Sunday, 26 March 2017 : Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)
Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.

He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake. Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are beside me : Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Thursday, 6 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 15 : 1-10

At that time, tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what He had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable :

“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbours together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!'”

“I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent. What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin?”

“And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbours, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”


Homily and Reflection :

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard in the Gospel reading, of the content of the sermon of Jesus on a mount, also known as the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes, a series of blessings for those who walk righteously in the way of the Lord and lived according to what God had asked them to, namely to bring peace and love where there is hatred and violence, and those who focused on the Lord rather than on the things of this world.

And in that also lie the curses and warnings for those who do not walk in the path of the Lord, who oppress others and those who practice wickedness in life, preferring the path of Satan and the pleasures of the world to the way of God, which for them seem to be a more difficult and less promising path, and yet that is the only path towards salvation.

St. Paul in the first reading today, in his letter addressed to the faithful and the Church in Corinth spoke about how the faithful should be maintaining whatever good things and virtues that they committed, and avoid any misfortunes, impurities and the darkness of the world that could be brought through certain actions.

No one knows the plan of the Lord and the will of God fully except the Lord Himself and to those whom He had revealed His will and plans to. And what we know of the end times when Jesus will come again in His glory, we know it from what He Himself had told the disciples, and the more detailed explanations as we heard it from the Book of the Revelations which was written by St. John the Evangelist as he received a vision of what was to come.

No one knew when and at what moment the Lord would come again. Remember that Jesus Himself mentioned that He will come again when people least expect it, like a thief entering into the house, no one knows when and how it will happen. Thus, He urged all of His disciples and all of us to be ever vigilant and to be always prepared for all eventualities.

Therefore, this was why St. Paul wrote in the way he did in his letter, as it was truly not known when the Lord would come again, and it was frequently assumed at that time, that the second coming of Jesus would be soon and immediate. Therefore, it was really not that St. Paul was opposed to marriage, or to the people walking and acting in the ways of the world, but he was truly concerned for the salvation of their souls.

All the priests and many other servants of God are also greatly concerned with the salvation of our souls, all of those who had been entrusted to them, like sheep entrusted to the care of their shepherds. But we ourselves should be concerned with our own salvation, the salvation of our souls. For if we do not do something, then when the time comes suddenly, we will be found wanting, and will not have any part in God’s kingdom, condemned for eternity.

How do we do this then? How do we live our lives so that we can ensure our safety and protection from the danger of eternal damnation? None other than by following the teachings of the Lord, some examples of which are what in the Beatitudes, the blessings which Jesus pronounced for those who had committed those good deeds.

And this is not impossible for us to do. And if we do them, we are truly going to be found as worthy when the Lord comes again, and He will bless us with His grace. But if we fail to do as He said, and instead if we follow the ways of this world and immerse ourselves in corruption, then His curse will be upon us, and in the end, only suffering will await us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us heed the message of the Beatitudes, not just to be awed by them, but that we truly listen to that message, and then practice it in our lives. We should not worry if things are not perfect as we are bound to make mistakes, but what is important is that we should do better every time, and thus we should begin from now before it is too late.

Never wait, brethren, and be ready at all times. Do not wait until it is too late for us and we regret our mistakes. May Almighty God and Lord guide us in this life, that we may find our way to Him through what He had revealed to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented with the very fact of how much the Lord loves us and how He had given us so many opportunities in this life to change our ways and repent, so that we may not be lost but we may gain eternal life and redemption through His most merciful and loving heart. This is what the essence of the parable of the workers in the vineyard is about.

God cares for all of us with all of His heart. And it is truly painful for Him to see all of us scattered and trampled to the dust in the darkness of the world. This is why He was very angry in the first reading we heard today, how the very shepherds whom He had entrusted His peoples to, had abused their power and authority, and ended up causing untold suffering for the people of God, who were manipulated, treated badly and led to the wrong paths by their leaders’ inaptitude and unfaithful nature.

What was said in this Book of the prophet Ezekiel, which happened during the time of the Babylonian exile of Israel, about over five hundred years before the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, was truly fulfilled during the lifetime of Jesus, as the supposed shepherds of Israel, the Pharisees and elders, the scribes and the Sadducees, all the leaders of Israel had misused their authority and power, in order to satisfy their own desires and ambitions.

These shepherds misled the people by not doing what they had preached to the people. In essence, they became hypocrites who did differently as the words that they had spoken to the people. They cared only for themselves and not for the sake of God’s people whom they ignored and led instead to the darkness. They were expected to be role models of the faithful people of God, and yet they miserably failed God’s expectations of them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Pharisees and the elders of Israel at Jesus’ time were obsessed with one thing, that is the security and prosperity of their own livelihoods. They did not care about any other things so long as their lives were secure and good. And they were very jealous of their power and influence, unwilling to let go their hold over the people, even if prophets would come to rebuke them. In fact, they resented even what Jesus the Saviour had done, and refused to see the truth in Christ.

The Pharisees and the elders of Israel enforced among the people of God, an extremely literal and rigid interpretation of the laws of the Lord revealed through Moses, the Mosaic laws. They were very zealous in pursuing the details of the rigid enforcement of the rules and regulations built up after centuries of interpretations of the Mosaic laws. And Jesus rightly criticised them for these, as these led the people away from the Lord.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Bernard the Abbot, also known as St. Bernard of Clairvaux. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was a truly renowned saint who was a very devout religious who lived during the Medieval era France, and he was particularly known for his efforts to combat heresy among the faithful and bring unity to the Church of God.

St. Bernard exhibited a very exemplary life and devotion to the Lord through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. And he was truly very influential among the numerous people whom he had touched with his teachings and love. St. Bernard brought many souls back on the path towards salvation and into salvation itself, not by imposing rules and laws on the people, or by acting all high and mighty, but through love and dedicated service.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux led the people of God through example, by practicing what the Lord had taught us, and he also wrote extensively and taught indiscriminately, to bring the various segments of the lost ones in the Church and beyond back to the Lord through repentance, as well as to reunite the divisions that existed in the Church of God.

St. Bernard gave us all the examples on how to live our faith in our lives meaningfully, away from all the worldly temptations and worries, which were the things that made the Pharisees and the elders of Israel such bad and wicked shepherds, to whom the Lord would no longer entrust His sheep to. The contrast between the works and life of St. Bernard and the leaders of Israel of Jesus’ time serve as a reminder for us, that in living our faith, we cannot be divided between God and this world as the Pharisees had done.

Instead, let us all follow in the footsteps of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and many other holy men and women of the Lord, who had dedicated themselves in service to God’s beloved children, all of us. Let us all help one another on our way towards the Lord that in the end, all of us may reach the Lord and be reunited to Him and His love. May God be with us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014 : 7th Week of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus our Lord is our Shepherd, and He is always on the watch. Never for even a single moment He let His sight away from us, for He cares for us and He will not want us to be lost in the darkness of the world, and indeed, in that darkness, the wolves, that is Satan and his fellow fallen angels await to see when mankind, the sheep and flock of the Lord are at their most vulnerable moments, and then strike to drag them into the eternal darkness and damnation.

As our Shepherd, and the Good Shepherd, He is someone who truly loves and is dedicated to us, His sheep, and He will not let us to fall into the hands of the devil and his agents, who are trying all the time to steal us away from our Shepherd and drag us together with them into damnation and eternal suffering in hell. That is the aim of those forces arrayed against us, and we should always be vigilant.

Our Shepherd is always with us, ever since He dedicated Himself completely to us through His sacrifice on the cross. He gave Himself out of His love for us mankind, and as our Shepherd and a good shepherd, He cares for us sincerely and unconditionally, even unto giving up His life for His sheep. This is what we are taught and what we have with us as our assurance of faith. God our Shepherd is always with us.

The wolves are always watching and waiting for moments of weakness, when we are most vulnerable to snatch us, and we know these from the moments in our lives when we feel dejected, when we feel sad and sorrowful in our daily lives, when we are met with failure, and even when we meet successes in life and glory, when we allow ourselves to be open to Satan and his agents to enter into our hearts and therefore into our lives.

There are these moments when we put our guard down, when we feel weak in the faith, and especially those moments when we feel that the Lord is not with us, and we question whether He even cares for us or loves us, for He is not apparently there for us when we need Him very much. But this is the persuasions and temptations of the devil, my friends, for the devil whispered lies in our ears and in our hearts, that the Lord is not with us, because we cannot see Him and feel His presence around us.

But this is false, brethren, for our Lord is truly beside us, and He watches over us all the time, and all that we need to do, is to open ourselves to the Lord and let His love and care for us to flow freely into us, and we surely can feel His works all around us, all of which are meant to keep us safe from the forces of Satan, that is the wolves trying to rip us apart from the loving embrace of our God.

We often do not realise how much our Lord loves us, and we often think that we ourselves are all that we need in this world. And in this, we breed our ego and pride, allowing them to flourish and become fertile ground for the devil to spread his seeds of rebelliousness and disobedience within us. This we cannot allow, brothers and sisters in Christ, for we must not allow even any inch of our hearts and minds to be taken over by the evil one, or we will go astray and be lost.

Let us all from now on, reflect on the love which our Lord has for us. In our breath, every single breath that we take in life, and every help He has placed on our way, our priests and those who minister the Gospel to us. Yes, all these are the manifestations of God’s eternal love and care for us, and which He showed foremost through none other than Jesus Christ, who became one of us, to be our Shepherd and guide us back on the way to God our Lord and loving Father.

May we grow stronger in our faith and devotion to our Lord and Shepherd, that from now on we will heed only the leads of our loving Saviour, and disregard all the dissenting voices and disobedience which Satan has taught us and planted in our hearts ever since the days of our ancestors. May the Lord continue to be with us, all the days of our life and keep us always firmly in His love. God bless us always. Amen.

Sunday, 11 May 2014 : 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and World Day of Prayer for Vocations (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 10 : 1-10

Truly, I say to you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the shepherd of the sheep enters by the gate. The keeper opens the gate to him and the sheep hear his voice; he calls each of his sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but rather they will run away from him, because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.

Jesus used this comparison, but they did not understand what He was saying to them. So Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, I am the gate of the sheep. All who came were thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not hear them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through Me will be saved; He will go in and out freely and find food.”

“The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, life in all its fullness.”

Monday, 16 December 2013 : 3rd Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Numbers 24 : 2-7, 15-17a

Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping, tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him and he uttered his song : “Word of Balaam, son of Beor, the seer, the one who hears the words of God, and beholds the vision of the Almighty, in ecstasy, with eyes unveiled.”

“How goodly are your tents, Jacob, your encampments, Israel! Like valleys stretching far, like gardens beside a stream, like aloes planted by YHVH, like cedars beside the waters. His buckets are overflowing and his seeds are always watered. His king becomes stronger than Agag, and his kingdom grows.”

Then Balaam pronounced his oracle : “Word of Balaam, son of Beor, the seer, the one who hears the word of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, and sees the vision of the Almighty, in ecstasy, with eyes unveiled.”

“I see a figure, but not really. I behold Him but not near. A star shall come forth from Jacob, he rises with a staff in his hand.