Thursday, 15 February 2018 : Thursday after Ash Wednesday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Deuteronomy 30 : 15-20

See, I set before you on this day life and good, evil and death. I command you to love YHVH, your God and follow His ways. Observe His commandments, His norms and His laws, and you will live and increase, and YHVH will give you His blessing in the land you are going to possess.

But if your heart turns away and does not listen, if you are drawn away and bow before other gods to serve them, I declare on this day that you shall perish. You shall not last in the land you are going to occupy on the other side of the Jordan.

Let the heavens and the earth listen, that they may be witnesses against you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life that you and your descendants may live, loving YHVH, listening to His voice, and being one with Him. In this life for you and length of days in the land which YHVH swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Sunday, 10 July 2016 : 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Deuteronomy 30 : 10-14

For you shall turn to YHVH, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, and observe His commandments and norms, in a word, everything written in this Book of the Law. These commandments that I give you today are neither too high nor too far for you.

They are not in heaven that you should say : “Who will go up to heaven to get these commandments that we may hear them and put them into practice.” Neither are they at the other side of the sea for you to say : “Who will cross to the other side and bring them to us, that we may hear them and put them into practice.”

On the contrary, My word is very near you; it is already in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can put it into practice.

Saturday, 5 March 2016 : 3rd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Hosea 5 : 15 – Hosea 6 : 6

YHVH said, “Then I will go away and return to My place until they admit their guilt and come back to Me, for in their anguish they will earnestly seek Me.”

Come, let us return to YHVH. He Who shattered us to pieces, will heal us as well; He has struck us down, but He will bind up our wounds. Two days later He will bring us back to life; on the third day, He will raise us up, and we shall live in His presence.

Let us strive to know YHVH. His coming is as certain as the dawn; His judgment will burst forth like the light; He will come to us as showers come, like spring rain that waters the earth.

YHVH said, “O Ephraim, what shall I do with you? O Judah, how shall I deal with you? This love of yours is like morning mist, like morning dew that quickly disappears. This is why I smote you through the prophets, and have slain you by the words of My mouth. For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice; it is knowledge of God, not burnt offerings.”

Thursday, 2 October 2014 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate together the feast and memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, that is the angels of God who had been sent to each one of us, that is to become our protector and guardian, to watch over us and protect us from danger and harm’s way, especially on the forces seeking our destruction and damnation, that is Satan and his angels, the fallen ones.

God created the angels to serve Him, and they ceaselessly worship and glorify Him at all times. They served His various purposes, to carry His throne in heaven, to sing Him the songs of praise, to deliver His message to His creations, to fight in the constant battle against the angels who had fallen along the way into the darkness. Lucifer, the greatest among the angels, the most beautiful and mightiest, who lost himself to his pride and vanity, and ended up leading a third of the heavenly hosts into the darkness with him.

And the fallen one, stripped of his greatness and majesty became the great enemy, Satan, the deceiver and the accuser, who was filled with wrath, desire, jealousy and anger, and he is indeed angry and jealous against the love which God had shown to the greatest of His creations, that is mankind. And of course he who had aspired to raise his throne above that of God’s, and he who desired to usurp the Lordship of all the universe, would not just stay silent or happy if everything that the Lord has planned goes perfectly according to His will.

That is why, after Satan had been defeated, and his forces beaten by the angelic host of the faithful angels led by the prince of the heavenly hosts, St. Michael the Archangel, he was cast out of heaven and fall into the earth. And he then carried out an alternative plan of his, that is to wreck the Lord’s most precious and greatest of His creations, mankind, who lived in perfect bliss and joy, in complete happiness in the gardens of Eden.

Thus, he sowed the seeds of disobedience in the hearts and minds of men, by spreading his lies, first to Eve and then to Adam. This is because, if Satan was unable to overcome the Lord in his attempt to rise up against Him, then he would do something in order to hurt the Lord, and there is indeed no better way than to try to inflict injury on those whom the Lord are most pleased with.

And as we knew it, that due to the disobedience of men, our first ancestors, who chose to listen to the lies of Satan rather than to the truth of the Lord, mankind had been stripped of their rights to dwell in perfect happiness and joy, cast out of the gardens of Eden, because of the sins that had dwelled in the hearts of men through that act of disobedience, just as Satan was cast out of heaven due to his pride and rebellion against God.

But God did not give up on us, for He loved us beyond anything else in creation, and He still loves us even today, and He will always love us. That is why He gave us Jesus His Son, to be our Saviour and Deliverer from our sins. But He also sent His servants, the angels, to guard us against the forces of the evil one who are always at large to tempt us and to mislead us into a path towards sin and condemnation.

For as mentioned, the devil or Satan, and his allies resented the love God had for us, and they intend to twist us, to tempt us and to make us to turn against God and be damned just as they had once been damned before. If we allow ourselves to be led astray by them, then we are in great danger indeed, for the price is none other than the loss and eternal damnation of our souls.

If we can use an approximation to show this, we can approximate it to the shepherds, their flocks of sheep and the wolves that prowl about, waiting to get their claws and jaws on the sheep. The Lord our God, our Father and our Creator is truly like the owner of the flock, who owned the pasture and every things that are in the flocks of sheep.

Then the sheep are all of us, mankind, the children of God, whom the Lord cares for in all things, given His providence for all our needs, protected from all harm. The wolves represent the devil and his allies, the fallen angels, the demons, who are always constantly prowling about, around the flock, awaiting for the chance and opportunity to snatch the unaware and unfortunate sheep, those that wandered outside the safety of the flock.

Therefore, naturally the loving owner who cares for his sheep would employ shepherds to take care of the sheep, and to protect them from the hungry wolves, both by ensuring that the sheep remain in the flock, and guide them along the right paths to avoid any sheep from being lost. These shepherds are the angels, our guardian angels, who have been assigned to each one of us to help us on our way, so that we would not be lost to the evil ones.

The guardian angels helped us and protected us from the attacks by the evil ones, as our guides and spiritual shields. They are locked in constant battles for the sake of our souls. But they cannot do it alone, and we need to play our part as well. We too must be righteous and be listening and receptive to the guidance which our guardian angels and all the other saints and holy people of God had given us.

Therefore, let us all turn to our guardian angels and ask them for their intercession and protection, so that we may always be in the love and grace of God, and that we may avoid the traps of Satan and his fellow demons, who are prowling around us, awaiting for a chance to strike at us. Let us all fortify ourselves, that our hearts and minds may be strong and fortified against the assaults of Satan, that we may not fail the Lord as our ancestors had once done.

May Almighty God bless us and be with us, and may His angels, the guardian angels always be on us, and with the leadership of St. Michael, the prince and chief of all the heavenly hosts, including all the guardian angels, may they all smite Satan and cast him down, safeguarding us from his lies and vile works. God be with us all, and may our guardian angels be on our side always. Amen.

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

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called the Son of God.”

“Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of a renowned and great saint, a holy woman who lived her life in devotion to God. However, her greatness and fame came not from her power, achievements or greatness in any human sense. In fact, she was great because she was a repentant sinner, who turned her back from the worst of sins she had once committed, and dedicated herself fully and completely to the Lord.

This saint is St. Mary Magdalene, one of the holy women who followed Jesus, up to the sacrifice He made on the cross at Calvary, where she followed Him together with the other Mary, the mother of our God. St. Mary Magdalene was a faithful disciple of the Lord, and she was one of the first disciples to whom Jesus had appeared just right after His resurrection in order to proclaim to them the truth. She was truly privileged, but she was not always good as that.

Yes, St. Mary Magdalene was once a prostitute who engaged in licentious and wicked activities, and once even she had seven evil spirits that possessed and dwelled in her. That was the case until Jesus met her and cast those demons away from her. She then became one of the close and trusted followers of Jesus who followed Him through wherever He went to teach and heal the people of their sickness and afflictions, just as what had been done unto her.

Those who are sinners do not need to lose hope, as if they sincerely repent and change their ways from their sinful past, then they will be received back by Jesus, who is the Lord of mercy and Lord of love. That was what had happened to St. Mary Magdalene, who turned her back to her sinful past, and vowing to follow the Lord for the rest of her life.

Many of us today also still live in darkness, and although we often desire to return to the light and forsake the darkness, we often are not able to cut away our strong attachments to sin and wickedness that filled out past. The reading in the first reading today, taken from the Book of the Song of songs, is a representation of our desire to seek the Lord, who is truly the love and desire of our hearts.

But along the way, we often get distracted and misled, so that our desire to seek the Lord and be reunited with Him in love gets replaced with selfish desires and greed which characterised many of our actions, mankind’s actions that show our fragility and weakness towards sin. This is why we are inhabited by the evil spirits and by our evil desires, just as St. Mary Magdalene once was.

Ultimately, what is important is that we have hope, and we should never give up hope no matter how dark and impossible the situation is. What is impossible for men is always possible for the Lord. Even the greatest of sinners and the most wicked of blasphemers are not completely without hope. And we cannot forget the very fact that Jesus came for the sake of sinners and those who were lost in darkness. Remember that He said so when the Pharisees criticised Him for eating at the house of tax collectors?

Jesus our Lord loves all, and especially more so those who are deep in sin, as these people are those who are at the greatest risk of falling into eternal damnation of hell, out of which there is no escape. Let us recall the story of Lazarus and the rich man, when the rich man fell into hell and suffered in hellfire, because he had not abandoned his sinful ways and ignored those who are in need like Lazarus.

And St. Mary Magdalene showed us that if we are willing to change our ways and listen to God, following Him instead of the devil, there is hope for all of us. But in order to do this, requires much sacrifices and efforts from us. Nevertheless, if we are able to persevere, we will receive much rewards in the end, just as what St. Mary Magdalene had received as a reward for her faith and piety to God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the conversion and the newfound faith of St. Mary Magdalene, let us all renew our faith to God, and let us find God, who is the true love and desire of our hearts. If St. Mary Magdalene can find Him, then we can certainly find Him as well in our own lives. May God be the light that enlightens us and lead us on our way. Amen.

Sunday, 11 May 2014 : 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and World Day of Prayer for Vocations (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 2 : 14a, 36-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, and with a loud voice, addressed them, “Let Israel then know for sure that God has made Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified.”

When they heard this, they were deeply troubled. And they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

Peter answered, “Each of you must repent and and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of God was made to you and your children, and to all those from afar whom our God may call.”

With many other words Peter gave the message and appealed to them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who accepted his word were baptised; some three thousand persons were added to their number that day.