Tuesday, 22 September 2020 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the word of God in the Scriptures, we are all reminded that the Lord has called us to do His will, to walk in His path faithfully and just as He has set before us His laws and commandments through His Church, we are called to be faithful as good and active Christians in words and deeds, in all that we do.

In our first reading today, from the Book of Proverbs we heard of the Lord presenting to us all the reality of those who obey the Lord and those who disobey Him. And He presented before all of us how those who walk in His path, that they all will be good and honest in the eyes of all, without injustice and wickedness in their actions, while those who refuse to believe in Him and walk in His path show their waywardness in action.

The Lord has also told us that what He needs from us is genuine faith and obedience, real action and living faith rather than just empty gestures and appearances. And to be His followers, it requires us all to spend the time and effort to do His will, to reach out to one another with love, to be exemplary in how we carry out our daily lives in faith that we may inspire each other to be more faithful to Him.

This is what He has also reiterated through our Gospel passage today, as He said to those who told Him that His family were waiting on Him, that His brothers and sisters were also those that have listened to the Lord, obeyed His will and commandments. This statement meant no disrespect to the mother of the Lord or to His relatives, but rather a reminder that for the Lord, everyone else are also equally beloved and important, as many people tend to put their family above others.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must consider ourselves as being truly fortunate because we have God on our side, Who is loving and ever committed to the Covenant which He had made with us all. God has always loved us and He will not abandon us no matter what. But have we loved Him in the same way? And have we come to appreciate what He has done for us? If we realise just how much He has loved us, then we ought to live our lives more faithfully from now on.

Brothers and sisters, as we remind ourselves of our Christian calling, let us all consider how we can be more active in living up to our faith in our respective communities. As Christians, we are called to be witnesses to God’s truth and love, and by committing ourselves to live in faith, we can inspire others to follow in our footsteps, to be faithful and committed to God as well and be worthy of His salvation.

Especially during these difficult and troubling times, when the world is facing so many problems and difficulties, how do we as Christians act in such a way that we inspire one another, especially those who are downtrodden, in despair and without hope? Have we reached out to those who need more love, care and concern, those who are in trouble and needy, those whom we encounter and in which we have the opportunity to help?

Brothers and sisters, for us to be faithful to God, and to do His will, we do not really need to do amazing and extraordinary deeds. On the contrary, it is in fact through our little actions in life, in our every day living, our small and little interactions with one another that we become faithful witnesses of the Lord, and it is through our lives and our actions that we will be known as God’s people, and by our actions, more and more people will come to know God and be saved, through us.

Let us all therefore seek the Lord with all of our hearts from now on, and let us all devote ourselves to serve the Lord and proclaim His Good News by our dedication and faithful life. May the Lord help us and guide us in this journey that we may draw ever closer to Him, and find our path to the true joy and eternal glory in Him. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 8 : 19-21

At that time, the mother of Jesus and His relatives came to Him; but they could not get to Him because of the crowd. Someone told Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside and wish to meet You.”

Then Jesus answered, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44

Blessed are they whose ways are upright, who follow the Law of YHVH.

Explain to me all Your ordinances, and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds.

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart upon Your laws.

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your Law with all my heart.

Guide me in obeying Your instructions, for my pleasure lies in them.

May I always keep Your word, forever and ever.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Proverbs 21 : 1-6, 10-13

In the hands of YHVH, the heart of the king is like running water; He directs it wherever He wishes. To the eyes of man all His ways are honest but it is YHVH Who weighs the heart. To do what is upright and just pleases YHVH more than sacrifice.

Haughty looks, proud heart, the light of the wicked is sin. The plans of a hardworking man result in earnings; poverty is for those who act too hastily. To make a fortune by means of deceit is like running after the wind; the end is death.

The soul of the wicked desires nothing but evil; not even his friend is treated with compassion. When the mocker is punished the ignorant man grows wise; when the wise man is instructed he grows in knowledge. The Just One watches the house of the evildoer and hurls the wicked into misfortune.

He who is deaf to the poor man’s cry will not be heard when he himself calls out.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrate the feast of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows. It is interesting that after the high of the celebrations of the joyful exaltation and triumph of the Holy Cross yesterday, then we come to the remembrance of the sorrows of our Blessed Mother, who was sorrowful at the suffering and death of her Son.

But in truth, this is an important reminder that the Cross of Christ, while it is a sign of great victory and triumph against sin, evil and darkness, but it is also where our Lord and Saviour suffered grievously for the sins and faults that He had willingly bore for our sake, every blows and wounds that He bore up to the Cross, as a most worthy offering to God, for the redemption of all mankind and atonement of all of our sins.

And in all these, His mother, Mary, grieved as a mother should when the mother sees the suffering of the child. As the mother grieved in seeing her son suffers, Mary saw her own Son, born of her womb and Whom she took care all her life, suffering so much for the sake of the whole world, fulfilling the task which had been entrusted to Him as the Saviour of the world. And Mary saw all of that, and faithfully walked beside her Son, following Him as He took the last steps of the journey towards His crucifixion.

It must have been painful for Mary to witness such a horrific scene happening before her, as she saw her Son suffering in such a manner, deprived of all dignity and honour, betrayed and cast aside by the authorities and the people, condemned to death for faults that were not His. Yet, Mary obeyed perfectly and completely to the will of God, and bore her sorrows with the faith and knowledge that everything would happen as God willed it.

It must have indeed been most sorrowful for a mother to witness her own child’s death, but that was exactly what happened as Mary beheld the lifeless body of her Son, at the foot of the Cross. This is most commonly depicted as Our Lady of Sorrows, the most sorrowful and sad depiction of Mary, as a loving Mother holding her Son, His mission fulfilled and completed, but with sorrow piercing her heart seeing all that happened.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can just see how great Mary’s faith and dedication is, that despite her sorrows and the trials she had to endure, she remained firmly committed to the cause and mission that has been entrusted to her. And seeing her Son suffered in such a way, certainly brought Mary to shown great concern and love for each and every one of us, whom by adoption into the Church, has become her own children and beloved ones.

That is why, if we notice, Mary has appeared many times to many people in various times and places, all with the similar message imploring us mankind to turn away from our sins, to repent sincerely and to embrace God’s forgiveness and most generous mercy. That is because she knew full well the suffering that we all will endure for our sins, in the suffering that her Son had endured and which she had witnessed herself as she followed Him faithfully right up to the foot of the cross.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we commemorate this Feast of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, let us all look up to Mary, our loving Mother for her exemplary faith and dedication to God. Let us all be ever more faithful and turn away from our wickedness, from our actions that had brought scandal to our faith, and genuinely seek God’s forgiveness so that we may be forgiven our sins and be worthy of the eternal glory, life and joy that will be ours in God’s presence.

Let us turn to our sorrowful and loving Mother and comfort her by our dedication and desire to lead a more Christ-like life, to obey the Law of God and to follow His will in every actions and deeds we have, and to be shining beacons of Christian faith for one another in this darkened world. Let us all sin no more, and strive to follow our Mother’s faithful examples, so that we may receive the crown of eternal life and glory, and triumph with the Holy Cross of Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

May the Lord, our crucified Messiah and loving Saviour continue to bless and guide us, and may His ever loving Mother continue to show her tender care towards us all. O Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us all sinners, and pray that we may all endeavour to turn away from our wicked sins, and enter into God’s mercy and forgiveness. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

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

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

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

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o YHVH, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o YHVH, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o YHVH, I said : “You are my God.” My days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 5 : 7-9

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him, Who could save Him from death, and He was heard, because of His humble submission. Although He was Son, He learnt, through suffering, what obedience was, and, once made perfect, He became the Source of eternal salvation, for those who obey Him.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrating the moment when Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, was born into this world. And if we noticed the date and timing, we will realise how it is exactly nine months today, after the eighth day of the month December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

If on the day of the Immaculate Conception we rejoice in the moment the Mother of God herself was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, then nine months after that, today, we celebrate her birth into this world, the moment of joy when both her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne welcomed her into the world although at that time no one would have ever known that this little baby, soon to be a young woman and lady, would be the one to bear the Saviour of the world.

In today’s Scripture readings, we heard of the humanity of Christ that came forth from His descent, through His legal foster-father, St. Joseph, who was the rightful heir of David, the great King of Israel, and He was also descended from king David through His mother Mary, through another lineage also highlighted in the Scripture and according to the sacred traditions of the Church.

We heard through the long lineage how the Lord eventually descended through the kings of Judah and Israel, to king David and through him, from Abraham, the father of many nations, and ultimately from Adam, the very first one of all man. Through this very significant link, we can see that in Christ lays the ultimate culmination of the Lord’s salvation of His people, in Christ as the New Adam, a comparison that was made by St. Paul, the One Who liberated us all from death just as the first, old Adam brought us into death through sin.

Then how does Mary fit in all these, brothers and sisters in Christ? Just as Adam was the first man, and Eve was created by God from the flesh of Adam, then we can surely see the interesting parallel that exists between Adam and Eve, and Christ and His mother, Mary. Yes, exactly, Mary is the new Eve, the new Woman that the Lord Himself had proclaimed at the beginning as the one through whom the final victory of man over Satan and his forces would come from.

When Eve fell to the temptations of Satan and fell into sin, it was Mary’s faith and obedience to God that marked a new beginning for all of us. And while Adam and Eve fell into sin, embracing the temptations of Satan who persuaded them with knowledge and power, to fill themselves up with greatness and in Satan’s own words ‘to be like God’, the new Adam, Christ Himself, although fully Divine, chose to empty Himself from His divinity, and in humble and perfect obedience, destroyed the sins caused by the disobedience of man.

Through Mary and her obedience, her faith and commitment, the love she has for her Son, showed by her dedication through her whole life since birth and through the lifetime and ministry of her Son, she has showed us what it means for us to follow God and to be faithful to Him, and that is why, rightfully, the devil himself fears Mary very, very much, the most of all the children of Adam and Eve, as it was her devotion to God, her perfect love and faith, modelled after her Son, that brought him to his ultimate and complete defeat.

Unlike Eve, Mary was not and could not be tempted by Satan, just as he failed to tempt the Lord Himself. That is why, rightfully, he feared Mary, just almost as much as he had to yield to her Son, his rightful Lord and Master, whom he had rebelled against, lost, and cast out, to face eternity of defeat and destruction, while all of us, who share in the glory of Christ, will be brought out of the clutches of Satan, and with Mary guiding the way for us to her Son, our Lord and Saviour.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice today in celebration of the birthday of the Mother of Our Lord, let us all therefore look upon the examples of her faith and dedication, her trust in God and how she humbly allowed God to lead her in all things. And indeed, it is by following her examples and being inspired by her faith that we can be closest to God, for ‘through Mary, to Jesus’ should be our rallying cry, in the constant struggle against sin.

Let us all not lose faith and remain strong in our commitment to the Lord, and let us all have faith, that in the end, we will win the struggle over our souls, and by siding with God, with the help of His beloved Mother, Mary, who is also our mother, we will find the surest and best way to reach the salvation in God’s everlasting grace and love.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, whose birth we celebrate and rejoice today, pray for all of us, your adopted children and sinners, that we may grow ever stronger in faith and love for your Son, by imitating and following your own examples, humility, obedience and faith, in all times and at all moments of our lives. May the Lord be with us always, and may He always bless all of our good endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 1-16, 18-23

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 1 : 18-23

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means God-with-us.