Tuesday, 15 September 2015 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciples, “There is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

The father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a sign, a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Thursday, 1 January 2015 : Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Octave Day of Christmas and World Day of Prayer for Peace (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast of the Church, the Marian feast of Theotokos, Mother of God, as well as this day as the day of universal prayer for the peace in the world. On this day, also the first day of this new year of our Lord 2015, we give thanks to God for the past year, for all that He had done for us, the wonders and graces He had provided us in the year that had passed.

And on this New Year’s Day too, we ought to look forward and see in this new year to come, an ample opportunity for us to do what we have not been able to do in the previous year, and thus we have to reflect and evaluate on our own lives, our ways of life and how we interact with one another. This new year should begin with a new resolution on our side to achieve peace in this world, a lasting peace without hatred and violence, and one that is inspired by the examples of the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary.

For Mary is our role model, both in life and in how we should be faithful to the Lord. She is special amongst men and all who were created by God, for firstly she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore as He is both fully God and fully Man, she is by that virtue is the Mother of God, or in the original Greek, Theotokos, and it is this nature and title bestowed on Mary, the faithful servant of God, that we rejoice together as one Church.

There are unfortunately those who failed to understand this nature of Mary, and the great role she had played in the history of the salvation of mankind. They refused to honour her and glorify her, because they thought that in doing so they have idolises her and made her as if to be a goddess. But they were mistaken in this, and that was the lie that Satan tried to propagate in order to destroy the Church and harm the faithful ones.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, why do we honour Mary such, with many titles and graces? Why do we call her the Blessed Virgin Mary? Should we not honour man but God only? If we look deeper at the Scriptures and its meaning, then we will understand. Mary herself mentioned in the Magnificat, the prayer of rejoicing and revelry at the fulfillment of God’s promise through her, that she was blessed for all ages because of what God had done through her.

And we honour Mary as the mother of God because in Jesus we see the true, complete, full and perfect unity between the Divinity of which He is God, part of God and is truly God, limitless and omnipotent, and the Humanity, of which He was made into Flesh, the flesh of Man by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary is the mother of Jesus, both God and Man at the same time, fully God and fully Man, without separation, distinct in the two natures of divine and humanity, but united in the one person of Jesus Christ.

Those who deem Mary as a ‘goddess’ that we worship, do not make sense at all. If Mary is a goddess, then truly, where would the humanity of Christ come from? Indeed, God is almighty and it would truly be a trivial matter for Him to come directly in the form of Man if He so wished, but He chose to come through the woman, so that what God had revealed to man at the beginning of time might come to its full completion.

God said to Satan, in the serpent, and to the first woman, Eve, that he would bite the heels of the sons of the woman, while the woman will crush the serpent under her feet. Satan had introduced sin to men, and ever since that moment of rebelliousness and disobedience, men had fallen into sin, and apparently with no hope of rescue or escape, that is until the Woman came and made full God’s promises.

That woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She obeyed the Lord fully and let herself be used for the entire purpose of God, and as such, where Eve had failed, succumbing to her own vanity and personal desires for knowledge and more, Mary had succeeded and her examples became the source of inspiration for many. Mary remained faithful and committed to the Lord, to her Son and followed Him unto even His death on the cross.

Mary played such an important role in our Faith, as she was not merely just the mother of Jesus the Man, but also as the mother of the Word incarnate into flesh through her. The divinity and humanity of Jesus are completely and perfectly united in His person, two distinct natures but one person. Anyone who rejects this truth deviates from the teachings of Christ and is a heretic.

Such was the case with Arius, the famous preacher who would eventually be known for his role in the rise of the Arian heresy, where the rejection of the divinity of Christ was becoming commonplace, and this heresy was born out of the confusion that the devil spread in order to make the people unable to comprehend how Jesus could be both Divine and yet also Man at the same time.

If we look at the Scriptures, in the Holy Gospels, Jesus did things that both Man and the Divine do. He ate with His disciples, drank with them, was affected by sorrow and sadness, and He wept, yes for Lazarus, the one whom He was close friend with, when he apparently died from his sickness. Yet, at the same moment, He brought Lazarus back to life, healed the sick and forgave the sins of many, which are things that only God can do.

Thus, Jesus is truly fully Man and fully God, and it never occurred anywhere in the Gospels that the two natures were separate, but the two were always together. It was not merely the human Jesus that suffered for us on the cross, for no man could have born the entirety of the weight of the world’s sins, but God indeed can do so, and it was Jesus, both God and Man, who carried that cross up to Calvary and die for our sins, that we may live.

And if Jesus is both God and Man, then it is perfectly fine for Mary to be called the Mother of God, and that was what the Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in the year of our Lord 325 had affirmed in Faith, that Mary as the Mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God. Then, how is this relevant to us, brethren? That is because, Mary is our role model, and she is also our mother. For Mary has been set aside by God to be the mother of Jesus and in her works and actions, she became our example.

If all mankind are to follow the examples of Mary, then this world would have been so much better. No more violence, no more hatred, for if all were to follow Mary’s examples, they should have been filled with love, both for God and their fellow men, and not with hatred or evil. That is why, on this day, the day when Pope St. John XXIII dedicated his last Papal Encyclical, Pacem in Terris or Peace on Earth, this day is a day which we should dedicate with much prayer for the sake of peace in the world.

That time, the world had just been on the brink of a great nuclear war between the two superpowers of the world, and war had been avoided just because of very tense diplomacy between both sides. The threat of annihilation of countless peoples was just very great, one that we may not be familiar with today. Thus, as we begin this new year today, let us all pray together as one people, one Church, and all belonging to the house of the Lord, that peace, the peace of Christ may reign over all and the world, that it may dispel the evils that Satan had planted in this world and in us.

Jesus had entrusted Mary to John, His disciple, and that singular act is a great action of God entrusting His own mother to be the mother of us all. Let us thus, ask Mary, the Theotokos, the Mother of our Lord and God, who is also our Mother, to pray for all of us, for she, even though not a god nor goddess but a human being, being closest to the throne of her Son in heaven, she may intercede for us and gain for us the richness of the mercy and grace of our God. God bless us all. Amen.

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Epistle (Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord) :

Gospel (Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord) :

Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the fourth and therefore the last Sunday of Advent in our liturgical year. Christmas is coming soon and this week is the time traditionally prescribed by the Church as the time for the final preparation for Christmas. This Sunday we continue to observe and reflect on the major aspects of Christmas, that is Love. We have previously reflected on Hope, on Peace, and finally on Joy at the Gaudete Sunday last week.

Love is the central nature of Christmas and all that we celebrate. Indeed, love is the centre of everything, of why we still live and breathe comfortably now in this world. God loves us all, for we were created special, with the very image of our God imprinted on us, and we have been given the greatest gift of all. And what is this gift? It is the Gift of all gifts, surpassing all other gifts, that is Christ our Lord Himself, the Gift of God to all mankind.

As we have often talked about and discussed throughout this Advent season, this season is a time for ardent prayer and genuine preparation, a time for us to prepare for the ‘Adventus’ or the coming of the Lord. And after going through four Sundays in which we discern the true meaning of Christmas, we should all be ready and prepared to celebrate this Christmas meaningfully.

Otherwise, if we fail to understand the true meaning of Christmas, then we will not benefit from the richness of God’s grace which He had given to us, which will benefit us most if we can appreciate what Christmas truly is. Christmas is not just about the glorious and bountiful food, not just about the festivities and the parties, and not just about the decorations and shopping that we often do to prepare for Christmas.

Christmas is truly about love, the love of God for mankind. Surely we know that the Gospel has clearly spoken about God who loves us all so much, that He gave us His only Son, so that all those who believe in Him, the Son, will not perish but gain eternal life (John 3:16). This is the essence of Christmas, the coming of the Son into the world, so that a new Hope arises for the nations and for all the peoples.

So the aspect of love that we reflect on this Sunday, reflects this Love that God had shown us, the true meaning of Christmas that I have often emphasized. Without the love of God, there can be no Christmas, and there can be no hope for us. There can no true peace in us, if we do not embrace the peace brought to us by God’s Love in Christ. There can also be no joy in us that lasts, if we do not share in the joy of God’s Love.

What is love, brothers and sisters in Christ? Is love shown by expensive gifts or romantic activities, and all the things taught and shown to us by the world? Is it like what are being advertised to us in many things, about love? No, it is not that kind of love, for that kind of love is often selfish, love that is bound to possessions and material goods, love that is conditional and once spent, then no love is left. Sadly, this is also the reason why there are so much sorrow in the world, of broken families, of abuses in the family, of infighting and jealousy, and many others.

Love, and indeed real love, is not about all these, but is the kind of love which Love Himself, Christ, had shown us. For God is Love, and He had shown us what love really is. His love is true love, genuine and pure, unconditional and gentle. His love does not have any prerequisite, nor does He demand us to give Him something for the love He had shown us. Indeed, He loved us even when we are still sinners, and even laid down His life for us.

St. Paul mentioned in his letter to the Romans, that someone may want to give their life for the just and righteous ones, but very unlikely to do so, for those who are wicked and evil. But Jesus suffered for us, bearing all of our sins, and died for us, laying down His life, even when we are still sinners and wicked (Romans 5:8). And as Jesus had said that the greatest kind of love is for someone to lay down his life for a friend (John 15:13), then we can see indeed how much greater the love God had for us when He chose to lay down His life for us, sinners and evildoers.

God does detest our sins greatly. Sin has no place in His presence, as sin is a taint and corruption, and for He who is perfectly good and pure, sin is completely disgusting. And yet, His love is even greater than His hatred for our sins. He loves us so much that He was willing to endure all those sufferings in order to rescue us from our predicament of sin.

This is the kind of love we should really have with us, and the love we should cherish. For it is through the love of God that we can enjoy a new hope, true peace and real joy which the world and others cannot provide. His love for us is unconditional, and by His coming into the world, that we celebrate in Christmas, He offered Himself, His love and mercy for all of us, so that we may be saved.

But at the same time, we have to be vigilant and be careful, for this world certainly has done much to prevent the love of God from reaching us, as Satan is the Lord of this world, and he has all in his possessions and within his means to tempt us and lead us away from the salvation and love which God freely offers us all. And today, we celebrate the feast of a great and faithful servant of God, who is a devout and courageous defender of the Faith in God.

St. Peter Canisius was a Dutch Jesuit, who lived during the time of the Protestant ‘reformation’, when many of the faithful and the members of the Church were misguided and misled by those who have been corrupted by the lies and the confusion of the evil one. They left the Church and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ as faithfully kept by the Church and chose to follow their own human desires, greed, selfishness, and other evils in them.

St. Peter Canisius joined the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit order, which is the spearhead of the Church’s effort at Counter-Reformation, which main goal is to counter the heresy of Protestantism and bring as many souls as possible back to salvation that exists only in the Church of God. He led the effort of Counter-Reformation in what is now Germany, where the effects of the Protestant heresy is at its worst. He preached the true faith, and it was told that his preaching was so effective that hundreds and more returned to the true Faith.

He preached and taught in many places, and he persuaded many to return to the Faith not by coercion or force, but by clear reason and clear understanding of the Faith, and through that clarity in the teaching of the Faith, his words of truth, the truth of God rang deep into the depths of the hearts of many, who were convinced to abandon their heresy and return to the Holy Mother Church.

St. Peter Canisius was very particular in the matter of the education of the Faith to the people, and his most well-known legacy is the three books of Catechism he had written, which are the clear source of the teachings of the Faith, used in many generations and saved countless souls from sins and heresies. That is why his name today is also identical with Catholic education and several Jesuit education institutes adopted his name after he was made saint of the Holy Church.

He was also credited for his great devotion to Mary, and he taught that the best way to the Lord is through His mother Mary, and he was the one who added the response in the Ave Maria or Hail Mary prayer, “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners.” This clearly showed the importance of Mary in the lives of the faithful, for through her intercessions and prayers for us, God our Lord His Son, is most likely to hear our pleas and petitions, and mercy shall be shown us.

Why did St. Peter Canisius do all of these, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why did he go forth and preach to the heretics and those who have been lost to the darkness of the world? That is because of none other than God’s love for us, and His desire that we be found and be gathered again, that we will be lost sheep no more but belonging once more to the one flock of Christ, that is the Church.

The love of God is such, that He, although despising our sins and repelled by our wickedness, endure all of them, and even endure all forms of humiliation and rejection, none less by His own people, the ones whom He was sent to save! And yet, He persevered, out of that eternal and infinite love which He has in Him, for He is Love, and just as He wanted to share that love with us when He created us, thus, He wanted us to be loved by Him even when we have fallen into sin.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, even as we prepare for the Christmas celebrations which will be here in less than a week’s time, and even as we prepare to rejoice together with the whole world and the whole Universal Church at the celebration of the Birth of our Lord Jesus, let us never forget that this event is there in the first place, because of God and His Love for us, that is made real and concrete through His Son Jesus, who performed the act of ultimate love for us, to die for us for our sins on the cross at Calvary.

This Christmas, shall we then ponder at the love God has for us, that He was willing to enter into our world, and indeed into our lives and dwell within us? Let us never forget that Christ is at the heart of Christmas, and at the very heart of that celebration and joy is the Love of God, the eternal and undying love Christ had shown us through the cross, the very purpose of His coming into this world, and thus to liberate us from the chains of sin.

Sin no more, repent, change our ways and be wholeheartedly devoted to God from now on, that this Christmas and the next ones will be decidedly different from the past ones, that this time, we truly understand and fully embrace the love of Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. God bless us all and may St. Peter Canisius intercede for us always with the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary our mother. Amen.


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Friday, 12 December 2014 : Second Week of Advent, Memorial of our Lady of Guadalupe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (our Lady of Guadalupe)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast day of the Church, celebrating the feast of Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, who manifested and showed herself about five hundred years ago, to a simple, humble but holy man in what is now Mexico, at the site called Tepeyac hill, now where the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe stands proudly as the centre of devotion and pilgrimage, and source of salvation for many in the centuries past since its establishment.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the name given to this apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appeared to St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the first native saint of the New World, now known as the American continent. According to the tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. John Diego and revealed herself to him at a place known as the Tepeyac hills, as the Mother of our Lord and as the Mother of us all. She asked St. John Diego, if there is anything he needed, and that if there was anything he needed, he would have to just ask her, and through her intercession, everything would be made full.

St. John Diego immediately sought the local bishop and told him about what he had witnessed, but the bishop was skeptical, and did not believe him at first. Therefore, the bishop asked St. John Diego for a proof that the apparition was authentic, and thus, St. John Diego then rushed back to see the Lady once more for this purpose. The Blessed Virgin Mary had indeed mentioned to St. John Diego at their first meeting, of the time she would appear again.

But on the way, St. John Diego was told that his father was very sick, and thus he was forced to miss the meeting with the Blessed Virgin Mary, rushing to his home to be at the side of his sick father instead. However, on the way home, at the very exact time that he was to meet Mary once more, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him on the road, and told him that his father has been healed, and indeed, when St. John Diego reached home, he found that his father had been healed.

For the proof that the bishop asked St. John Diego, the Blessed Virgin Mary asked him to go to the hill, and there he found a cluster of flowers, Castilian roses, which are not naturally found in that land, but in Europe. Then St. John Diego gathered the flowers in his cloak, or also known as tilma, and then rushed back to show them to the bishop.

When St. John Diego showed the bishop what the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Lady of Guadalupe had shown him, what surprised the bishop was not so much the flowers, but in fact that when St. John Diego opened his tilma or cloak, there he saw the glowing and very beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which we now know as our Lady of Guadalupe, in reference to the occasion and the place where this had taken place.

So whenever we see an image or pictorial representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cloak and adorned by beautiful flowers, it is likely to be a representation of our Lady of Guadalupe. And it is in her honour that we celebrate this day with great joy, for through this great woman, many good things have been made possible for mankind, the greatest of all is, the freedom of mankind from the tyranny of sin and the promise of everlasting life through Jesus, her Son.

Many of the heretics and those who misunderstood the Faith wondered why we honoured Mary so much, if she was just a mere human, perhaps more special in a way because she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. But surely that is as far as things should go right? Do we Catholics and members of the Faith commit idolatry by worshipping and adoring Mary as if she is a goddess? No, and this is where all of us the faithful must be very clear in our Faith, lest we allow the same confusion to lead us astray.

Like the song of Hannah showed in the Psalm today, the song of joy and thanksgiving by Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, who was granted her wish of having a son by God after years of barren marriage, and being ridiculed by the other wife of her husband. She was given Samuel, whom she gave up to be consecrated to God, and then she was given even more children, as the fulfillment of God’s love.

Hannah was humble, and she sought the Lord’s help through sincere prayers after she was bullied constantly by the first wife, who was proud of her many children. The proud was therefore rejected by God, but the humble, the meek and most importantly, the faithful ones are rewarded richly by God. He blesses those who are not proud with themselves and their achievements, but those who put their trust completely in the Lord.

Thus, Mary is truly blessed and she was honoured beyond any other men. Thus, Elizabeth her cousin said about her, ‘Blessed are you amongst women,’ for indeed, Mary was special and honoured, not just because she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and not just because she was prepared to be special by the Lord, free from the taint of sin as the Immaculate Conception, but also because of her exemplary faith, humility, devotion and total trust in God and in His plans.

Therefore, on this feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, we look up to the Blessed Virgin Mary who had given her grace to appear before St. John Diego, so that all of us mankind may know more about her and her exemplary faith, and through her therefore, for us to find Jesus our Lord, and that we may be granted rich graces of God, the same grace which God had blessed Mary with, the one who is called blessed among all men and women, for all ages.

What we can learn from this sacred occasion is that, while Mary was created special by God, and prepared by the Lord to be the Mother of the Lord, but it is her examples, her faith, her actions and her loving dedication to God which all of us can emulate. God’s grace flows through Mary by her devotion and faith, and her undying dedication towards her Son, even unto following Him on the path of suffering to the cross at Calvary.

Thus, God had also given us all the singular and most important of all the saints, as the greatest among our intercessors, the one who prays for us without cease, for the sake of all of us sinners who still dwell in this world. That is why Mary, our Lady of Guadalupe, asked St. John Diego, ‘Is there anything that you still need’ and gave him her assurance that whatever he asked through her, he will get it, so long as it is within the bounds of the will of God.

She is the closest among all to the throne of her Son in heaven, and hers is the words which her Son will listen to the most. Remember the wedding at Cana? Jesus listened to the request by Mary, for Him to help the wedding couple in trouble, and performed His miracle of changing the water into wine, His very first miracle. If He would listen to His mother’s request there, then the same too will be the case for us, if we ask Mary, our mother, to help with our needs.

Mary is also our mother, for our Lord Jesus had entrusted His disciple John to His own mother, just as He entrusted her to him to be cared for. Through the entrusting of John to Mary, Jesus our Lord also entrusted all mankind to the care of His mother, who then becomes our Mother too. And if she is our mother, will she not care for us, fight for us and intercede for us? She loves all of us, and she does not want any of us to be lost to her Son.

Hence, let us all from now on reflect on our own lives. Have we done what the Lord had asked of us to do? Have we all been faithful as Mary our mother had been faithful? When we err, let us all correct our ways and also seek help. Our mother Mary, just as when she appeared to St. John Diego as our Lady of Guadalupe sincerely sought our salvation and liberation from sin. Therefore, shall we all accept her offer of grace, which may then flow from the Lord through her, and into us?

Let us all be righteous and be faithful in our actions, showing the love which we ought to show our Lord and which we also should show one another. May our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary our mother intercede for us sinners before the throne of her Son, the Divine Mercy, that He shall forgive us our sins, and in our sincere faith, may He grant us all eternal life. Amen.


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Monday, 15 September 2014 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “There is your mother.”

And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

Jesus’ father and mother wondered at what was said about the Child.

Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a sign, a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Monday, 8 September 2014 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of the Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, that is our beloved Blessed Virgin Mary. Today we celebrate her birth into this world, or her nativity, much like we celebrate the birth occasion of her Son, Jesus Christ, at Christmas. We all know that the Blessed Virgin Mary had been chosen from among all mankind and from among all woman, prepared and ready for her role as the bearer of our Lord to come into the world.

This is what was meant when St. Paul mentioned in his letter to the Church in Rome, that God did have a predestined path for certain those whom He had chosen in their lives, and to those whom God had known, He would prepare them in the path of righteousness and gave them His Glory. And the best example of this would be Mary, who was prepared fully to be the Mother of God incarnate into flesh, and through whose actions, obedience and devotion allowed the Lord to exercise His work of salvation to mankind.

Mary was prepared such that out of all mankind, save for Jesus alone, who is fully God and fully man, Mary was exceptional in that she was conceived without sin, in what is known as the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus she was also born without the taint of sin into this world filled with sin and darkness. She was to lead a faithful, devoted and exemplary life, obeying the Lord in all of His commandments and laws.

Mary thus became like a light and a great beacon in the darkness of this world, lighting up the way for others, and for all mankind who desire to seek the Lord and yet they cannot find their way in the darkness. She was light and bright because firstly and primarily, she was the Mother of God, the one who bore the Lord and Saviour into the world, Jesus Christ, who is the One and True Light. Then, secondly, through her virtues and examples she also became a beacon and guiding light for all.

Thus this is why we honour Mary so much, not to the point as some alleged that we worship her, but instead what we do is we give her the honour and adoration even beyond that of any other saints or angels in heaven. She is after all the Mother of God and the Queen of All Saints and Angels, as we had just recently celebrated the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. She deserved all these not just because she is the Mother of Jesus our Lord, but also through her virtues.

Through her own birth, which we are celebrating together today, Mary foreshadowed her own Son’s birth, which marked the entry of our Saviour and Lord into this world. And yet, this occasion is no less grand, since we indeed celebrate the entry of the Mother of that Saviour, with whose cooperation, devotion and dedication to God and His plans made salvation possible for all of us.

That is why Mary is also often mentioned as even the co-Redemptrix and Mother of graces, in that as the mother of our Lord, she truly worked together with her Son our Lord as the mediator of our salvation. It is with the cooperation and the obedience of Mary that her Son, our Lord was able to fully accomplish His mission to save all of us, and it is with her gentle care and passionate dedication to Jesus that all was made possible.

And all of that was of course due to what God had planned for Mary, the special woman whom He had chosen to be part of the great plan of salvation which God had long planned for all of us His children. God also has His plans for each and every one of us, but it is also up to us, whether we want to obey Him or not. We can choose to follow Him, but we can also choose to go our own way, and more likely than not, into our own destruction.

Therefore, in this, we can model after our Blessed Mother Mary, who is truly exemplary in her life as a servant of God and as a devoted mother, who cared for the Child Jesus when He was young and who nurtured love in Him, that His love for us mankind would be even greater, the most beloved of all His creations. Thus, as we celebrate her birthday today, let us not just rejoice in her and with her, but also we should emulate her example and follow her ways.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be more like Mary, in both our faith, and in how we show our love to one another. May Almighty God who made Mary perfect and good in His image also make us all good and perfect, which is what we all should aspire to be, to be like Mary in how we devote ourselves to Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 22 August 2014 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if last week we celebrated an important feast and part of our faith, that is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, brought body and soul into the glory of heaven, then today, exactly a week after that day, after the completion of the Octave of the Assumption, today we celebrate the great honours given to Mary herself, as a Queen, by the virtue of her being the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore as the Mother of God or Theotokos.

Yes, Mary is a Queen, and she has been blessed with many titles that many had attributed to her over the ages. Indeed, she is truly blessed as the greatest among all that God had created, as the most beautiful jewel amongst God’s creation, conceived and born without the taint of sin, prepared special for the accommodation of the coming of the Saviour of the world, to be the very Mother of God herself, by virtue of herself as the mother of the living Word of God made flesh, Jesus Christ.

Through her, what had been prophesied by the prophet Isaiah in the first reading today came true, that a people in darkness has truly seen a great light, and this light brought new hope to countless peoples who had long lived in the darkness of sin and evil. Through the actions of Mary, this salvation of God came to mankind, a liberation that many had long sought for.

Mary is Queen, not by the virtue of her birth or her status in life. She was born to St. Joachim and St. Anne, her parents who were simple people, not having status or wealth, but they had faith and devotion to the Lord. It was under their care that Mary grew both in body and spirit, and she eventually came to be the one, the young virgin whom the Archangel Gabriel, God’s messenger, came to visit on that one day in the quiet village of Nazareth.

Mary’s faith in God was truly remarkable, because even though the Archangel revealed to her something too great for her understanding and too good to be true, she entrusted herself completely to the will of God, and allowed herself to be used for the works of the Lord, through which God exercised His greatest work ever, that is the accomplishment of the long awaited salvation of mankind, God’s most beloved creation.

Any other woman or person would have doubted such message and plan that the Lord has for them. But not Mary, and she was truly suited for her role, and the Lord had groomed her since her very conception to be the one who would bear the Christ within her, to be the physical vessel of our Lord Himself, to bring the Saviour into this world.

And as I had mentioned during the Assumption celebration, this is why death has no power over her, as she was truly without sin, and as the Mother of God, the one who bore Christ within her, she was truly the new Ark of the new Covenant in Christ, and therefore, the Lord raised her body and soul into heaven, as it is not fitting for someone as pure and great as her to suffer the consequence of sin that is death.

Mary is the greatest and the foremost of all the saints, because in all of her ways in life, she was exemplary, pure and immaculate in all things. She represented all the things that are expected by God from us in life, and she is our role model in faith, as when we follow how she lived her faith, we will certainly realise how truly faithful she was to her mission and calling to live her life in fully attuned manner to the will of God.

Mary is the greatest of all mankind, and according to the tradition of our faith, by virtue of her faith and devotion to God, which was so complete, the Lord rewarded her not just by bringing her body and soul into heaven, but also, as the Mother of God or Theotokos, she was crowned by the angels in heaven as the Queen of heaven, because indeed, her Son, Jesus our Lord is King of all kings. As such, that is why we celebrate Mary’s queenship on this day, in honour of this holy woman and virgin who had dedicated it all to the Lord.

Mary is known by many titles, some of which include Queen of All Saints, Queen of Angels, Queen of Peace, and many others, as in her role both when she still walked on this world and in the heavenly glory of her queenship, she is our greatest help and intercessor before her own Son, our Lord. Yes, Mary is the closest person to Jesus, as she is His mother after all. In her position as the Queen of heaven, she helps and advises her Son in many things, and certainly she prays for us sinners who still roam this world.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, the Mother of our God, let us all reflect on our own lives, and strive to be able to follow in the footsteps of Mary, whose faith and total devotion was plain for all to see, and for whose part to play in the plan of salvation, God had brought His salvation to all through Jesus.

Let us all ask for the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, our Queen and our role model. Let us ask her to beseech on our behalf before the throne of her Son in heaven, that He may take pity on us sinners, and provided that we change our ways and seek Him, may we all be reunited with Him and His mother Mary, in the glory of heaven promised to all of us. Mary, our Mother, bring us to your beloved Son, our Lord! Amen.