Sunday, 5 March 2017 : First Sunday of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Matthew 4 : 1-11

At that time, the Spirit led Jesus into the desert that He might be put to the test by the devil. After spending forty days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry. Then the devil came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, order these stones to turn into bread.” But Jesus answered, “Scripture says : One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city, set Him on the highest wall of the Temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for Scripture says : God has given orders to His Angels about You. Their hands will hold You up lest You hurt Your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered, “But Scripture also says : You shall not put to the test the Lord your God.”

Then the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the nations of the world in all their greatness and splendour. And he said, “All this I will give You, if You kneel down and worship me.” Then Jesus answered, “Be off, Satan! Scripture says : Worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone!”

Then the devil left Him, and Angels came to serve Him.

Sunday, 5 March 2017 : First Sunday of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Genesis 2 : 7-9 and Genesis 3 : 1-7

Then YHVH God formed Man, dust drawn from the clay, and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life and Man became alive with breath. God planted a garden in Eden in the east and there He placed Man whom He had created. YHVH God caused to grow from the ground every kind of tree that is pleasing to see and good to eat, also the tree of life on the middle of the garden and the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Now the serpent was the most crafty of all the wild creatures that YHVH God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say : You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden, but of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden God said : You must not eat, and you must not touch it or you will die.”

The serpent said to the woman, “You will not die, but God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.” The woman saw that the fruit was good to eat, and pleasant to the eyes, and ideal for gaining knowledge. She took its fruit and ate it and gave some to her husband who was with her. He ate it.

Then their eyes were opened and both of them knew they were naked. So they sewed leaves of a fig tree together and made themselves loincloths.

Friday, 30 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Job 38 : 1, 12-21 and Job 40 : 3-5

Then YHVH answered Job out of the storm : “Have you ever commanded the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might grasp the earth by its edges and shake the wicked out of it, when it takes a clay colour and changes its tint like a garment; when the wicked are denied their own light, and their proud arm is shattered?”

“Have you journeyed to where the sea begins or walked in its deepest recesses? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of Shadow? Have you an idea of the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. Where is the way to the home of light, and where does darkness dwell?”

“Can you take them to their own regions, and set them on their homeward paths? You know, for you were born before them, and great is the number of your years!”

Job said, “How can I reply, unworthy as I am! All I can do is put my hand over my mouth. I have spoken once, now I will not answer; oh, yes, twice, but I will do no further.”

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr and St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Job 9 : 1-12, 14-16

Then Job answered, “Very well I know that it is so. But how can a mortal be just before God? If one were to contend with Him, not once in a thousand times would He answer. His power is vast, His wisdom profound. Who has resisted Him and come out unharmed?”

“He moves mountains before they are aware; He overturns them in His rage. He makes the earth tremble and its pillars quake. He commands the sun, and it does not shine; He seals off the light of the stars. He alone stretches out the skies and treads on the waves of the seas.”

“He made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and every constellation. His wonders are past all reckoning, His miracles beyond all counting. He passes by, but I do not see Him; He moves on, but I do not notice Him. If He snatches away, who can stop Him? Who can say to Him, ‘What are You doing?'”

“How then can I answer Him and find words to argue with Him? If He does not answer when I am right, shall I plead with my Judge for mercy? Even if I appealed and He answered, I do not believe that He would have heard.”

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Job 3 : 1-3, 11-17, 20-23

At length it was Job who spoke, cursing the day of his birth. This is what he said : “Cursed be the day I was born, and the night which whispered : A boy has been conceived. Why did I not die at birth, or come from the womb without breath? Why the knees that received me, why the breasts that suckled me?”

“For then I should have lain down asleep and been at rest with kings and rulers of the earth who built for themselves lonely tombs; or with princes who had gold to spare and houses stuffed with silver. Why was I not stillborn, like others who did not see the light of morn? There the trouble of the wicked ceases, there the weary find repose.”

“Why is light given to the miserable, and life to the embittered? To those who long for death more than for hidden treasure? They rejoice at the sight of their end, they are happy upon reaching the grave. Why give light to a man whose path has vanished, whose ways God blocks at every side?”

Monday, 26 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Job 1 : 6-22

One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before YHVH, and Satan came with them. YHVH asked Satan, “Where have you been?” Satan answered, “Going up and down the earth, roaming about.” YHVH asked again, “Have you noticed My servant Job? No one on earth is as blameless and upright as he, a man who fears God and avoids evil.”

But Satan returned the question, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not built a protective wall around him and his family and all his possessions? You have blessed and prospered him, with his livestock all over the land. But stretch out Your hand and strike where his riches are, and I bet he will curse You to Your face.”

YHVH said to Satan, “Very well, all that he has is in your power. But do not lay a finger upon the man himself.” So Satan left the presence of YHVH. One day, while his sons and daughters were feasting in the house of their eldest brother, a messenger came to Job and said, “Your oxen were plowing, and your donkeys were grazing nearby when the Sabaeans came and carried them off. They killed the herdsmen, I alone escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came, “God’s fire fell from the sky and burned all your sheep and the shepherds as well. I alone have escaped to tell you.” He had hardly finished speaking when another messenger arrived, “Three raiding teams of Chaldeans have killed your servants and carried off your camels. I alone have escaped to tell you.”

He was still speaking when another messenger came and said to Job, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking in the house of their eldest brother when suddenly a great wind blew across the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they all died. I alone have escaped to tell you.”

In grief Job tore his clothes and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground and worshipped, saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked shall I return. YHVH gave, YHVH has taken away. Blessed be His Name!” In spite of this calamity, Job did not sin by blaspheming God.

Monday, 28 March 2016 : First Week of Easter, Monday within Easter Octave (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we continue to rejoice in the Easter celebrations, let us all heed the words of the Scripture, reminding us that God’s love for all those who are faithful to Him will keep all of us safe from all harm and troubles, and no enemy is going to be able to threaten us or harm us if we put our full trust in the Lord our God.

In this Easter season we all rejoice together celebrating the triumph that our Lord had shown us against the forces of evil and darkness, the triumph and victory He had shown us all against sin and against death, as He proved that mankind has a way out of their enslavement to sin, and they do not need to fear sin and death, for the Lord Himself had shown them His care and love, and through Him, they have hope for a new life renewed in grace.

But alas, it is mankind themselves who refused to listen to reason and refused to accept God’s offer of grace and forgiveness. They refused to open themselves and allow God to come in and transform them for the better. They shut themselves out of God’s love and tender mercy, and instead in their pride and arrogance, they thought that only their ways were correct.

That was why the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law refused to listen to the Lord and His truth, and even after He had suffered, died and risen to glory, they refused to accept the truth that He is the Lord, the Messiah, the Saviour of all, even the Saviour of all of them, all who have rejected Him. Remember, that on the cross, Jesus prayed for those who have condemned them to death? He has forgiven them from their sins, and even to those sinful people, He has offered His salvation and redemption.

And yet, they were adamant in their refusal. Why was it so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why did the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests persisted in their futile and wicked attempts to oppose Jesus, so far as to tell lies and falsehoods to the people, telling them that the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was false? Should they not instead then believe in Him Who had shown everything just as they had been foretold by the prophets?

No, that was not the case because of their attachment to worldliness and human greed, the temptations of power, glory, fame and majesty, the allures of human praises and the temptations of things that please the flesh. They were highly respected in the society, and they held important positions of power and honour. To give all these up by abandoning all of their old, worldly ways to follow Jesus the Lord in all things were simply too much for most of them.

They were jealous of the Lord and His teaching authority, and of the truth which He was preaching to the people of God. They saw Him as a great and dangerous rival to their own influences, to their own fame and positions, and as they were so attached to all those, they were unwilling to let them go, and thus they persisted in resisting the Lord’s good works and set obstacles in His paths.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we hear all these things today, let us then ask ourselves. Are we like the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests? Did we allow our worldly attachments to dull our love and commitment to God and His ways? Did we allow ourselves to be taken over by our greed, our pride, arrogance, haughtiness, and all the vices and wickedness in our hearts, by jealousy and hatred?

Let us all dedicate the time and opportunities given to us this Easter in order to push ourselves ever further on the path towards eternal salvation, and let us all seek to resist the temptations of our flesh, telling no to Satan and reject all of his evil and wicked advances. Let us all pray, that God will strengthen our faith and our resolve, to become ever more faithful and devoted in His presence. God bless us all. Amen.