Friday, 2 January 2015 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how John, messenger of God and baptiser of the people proclaimed the Messiah and professed his faith to God and commitment to his vocation in front of the public and in front of the Pharisees and those sent by the chief priests to question him. The latter ones did not believe in John and tried what they could to discredit him and rein him in in his works.

They questioned him and his actions, for they failed to see in John the works of God, which He had revealed through John and what he had done. John called for the people of God still dwelling in the darkness to return to the Light of Christ. He had been sent as the messenger of God to preach to the stubborn men, dwelling in their state of sin, so that they might repent and be ready for the coming of the Lord.

He paved the way for Christ, and he is a role model for all of us in his dedication and humility. For he was famous and popular, flocks and throngs of people came to him to be baptised and countless more peoples listened to his words and urgings for their repentance. He could have seized all the glory to himself and received great praise and fame for that action, but he did not.

Instead, he assumed the attitude of a servant and a follower to the will of God. He did the works as was given to him from the time when he was conceived in his mother’s womb. He dedicated his whole life to the Lord, that through him the works of the Messiah would be made easier and as the extension of the reach of God’s love for His people.

In the first reading God also warned us through the other John, His Apostle, to be vigilant and careful against the devil who will try to seduce us and lead us astray by sweet lies and false promises, through the false prophets and the antichrists. If Christ the Saviour of all brought with Him the real promise of eternal life and eternal joy, then the antichrists are His antithesis, bringing us instead temporary joy and a false life, one that will likely end in death, and not just any death, but eternal death.

That is why God sent forth His servants and messengers, for the sole purpose of the guidance of all of us His people, so that amidst the darkness in the world, amidst the temptations, and all the distractions of the world, we may rediscover our focus, that should be on the Lord. There are too much noise and distractions in this world, and it is important for us to shut them out, so that we will not be distracted.

We have to remain focused on the Lord, His ways and teachings so that we may be delivered from the confusion caused by Satan and be freed from the bonds of sin he had imposed on us. And that is why those teachers of the Faith are so precious to us, as they help us to find our way as we progress on in our lives. And today we celebrate the feast of two of such teachers and saints, namely St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen.

St. Basil the Great was the bishop of Caesarea, during the time after the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea having affirmed the orthodox and standard teachings of the Faith. He was a well known theologian who defended the true faith against the perversions of heresies such as the Arian heresy that rejected the divinity of Christ, as well as many other syncretic and heterodox practices that compromises on the true faith.

He also cared greatly for the poor and the weak, the downtrodden and the unloved, practicing the faith he professed through his own actions and deeds. He did not let those who have been lost to the darkness through heresy to remain lost, and he did what he could, to bring them back to the Light. He worked together with many other saints of his time, and he worked hard to resist and fight the forces of heresy that was taking deep roots among the faithful at the time.

Meanwhile, St. Gregory Nazianzen was a contemporary of St. Basil the Great who was the Archbishop of Constantinople and also a great theologian who fought against the heresies of the faith and also teaching the true faith to many, keeping them on the right track against the lies of the devil. Together with his contemporaries, with St. Basil the Great and the other saints and great theologians, they worked hard to keep the truth of Christ alive amidst the forces of darkness that surround them.

From these holy men and devoted servants of God we can learn what we need to do, as what they have done is not just limited to them. We too are required to help one another to keep each other in the faith, and so that none would be lost to the darkness. Let us therefore follow in the examples of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, so that we may help keep each other in the grace of God.

May Almighty God bless us all and grant us the wisdom to discern the falsehoods of Satan, all of his lies so that we may find our way to our loving God and Father. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/01/friday-2-january-2015-weekday-of-christmas-time-memorial-of-st-basil-the-great-and-st-gregory-nazianzen-bishops-and-doctors-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/01/friday-2-january-2015-weekday-of-christmas-time-memorial-of-st-basil-the-great-and-st-gregory-nazianzen-bishops-and-doctors-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/01/friday-2-january-2015-weekday-of-christmas-time-memorial-of-st-basil-the-great-and-st-gregory-nazianzen-bishops-and-doctors-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

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.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/25/friday-26-december-2014-feast-of-st-stephen-protomartyr-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Monday, 15 December 2014 : Third Week of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Psalm 24 : 4bc-5ab, 6-7bc, 8-9

O Lord, make known to me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and instruct me, for You are my God, my Saviour.

Remember Your compassion, o Lord, Your unfailing love from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, but in Your love remember me.

Good and upright, the Lord teaches sinners His way. He teaches the humble of heart and guides them in what is right.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/14/monday-15-december-2014-third-week-of-advent-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 14 December 2014 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

Introit

Philippians 4 : 4-6 and Psalm 84 : 2

Gaudete in Domino semper : iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus : Dominus enim prope est. Nihil soliciti sitis : sed in omni oratione petitionis vestrae innotescant apud Deum.

Benedixisti, Domine, terram Tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men, for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitious, but in everything by prayer let your requests be made known to God.

Lord, You have blessed Your land, You have turned away the captivity of Jacob.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Aurem Tuam, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris accommoda : et mentis nostrae tenebras, gratia Tuae visitationis illustra : Qui vivis…

English translation

Incline Your ear to our prayers, o Lord, we beseech You, and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of Your visitation. You who lives…

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ the King, Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (Double I Classis) – Sunday, 26 October 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast day of the Church as we come together to celebrate the kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is indeed King, and King not just any other king, but the One True King, King over all of creation, and King over all of the universe. He is the King of kings, and the fount of true power and authority, from whom all the kings and rulers of this world eventually received their authority from.

Yes, for Jesus Christ our Lord is the Lord and God, and He is the Son of God, one of the Most Holy Trinity, One True God with Three distinct Aspects. And Jesus came into the world, taking up the form of a humble Man, a simple and poor Man, the son of a carpenter, born in a manger in a dirty and poor stable, even though He is a King, and the King above every other kings and rulers of the earth.

This is to show us all, and to show the world, that the kingdom of Jesus is the kingdom of God, which encompasses everything, and yet it is not of this world. It is not the same in nature as the kingdoms of this world, as the realms and countries of this world, and His kingship is also of a different nature, unlike that of the kings and rulers of the earth. Why is this so?

This is because, as Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, during the time when He was scourged before He went on to be crucified during His Passion, He is a King and His kingdom is the kingdom of truth, that is the truth of God, with true joy and true happiness that only God can give to mankind, who are His people, and whose King, the One True King is Christ Himself.

The kings and rulers of this world lives as the world has lived, and they lived in the way that the world had expected of them on how to live their lives and on how they ought to act. Many of these kings and rulers had power of the world and their dominion is in the world. And many of them become corrupted by the power and the authority they wielded, becoming tyrants and autocrats that oppressed the people for their own benefits.

Yes, many kings and rulers have plenty of wealth and riches of the world, and they have regular sumptuous banquets and meals with his subjects, especially the powerful and rich ones of the world who could afford to dine with the kings and the rulers. They often spend their money in various lavish things and used their possessions often without restraint. The rulers of the world indeed had been corrupted by the temptations which the world had provided.

Of course it does not mean that all of them were wicked, as there were also righteous and just rulers who used their power and authority, entrusted by God responsibly and with justice. But those who lived in the world and acted in accordance with the ways of the world are eventually bound to the rules and the ways of the world, and more likely than not, they committed things wicked in the sight of God.

Jesus reminded the world that His kingdom is not of the world, and thus unlike the rulers of the world, His power and authority does not depend on how much wealth and possessions that He possessed, and neither does He answer to the world and to its ways on all the things He has done. Whatever He has done, was done in the name of truth and the faith, in bringing about the kingdom of God.

Jesus always liked to say that the kingdom of God is near, and called the people to repentance to prepare themselves for the coming of that kingdom. And this call was also echoed by the prophets who came before Him, especially St. John the Baptist, who cleared the path for Him and straightened the way for the King. That is because the kingdom of Christ is the kingdom of truth, one that is to replace all falsehoods of the world, and to replace all the authorities and powers which the Lord had delegated to mankind.

Men had been entrusted to be the stewards of creation, that is to take care of the other things and creatures which God had created in this world. However, as time would tell, many of them fell short, and many misused their power to fulfill their own ego and desires. The lies of Satan and the temptations of the world overwhelmed them and made them to persecute those who have been trusted under them. And that is why we have so much sorrow in this world.

Kings fight with kings, rulers fight with kings and other rulers for various reasons, for the people, for wealth, for possessions, for women, for pleasures of the world, and for their own personal ambitions and ego. And often that the people suffered for their injustice and their ambitions, which they put above the welfare of the people entrusted under them.

How about Jesus? First we have already known that His kingship is not based on wealth or any properties of the world, but based on the truth of God solely, and that while the kings of the earth bicker over authority and over other things, Jesus the King was solely and completely obedient to the task which He came into the world for, that is the salvation of His people, the beloved ones of God.

And He who is King over all of us is also a caring and loving King, unlike some kings and rulers who loved themselves more, and who loved their money and possessions, and their titles and palaces more than they loved their people. They were the bad and evil shepherds who did not care for their sheep, entrusted to them by the Chief Shepherd, that is Jesus, King over all kings.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who truly knows His sheep, all and every one by name. He knows them and He guides them into the right paths, that is into His truth. And He did not even spare His own life to protect them and to ensure them the salvation which He had promised them. He is indeed the true King, the servant King, who served His people and devoted His entire being to help them and to love them tenderly and graciously.

Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this great Feast of Jesus Christ the King, we do not just come to celebrate His great glory as the King of kings, but we also celebrate the love and dedication which He showed as King to all of His people, and all the works He had done with blood and sweat, suffering even death to purchase for us an eternal salvation with Him. Let us all also embrace the truth which He had brought into the world, for if we do not fully embrace that truth, that is our Faith in all of its fullness, then we cannot take part in the kingdom of Christ which is to come.

Thus, may Almighty God, our King of kings, the Master of all creations and of all the world be with us, and give us His awesome strength and power, that we may remain faithful to Him, our Good Shepherd, that we will not be led astray by the falsehoods of this world, which have brought down kings and rulers, betrayed by their own greed and ambition, and that all of us who have been entrusted with power and authority will emulate the example of the true Lord and King, Jesus Christ in all things.

Jesus our King and Lord, love us always and make us to be more like You, that the mightier one is, the humbler and the more dedicated one should become. Do not cast us away from Your kingdom, but help us when we fall, that we may be reunited with You in Your eternal kingdom and glory. Amen.

Friday, 26 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we hear yet again the proclamation of faith by St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles and disciples of Christ, who declared the very truth about Jesus, who is the Lord of all, the Saviour of all and the One through whom all mankind and all creations would have hope. This identity of Christ was not known at the time of Jesus, as the people thought that He was merely just one of the many prophets who had come and go across the centuries and ages.

Yes, Jesus was indeed a prophet, a great Prophet indeed, as One who fulfilled all the prophecies made by the prophets of old on the coming of the Anointed One of God, and He Himself declared the very words of the Lord, just like the prophets. The core difference is however, that unlike the prophets, like Elijah and even St. John the Baptist, who were the messengers of God’s words and will, Jesus is Himself the Word of God.

He is indeed the One through whom God had created the world and all the universe. Yet, He was willing to abandon all of His greatness and divinity so that He might come into the world and assume the form of a Man, a humble and simple person, but through which lie the key to the salvation of all the world and all mankind. Jesus came to fulfill the long promised salvation, which God had promised through the prophets and the elders of the people of God, and indeed, through a woman, His mother Mary, that He would be born from.

Nonetheless, it did not mean that the Christ and the Saviour would have an easy time, or that He would be immediately accepted by the people whom He had loved so much to merit His coming into the world to save them. Instead, the people rejected Him and refused to listen to Him, just as they and their ancestors had rejected and persecuted the prophets of God before.

This is because of mankind’s inability to comprehend the actions of the Lord and what He had tried for a long time to reveal to them. They did not realise that God is truly the One who is behind all things, every movement and every observations they can see in the world around them. God made His will known to men, but in their limited minds and intellect, many failed to look beyond the veils of deception and blindness that Satan and sin had placed on their path.

Men often presumed that they are so capable, and even more so these days as we discover more and more tools, gadgets and other ideas that often make us to be proud and arrogant, to the point that some of us even challenged God and His authority, claiming that we are free from the Lord and His control, and that we are capable of taking care of ourselves, but all these are indeed false delusion, on our part to satisfy our own heart’s desire for fame, glory and power.

Yet, this is a path that will certainly lead to our own destruction and undoing. It is because of all these that we reject God’s offer of love and mercy, and His kindness, which He had extended to us through Jesus. Jesus was rejected by the Pharisees and the elders of Israel, who viewed Jesus as a threat to their authority. Thus, despite them being the ones who knew most about the prophecies of the prophets, and thus rightly should have been the ones who first acknowledged Jesus as Lord and God, were the ones who became His greatest obstacles and enemies.

Greed and desire, hatred and jealousy, power and its misuse, as well as many other negative emotions and characteristics that often infect us mankind are what causes us to pursue action that will bring about our downfall and damnation if we are not careful and allow ourselves to be controlled by them, just as the Pharisees and the elders had been.

Instead, we should follow the examples of the two saints and martyrs whose feast day we are celebrating on this day, that is of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, martyrs of the faith during the time of the Roman Empire, at the height of persecutions against the faithful and the Church. They were said to be twin brothers, and both were famous physicians who lived justly and righteously, according to the ways of the Lord.

The two saints helped many of the people in need, those who were sick, and often also those who were poor and suffering. They were caught and arrested for adhering to their faith, and they were tortured under the pain of death and a very painful death indeed, if they would not want to recant their faith and embrace the worship of the pagan idols.

Temptations and offerings of the world certainly affected them just as they affected mankind. But they remained firmly devoted to God and kept their faith, because first of all they knew that God is the Master of all things, and then, that whatever sufferings they endured in the world, in the Name of the Lord, and in the defense of their faith, will be rewarded in heaven, as we are certain that they were indeed glorified by God, as examples of what we should be as well.

Ultimately, all of us have to realise that what can destroy and harm the body is nothing compared to what can harm and destroy the soul. We are often too concerned on the former and thus neglect the efforts we should rather put in to ensure the salvation of our souls. Let us all not forget that it is within our ability to choose between following and obeying God, just as St. Cosmas and St. Damian had done, rather than listening to our own desires. Or we can choose to follow the latter for temporary joy and satisfaction but which will lead to eternal suffering.

May Almighty God help us all, that we may find our way to Him, and through the intercessions of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, may all of us be inspired by their examples in life, their faith and love for others, as well as their undying and unshakeable devotion and love for God. Amen.

Sunday, 24 August 2014 : 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Lay Apostolate Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 16 : 13-20

After that, Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They said, “For some of them You are John the Baptist, for others Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “It is well for you, Simon Bar-Jona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven.”

“And now I say to you : You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven : whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.”

Then He ordered His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ.

Sunday, 24 August 2014 : 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Lay Apostolate Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 22 : 19-23

You will be deposed, strongman. I will hurl you down from where you are. On that day I will summon My servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe, I will strengthen him with your girdle, I will give him your authority, and he will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the people of Judah.

Upon his shoulder I will place the key of the House of David : what he opens, no one shall shut; what he shuts, no one shall open. I will fasten him like a peg in a sure spot, and he will be a seat of honour in the house of his father.

Friday, 8 August 2014 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Dominic, or also known by his full name of St. Dominic de Guzman, the famous founder of the Dominican order, named after him, known officially as the Order of Preachers or O.P.. The Dominican order had been renowned as a religious order that was often at the forefront of evangelisation and the spreading of the Good News, in perfect accordance to their names as the Order of Preachers.

St. Dominic himself was born in Medieval Spain, a time of much changes and difficulties, and he was a truly devoted and faithful son of the Lord, who eventually joined a holy order and devoted himself fully to God and His people. St. Dominic became a beacon of light to many of those who remain in the darkness, as had been foretold even since before his birth.

His mother, Joan of Aza, received a vision which showed a dog that carried a lit torch that spread light brightly throughout a darkened place, and little that she knew, that this vision would become a reality in her son, St. Dominic de Guzman, who through his actions, and the actions of his compatriots and successors, became a great source of light for those who still dwelled in the darkness of the world.

St. Dominic is an example to all of us, and we all should be inspired by his actions and deeds. We too should follow his footsteps in bringing many more people, our brethren closer to the Lord, just as St. Dominic himself had done before. And that was exactly what the Lord wants from us, to be wholly and completely transformed in our lives that we may glorify and proclaim Him in our actions and deeds.

In the Gospel today, Jesus told His disciples that if they want to follow Him, they need to carry their crosses and follow Him. And that is the reality of life, in which we have to face difficulties in life, if we are to follow the Lord and adhere to His will. It will be different if we choose to conform to the ways of the world, where we will be welcomed by the forces of this world and face less persecution and opposition, but at what cost? Nothing less than the fate and salvation of our very souls.

God had mentioned it clearly at the passage we heard today taken from the Book of the prophet Nahum, who wrote how God would restore those who had been faithful to Him and bless them with greatness, but for those who did not obey Him and walked the path of evil, He would cast out from His path and into the greatest darkness, into an eternal suffering that is without end.

God is merciful and loving, but only to those who repent their ways of evil and abandon their sinfulness will receive grace and eternal rest from the Lord and be saved in eternal grace. He does not desire our destruction or for us to perish as a consequence of our sins, but He gave us a freedom of choice, of whether we want to reject Satan and together then reject sin or whether we embrace sin in our actions, submitting to the temptations of Satan.

What St. Dominic did was that by preaching courageously and strongly against any forms of debauchery and corruptions of sin, he brought many people away from their sinful ways and into the kingdom of God. Many people remained in the darkness because they did not have the opportunity to hear, to see and to feel the light, which St. Dominic and his order of preachers, the Dominicans rectified by bringing the word of God and His truth closer to mankind, especially those who are in darkness.

We too have our parts to play, brothers and sisters, and that is to also bring the word of God to those around us who had fallen along the way on their way towards God and His salvation. And also to those who had yet to listen and know the truth about God, let us all bring His light unto them. This is done not just by words alone, but also through actions and deeds, that in all the things we do, we should do it according to God and His ways, and show that we truly belong to the Lord, and not to Satan and his evil forces instead.

May Almighty God therefore guide us on our ways, that we may be the bearers of the light and the truth, so that in all the things we do and we say, we may truly proclaim the Lord as our Lord and God, and rebuke Satan and his lies, designed to deter us and prevent us from ever reaching our loving God. Let us also ask for the intercession of St. Dominic, that we may be faithful and courageous in showing our faith to others just as he had once been faithful. God be with us all. Amen.

Monday, 28 July 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear yet again how Christ taught the people and His disciples using parables, or stories with meaning hidden in the story. Jesus did this with a purpose, namely to make it easy for them to understand the concepts about God, His kingdom and His plans by using the stories related to their daily life experiences.

In the first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah from the Old Testament, God also showed Jeremiah His intentions using a similar method, using the linen belt and use it, as well as burying it until it is destroyed, in order to bring about His intentions for His people. This, together with the parables which Christ told His people today, all have the same central idea and lesson, that is, we have good in us, and all of us have the power to make a difference in both our own lives and in the lives of others. But if we remain dormant, then we are useless and will be cast away.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters? Surely some will think that God is kind of harsh, is He not? But if we truly understand His intentions, we will know that He meant good for us. He wants us to be awakened from our deep slumber and from our inaction, as well as from any wickedness that we have committed in this life which separated us from our loving God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have to realise that if a mustard seed is not planted on the ground, or if no concrete effort and hard work are done on it when we plant it, then the mustard seed will forever remain as a seed, and it will die instead of sprouting and growing to be such a large tree as Jesus had mentioned. The same is also for yeast and bread, for if the yeast is kept separate from the bread, or if the yeast and bread mixture is not given the optimum condition, then the bread that is hard and not delicious will just remain as that.

We all know that when we make bread, in order to make the bread fluffy and having a nice texture, as well as being delicious, we need to add yeast into it, and not just that, but we have to seal the bread to allow the yeast to work. If we do everything correctly, and give the correct conditions for the bread, then it will rise and a delicious bread will come out as a result. Similarly, if we give the correct and best conditions for the mustard seed, it will grow big and healthy as a large and bountiful mustard tree.

What we can learn from these parables that Christ told us is that, if we put in our best effort in order to make the seeds of faith, hope and love that are in us to be able to grow, then they will grow optimally and they will produce wonderful and plentiful fruits of faith, of hope and of love. Then our Lord who sees that we bear much fruits and products, will love us and be gracious to us, and He will care for us for ever and ever.

If we have not done so, and if we have not bore any fruits or products, or having no good or concrete outcome from our lives, then we need to realise that we still have a chance. God is a loving and merciful God, and He likes to give us another chance every time whenever we sin and whenever we go against His will and follow Satan instead. But this is not without limit, and in the end, if we persist in our rebelliousness, we will be cast away to suffer for eternity with Satan and his angels in the endless sea of fire.

What God told Jeremiah using the example of the linen belt is no different, for a belt has its purpose, to keep our shirt and garments tied carefully to our bodies, but if it is kept in places unfavourable, then it will be destroyed and be of no use to anyone, and therefore it will be kept away and cast into the fire. It is important therefore to realise that we have been given much abilities and gifts in our respective lives from God, but we have often not realised this or even use them for the sake of evil, or for hurting and for the disadvantage of others.

We have much potential, brothers and sisters in Christ, both for good and for evil. Ultimately, it is up to us, whether we choose good over evil, or vice versa. Let us all not be those who choose evil over good, choosing to fulfill our own selfish desires and keep all the goods and seeds that God had planted in us and allow them to wither and perish. Instead, let us go forth and give the best possible condition for those seeds to grow, that all who look at us will know, that we come from God and that we belong to Him because we walk in His path.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all work together, that we may grow stronger in our faith, and turn our dormant lives into one that is filled with the graces and love of God, and in our actions, may we all be courageous to bring love and happiness to one another, that we may truly be called children of our loving God, and be saved at the end of all things. Amen.