or fulfilling his or her part of the agreement or bargain. That is why people made oaths and swore them upon things or even persons and beings that the people considered to be worthy to them, so that the other party would come to believe in their sincerity and commitment.

That was why people loved to take oaths on things like their own wealth, their own precious things, jewelries and possessions, or on their own selves and bodies, or even on their states and nations, and last of all, on God and Heaven itself. They wanted the other parties and people for whom they made oaths for to believe that they would fulfil their end of the bargain and be true to the promises that they have made.

But in the end, as we can obviously see by now, is that oath-making was discouraged by the Lord because of the lack of trust and faith between the people with regards to the agreement, promises, and whatever it is that the oaths were taken over. Instead, the Lord said plainly, that someone must be sincere and true, and not making empty promises and oaths, saying yes when they mean it and no when they also mean no.

Many people had made oaths and swore those oaths, and yet even they broke those oaths, and when those oaths were broken, what does it mean then to those things, persons or beings that they have taken the oaths over? Is it not in truth an insult and mockery of what those people have taken the oaths over, if oaths can just be so easily broken and disregarded? And if the people then made oaths before the Lord or used His Holy Name, is it not then a mockery of God when those oaths were broken or disregarded?

Throughout history, we mankind have had long history of disobedience and disregarding our promises to one another. And that is exactly why there are often so little trust among us mankind, where we end up disregarding each other, backstabbing each other and distrusting each other. There is essentially very little trust among us all. How can we then progress from this, and what is it that we need to do in order to be true Christians and followers of Christ as mentioned earlier?

It is by following none other than the good examples set by the Lord Himself, as St. Paul stated in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, how the Lord Jesus came into this world to save each and every one of us, by what He has done for us, He took the ultimate action and chose to do so willingly to prove that, far better from any of us, He is trustworthy and faithful beyond all doubt.

God fulfilled His promises to us not by mere words, by through real and concrete action, and this action is nothing less than what He had undergone through His Passion, taking up His Cross and bearing it up to the hill of Calvary, enduring the most bitter sufferings and the most painful torture and the most humiliating ridicule and rejection, so that He may save us all from our fated destruction, that is caused by our own sins.

On this day all of us are reminded therefore of the love and commitment, the faithfulness and trustworthiness that Our Lord, the Son of God and Son of Man, had shown us on the Cross, as He gazed down upon all of us, His beloved people with so much love, mercy and compassion. He was so genuine in His love and so completely trustworthy, that each and every one of us indeed should follow in His examples.

May the Lord help each and every one of us to be true to our own faith, to be more committed in all the things we do. May He bless us all with the courage and the strength to be ever more committed and true as Christians, as those who believe in God and in His saving help. Amen.