(Usus Antiquior) Septuagesima Sunday (II Classis) – Sunday, 1 February 2015 : Gradual and Tract

Liturgical Colour : Violet


Psalm 9 : 10-11, 19-20

Adjutor in opportunitatibus, in tribulatione : sperent in Te, qui noverunt Te : quoniam non derelinquis quaerentes Te, Domine.

Response : Quoniam non in finem oblivio erit pauperis : patientia pauperum non peribit in aeternum : exsurge, Domine, non praevaleat homo.

English translation

The helper in due time, in tribulation : let them trust in You, who know You, for You do not forsake those who seek You, o Lord.

Response : For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end, the patience of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, o Lord, let not man be strengthened.


Psalm 129 : 1-4

De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

Response : Fiant aures Tuae intendentes in orationem servi Tui.

Response : Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine : Domine, quis sustinebit?

Response : Quia apud Te propitiatio est, et propter legem Tuam sustinui Te, Domine.

English translation

From the depths I have cried to You, o Lord. Lord, hear my voice.

Response : Let Your ears be attentive to the prayer of Your servant.

Response : If You shall observe iniquities, o Lord, Lord, who will endure it?

Response : For with You is propitiation, and by reason of Your Law I have waited for You, o Lord.

Thursday, 22 January 2015 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we hear about Jesus, who healed the people from their sickness, cast out demons from them and teach them about the laws of God, and about what God desires from them. In the first reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, as is the theme of the most of that letter which we have repeated yet again and again, is the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ as our High Priest, the One who offered the perfect sacrifice which liberated us from the hands and clutches of sin and Satan.

The Lord had done this out of His love for us, which He showed perfectly through Jesus, by whose action He had made the whole mankind, the entire people of God being justified and made righteous, as long as they profess Him as their Lord and their Saviour. Through His works in the world, by the healing of the sick, the casting out of demons and other works, He had shown us all, what the love of God for us is truly about.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord is worried about us all, as to Him, we are all about to be lost forever, due to our inability to appreciate the love and commitment which He had shown us all. Since the days of the first man, Adam, we have been rebellious and wayward in our ways. And we know that from that moment on, we have sinned and sin separates us from our Lord.

He wants us back, and that was why He gave us and sent us Jesus, His Son, that through Him, we may receive salvation and new life. For Christ is indeed our High Priest, who offers for our sake, the perfect offering of Himself, and through that sacrifice which He Himself made, He made us whole, cleanse us from our afflictions and corruptions, and brought us closer once again to our Lord, our loving God.

And by that action, He also nullified the need for the priests of old, who offered the daily and regular sacrifices of the lambs, goats, turtledoves, wheat and other offerings which they offered as sin and burnt offerings to temporarily resolve and forgive one’s sins through God’s grace. For through Christ, He had once and for all, absolved all the sins of all mankind, and carried with Him the burden of our sins as He went on His passion to the cross at Calvary.

Then, we may be asking, how come then, our priests today celebrate the Holy Mass and the offering of the gifts of bread and wine? Did Jesus not nullify the works of the priests of Israel of old? It was mentioned in the first reading today, that their sacrifices and offerings were just shadows and imitations of the true heavenly sanctuary and its celebrations?

That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Holy Mass is the real, one and only celebration that is indeed the heavenly celebration, and the sanctuary of our churches where we celebrate the Holy Mass are truly transformed to the real heavenly sanctuary, and our celebration is real and concrete celebration.

For the Holy Mass is the one and same sacrifice which our Lord Jesus had made on the cross at Calvary, and the bread and wine which we offer are transformed completely in the matter and spirit to become the same Body and Blood which our Lord shed and poured down upon us to be our redemption. This is our faith, and this is what we fully believe in. Doubt no more and believe with all of our heart!

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Vincent, a deacon of the Holy Church of God and also a holy martyr of the faith. St. Vincent was also known as St. Vincent of Saragossa, who was martyred during the height of the great persecution of the faithful by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. St. Vincent was a great and dedicated servant of the Lord, who was a faithful deacon that ministered courageously to the people of God despite the difficulties he faced.

And it is in the defense of that Faith he had in the salvation that Christ had given us all, that he stood up and defended his faith, and he spoke up so courageously for his faith, that while the bishop he defended before the governor was only exiled, and St. Vincent was martyred for his faith. Even though we do not have to go to the extent of martyrdom, but it is this kind of faith for the Lord which we need to have, and we should give the Lord the best love we can give.

For I have mentioned that He had done so much for us, offering and sacrificing Himself in our stead, that we all may have eternal life through Him. The world clearly does not like Him, for He brought us the truth that dispels the falsehoods of the world, the myriads of lies of Satan, with which he tried to deceive the people of God. Therefore, let us all be inspired by the example of St. Vincent of Saragossa, holy martyr of the faith, and be exemplary in all of our actions, founded in faith. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr, and St. Sebastian, Martyr, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees as well as with the teachers of the Law, who confronted Him on His apparent disregard and disobedience against the Law of God, which to them, the law of the sabbath was one of the most important of them all. But in that, they have entirely misread and misunderstood the true meaning and purpose of the Law.

The Pharisees were very particular about the observation of the many laws of the Lord as revealed to the world through Moses, of which according the elders there were six hundred and thirteen laws and customs in all the people should follow and obey to the last word, and not to disobey them in any way. And the law of the sabbath was the most important of all, just as the people of Israel today still observe it with full severity.

The sabbath day is the seventh and last day of the week, which is the day when the Lord rested from His work in creating the universe, as written in the Book of Genesis. As such, the seventh day is a day to be dedicated to the Lord, as a Holy Day consecrated to God, where everyone ought to also rest from their work and commitments and focus their attention solely on the Lord.

Then, one may just ask, did God not give the law of the sabbath and spell it out clearly in the Law itself, that no one ought to do or commit anything on the sabbath day? Then why did our Lord Jesus disregard the Law by allowing His disciples to pick from the grains of the field and heal the sick on the sabbath day? There must surely be a good reason for that, and indeed, the reason is nothing less than, because our Lord loves us all with all of His heart.

The Sabbath and its laws was never meant to put an obstacle to the people of God or to make their lives difficult. Sabbath is meant for the people to rediscover the Lord and find His love for them by shutting themselves out of the distractions of the world and refocus their attention on the Lord. This was done because by nature the people of God was always so stubborn to the point that God had to be hard on them so that they would not go astray.

But the people misunderstood the Lord’s intentions, and they thought of Him as a tough and strict God who only cared about obedience and devotion, who punishes those who disobeys Him and brings His wrath upon them and their children. But in truth, our God loves us all, and if He was not compelled to do as He had done, He would likely not have done what He had done.

God is concerned about all of us, about our wellbeing and our safety, and that is why He imposes such a rule on His people, Israel, who had disobeyed Him many, many times, abandoning the Lord for pagan gods and idols, and therefore, they were meant to be destroyed, but God instead gave them another chance, which He gave through Jesus His Son.

What He is concerned about, is not whether the people obeys His Law and commandments or not, but He is primarily concerned about whether the people would receive the word of God and act accordingly according to the word which has been revealed to them through Jesus His Son. Thus, what our Lord Jesus had told us this day is the revelation of God’s truth, the simple truth that God loves us all mankind.

Thus, Jesus said that sabbath was made for men, and not men for the sabbath. It was always meant for men from the beginning, that they might avoid temptations and resist against it, by the dedication of a holy day to be spared for the Lord within a week. There are too many distractions in this world, and it is not easy for us all to resist those temptations. By the dedication of such a day, it is the attempt to help us to refocus our attention on the Lord.

However, it should not be an excuse to stifle us from doing good deeds according to the will of God. What the Sabbath is meant is to restrain us from committing the same evil that had permeated our entire lives. But Sabbath should not stop us from doing the works of God, or otherwise, it would be defeating its own purpose. Whe we do the will of God, it is essentially the same as praising and glorifying the Name of God, and hence, what Jesus rebuked the Pharisees with hit them right at the spot.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Fabian, Pope of the Church and martyr of the Faith, and St. Sebastian, another holy martyr of the faith. These two holy and great men were important pillars of the Church and the Faith, whose lives can truly be inspiration to all of us. St. Fabian was a great worker of the faith whose works had helped the Church greatly in the midst of opposition by the world, that is the persecution by the Roman Empire.

Pope St. Fabian worked to maintain the unity of the Church amidst persecution and led the Church in an era of difficulty. He also strived to spread the Gospels to the areas where the people have yet to hear of the Good News of the Lord. But eventually, he too was martyred for the faith when the persecution against the Church intensified under the Emperor Decius. He led the faithful in the firm refusal of the demands of the Emperor to worship the pagan idols and the Emperor himself.

Meanwhile, St. Sebastian was a soldier in the Roman army, who was a covert Christian under the Emperor Diocletian, who was famous for his stubborn opposition against the Faith and for the great persecution he launched against the Church and the faithful. St. Sebastian was tasked to bring punishment to saint brothers who refused to give offerings to the pagan gods and to the Emperor, but instead, he freed them, and from his works, he also converted many others including his own peers whom he persuaded to abandon the falsehoods of the pagan gods and embrace the true Faith.

St. Sebastian was eventually punished by the Emperor for his betrayal and he was sentenced to death by being shot with arrows while being tied to a tree, which is the depiction we now often see of St. Sebastian. He was also a defender of the Faith and a faithful servant of the Lord, who did not fear of the rejection and the oppression of the world in spreading the true faith in God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, may the example of St. Sebastian and Pope St. Fabian be an encouragement to all of us the faithful, that we will always strive to reject the approaches of Satan and the dark forces in this world, and instead to remain faithful to our Lord, by following what He had taught us, and share the love He had given us through Jesus, His Son, by loving one another and caring for our fellow brethren. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 18 January 2015 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the calling of Samuel, who had been called by God in his youth, when he was still under the tutelage of Eli, the judge over Israel. He was called to be the servant of God, and to be the one who would lead the people of Israel back to the Lord, as the messenger of His will and desire for His people.

And in the Gospel we heard about the parallel story of how the Apostles, that is the chief disciples of the Lord, were called. They were called from their respective lives to be the bearers of the Good News of the Lord. And therefore, just like Samuel, they brought much goodness to the people of God. They were after all called to be the bearers of God’s great Light to a people who lived in a great darkness, to dispel that darkness and bring them all back to the true Light.

Why was Samuel called by the Lord? And why was the Apostles and the disciples of Christ called by Jesus to follow Him and to do His will? That is because there is indeed much wickedness in this world, so much so that it disgusts our Lord to see such great darkness and wickedness existing among us His people. Thus, He called His servants and all those whom He had chosen to be the bearers of His will to His people, to call them to repentance.

The people at the time of Samuel was led by the judges whom God had appointed over His people. But they were only faithful as long as the judges were alive. As soon as they passed away, they returned to their old way of sin and wickedness, following the customs and practices of their Canaanite neighbours. Therefore, God was angry with them and they suffered greatly at the hands of their persecutors.

Similarly, the people at the time of Jesus lived at a time when they were adrift among the false practices of the people around them. Just a century or so before the birth of Christ, if we read the Book of the Maccabees, then we should know how many of the people of God readily submitted to the pagan ways and rejected the way of the Lord, and they sinned greatly before God.

Nevertheless, it does not mean that God did not love His people. It is neither that He desired their destruction and annihilation. In fact, God loves all of them, and He desires only for their salvation. And that is why, He called Samuel to bring His warnings and His truth to the people, that they might repent and follow Him again. And in the same way, He called His Apostles through whom He made clear His truth and teachings, and from them, the same truth is passed down to all of us.

In the second reading, St. Paul in his letter to the Church in Corinth reminded the faithful that they must avoid all forms of sins and fornications, of the flesh and of the spirit. He reminded the people that they are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, that is the very Temple and House of God where God Himself resides. If they committed sin and fornications, then they would have defiled the very House and Presence of God Himself, and they committed grave sin that threatened condemnation on them.

Therefore it will be the same for all of us if we choose to live wickedly and be filled with sin. All of us who have believed in Christ and accept Him into ourselves through the Most Holy Eucharist have been made into the dwelling and the house where God Himself resides. Thus, we are all the Temples of the Lord’s Holy Presence and we have to maintain the purity and sanctity of this Temple, that is our body, our mind, our heart and our spirit, so that no taint of sin or wickedness may come and harm our purity.

How is the reading today relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is because all of us have been called to be the disciples and followers of Christ, and we all have been baptised in His Name, and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have been granted such great grace to have the Lord Himself dwelling in us. Thus first, we have to maintain ourselves in a state of purity and avoiding the taints of sin as best as we can.

But we cannot just stop there, brethren, as the gifts and graces which we have received are the same gifts which God had given to Samuel, and also the same gifts as He had granted the Apostles and disciples in the ages past. Therefore, we too have the same obligation and duty as that which had been given to the prophets and the Apostles, that is to bring the revelations of God’s truth to mankind and to call mankind back to the Lord, abandoning their sins and embracing fully the way of the Lord.

Are we able to be like Samuel and say courageously to the Lord, “Lord, speak, for Your servant is listening!”? It is very difficult for many if not most of us to listen and to allow God to speak in us, within our heart. He speaks to us in a subtle way, and if we allow ourselves to be distracted by the many things in the world, the many pleasures and evils in it, then I would say that, we would be deaf to the Lord calling for us, to repent and to follow Him with all of our heart. Let us change our ways therefore, that we may truly be faithful and active disciples of our Lord.

And again therefore, it is related once again to how we live our lives. No one will believe in what we preach should we not live according to what our faith tells us. No one will follow us if we do not do as what we have preached to them. Thus, our faith in God must be truly a living faith, and in living our faith, we too can preserve the sanctity of our Temple, the Temple of God that is our body, our mind, our heart, and our soul.

Today we mark the World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees. We ought to pray for all those who have been displaced by various causes, either by war, injustice, oppression or any other reasons, which cause them difficulties and sufferings. If we are truly the Temples of God, the dwelling place of our Lord, then by nature all of us should act according to what our Lord would have done, that is to love those who are least, weakest, the ostracised and the rejected ones in our society. Migrants and refugees are often among these, and if we do not love them, then who will?

Let us share some of our love and our joy, our blessing and our grace with them, the migrants, those who have travelled far from their homeland, as well as refugees who have been displaced from their lands. After all, was not Abraham a migrant too? He travelled far following the will of God, and he obediently followed His commandments, and his descendants Israel also have to move from place to place, suffering difficulties along the way. Thus, let us all share a thought for this, and give them the best we can do. Do not shun them, or ostracise them or reject them, but let us welcome them all with love.

Today we also mark the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, where we pray for the eventual reunion of all the faithful and all those who profess faith in Christ, under the orthodox and true teachings of the Faith, according to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church under the sovereignty and leadership of the one and only Vicar of Christ, the Pope of Rome, whom God had appointed to be His sole representative on this world.

Thus as we begin this solemn week of prayer, let us all commit ourselves to keep ourselves pure and righteous, following the Law of God and be obedient to His teachings, so that all others who see us, will believe and repent from their sins. Let us pray sincerely for the conversion of heretics and schismatics who have separated themselves from the true faith in particular, that they may have their eyes opened and their senses awakened, so they may know what the true Faith is like and abandon all forms of lies and falsehoods which Satan had planted in them to divide the Church of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be true to our mission in life, that is to keep ourselves faithful and at the same time, bring our brethren who are still in darkness and all those who have gone wayward, to return them to the path towards the Lord. Hence, now we pray, we act and we do things that will show the faith we have in our Lord, our loving God, and He who sees it all and knows it all, will reward us richly forevermore. God bless us all. Amen.


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Friday, 16 January 2015 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about how Jesus healed the paralytic man, by saying that He forgave the sins of that paralytic man. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law cried foul at this, and they accused Jesus of blaspheming against God. They were indeed so blinded by their jealousy of Jesus and His popularity, as well as the truth in His teachings, that they failed to see that in Jesus and all that He did, He showed the fullness of the works and the love of God.

If we read the first reading today from the letter and Epistle to the Hebrews, we may be scared and some of us may think that our Lord is an angry and wrathful God. But we should not be deceived by appearances and by what we perceive from what we hear and witness. On the contrary, we know through what Jesus had done, that God does not wish for our destruction but instead for our salvation and safety in Him.

God indeed hates sin and all of its forms. Sin is a filth and a stain on the otherwise immaculate and beautiful creation, all the universe and including all creatures and us mankind. Sin prevents us from rejoining our Lord who is all good and perfect, and it is a chasm that separates us from His love and from the inheritance which He intended for us.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, suffering and death are not what we have to face in this world if not for sin that cause these to happen to us. It is we ourselves by our disobedience and refusal to listen to the Lord calling and imploring us to change our ways. And that was the attitude shown by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who thought that they were doing the right thing, but what they did was in fact an act of disobedience and defiance, blindness against the love that God had shown through Jesus.

Instead, our attitudes should be like that of the paralytic man and those men who had helped him to get to Jesus. They wanted to see the Lord and be with Him so much, and for the paralytic man, he wanted to be healed so much, that they all did the amazing things to bring themselves, particularly that of the paralytic man, to the Lord Jesus. For their faith, especially that of the paralytic man, they received great graces and the favour of God, and he was healed from his afflictions.

Truly, all of us are sick, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all sick from that sin which prevents us from finding our way to be reunited with God our loving Father. We are all sick inside, in our heart, soul and mind, and through that sickness, often even our physical self is also affected. Jesus knew what is important for us, that beyond the facade of our physical suffering, like that of the paralytic man, lies the even much more serious affliction of our souls, that is sin.

For his faith, Jesus forgave his sins, and through that, He also made his body whole once again too. On the contrary, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, while outwardly seems to be good and healthy in their body and physique, but inside they were truly rotten and corrupted by sin and the force of their human desires, pride, jealousy, greed and many others.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, the ball is in our court to decide on what to do from now on. Shall we be like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, being prideful and haughty, being unbending and lacking humility to seek the mercy and forgiveness of God? Shall we be fearful and refuse to seek the forgiveness of God just because we are afraid of His punishments and wrath set against us all due to our sins?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is like a father to us, and He is indeed our Father. He cares for us and loves us all with all of His heart. Which father will not be angry or will not admonish his son or daughter when they do something wrong? Which father will stay silent or pretend not to know when his children are doing something wicked or something that can harm their lives?

Obviously, our Lord and Father had shown His ultimate love for us through the giving of Jesus His Son, who became the perfect and complete manifestation of that love He has for us. He admonishes us and chides us because He cares for us, and He does not want even a single one of us to be lost to eternal death and suffering because of sin. And that is why He gave us Jesus, to be our Saviour and to bring us back to Himself.

Hence, brethren, shall we all appreciate the love which God has for us, and the healing which He had offered through Jesus His Son? Let us all throw far, far away all forms of sins and fornications from our lives. We have to embrace the fullness of God’s love, and we can only do that when we commit ourselves completely and fully to the love which Jesus had taught us. Let us ask God humbly for His mercy and forgiveness, that we may all be gathered together again one day and praise Him forevermore in heaven. God bless us all. Amen.


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Monday, 5 January 2015 : Monday after the Epiphany (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the works of God made real and manifest in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God incarnate as Man by the Holy Spirit, and who by the same Holy Spirit did many wonderful works that only God can do. And through Jesus, God exercised His mighty power, teaching and healing the people from their afflictions, bringing the Good News long awaited into full and complete fulfillment.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Epiphany, the commemoration of the moment when the Lord revealed Himself to His people, by the means of the gifts of the three Wise men or the Magi, who presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In that celebration we continue to reaffirm our faith in our Lord Jesus who is Lord and King, who is God and one true God incarnate into flesh, and the One who was to suffer the consequences of sin so that we may be saved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we know who is the Christ, and what He has done. The Gospel today precisely spoke about the things that Jesus had done, reaffirming the call of St. John the Baptist, calling the people to repent and to change their ways, so that they would sin no more but enter into the grace of God, thus becoming worthy of the salvation which Christ brought into the world.

Why would the Lord to bother with all these? Why would He come to save the stubborn people who continue to refuse His love, even until today? We know of how many people who were lost along the way, who preferred the ways of the world and succumbing to their heart’s desires and greed. Many lived a debauched life filled with wickedness, with no regard for the Law and commandments of God.

Yet, if we know of the Lord, we should know how much He treasures each and every one of us without exception, even for the greatest of sinners. He does not want to let even a single one of us to be lost without His effort to try to bring us all back to Him. That is why He put so much effort into the attempt to reunite us with Himself, to the point that He Himself came into the world, so that we will not be lost.

As we continue to proceed through our daily celebrations of life, we have to grow stronger and better in our realisation of the love that the Lord has for us all, and the mercy which He wants to show to us. It is too often that we lack the necessary gratitude and acknowledgement of what God had done for us. Thus in this time and season, we have to grow more dedicated and devoted to Him.

How do we do so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is by practicing our faith genuinely through our actions and deeds. We cannot be true disciples of the Lord unless if we ourselves have already practiced our faith with real actions and deeds. If what we are doing contradict what we believe in, then our faith in the Lord is meaningless, but if we do what our faith had told us to do, then our faith will benefit us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this world, there is still great darkness and many people are still lost in it, wandering around seeking for their Lord and God, and many were blinded by their own emotions, ego, greed, desire, jealousy, hatred and many others. Thus it is now entrusted to all of us, for us to continue the works of Christ in this world, proclaiming His salvation for all the peoples, and by our examples and actions, may we all be able to inspire more and more people to embrace the way of the Lord and abandon their old ways of sin.

May Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, help us on our journey in this life, that we will always be able to stay faithful to His ways and remain steadfast in our faith to Him. May all the peoples find their ways to the Lord and be saved as one people, that we may rejoice together at the end of time, blessing His great Name. Amen.


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Friday, 26 December 2014 : Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, the day after Christmas, is the feast of the protomartyr of the Faith, that is the first of those who have died for their Faith in God. He is St. Stephen, one of the seven deacons appointed to serve the people of God, sharing and giving the nourishment, and in charge of the Church’s charitable acts and works.

One might be wondering, why after the joy of Christmas, then we immediately go on to celebrate a tragedy, that is the death of a faithful and holy servant of God. But truthfully, if we have understood what Christmas is truly about, then this would not surprise us at all, and indeed, it would have fit perfectly into the order of things. Christmas joy and happiness is not about the glamour, the parties, the revelries and the things we do to make things look great, but it is truly about the Joy we have, for our God has given the perfect manifestation of His love for us and His faithfulness through Jesus.

Did Jesus come into the world to affirm His people and praise them? No, in fact, He did not mince His words, and His words are true, and filled with criticisms at those who have misinterpreted the Law, and worse still for those who even misled the faithful with their sinful ways. As such, as we all should know, Jesus did not have an easy time, and oppositions always came His way, particularly from the Pharisees and the chief priests who viewed Him as a rival to their power, influence and authority.

This is exactly what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today. He mentioned how those who believed in Him will also suffer just as He had suffered. The world had rejected Him, and all those who placed their trust in the world also rejected Him. Then, the same too would also happen to all those who walk in the way of Christ. The world will also reject them and attempt to eliminate them, just as they had tried to eliminate Christ.

It is to say and highlight that following Christ is not an easy path, and it is certainly not for those who seek to be complacent and desire acceptance by the world. As St. Stephen had shown us, as well as many other martyrs of the Faith that followed in his footsteps, being faithful to God and obedient to His will is a tough one, and often life is placed on the line, and many lost their lives refusing to abandon their Faith in God.

Christ came into our world, incarnate as the Baby Jesus that we celebrate as Christmas, but many would not want to listen to Him and what He had come to tell them, because they were misled, they were deep in the lies of Satan and they embraced to much of worldliness that prevented them from realising the truth about themselves.

That is why when Christ came into the world and bring the truth to them, many found it difficult to accept what He had told them. The Pharisees and the elders of the people refused to listen to St. Stephen as well. St. Stephen spoke at length, telling them all about God and His wondrous works throughout the ages, and he highlighted how the stubbornness of the people of God prevented them from receiving the grace of God and understanding His will.

They closed their ears and covered them, while shouting and lusting for the death of St. Stephen. They tortured him and stoned him to death. This is a clear example of how mankind often refuses to listen to the truth and instead prefer to be buoyed and bought over by the lies of the devil. We are often distracted from the truth, and when the truth comes our way, we come up with a thousand excuses and more to deny that truth.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us live in denial, and we do not recognise our sinfulness before God. We tend to shut God out of our lives, and that is why many of us do not recognise the true value and meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about the coming of the Saviour, whose truth and love would dispel all falsehoods and lies, and we have to face the truth no matter how horrible and ugly the truth is.

Therefore, as we continue to rejoice in the joy of this Christmas season, let us also heed the examples of St. Stephen and the other holy martyrs, who had given up their lives for the Lord, in defense of their faith. They did not hide the truth, but reveal the entirety of the truth they have received from Christ. Therefore, we as the disciples and followers of Christ must also not mince our words, and we must not compromise on the Faith.

Let us preach the Good News of the Lord and the fullness of faith with complete trust and confidence in God’s providence. Practice the Faith through our words, actions and deeds, just like St. Stephen, who did not become angry or hateful to those who have condemned him to death, but instead like Christ, he forgave them and begged that their sins may not be counted against them.

Thus, foremost in our concerns should be the propagation of the unadulterated and unchanged Faith in all its fullness. We cannot be witness to half faiths, or else we witness for nothing. Instead, let us persevere, even against the opposition of the world, to be the bringer of the Joy of Christmas into the world. May Christ be with us all, His peoples and disciples, give us strength and renew our courage and resolve to live our faith with full effort and sincerity. God bless us all. Amen.


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