Monday, 26 February 2018 : 2nd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 6 : 36-38

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”

Saturday, 20 February 2016 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 5 : 43-48

At that time, Jesus said to the people and to His disciples, “You have heard that it was said : ‘Love your neighbour and do not do good to your enemy.’ But this I tell you : love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun rise on both the wicked and the good, and He gives rain to both the just and the unjust.”

“If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? As for you, be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect.”

Saturday, 31 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about how we ought to have faith in God, the faith which we have in the Lord, and by hearing on the testimony of those who have lived the faith in the past, we too should be inspired to live following the footsteps of our predecessors in faith if we desire to receive the fullness of God’s grace and salvation.

The faith we heard was about the faith of Abraham, the faith of Sarah and all those who have lived according to the way of the Lord. Abraham was once just a mere man who lived in the ancient region of Mesopotamia, in the city of Ur, far away from the lands of Israel. And then one day, God called him to follow where He would ask him to go to. He promised Abraham great rewards and riches should he choose to follow Him, and indeed, Abraham faithfully followed the Lord into the unknown.

God chose Abraham not because He randomly picked people who He deemed suitable to receive His grace, but because He also knows what is in the hearts of men. He knows it all, and to those who have the gift of faith, He shall give more, and bless them even more if they prove to be capable of living up to the faith. And Abraham passed that with flying colours. Not only that he was able to commit himself fully to the Lord, but he was also even willing to sacrifice his own son to obey the will of God.

And in this, we also see the kind of commitment which is required from us, so that we can be truly faithful and devoted to the Lord our God. We cannot be half-hearted or be divided in our attention and focus on the Lord, or otherwise, our faith is not truly genuine and real. After all, the sacrifice of Isaac itself has shown us how faithful our Lord is, in His devotion to all of us. He is ever faithful, while we are always the ones who always broke our promises and obedience to Him.

And the promise of God was made full, real and complete through His giving of His own Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of God’s promise and love. In need for so much of help are we, that nothing short of what He has done, will be able to deliver us from the grip of sin which had engulfed us for such a long time. Sin has been a great stumbling block in the path of our road to redemption, and as long as we remain immersed in sin, it will be difficult for us to escape.

Indeed, just like the storms and waves in the lake, which the disciples encountered as they were crossing the lake, thus there are many obstacles and dangers that are in our path as we approach the Lord and as we seek the salvation which only our Lord can give us. It may indeed be very fearsome and frightening to be in such a condition, but if only we had placed our trust in the Lord, then we truly should not be afraid, for the Lord Himself will guide us and guard us from the Devil.

When Jesus, our Lord, is at the helm, no one will be able to assail us, and as long as we anchor ourselves to Him, we shall be fine. For by what He has done, God had shown us all how to be truly faithful and devoted to God. If Abraham had endeavoured to sacrifice of his only son, the child of the promise of God, then what God had done for us is even greater.

For He had also given us His own Son, as a loving sacrifice, out of His faithfulness and obedience to the one thing which keeps Him moving in action to save us all, His people, that is the love which He has for each and every one of us, from the least to the greatest. And that is the love which our Lord has shown us, the love which propelled Him to endure all forms of sufferings and to die for us on the cross.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco, a renowned priest and holy man, who was known for his efforts to help the people of God, through his various charitable acts and founding of charitable and educational institutions, meant to help the least in the society, the poorest, the weakest, the least and the ostracised of the society.

St. John Bosco worked hard to spread the Good News of the Lord, and he did it through his actions, helping and loving those who have no others to love them, and caring for all those who have no one else to turn towards. He sheltered many people, especially the youths, who were homeless and under bad influences of the world, and he taught them on how to live their lives well.

What St. John Bosco had done should be an inspiration to all of us, to put all of our faith in God, and put it into real action, by following in the footsteps of all those who have been faithful before us. Abraham, our forefather in faith trusted completely in the Lord, and he walked down the path to the lands promised to his descendants, and he offered even his own son out of obedience to God’s will, knowing that God will give him back his son.

Thus, all of us should also be truly devoted and be faithful to our God, and the best way to do so is by showing it through our words, deeds and actions, loving our fellow brethren and caring for them. Let all of our actions speak loudly and clearly of the love of God, so that more and more people may realise of the love which He had shown all of us. May Almighty God be with us all, love us always, and keep us always in His grace. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 24 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to examine our own lives and the actions which we have taken in this life, and to ignore no longer our sinfulness and disobedience against the way and the will of the Lord. Our Lord Jesus Christ had made it very clear in the Gospel that we heard today, on how mankind can see things around them and made accurate prediction of things, but they failed to see what is in their own hearts.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is often indeed that we look at the outside and the exterior, seeing things around us and make a judgment, and we are indeed quick to judge and to come into a conclusion, but we fail to see what is inside us, the phenomena that is inside us, which is sin. And they also failed to see what the Lord had done, and when He came in the form of flesh in Jesus, they failed to recognise Him even though they were so apt and good in recognising everything else.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the major weakness of mankind, as we often fail to recognise our own frailty and weaknesses, just as Jesus said, how we often like to point out the weakness in others and the sins of others, and yet we fail to see our own weakness, and this weakness is our sin and our iniquities. We are quick to point finger to blame others, but whenever we do so, we have to realise that while one finger is pointed at others, the other four fingers are pointed at us.

Sin is dangerous, brothers and sisters in Christ, for sin corrupts many things and sin prevents us from recognising the good that is around us. It covered our hearts in jealousy, pride, arrogance, hatred, desire, doubt and many other negative influences and aspects that prevent us from seeing good in others, seeing the bad in ourselves, seeing the good in ourselves, and ultimately, failing to see God who is ever present with us, and who guide us to the right path.

Do you wonder why the people of God failed to recognise Jesus when He came into the world, even though it was so obvious from what He had done during His life and ministry that He was the promised One, the Holy Anointed One of God whom the prophets had talked about throughout their many ministries among the people of God. The Scriptures and the Law themselves had also spoken about the Messiah who was about to come, and yet the people blinded by their sinfulness failed to realise this.

They persecuted the prophets and servants of God in their refusal to listen to the truth, because the truth was often painful for them, pointing out their shortcomings and inability to look into themselves and realise their sins. Thus in the same way, they too rejected Jesus the Messiah when He came among the people to do the same yet again.

They were too engrossed in themselves and in their own world, just as exemplified by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were adamantly against Jesus and His teachings. This is ironic considering that they were the ones who should know the most about the teachings of Moses, of the prophets and their prophecies, and of course of the Law. Thus, they should be the ones who proclaimed His coming and recognised Him through what He had done.

The sin in their hearts, which they allowed to grow accompanying their human desires and greed prevented them from doing so, and in the same manner, they incited the people of God to avoid following and trusting Jesus, by spreading lies about Him, all because of their jealousy, the jealousy of their hearts and the fear of losing their influence and power, as well as prestige and fame among the people. They feared losing these and put their own human ego ahead of their duty and responsibility of proclaiming the coming of God to His people.

It is indeed easy for us to point our own fingers at them, but are we too totally blameless? That is why it is nigh time for us to start examining our own lives and actions. How many times we actually refused to listen to the Lord speaking in our hearts and instead decide to follow our own desires and greed? How many times is it that in our live we have caused hurt and even harm to others because of our own selfishness?

Thus, if we look at ourselves, we are no better than the people of Jesus’ time and the Pharisees. Although we profess our faith in God, but our actions often said otherwise. Hence, brethren, this is the best time for us to begin to reinspect and reform our lives for the better according to what God had taught us. If we follow His ways, we will surely change and be transformed to better people.

And I would like to share with all of you the life of a saint whose feast we celebrate today, and whose life can also be an inspiration for us in walking in the path of the Lord. He is St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the religious order famously known as the Claretians after their founder. St. Anthony Mary Claret was a bishop who lived in Spain about two centuries ago, who was renowned for his zeal and faith in God, and in the numerous works which he had done as a missionary and later as an Archbishop, establishing many good charitable acts and works for the sake of the least and the lost ones of the society.

St. Anthony Mary Claret served in many functions as a servant of God and His Church, zealously spreading the word of God to many people, especially to those who have yet to listen to the word and the Good News. He established many works and institutions of charity to help the poor and the marginalised in the society, and through his preaching, calling many of them to embrace the love and faith in God.

St. Anthony Mary Claret also wrote extensively on many aspects of the faith, and which writings become inspiration for many of the faithful in the years to come, including up to our generation, where his works and dedications for the people of God is truly a model for us all to follow. He reminded us indeed that in order for us to be true disciples of Christ, we cannot allow our personal and human vulnerabilities to come in the way of our faith.

That means we have to restrain ourselves, our human desire and emotions, and make the effort not to be controlled by these, as the people of the past and the Pharisees had done. We have to break free from the slavery and tyranny of sin, and thus we should really understand our own sinfulness, and seek ways to handle what had made us sin in the first place. Therefore, the key lies in humility and willingness to listen to the Lord and to walk in His ways, as well as our persistence and perseverance to resist the temptations that will always come our way.

Therefore, as St. Paul mentioned in the letter he wrote to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, let us all be true servants of God and give ourselves completely and wholly to the Holy Spirit of God, which unites us in one Body of the Church of God, and in that unity, may we together find our way towards the Lord, avoiding all forms of fornications and corruptions.

May Almighty God strengthen our faith and help us to grow in our love and devotion towards Him, and with the inspiration by St. Anthony Mary Claret and the other holy saints, may we be able to find our way to the Lord, by doing what is right and just in the eyes of God, and by being able to look deep within ourselves, seeking the Lord’s mercy with humility for all the iniquities and sins we have committed. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 20 October 2014 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 12 : 13-21

At that time, someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance.” He replied, “My friend, who has appointed Me as your Judge or your Attorney?”

Then Jesus said to the people, “Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.” And Jesus continued with this story, “There was a rich man, and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought, ‘What shall I do, for I am short of room to store my harvest?'”

“‘Alright, I know what I shall do : I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger ones, to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I will say to myself : My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you. Tell me who shall get all you have put aside?'”

“This is the lot of the one who stores up riches for himself and is not wealthy in the eyes of God.”

Thursday, 11 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are presented with the readings from the Scriptures and the Holy Gospel, on the importance of love in our lives in this world. Without love, that is genuine love, we cannot survive in this world, and we will have no part in the inheritance of our Lord and God, who is Love. Love is the key to solve many problems in this world, as without love, hatred and violence reign free and supreme.

The essence of what we heard today is the nature of love, and how our love should be. Our love must be genuine and true, and it must be wholesome. It cannot be love that brings joy to some and yet causes pain to others. To us mankind, it is the latter kind of love that we often encounter, and we ought to know that this is no love.

Love is when we are able to free ourselves from deceit and evil within our hearts, and be able to look beyond the veil of darkness that surround us, which include the feeling of fear, hatred, jealousy and prejudice which prevent us from truly loving as we should have loved. Love is when we can love and care for everyone, no matter whether they return our love or whether they have loved us first.

Love must be unconditional, in that when we love we should not expect the love we give to be returned. And therefore, it is not right if we demand that the love we have given ought to be repaid with similar kind of love. This kind of love is not a perfect love as Jesus had taught us, but rather it is love with benefits, that is we are likely to continue to love as long as it benefits us, but we are then likely to stop that love and care once the condition becomes unfavourable for us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there is much violence and hatred in this world, and these are not easy to be overcome. There is much effort required if we are to overcome these sinister forces threatening to split mankind apart and pit brethren against their own brothers and their own sisters. Why is this so? This is because there are many temptations in the world, the idols of mankind.

If St. Paul in the first reading today, in his letter to the faithful in Corinth said that the faithful should not consume food that had been offered to the pagan idols, said such in a very devoted attempt to ensure that those whose sensitivities were affected by such action be not allowed to fall again into sin, then we too in our own behaviours in this world should avoid all the fornications of our body and soul to sin.

How so? It may seem that in today’s world, in most of the world the old pagan worship of idols with offerings of food and other forms of sacrifices are no longer prevalent, and thus this can be deceiving to many of us. We often do not realise that in the absence of those idols, other, new idols had risen up to take their place in corrupting mankind and bringing them further and further away from salvation in God.

Money, power, influence and others in this world are all these new idols. They are what many in the world toil for, work for, and in many instances even to fight with one another, even with those dear to them, so that they can be closer to these new ‘idols’ and get more of them in the world. And we all should know that they are the main cause of wars, conflicts, and violence prevalent throughout the world.

If mankind continue to worship these idols of money, power, influence and others out there in the world, then there will be no end to suffering for mankind, and the world will slide ever further into chaos and darkness. That is why we have so much anger and violence in the world, so much suffering and people in difficulties, and why so many people have their rights violated against by those with power.

And if we recall today, that this day we remembered thirteen years ago was a great tragedy that befell a nation, that is the United States of America when two large jets were hijacked by extremists and then flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. The resulting destruction caused thousands of deaths and many more injured and not just that, for the families of those who were lost, they still grieved even until today.

In this regrettable and horrible event, we can see clearly that above all the bickering and all the conspiracy theories, above all the disputes and the attacks which one side attack the other with, and above all of that, it is the innocent ones who suffer, both in the site of the event itself, where thousands lay dead, and in the aftermath, in the wars that followed which caused even more death on both sides in the conflict.

Mankind are often fighting over what they want, and they seek more and more in this life. We are by nature difficult to satisfy, and if we do not leash our desire, we risk having the attitude of doing anything in order to get at our goal. And hence, that is why we committed violence, show hatred to others, and not easily satisfied even though we have been given plenty.

This is because in many of us, if not most, we lack love in our hearts. This is not the love as the world knows it. Love as the world knows it is exactly the kind of love that care only for the benefit of the self, a selfish love, which when it had served its purpose, then it turns into hatred, evil and destruction. What we urgently need to have with us, is the kind of love that Jesus had taught us and shown us, an unconditional and true love.

This love is such that it is not a selfish one, but a genuine love for others. Love that asks for no returns or reciprocation, as Jesus mentioned. And this love also overcomes hate and prejudice. Jesus taught us that we should forgive one another, no matter what kind of pain we have received from another. This is a crucial key on how to break that continuous and self-sustaining cycle of violence and evil.

If we repay violence, anger and hatred with equal violence, anger and hatred, then we are merely perpetuating the cycle, and in fact we add even more negativity by committing evil on others ourselves. Rather, Jesus taught us to love, and therefore, through that love, instead of evil, the love that is pure and unconditional may begin to heal the broken souls and hearts of mankind filled with hatred and darkness.

Therefore, as we remember those who perished on this day thirteen years ago, let us all learn to love and forgive, and to pray for all those who are still committing acts of violence, anger and hatred throughout the world, that they too may learn of the love of Christ, be converted to His life and gain salvation in Him. God bless us all, and may He give us His love, that we too may love each other and Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strengths. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 31 August 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, most beloved ones in the Lord Jesus. Today, we partake together and celebrate together this Sacred occasion of the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus together, and we are called to reflect on our lives today, on whether we have lived as what Jesus wanted from us and according to what He had told us as we heard in the Gospel today.

We heard about the famous and the well-known story and parable of the Samaritan and the man who travelled from Jerusalem to Jericho and beset by the bandits along the way. Three men passed through the same road, the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan, but out of all three, only the Samaritan stopped by and showed great mercy to the man wounded and left to die on that road.

The priest and the Levite, considered holy and sacred personas in the society of the people of God at that time, did not even stop by to care or show love and mercy to the wounded man. They pretended not to see the plight of the man and proceeded on to where they wanted to go, leaving the man to fend for himself and die a death in great suffering had the Samaritan not be there to help the man.

The Samaritan went out of his way, not just to stop by and help the man, but he even helped him to recover to full health by carrying him on his own beast of burden, on which he surely had sat upon. Therefore, we can imagine that the Samaritan was in fact walking along while the wounded man was sitting on the beast of burden. And not only that, he even paid the full fee of the man’s lodging fee in the inn and promised to come back and pay more if the man has not fully recovered yet in the allotted time.

And Jesus taught all of us to love, to love not just God but also that of our neighbours, those who are around us, with all of our hearts, with all of our strengths, with all the capacities of our minds, and with all of our abilities and in all the time we are able to spend with these brethren of ours, and of course ultimately to God. With this our faith will be real and living and will not be a dead faith.

What Jesus wanted from us is a living faith, based on the foundation of love and action. The commandments He had mentioned was the same as the Ten Commandments of God, which God had given to mankind, to His people through His servant Moses. The Ten Commandments are the ten tenets and key laws that govern how we mankind should live our lives, but all of them, are truly and is indeed about love. Loving God and one another with all of our beings and strengths.

Jesus also did not intend to belittle or make the priests and the Levites look bad by comparing their actions with that of the Samaritans. As we all should know, the Samaritans were the pariah of the society at the time, rejected by the Jews and they were seen as pagans who did not follow the faith and the way of the Lord, and this enmity had been ongoing for hundreds of years by the time of Jesus.

Why He used the Samaritans is in fact with a clear purpose to chide and rebuke the faithful, who were so proud of their faith, and who were feeling so righteous just because they thought they have the faith that they used their faith as a justification to condemn and persecute those others whom they deemed to be unworthy. And Jesus rebuked those who had been so proud of their faith and did so little to live according to that faith.

The examples would be the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and the elders, who are together in the similar group as the priests and the Levites. These people were very honoured and respected in the society because they were supposedly the stewards and guardians of the law and the precepts of the Lord. Yet these people instead of truly living out the faith through their actions and deeds, they persecuted and oppressed the people by numerous rules and punishments so as to burden them and yet they did not make the people any more worthy than they had been.

We too, brothers and sisters in Christ, have to reflect on our own lives, whether we have done our part to live according to our faith, or whether we have not done so. We need to be proactive and active in our faith, that is in every words we speak, in every deeds that come from our hands and limbs, we must proclaim the Lord and thus show to all who see us, that we truly are belonging to God.

Let us all work together, and work consciously so that we may live this life we have on earth faithfully, casting out all impropriety and evil, and filling our lives and our hearts with good deeds and desire only to seek the Lord, He who is our loving God and Father, and the One who will judge us according to our actions. We should follow the footsteps of the Samaritan, in walking the extra mile to help one another, especially if we see someone in need around us, and when we are in the position to help. Let us never ignore the plea of those who seek for help.

May Almighty God awaken in us the spirit of love, that is both the love we have for Himself and for our brethren around us. And may He also awaken in us the spirit of pity and mercy, that we may be merciful to those suffering around us and forgive those who have wronged us. May God be with us all, all the days of our life. God bless us all. Amen.