Friday, 17 July 2015 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Exodus 11 : 10 – Exodus 12 : 14

Moses and Aaron had worked all these marvels in the presence of Pharaoh, but YHVH had made Pharaoh obstinate and he would not let the people of Israel leave his country.

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.”

“That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat the meat lightly cooked or boiled in water but roasted entirely over the fire – the head, the legs and the inner parts. Do not leave any of it until the morning. If any is left till morning, burn it in the fire.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a Passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH!”

“The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 12 : 1-8, 11-14

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat. That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH!”

“The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Deuteronomy 34 : 1-12

From the barren plain of Moab, Moses went up to Mount Nebo, to the summit of Pisgah, opposite Jericho. And YHVH showed him all the Land : from Gilead to Dan, the whole of Naphtali, the land of Ephraim, and of Manasseh, the whole land of Judah, as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, the Plains, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar.

And YHVH said to him, “This is the land about which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, promising it to their descendants. I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not enter it.”

Moses, the servant of God, died there in the land of Moab, according to the will of YHVH. They buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but to this very day, no one knows where his tomb is.

Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died. He did not lose his vigour and his eyes still saw clearly. The children of Israel mourned for him in the plains of Moab for thirty days. But Joshua, son of Nun, was full of the Spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands upon him. The children of Israel obeyed him and did as YHVH had commanded Moses.

No prophet like Moses has appeared again. YHVH conversed with him face to face. What signs and wonders he worked in Egypt against Pharaoh, against his people and all his land! What a powerful hand was His that worked these terrible things in the sight of all Israel!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bridget of Sweden, Religious (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God our Lord is also our Father, and He cares deeply for all of us without exception. He blesses us with many things good and makes sure that all of us have enough for our daily lives. He strengthens us when we are weak, and supports us when we are down. He protects us from harm and delivers us from the evil one. The Lord has shown His power on the day when He saved the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt.

With His powerful breath and His hand, He split open the Red Sea before His people, allowing them to pass through the dry sea, towards their freedom, towards the Promised Land He promised to His people and their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He raised them up from their slavery to be His beloved people, with power and majesty, as wielded by the greatest of their kings, David and Solomon, whose kingdom passed to Jesus, the descendant of David and the Son of God, the Saviour.

Those who remain in His love and favour will indeed receive much love and grace from our Lord, and their lives will be blessed. No one will be able to harm them, and they will live long and prosper until the day that the Lord calls them again to His side. But to those who disobey His will, and to those who had brought up the anger of the Lord, they will be cast aside into the lake of fire and eternal suffering with Satan and his fallen angels, all the evils of the world, because they will be judged and found unworthy of the Lord and His perfection.

Yet, many of us today have forgotten what it actually means to be the children of God, the same God who had delivered the people of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians. We have forgotten what it means to serve the Lord, and we have turned away from His truth and His path, that we are in danger of veering off into the path towards damnation in hell.

Throughout history of salvation, the history of mankind and the history of the people of Israel, countless prophets sent by the Lord had been slaughtered and murdered by the people who preferred to continue living in the state of sin rather than repenting and returning to the Lord their God. They worshiped pagan gods and did things abominable in the eyes of God. The warnings and the prophecies of prophets they had ignored, until the Lord brought plague upon them as punishment and ultimately scattered them among the nations.

The people who had been brought away from Egypt and their slavery upon the eagle’s wings had hardened their hearts against the very One who had saved them. They rebelled constantly and continued to do things horrible in the eyes of God. They turned deaf ears to the heeding of the prophets and messengers of the Lord. And eventually, they too would turn their backs against the One that the Lord Himself had sent, that is Himself in human form, Jesus Christ, the very Messiah that the prophets had been proclaiming and the very One that the people of Israel had supposedly awaited for.

Yet He remained ever faithful to us, despite all our numerous and countless transgressions against Him, despite all the evils we have committed that is loathsome in His eyes. Such is His compassion and mercy, that He is willing to welcome us back despite our faults. But yet, we must not continue what the people had done all those while brothers and sisters, because, there is a limit to God’s patience, and He is also a jealous God and a God of justice, who will not let transgressions, when done without regard for the Lord, to go free easily.

Today, brethren, we also commemorate the feast of St. Bridget of Sweden, a pious and faithful religious who lived more than six hundred years ago, and she is one of the six patron saints of Europe. She established religious order now known as the Brigittines, and she received many visions on the Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and through these visions, the Church and the faithful had been indeed blessed with greater understanding of the Lord and His mission, that is to save all mankind from death and hell, just as He had once saved the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt.

To St. Bridget had been given the visions and knowledge of God, just as the Lord had given to the prophets of the past, so that we may also know Him and seek to return to Him, sinning no more and begin earnestly our path to salvation. Let us follow the Lord and His ways, and earnestly begin our path to salvation, by offering the Lord our repentance and our contrite hearts.

With inspiration of the examples made by St. Bridget and many other saints and holy men and women of God, let us go forth and proclaim Christ our Lord to all the nations, the Christ our Lord who died for our sake, as the Lamb of sacrifice, whose Blood saves all mankind from their fate that is death. Death no longer has any power over us who believe in Christ and His saving power, just as the Pharaoh no longer had any power over the Israelites after the Lord saved them from the land of Egypt. He smote Satan just as He had smitten the Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. How great is His love for us indeed! Amen.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 31 March 2013 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Scripture Reflection)

Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! He had conquered death through His glorious Resurrection, and victory over death. He triumphed over Satan, who had tried to end His mission on this world by condemning Him to death through the people and crucifying Him, but all to no avail. Satan failed to realise that in crucifixion lay the very key to our redemption by Christ, who became our Paschal Lamb, through whom we are made whole and worthy of God.

Yes, just as the lamb was sacrificed and the blood marked the doorposts of the people of Israel in Egypt, Christ had shed His blood on the cross, and this blood marked all of us as His chosen people, whom He would protect against certain death, and bring into life in Him. For the blood marked the people of Israel apart from their Egyptian masters, so that the angel of the Lord passed over them when they killed the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, animals and humans alike.

Therefore, in Christ, lie our new Christian Passover, for all of us deserved death for our sins and our sinful ways, and through the rebellion of our forefathers, since the days of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed the Lord and ate the fruits of the tree of knowledge. But although we deserved death, God loves us so much that, He could not bear us to face death and separation from Him.

That is why, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who became man like us, and was born in the flesh through Mary, His mother. He is the Lamb of God, that became the Paschal Lamb, that is the lamb of sacrifice for our sins, but not like any other lamb. Being divine, and yet lowering Himself as a human, He alone is worthy to redeem all mankind from their sins. His Precious Blood that flowed down from the cross washed down evil and sin in those who believed in Him, and who has faith in Him and believe in His Resurrection.

Let us firmly reject Satan and his lies, and reject his temptations on us with worldly goods and desires, just as our Lord rejected his approaches in the desert. Remain true to our mission just as Christ was obedient unto death on the cross. That through our faith we will be rewarded with resurrection into life just as Christ was resurrected. Let us renew our commitment to serve the people of God and make the Holy Spirit that God had given us through baptism and confirmation to bear much fruit in both ourselves and in our fellow men.

Let us strive to become truly the people of God in this blessed Easter season. Let us make full use of this season of Easter, both in our great joy in the resurrection of our Lord, and as well as to share this joy that we have, with others around us, that they too will learn of the great joy of all Christians, that is the Lord crucified had been risen from the dead, and through that resurrection, all of us are saved, and had our life restored to us.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us keep on praying that God will continue to bless us everyday of our lives, and may He guide us as we embark on the new year after this Easter season, that from today onwards till the next year when we celebrate Easter again, we can make this year a truly fruitful and blessed year. Also in the spirit of the Year of the Faith, let us also strive to strengthen our faith in the remaining half a year of the celebration of this Holy Year.

I wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter, and may the Risen Christ our Lord shine His face upon all of you, to share in the glory of His Resurrection. Amen!

(Holy Thursday) Thursday, 28 March 2013 : Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Cena Domini, Holy Week (First Reading)

Exodus 12 : 1-8, 11-14

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them :

“On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs, and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.”

“That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a passover in honour of YHVH.”

“On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH! The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt.”

“This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Sunday, 3 March 2013 : 3rd Sunday of Lent (Scripture Reflection) (First Scrutiny of Baptism)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the story of salvation. First that of the people of Israel, and then all of us, who are saved, both by God, through His agents. The people of Israel suffered under great slavery in Egypt under the Pharaoh, who forced them to work day and night, to build the buildings and monuments for the Egyptians. God sent Moses, as His messenger to the Pharaoh to liberate His people from the chains of Egyptian slavery.

When Pharaoh refused, God sent the ten plagues to punish the Egyptians, who eventually let them go, but before they had even reached the Red Sea, the Pharaoh had yet changed his mind again and intent on re-enslaving the Israelites again. God split the Red Sea and brought His people across that sea and crushed the Egyptians under the waves as a sign of His faith and love to His people. And that He is not hesitant to punish those who had been ignorant and whose heart had been hardened against His love.

But yet, the Israelites rebelled, and had put the Lord to the test. They doubted His power and majesty, and even doubted His love. They complained against Him because of their thirst and hunger, despite God having constantly showing His kindness through the manna, the birds, and many other provisions along the way. They even mentioned going back to Egypt where they claimed that life under slavery would have been much better than to suffer and die in the desert. It is better to them they thought to live in slavery and hard work, but at least well fed by their slavemasters, than to be free and walking in the desert of death.

Then, it is the same, as the Lord Himself sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to be our Messiah, our Saviour, that all of us can be saved from certain death, under the slavery of sin and Satan, who is like Pharaoh, who is our slavemaster. We were servants of sin and were the thralls of Satan prior to our liberation through the waters of baptism, for through that living water of baptism, our thirst, the real thirst that we have, is quenched by the living water of Christ. Christ dwelled in us and became the living spring of water of eternal life.

For this living water of Christ quenches our real thirst and our real hunger and longing, that is not the physical thirst of water or hunger for food, but truly our thirst for the redeeming Word of God, and most importantly, the infinite love that God has for us. For separated from God, under the slavery of sin and evil, we are cut off from the love of God, and therefore, we suffer because of such separation.

We also constantly rebel against the Lord through our sins and our sinful ways, but the Lord is ever ready to forgive us, but only if we had not hardened our hearts against Him, and instead humbly asking Him for forgiveness. Let us not be like the Israelites who always complained that they did not have enough even though the Lord had provided them greatly, for who else in the world had ever received heavenly bread of manna as food every morning? And flocks of bird for them to eat? and crystal-clear water that satisfies thirst?

Let us therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, strive to be faithful to God, and most importantly, to know how to feel enough, and sufficient, and not to succumb to temptations and our greed, to have more, when we already have some that we need, and what is enough for us. This is what had driven the Israelites to rebel in the desert, because they felt that they did not have enough. Let us also open our hearts to God and His love, and let us be filled and satisfied by His love, through His dwelling in all of us and our hearts.

Pray brothers and sisters, that we will not fall back into the slavery of sin and evil. For evil will continue to try to put us back into slavery under him and sin, as all of us who are faithful in Christ and had been baptised, had been liberated by the living water of Christ, who died for us on the cross that our chains are broken, and we are freed, just like the lamb sacrificed on the Passover, the blood that marked the doors of the people of Israel that God would pass from them, so did Christ gave us His Precious Blood to mark us, that God knows that we belong to Him, and will not pass judgment of death upon us, but stay in Him and have eternal life.

May God keep us in His love, and keep us in His loving embrace, and protect us from the assaults of the evil one. That the chains that had been broken will not come back to chain us once again. For we are free and we now obey and love God and Him alone. Amen.