Saturday, 2 May 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today first we heard the indignation of the Jews and the refusal of many of them to listen to the word of God and believe in Christ, although some did listen and follow the Lord, but most of them did not and even incited trouble and difficulties for the Apostles. What we heard today is just one of the many occasions when these had occurred to the Apostles and the other disciples of the early Church.

On the contrary, many of the Gentiles, or the non-Jewish people, mainly the Greeks and the Romans believed in the Good News which the Apostles had preached, and they followed the Lord and His ways. These people together formed the nucleus and the heart of the burgeoning and rapidly growing early Church at that time, with more and more believers rising up every day.

In the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ spoke about His equality with the Father, and how if we believe in Him, then all of our actions and deeds should reflect that we are truly faithful and devoted to the Lord, and not just paying merely lip service and having superficial faith. We cannot profess to have the faith in God and yet our actions and words either indirectly or directly going against that faith.

The servants of the Lord do His will and walk in His path, and yet as shown by the attitudes of the Jews, both at the time of Jesus, and throughout the works and journeys of the Apostles, they refused to believe in the truth which Jesus had brought into the world, and in their actions, they did not put into practice the faith which they professed to have. Indeed, not all of the Jews were like that, but quite a great majority of them were.

Today, we also celebrate the feast of a saint, whose attitude and works showed an unbending and uncompromising attitude to all those who were trying to deceive the faithful and spread lies among the faithful and to join them in heresy. He is St. Athanasius, a faithful servant of God and Bishop of the Church. This faithful servant of God had gone through many trials and difficulties, and he remained faithful and committed to the cause of the Lord.

At that time, the Church was greatly assailed by the many heresies, born from mankind’s inability to resist the temptations and falsehoods of Satan, and ending up trying to confuse many of the faithful, luring them to heresy, and as such, fulfill either intentionally or unintentionally the wishes of Satan, that is to divide the Church and the faithful against each other. And St. Athanasius was one among the few who rose up and stood up against the tide of these wickedness.

St. Athanasius spoke out against the heresy of Arianism, which proposed that Jesus Christ was a mere creature and not God, denying the divinity of Christ, who is truly fully God and fully Man at the same time, with the two natures united perfectly in Christ, distinct but united. This is the true faith that the Church had uphold since the days of the Apostles in the early Church, the fundamental truth that the devil tried to destroy with his lies sowed among men.

For speaking up the truth, St. Athanasius often had to suffer, as some of the heretics have friends and influence at the pinnacle of power of the Roman Empire at the time. He was cast out of his diocese, and was exiled more than once. And yet, he did not give up or fear any sort of persecution threatened and arrayed against him. For him, to suffer for the sake of the Lord and for the sake of His people’s souls is worth a suffering.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should heed the example of St. Athanasius in our own lives. We must be able to stand up for our faith and speak up the truth that many will come to resent, and yet necessary for their salvation too. And thus, so that more people will be turned to the Lord, we ourselves too, as the children and servants of God, should act in the way that is clearly the way of our Lord. And we can do this by practicing our faith and meaning it in every word we speak and in every action we do.

Remember what Jesus told His disciples, that all who follow Him and profess to be His disciples will also act and do the same things that He had done? That means, if we want to be truly recognised and found worthy as Christ’s followers, therefore we must also obey His will and preserve the truth which He had brought into the world. This is precisely what St. Athanasius had done, and what all of us are expected to do as well.

May Almighty God strengthen us in our faith, empower us and be with us, that in all the things that we say and do, we may bring ever greater glory to Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 2 May 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 7-14

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do.”

“Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. Everything you ask in My Name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon My Name, I will do.”

Saturday, 2 May 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

The Lord has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

Saturday, 2 May 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 44-52

The following Sabbath almost the entire city gathered to listen to Paul, who spoke a fairly long time about the Lord. But the presence of such a crowd made the Jews jealous. So they began to oppose with insults whatever Paul said.

Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out firmly, saying, “It was necessary that God’s word  be first proclaimed to you, but since you now reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we turn to non-Jewish people. For thus we were commanded by the Lord : ‘I have set you as a light to the pagan nations, so that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

Those who were not Jews rejoiced when they heard this and praised the message of the Lord, and all those destined for everlasting life believed in it. Thus the Word spread throughout the whole region. Some of the Jews, however, incited God-fearing women of the upper class and the leading men of the city, as well, and stirred up an intense persecution against Paul and Barnabas.

Finally they had them expelled from their region. The Apostles shook the dust from their feet in protest against this people and went to Iconium, leaving the disciples filled with joy and Holy Spirit.

Friday, 1 May 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast of the Church, that is of St. Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are wondering why we are celebrating this feast day again so soon after another feast day of St. Joseph on the nineteenth of March, then we should reflect on the importance of the figure of St. Joseph in our faith.

St. Joseph is the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is the adopted father of our Lord by his marriage to the mother of Jesus, Mary. And even though he is not the real or biological father to our Lord, but in his role as the legal father to our Lord, as his earthly father, he has been a great father and a role model for all fathers and for all families.

St. Joseph in this day is celebrated in his aspect as the Patron Saint of all workers, and all who labour. Today we commemorate the memory of this humble and yet God-fearing and hardworking carpenter of Nazareth, whose exemplary life and actions, as well as total devotion and obedience to the will of God marked him different from the rest among his profession and from among his people.

Jesus was mocked by His own people, His own townspeople in Nazareth, because they thought of Him as a mere carpenter’s Son, who somehow impossibly gained such a great and vast wisdom that could not be explained by His background and upbringing. This is because even though a carpenter’s work is a noble and honest one, but no one looked up at carpenters and other manual labourers, whom people often looked down at and ignored.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we heeded the earlier readings we heard, then we know that our Lord Himself had worked when He created the heavens and the earth, when He created all the things living on the earth, in the seas and on the sky. He laboured and toiled to create all these things, and He rested on the seventh day. This shows us that working is part of the nature of this universe, and no one who slacks and does nothing can gain anything or be any part of the Lord’s design.

And thus, today, we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, whose works and dedicated efforts remind us that there is no place in our faith and in our Church for people who idles and slacks. Firstly, as I have often mentioned, our faith requires active action and commitment, that we do not just pay lip service to God, but that we must also practice that same faith in our own actions and deeds.

And then, secondly, that as we work, we have to remember that we labour not for our own glory nor it is just for us to gain more money and possessions for ourselves, but rather, it should be for us to help one another and give glory to God through all of our works. This is where the phrase, Ora et Labora, comes to my mind. Prayer and work, and indeed, faith and works. These two are indispensable and inseparable elements of our lives.

As we know, our faith is one that requires inner spirituality, as well as outer action. Our faith is dead without action and work, as without action, our faith is meaningless, empty and superficial. And without faith and devotion, all of our works are meaningless as well. This is because our works without faith and devotion, would inevitably lead to the glorification of the self and the fulfillment of one’s own desires. And it is in selfishness and greed that our destruction is present at.

As we continue to live our lives in this world, let us all be awakened to the realities of our faith, that there are so many things which all of us can do, in order to make this world to be a better place. There are so many things which we can do, in order to help our brethren around us, especially those who are in need, and if we are able to help. Let our faith be one that is real, concrete, vibrant and filled with love and devotion towards one another.

May Almighty God, our Lord and Father awaken in us the spirit of workmanship and dedication, the spirit of respect for all workers, and to be filled with vigour and strength to carry out all of our works of faith, that we may be like St. Joseph, as brave and dedicated servants of our Lord. God bless us all. Now and forever. Amen.

Friday, 1 May 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet  you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”


Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)

Matthew 13 : 54-58

At that time, Jesus went to His hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did He get this wisdom and these special powers? Is He not the carpenter’s Son? Is Mary not His mother and are James, Jacob, Simon and Judas not His brothers? Are all His sisters not living here? How did He get all this?” And so they took offense at Him.

Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” And He did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Friday, 1 May 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 2 : 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

YHVH said, “Behold the King I have installed, in Zion, upon My holy hill!” I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to Me : “You are My Son. This day I have begotten You.”

“Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall rule them with iron sceptre and shatter them as a potter’s vase.”

Now therefore, learn wisdom, o kings; be warned, o rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and fall at His feet; lest He be angry and you perish when His anger suddenly flares. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him!


Alternative reading (Mass of St. Joseph)
Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 12-13, 14 and 16

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children.

Thursday, 30 April 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear a brief summary of the history of salvation and of the people of God, Israel, in the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, where St. Paul preached and testified for the faith in front of his fellow Jews in a synagogue. He told them about how God led His people out of Egypt, and gave them leaders to guide them, from the Judges to the kings, and on David, the faithful servant and king which God had chosen to rule over His people.

And it was told of the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation of His people, through the promise which God had made to David, that His descendant would rule forever on his throne. And indeed, everything was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, including God’s promise to mankind, that salvation would come to them. Jesus broke free mankind from the chains of their slavery to sin and liberated them, just as the people of Israel once had been freed from their slavery to the Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

This freedom however, is not easy to maintain, as history had once proven. The people of Israel during their sojourn in the desert, were sorely tempted and many of them repeatedly gave in to their desires. As a result, they complained against God, rebelled against Him by saying how good their lives were back in Egypt as compared to what they had then in the desert, even though God fed them with manna and birds, and made them drink sweet and clear water in the middle of the desert.

Is this not the same with our own experience? We also have often done the same in our own respective lives. If we reflect on it, we should realise that there are some or many moments in our lives where we also disobeyed the Lord to pursue our own desires. We have this tendency to be tempted by the many things that Satan and the world offers us, and if we accept them as such, then we are no different than the people of Israel of old.

In the Gospel today, Jesus spoke about how a servant is not greater than his or her master, and therefore, as this is the case, all of us as the servants of God should not presume things and do things that betray our Lord and show that disobedience to the Lord, for if we truly belong to the Lord, then we ought to do things as the Master had taught us. If we do not, then we are liars and hypocrites, and we do not belong to Him, and thus we have no part in His inheritance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have for an example, a saint, whose holy life had been an inspiration for many throughout the ages. This holy man, who happened to be the successor of St. Peter the Apostle as the Pope and Bishop of Rome, and therefore as the Vicar of Christ and leader of the entire Universal Church of God had a very important role to play in the development of the faith of many whom he had touched and inspired.

Pope St. Pius V lived at a time of great uncertainty, of many dangers and threats to the people of God and to the Church. He led the Church through a very turbulent time of dangers both outside and inside the Church. At that time, the threat of the mighty Ottoman Empire was at its zenith, and many feared the eventual conquest of Christendom by the forces of the heathens. In addition, the effects of the Protestant ‘reformation’ still caused great divisions in the body of the faithful, wars and conflicts.

Pope St. Pius V played a pivotal role in all of this, by truly committing himself to the role which he had devoted himself to, as the Leader of all God’s faithful, by assembling the combined forces of Christendom and the forces of the faithful that eventually led to a major and crushing victory against the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. As such, the external threat against the faithful and the Church gradually diminished afterwards.

And with regards to combatting dissent and opposition in the Church and beyond, Pope St. Pius V successfully completed the long delayed Council of Trent, which resolved many of the outstanding issues in the Church and emphasized on the maintenance of the true faith and all of its teachings, as preserved by the Church since the time of the Apostles, to counter all the harmful effects of the so-called ‘reformation’.

Pope St. Pius V therefore led the Church in the vigorous effort of Counter-‘reformation’ to combat the rampant heresies among the people, and as a result, countless thousands and millions of souls returned to the true faith. Such was indeed the example of how all Christians should live their lives, that is to be truly devoted and faithful to all the ways of the Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we all able to be true disciples of the Lord, and devote ourselves completely to Him? Are we able to commit ourselves to the way of truth and be true disciples of our Lord? It is the opportunity which we have today that we should not waste. May Almighty God therefore guide us on our path and help us so that in all of our actions, we may always be faithful to the Lord, and as a result, be found worthy to receive the inheritance which He had promised to all of us. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 30 April 2015 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 16-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice.”

“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says : ‘The one who shared My table has risen against Me.’ I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One who sent Me.”