Sunday, 12 October 2014 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the readings of this Sunday refers very, very clearly to the loving nature of our Lord, God and Father, who created all of us at the beginning of time, to be the most beloved of all His creations. He is truly like a father to us all, giving us life and all that we need, and He paved the path for us in our lives, guiding us in all the things that we do, that even though we often do not realise what He had done, but He is indeed there, watching over us and leading us towards Himself.

God who loves us has prepared all goodness for us, and He has blessed us with great riches, all the inheritance which are promised to us. This is shown by Jesus, when He told the people and His disciples, of the parable of the king and the banquet, where He told them of a king who prepared a great feast and invited many people to come to His banquet.

The banquet represented the promise of good life and eternal joy with God, and just as the king intended to celebrate and be merry with all those who had been invited to the feast, God intended for all of us, His beloved creations, to enjoy the fullness of happiness with Him. That was exactly also what He intended for us at the beginning. But like the guests who refused to come and listen to the king, our ancestors beginning from Adam also refused to listen to God and His will.

The guests might have a variety of reasons for not coming to the banquet prepared for them, and we may not know them, since it was never mentioned by Jesus. But certainly, by observing our own human behaviours and reactions, surely we are able to easily predict them. The guests might have had other businesses and commitments to handle, but then we can ask, has the king not given them the notice for the banquet in advance? And what is so important that they should skip the banquet of the king for something else?

Thus the same often happens to us, as we live our lives in this world. How often is it that when God calls us and guides us to His ways, that we said no to them and quickly go about worrying about our own selves? How often is it that we prefer to follow our own hearts’ desires and wants, rather than to listen to God and follow His will for us? We often complained that God interferes in our lives on one hand, saying that we prefer to do things on our own, but on the other hand, when we are in trouble, we are also quick to blame God for not helping us when we are in need.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, men are not easy to satisfy, and our hearts continue to lead us to listen to our own desires and wants. It is within our human nature to succumb to the temptations of our flesh, and as a result, like the guests, we tend to regard our own concerns as priority, thinking about ourselves first and how to please ourselves first before that of others.

And the other possible ‘reason’ for their disobedience is indeed their laziness and sloth, preferring to remain idle in the comfort of their houses rather than to travel to the king’s palace to attend the banquet. And this we can indeed relate to ourselves, on how we tend to be slothful in this life, refusing the apparently more difficult path which the Lord offered us, and prefer the ‘easy’ and happy life which this world apparently gives.

Thus I would also like to share with you what St. Faustina Kowalska, the one who introduced the devotion to the Divine Mercy, had seen in one of her visions. She saw two paths and men who walked along these two paths. One path is a path that is filled with flowers and wonderful things, wide and pleasant to walk on, while the other path is a path filled with thorns, obstacles, and both narrow and difficult to walk on.

But then, she saw that the easy and pleasant path hide a terrible secret, that at the end, the many people who walked on that path, fell into an endless chasm that suddenly arose on the path of the road, and many were unaware of the chasm, and fell into the chasm as they walked. Meanwhile, on the narrow and difficult road, much fewer people travelled through it, but even as those who persevered on continued, when they reached the end, they found a very beautiful garden filled with goodness, where they lived on ever after.

Thus, the vision presented us yet again, that the Lord offers us goodness and the promise of eternal happiness in Him, and He will not renege on the promise which He had made and renewed over the many generations again and again. It is our choice whether we follow Him and trust in Him, or instead trust in Satan who ought not to be trusted. He leads us into damnation with him, but he is very clever indeed, and as we know in how he tried to tempt even Jesus, he offered all the goodness which he can offer us, be it food, power, wealth or glory, or other things that fulfill and satisfy our desires.

Thus we must be vigilant, and we cannot let go our our guard against the possible assaults by Satan, who awaits at every corner hoping to deceive us and lead us into harm. And that was why Jesus continued His story, by saying that after the king in his anger had destroyed all those who had disobeyed and spurned his invitation, he invited many others who were brought to his banquet instead of the first invited.

This is to highlight first the fate that all those who refused to listen to God, and prefer to follow their own paths and desires is death and destruction, just as those who walked the easy path fell into the chasm of infinite suffering in the vision of St. Faustina Kowalska. The path which the Lord offers may not seem easy, and indeed that obstacles will be plenty, but if we remain faithful to the end, we will be richly rewarded.

And then, when Jesus mentioned about the man who came to the banquet not wearing the proper banquet garment, He was in fact referring to how we lead our faith life. In being faithful to the Lord, we cannot be half-hearted, and in our effort to seek the Lord our God we cannot be divided between Him and something else. Thus, when we come to the banquet of the Lord, we too cannot be divided in our hearts, our minds and our souls.

What is this banquet of the Lord which God had prepared for all of us? That is none other than the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where we celebrate in unity with the singular act of God’s greatest act of love for us all, that is His sacrifice, suffering and death on the cross, where He bared Himself to all those whom He loved, offering Himself as the perfect offering for the reparation and the redemption of all of us from our sins.

And just as the king prepared lavish food and drinks in the banquet, so thus the Lord also gave the best of all food and drink to all of us, who comes to His banquet, that is His own Precious Body and Precious Blood. Remember when Jesus said that those who eat of His Body and drink of His Blood will not die but live eternally with God? And that is the case indeed. If we are to come to attend the banquet, that is the Holy Mass, should we not then be properly ‘attired’?

This attire does not mean just that we should be properly attired with proper clothing and wear when we come for the Mass. Certainly we do not come to the banquet of the Lord wearing clothes as if we are about to go for a picnic or a leisure walk. Instead we should wear our very best and look our very best to honour the Lord our God. However, if this is as far as we go, then it is not enough.

How many of us attend the Holy Mass and yet our minds are not in the Mass at all? How many of us prefer to talk among ourselves and with our friends, and also to pay attention to our phones and other communication devices, contacting persons even outside the Holy Mass, and not to focus our heart, mind and soul to the Lord, who should be at the centre of the celebration? Ought the king not be given his proper place in his own banquet? And thus, should we not indeed give the Lord the proper adoration and respect He deserve in the Mass?

Think about these, brothers and sisters in Christ. There are two key messages which our Lord Jesus Christ and His revelations through the Scriptures want to tell us all today. First is that, we have a choice, either to follow the easier way out, that is to follow what we want and disregard the Lord, or to follow Him, and walk in His ways, even though that path might indeed be difficult and challenging. But the reward is clear, while the first path leads to destruction in the end, the path of the Lord never disappoints.

And then second, that if we choose to follow the Lord, He who loves us so much that He gave us everything, and held back not even His own Son, to bear our sins and die for our sake, that we may have life in Him, we cannot be half-hearted or be divided in our hearts, in our souls, and in our minds’ desires to follow Him. We cannot serve both God and our own heart’s desire, that is the temptations of the flesh.

And thus, as I have mentioned, we have to give it all, at the banquet of the Lord where He had given His own Body and Blood to us, in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, that we have to be fully prepared and properly attired in our body, in our mind, in our soul, and in our hearts. Our focus should be completely on the Lord. Look at Him who is in the Eucharist, and focus our entire being to Him! If we do so, then He, who is the King of all, will approve of us and our actions, and justify us in our faith.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we go on with our lives from today onwards, let us all dedicate ourselves anew and renew our commitment to the Lord. Let us from now on attend and fully participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, giving our Lord all of our love and devotion, just as He had loved us first to the fullness of His heart, that He even gave us His life.

May Almighty God be with us all, and may He guide us to Himself, that amidst all the difficulties and challenges which we may and will indeed encounter, we may remain faithful, and with our gaze fixed at Him, may we gain the promise of eternal life, which God gives freely to all who are true to Him in faith and love. Amen.

Saturday, 12 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

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

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s lesson from the Holy Scriptures show us that while God is great and Almighty, enthroned above all else on thrones and angels, and covered by the holy and mighty seraphs and cherubs, He is still a loving and gentle God, who loves us all equally, and who gave us the greatest gift in none other than Jesus, His own Son and His own self.

Many of us often cower in fear before God, thinking that He is some sort of monster or such great figure that we need to fear and be trembled at, such that we ended up closing ourselves against Him, and do not let Him to come into our hearts. Our God is a loving God and a merciful God, just as much as He is God who hates and dislikes sin in all of its forms.

We fear many things, and we have various forms of our own fears in life. And foremost of all, we fear death in all its forms. Some people fear of losing their loved ones, and some fear of losing their possessions and material goods. Others fear darkness, while some fear the light instead. And as I said, many of us fear God and His presence.

But as mentioned in the Gospel today, rather than fearing those things that cannot harm our soul, and can merely our bodies and our earthly presence in this short life we have on earth, we should rather worry about the One who has the power to destroy us body and soul for eternity, that is none other than God Himself, who has the authority over all the living and the dead, including all of us.

Nevertheless, as I have said, there is no need for us to fear God, for He is truly loving and forgiving. If only that we draw nearer to His throne of mercy, then we, as long as our hearts are genuine in our own love and dedication to the Lord, will be given redemption and forgiveness. We have this fear in our hearts that God will punish us or hate us because of our sins, and therefore, this creates a mental block that prevent us from proceeding on our way to salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why we need to balance, between our fear of God, and our love for God. God is both merciful and wrathful, the former for our love and repentance, and the latter for our rebelliousness and sins. We must not fall into the trap of fear, that is so much fear that we are afraid to seek God’s forgiveness and therefore end up falling deeper into sin and darkness.

We cannot be lax in our life either, as if we end up too lax with ourselves, then we may fall into the other trap of Satan, that is temptation. If we do not have a certain discipline in our life and in our faith, we will stumble and fall in the face of the constant onslaught of the devil. We must be ever vigilant and ready to resist the devil, and follow always in the ways of our Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, the key lies in our readiness and focus in this life, and in our obedience and constant devotion to the Lord. Let us all change our ways so that we may reflect better our Lord’s ways. Let us ask God, who is enthroned among the seraphim and the cherubim, that He may send His angels to help us and guide us on our way, that we may remain well within God’s love and grace.

May Almighty God be with us, and may He strengthen our faith so that we may not fall into temptation and sin, and that we may also walk faithfully in His ways. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 11 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen about how God cares for us, and indeed, how He takes very good care of us, even after we have sinned and rebelled against Him. And even though this life we have in this world may be difficult and filled with challenges, He will not abandon us or let us walk alone in the darkness.

And today we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, a well-known saint and monk, who was also known by the name of St. Benedict of Nursia, who founded the Benedictine religious order, and was well-known for his strict rule for his religious order, which entails a strict regimen of prayerful life and life lived in perfect harmony with one another and with God.

But this rule also shows the great values of love, faith, and hope that is instilled in generations of monks and religious, not only in St. Benedict’s religious order, but also many other orders who drew their inspiration from St. Benedict and his works. From this we can see, how this saint was truly a great saint, and how his works had laid a strong foundation of faith for many throughout history.

St. Benedict and many other holy men and women, and many religious and workers of the Lord were truly as what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, that is to be like sheep among the wolves, to walk in the path of God amid a worldful worth of sin, temptation and difficulties which Satan placed in our way, to prevent us from reaching salvation in God.

St. Benedict and the many others who came before and after him were all truly faithful and good disciples of the Lord. Not only that they remained faithful amidst all the cunning tricks and lies of the devil in order to subvert all mankind into his cause, but they also worked hard, for the good of all God’s people, and spreading the Good News to the whole world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must follow in the examples of St. Benedict of Nursia, that in our faith we must be truly dedicated to Christ our Lord. We cannot be half-hearted in our faith. Instead, we must ensure that every actions and deeds that we do is in tune with the Lord and His will. We must have a good prayer life and time dedicated for the Lord in our lives. We cannot excuse ourselves of having no time for God.

For if we do not open ourselves to the Lord and allow Him to work His wonders in us, then we risk endangering ourselves by bringing ourselves closer to the corruptions of this world, and yet without God as our anchor for us to hold onto, so that we may not be lost in the torrents and streams of this world. Many of mankind had failed and had fallen on their way to the Lord, all trapped and fell along the way as they got distracted from their true goal in life, that is God.

In this life, mankind are always tempted, every day of their lives. We cannot escape from the allures of the world, and all the good things that Satan used in order to detract us and pull us away from our way towards the Lord, and therefore into damnation. It is easy for us to follow our desires and our needs, and therefore forget about what our Lord had taught us. And this is truly dangerous, brothers and sisters, for we have to remember that, we have just this one chance, and only this chance in life to be freed from the ensnarement of sin.

We need to have a discipline in this life, to control our actions and deeds, so that we may temper our desires, so that we may not be enslaved by them, and therefore will not easily succumb to the temptations of Satan. Therefore, let us follow the example set by St. Benedict and many other holy men who followed after him, and also many those who came before him. We must have a heart shaped and dedicated for love, one that will not bend in the face of evil and its temptations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a new life in Christ, one that is founded on light and not on darkness, one that is founded on love and not hatred, and one that is founded on life and not death. Let us all work together, so that we may begin anew in Christ, and live worthily from now on, if we have not done so. May Almighty God guide us and bless us on our way. St. Benedict of Nursia, pray for us as well, that we may be more like you in faith. Amen.

Sunday, 6 July 2014 : 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has entrusted this world to His Son, Jesus Christ, including all of us who live in this world. And in Him He bore salvation to us all, and remade us anew in light. As the possessions of Christ we have been liberated from this world and the darkness that is in it. We have been made anew in Christ and we ought to be grateful for it.

God lifted us up from the despair and hopelessness caused by sin, and bringing new hope into our hearts, with the coming and the life and death of Jesus Christ, who had knocked down the gates of hell and broken the chains that enslaved us to sin and death. He gave us a burden, yes, that is a burden to be the disciples and followers of Christ, but this burden is a temporary one, and one far better than the eternal burden we are to bear if we choose to forsake God and His ways.

As the Lord had said, that we ought to cast away our old ways, the ways and the pleasures of the flesh which corrupts us and makes us unclean before the Lord. We ought to be rid of our corrupted habits and lack of control over ourselves, and instead following the way of the Lord and resolve in our hearts that we will be faithful forever to the Lord who made all things possible, and who awakened in us a new hope and gave us a new life.

If we rely on the power of men and the power of this world, we are at risk brethren, for the power of men is limited and flawed, while the power of God is never exhausted and never fails to satisfy. The way of the Lord is not an easy one, but it is better than the path that seems to be easy, that is the path of Satan, but which leads to eternal damnation and destruction to all who are caught in his snares.

This world has always been against us and all the Lord’s creation, since it belongs to the evil one and lays in the dominion of the evil one, ever since mankind tainted the world by their rebellion against God’s will. It is founded on evil and therefore evil is strong in the world, but that does not mean that we are hopeless under the dominion of the evil one. Instead, as we all know, our Lord had liberated us through Jesus Christ His Son, whom He had sent into this world in order to save it.

And it is through Jesus, His life, His teachings and His works, and ultimately through His death, that God gave hope and life to mankind, and brought us a way to escape the bonds and chains of death and sin. But this is only if we repent and change our sinful ways, and follow the Lord with all of our hearts and with complete and total devotion. That means we must no longer rely solely on ourselves but on the divine providence and love of our God.

Do you all remember the parable which Jesus told His disciples? The one comparing those who built their houses on sand and those who built their houses on solid rock? This is a clear reminder to us by our Lord, how we cannot rely on our own strengths and powers in life, for it will be indeed like building up our houses on sand, which will not last against the forces of evil arrayed against us.

Instead, depending on God is indeed like those who built their house on solid rock. Remember, brothers and sisters! Even our Church is built on the foundation of the solid rock of faith, on the faith of Peter, whose name was given by Jesus, and which means ‘rock’. We all know that Peter’s own faith was not perfect, and he fumbled a few times during his time of following Jesus, culminating in his three-times denial of the Lord during His Passion.

It was not in his own human power and greatness that Peter eventually depended on, and it was not for the sake of human praise and worldly glory that he sought to do in the world. Rather, he surrendered himself completely to the Lord, just as all the other Apostles had done, and in that way, allowing the Lord to use him to do great things in the world and strengthening the faith of many others.

Therefore, our Church was founded by our Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, who founded it on the faith of Peter, His disciple, whom himself depended on the Lord as his foundation, and thus, we all in the Church draw our strength from God, who had entrusted it all in His Son, Jesus Christ. Those who placed their trust and faith in Him will not be disappointed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as mentioned, the path of following the Lord is not an easy one. Satan, the evil one, is bound to do all within his ability and cunning mind in order to draw us away from the Lord, the source of all our salvation and strength. And as mentioned, we know that this world does not match us, and we stand out in contrast to the ways of the world if we choose to follow Jesus our Lord. However, does this mean that we should conform to the world and follow its decadent ways at the price of our very own soul? It is not worth it. Truly.

We have to be more proactive in our faith from now on, brethren, that is to truly proclaim the Lord as our Guide and our Saviour in all of our words, actions and deeds from now on. If we believe, we should not hesitate, and we must indeed be courageous no matter how things will turn up for us. Let us begin to put our trust in Jesus and follow Him all the days of our life.

If live turns difficult and problems spring up along the way, then it is best for us to help one another and be there for one another, just as Christ Himself is always with us to guide us and protect us. And it is very important as always, for us to pray and pray fervently, that we may always be close to our Lord and remain always in His love. May the love of our Lord Jesus Christ enfold us and bring us to His eternal peace and happiness. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 19 June 2014 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Philip Minh, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen to how our Lord taught us Himself, how we should pray, and in the first Reading, we also learn how we should become, or what are the things expected from us as the children of God and as His disciples. The two prophets, Elijah and Elisha are the ones mentioned, and they and their actions ought to be our model of the faith.

And in relation to all of that, I would like to bring your attention to the saints whom we are celebrating today, the Saints of the Vietnamese persecution of the faithful, also known as the Vietnamese martyrs, led by the Vietnamese priest, St. Philip Minh. They consisted of the laity and the religious, all thoroughly dedicated to the cause of the faith.

They all faced persecution for their faith and for their work in testifying and proclaiming that faith to others around them. As we know, Elijah and Elisha the prophets faced many difficulties in their mission, as we can read from the two Book of Kings in the Bible, how they had to go from town to town, and even having to exile themselves in foreign lands at times, when their lives were in considerable danger through being opposed to the king and the people’s wickedness.

St. Philip Minh and his companions, the Vietnamese martyrs lived through different periods of time spanning several hundred years, but they all faced similar opposition and persecution against their faith, when many were asked to choose between recanting their faith in Christ and live or to abandon and forsake Christ in exchange for their lives.

The Vietnamese monarchy and the government, ran by strongly Confucian-influenced officials and nobles viewed the faith in Christ as an aberration in the society and as a great and terrible threat to the unity of the nation and to the authority of the Confucian-run government. Hence, the officials and the Vietnamese Emperor officially went on a great persecution and opposition against the faith and the faithful.

Yet, the faith made great progress in Vietnam, and even it still does until this very day. Persecution against the faith and the faithful still continues even to this day, under the atheist and anti-faith Communist government in power, and yet the faithful continued to go on in their daily struggle and remain true to their faith in the Lord.

The Vietnamese martyrs showed us a great example of how we should treasure and live our faith meaningfully, for they had been tortured and forced to recant their faith, and yet they persevered on, and they did not give in to the demands and the offers of their executors and torturers. They chose to remain faithful and continued with their evangelisation of the faith, be it through their work or through their death, that they bring more and more souls into salvation and into knowing God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it does not mean that we should seek martyrdom or be confrontational about the faith, but instead it means that we should not take our faith for granted, and we have to be active and genuine in living our faith. We have to realise that in having and in keeping this faith, we will find ourselves often standing in opposition to the values and ways of the world, because we belong to the Lord. Remember, as Jesus Himself said, that this world hated Him and therefore it would hate us too.

Our faith life will inevitably meet challenges and difficulties along the way, some of which had happened to the prophets Elijah and Elisha, as well as to St. Philip Minh and his companions, the Vietnamese martyrs. The question now is, are we able to follow in their footsteps and remain faithful to the Lord and walking in His ways at all times, despite the challenges and difficulties?

Let us from now on reflect on this, and on the lives and actions of the prophets and the martyrs, that we may reflect on our own lives and actions. Let us hope that we may change for the better, and grow stronger in our faith, that our faith may be genuine and filled with love, both for God and for our fellow men. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are given a very fundamental and thought-provoking question. Is our faith for the Lord and for the glory of His Name? Or is it for ourselves and for our own glory? It is easy for us to lose our focus in faith, which will result in us falling on our way towards Him. We must stay focused and stay strong in our faith, and listen to the word of God which Jesus had made clear to all.

God desires none other than our love and devotion, and He does not need flashy display of our dedication, or long prayers made in the view of the entire world to see, if this is done for the sake of our pride and our desire to be known and heard. What God needs from us is the correct orientation of our hearts, that is for us to show Him our entire hearts and minds, filled with no other thought than devotion to Him.

This is of course easier said than done, as it is in our human nature to be distracted, that is to indulge in our own pride and selfishness instead of thinking about God, or dedicating ourselves in love to Him. We have to break free from this trap, brethren, that we do not fall into self-glorification and self-praise, especially as we live through this life and as we attain certain achievements and good things in life.

We have to always remember that we have to always give glory to God with all the things we do, and we have to always remember that all the great things we are capable of doing, are all possible because of the Lord and His help, which He had given to us in abundance throughout our lives. We have to be like His servants Elijah and Elisha the prophets, who worked hard throughout their lives, not for their own glory, but for the glory of God for whom they lived for.

Elijah and Elisha served the Lord without hesitation, and their faith were genuine. Indeed, like all humans do, they were all tempted especially when harm and difficulties came their way, but they did not falter. They worked not for their own glory or for human praise, but instead for the glory of God and for the good of His people. They even faced danger and being hunted by the pagans and the wicked as they were doing their ministry to the faithful.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the kind of devotion that we need, not the empty and meaningless prayers and actions that we do not implement in our own lives consciously and in real terms. This is the kind of love that God wants from each and every one of us. He knows all that we do, and He knows all of our intentions, in all actions and words that we commit and say.

That is why the Gospel today is a warning, a reminder and an admonition against us, by our loving God, so that we may not fall into the same trap into which many of our forefathers had fallen into, that in doing good things sometimes many of us grew to forget the real purpose of such actions, and were overwhelmed by the praise and glory that we attained, that we ended up committing sin before God.

Let all our actions from now on be truly genuine and pure, pure in intention and heart, and that they may be genuinely concrete in helping our less fortunate brethren, by the outpouring of our love and care, so that we may truly walk in the way of the Lord, and be considered righteous and true before God our loving Father, with genuine and pure intention and not falsehoods or self-glorification. May God be with us all, and bless our actions this day, that they may bring life and love to others. Amen.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to cast away wickedness and sin from our lives. We have to get rid of pride, sloth, greed and all the other evil emotions from our hearts and minds. We must not follow the wickedness of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, whose sins had brought the rest of the people of God into sin as well.

Today’s catechesis and readings are continuation from that of yesterday, when we discuss about the law of vengeance or do ut des, and the sin of Ahab in arranging for the death of Naboth in order to gain possession of the vineyard for himself. The wickedness of Ahab and his family is truly an important case for us to learn from, that we should not walk the same path as they have walked.

Jesus taught His disciples today the true meaning and purpose of the Law of God, which is indeed love. Love is at the heart of the Law, and God did indeed intend for the Law to help His people to love each other. But mankind had often forgotten this fundamental truth and they grew distant from God’s love. We also failed to realise the need for love, especially genuine love.

What is genuine love? It is when we can love in the way that Jesus had described in the Gospel today. Yes, to be able to love those who hated us, those who considered us their enemies, and those who despised us, without feeling hatred at them, and being able to forgive them, and indeed forgive one another, which are the essences of a true, pure and noble love.

It is indeed easy to love just those who love us and cared for us, and it is also indeed easy, in fact even easier, for us to hate those who hated us and disliked us. The challenge is for us to love and forgive those who considered us as their enemies and hated us, and how we continue to show that love amidst the repeated hostility and enmity.

If we are able to do this, then we have been truly great in the eyes of God. Yes, that is because if we do this, we overcome the temptations of evil and not only just that, as we will also open the door towards the light of Christ that the light may enter into the hearts of men, especially those who hated and disliked us, and it is hoped that they may see the truth and repent, and change their ways for the better.

Yes, brethren, we can even become role models for those who were in darkness through our own actions. This is why it is so important for us to implement and do what the Lord told us, and not merely paying lip service to our faith. We have to have a living and strong faith, based in love. It is from this love, that our faith will eventually blossom and prosper.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to love one another, and love tenderly. We are also called to throw away our old lives, to cleanse ourselves from the leaven of hatred and jealousy, so that we may truly be loving and faithful servants of our Lord, as those who are truly faithful and obedient to the will of God who is love. Let us do our best, to hate no more, and to forgive others who had brought much pain unto us.

Let us be faithful, be loving and help one another to seek God, our Lord and Father through love. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

The Lord is our help, brothers and sisters in Christ, and when we are in the greatest predicaments and darkness, it is the Lord who is our only hope and our salvation. He was the very One who gave Himself to us, for our sake, so that we may live in His light and not die in the darkness.

The Lord is our help and our hope, and in Him alone lies our salvation, for the Holy One of God sacrificed Himself for the unworthy ones, that is all of us. We are all unworthy for our sins and our disobedience, and yet He who loves us continue without cease to help us and guide us to Himself, offering without cease His unfailing love.

And yet, who are the ones that rejected and spurned this love and opportunity? It is all of us, every time we sin, and every time we walk away thinking that we know better about things, and following the ways of the devil instead of looking towards the Lord our guide. We are like Judas who was tempted by money and the allures of the world, and hence we tend to fall, just as Judas had fallen.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, just as I had mentioned, we must not blame Judas or anyone else for betraying Christ, for we ourselves have betrayed the Lord many, many times, every single time that we sinned before Him. God continued without cease to offer His help for us, and He continued without cease to love us and show His mercy on us, even as we continue in our indignant and unrepentant behaviour.

So how should we act then? We should start by imitating what the Lord had done Himself, by imitating the Christ who in His humility, is always obedient to the will of God the Father, accepting even His own death, the death on the cross. We have to learn to get rid of our ego, of our own selves, and surrender ourselves totally to God and His love.

In that way our life will be more attuned to the way of the Lord and we can walk more closely along the way of God. Brethren, we should not fall to the same trap that Judas had walked into, the trap and allure of money, the temptation and allure of the evil one. He fell because he did not remain true to God, even though he was so close to Him, but he failed to understand the way of Jesus and follow Him with all of his heart.

As we approach the holiest moments of our year, and to prepare to celebrate this sacred time, let us all fortify ourselves against the evil that is in our hearts, and be ready to reject him and all of his false promises during this Easter celebration, when we in great joy proclaim the glory of our Risen Lord and Saviour.

May we remain faithful in God, remain in His love, grace and favour, forever and be filled always with His Spirit, that we may always remain faithful. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 : Tuesday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 13 : 21-33, 36-38

After saying this, Jesus was distressed in Spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray Me.”

The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom He meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signalled him to ask Jesus whom He meant.

And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.”

So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And as Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will glorify Him, and He will glorify Him very soon.”

“My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for Me, but as I already told the Jews, so now I tell you : where I am going you cannot come.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why I cannot follow You now? I am ready to give my life for You.”

“To give your life for Me?” Jesus asked Peter. “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied Me three times.”

Monday, 14 April 2014 : Monday of Holy Week (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the Gospel is the sad reality of some portions of the Church and our faith, where people became and end up as hypocrites in their faith, in the name of false almsgiving, charity and humility and end up discrediting the faith itself.

What am I talking about here? It is about some of those who held the view that the Church has to become simple, but for the very wrong reasons. The poverty that these people talked about is literal poverty, stripping the beauty and splendour of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Lord at the Mass. In the name of false simplicity and poverty, they turned the Holy Mass and its celebration into a playground.

This is a true scandal of the faith, one that is sadly quite existent in our Church these days as it had been in the past decades. They substituted the Lord for their own human desires and lack of appreciation for the true faith that the Lord wants from us. In doing what they had done, they not only doom themselves, but also many others who were innocent, in the process.

In the recent years and decades ever since the end of the renewal of the Second Vatican Council, there had been many mistaken and wayward interpretations on what the Council was truly about, and it ended up on the destruction of the beauty of worship which had been preserved for millenia, and for many years, many parts of the world devolved into anarchy of the faith, because they have failed to understand what the Lord truly wants from them.

They brought low the true meaning of the sacrifice in the Mass, the offering of our hearts and love to the Lord. Yes, just as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus once offered her love and devotion to the Lord, only to be rebuked unfairly by the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. She offered the Lord her love and the best offering of her humble heart, anointing and preparing Him for His Passion, while Judas rebuked her for the reason of a hypocrite, pretending to love the poor while in his heart, it was truly a selfish concern for himself.

The same too can be said, even today, on those who wreak havoc on the offering of mankind, who had given their best of all as the gifts and offerings of their heart, in the name of false humility and concern for poverty, or the poverty gospel as one may say. We have to love and care for all, especially the poor for they have little or nothing, and there is much that we can give them. But, this must not be used as an excuse to attack the faith or those who love God and seek to glorify Him by giving Him their all.

We like to make these excuses because we fail to understand and have God in our hearts. Our hearts are not filled with the love and goodness of God, but with malice and ill intent, as Judas Iscariot once did, thinking only about himself and his own benefit with the pretext of giving lip service to God and His way.

This we must not do or we risk to walk the same path that Judas had taken. Mankind had lived for far too long under the influence and corruptions of the evil one. Shall we take the proactive stance and say a definitive no to the devil? Let us cast away all the temptations and false promises which the devil has offered us and instead be true followers of the Lord.

May God be with us, and guide us on our way, as we proceed on this journey of life, that we may always persevere and be strong, rejecting the evil and his falsehoods and be like Mary, giving her all to glorify and to serve the Lord. Let us all remain faithful, brethren! Amen.