Athanasian Creed : A Profession of the True Christian Faith

The Athanasian Creed by St. Athanasius of Alexandria, the courageous and zealous defender of the faith against the heretics who refused to see the truth in Christ, that He is fully divine and man, united in one person of Jesus Christ, who as the Son is equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the Most Holy Trinity, One God but Three Divine Persons.

 

Text of the Athanasian Creed:

 

Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit.

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

 

Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separantes.

And the Catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence.

 

Alia est enim persona Patris alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti: Sed Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coeterna maiestas. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis et Spiritus Sanctus.

For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.

 

Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus et Spiritus Sanctus. Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus et Spiritus Sanctus. Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeternus et Spiritus Sanctus.

The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal.

 

Et tamen non tres aeterni, sed unus aeternus. Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus.

And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite.

 

Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens et Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens.

So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty.

 

Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus et Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est Deus. Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus et Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus est Dominus.

So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord.

 

Quia, sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri christiana veritate compellimur: Ita tres Deos aut tres Dominos dicere catholica religione prohibemur.

For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords.

 

Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens.

The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding.

 

Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres: unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti. Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil maius aut minus: Sed totae tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt et coaequales.

So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal.

 

Ita, ut per omnia, sicut iam supra dictum est, et unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit. Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat.

So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

 

Sed necessarium est ad aeternam salutem, ut incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Iesu Christi fideliter credat. Est ergo fides recta ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus pariter et homo est.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

 

Deus est ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus. Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens. Aequalis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem.

God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood.

 

Qui licet Deus sit et homo, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus. Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae.

Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person.

 

Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo: ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos: tertia die resurrexit a mortuis.

For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead.

 

Ascendit ad in caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis. Inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos. Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis; Et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum.

He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

 

Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit.

This is the Catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

Sunday, 26 January 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 1 : 10-13, 17

I beg of you, brothers, in the Name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, to agree among yourselves and do away with divisions; please be perfectly united, with one mind and one judgment.

For I heard from people of Cloe’s house about your rivalries. What I mean is this : some say, “I am for Paul,” and others : “I am for Apollo,” or “I am for Peter,” or “I am for Christ.” Is Christ divided or have I, Paul, been crucified for you? Have you been baptised in the name of Paul?

For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to proclaim His Gospel. And not with beautiful words! That would be like getting rid of the cross of Christ.

Sunday, 19 January 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brethren in Christ, today we heard how every reading proclaimed the glory of God in Jesus, His Son, who came down upon us, incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who walked in this earth, and who went on a blessed ministry of healing and purification of the people of God, after He was baptised in the Jordan by John the Baptist.

John the Baptist, who was also the relative of Jesus, was sent ahead of Him, to be the one who was prophesied in the first reading today, in the Book of the prophet Isaiah, who prophesied that the servant of God would come, and through him, prepared for such a ministry from the womb of his mother, the Lord would be known to everyone.

And that was precisely what John the Baptist did. He was prepared for a mission for the sake of the Lord ever since he was still in his mother’s womb. John the Baptist went on to live in the desert and became a great voice that shouted in the wilderness, calling the people of God to repent and forgo their old, sinful ways. He called for the repentance of peoples and for them to mark their repentance with the baptism of water at the Jordan.

John the Baptist baptised people and they came to him, seeking forgiveness for their sins. He therefore prepared the way straight for the Lord, who came immediately after him, Jesus, the Son of Mary, his relative. And John the Baptist, despite his popularity and his following, did not succumb to the usual weakness of human pride and arrogance. Instead, he did what he was supposed to do, that is to prepare and welcome the coming of the Lord the Saviour.

He proclaimed the Lord to his own followers and to the people after he baptised Jesus and witnessed the events which confirmed to him that Jesus was indeed the One he had been waiting for, and the One indeed whom John had done all those hard work for. John did not complain or hold any grudge against the Lord, for having received all the good fruits and benefits of his hard works. Instead, he joyfully proclaimed the Lord to all.

John the Baptist, as is often said, is a role model for all of us Christians who believed in the Lord. He humbly acknowledged the superiority of the Lord, who grew in glory and majesty, while he declined in importance. Even after his own disciples complained about the fact, he told them the truth about Jesus, who He was and what great things He would do, for the salvation of all mankind.

We should follow the examples of John the Baptist, that we also be humble before the Lord, especially in full awareness of our sins and our unworthiness, despite which our Lord and God Jesus Christ still came to save us. John the Baptist showed us how to lead a Christian life. We cannot be Christians if we do not proclaim Christ in our life, be it through our words, deeds, or actions. We should be always ever ready to confess that Christ is the Lord and the Saviour, that all will also believe in Him, much as how John convinced his followers that Jesus is the Christ and the Lord.

But today, there are even many more things we should talk about, because today is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, commemorating the many millions today who are refugees away from their homeland, because of war, because of hatred and injustice, and because of prejudice and lack of love among mankind. Also commemorated today are the migrants who had gone away from their homeland to a new land, often far far away, for many reasons, most important of which are for economic reasons and also to seek peaceful life away from warfare.

As mentioned in the prophesy of Isaiah in the first reading, the coming of the Messiah was also associated with the reunion of the people of God who had been scattered throughout the world in exile. The coming of Christ was supposed to bring forth the peace and harmony, which would see that mankind no longer hate or despise one another, but instead live in harmony and love.

Yes, that is what we expect will happen, when the Lord who had come in Jesus Christ and died for our sins, comes again for the second time, when He will come as a victorious and conquering king, to bring all those who are faithful to Him into His eternal kingdom, where there will be no more hatred, divisions, or violence. Nevertheless, for us who are in this world, who still live in this world before this time, unfortunately this world is still very much in a mess.

If you follow the world news, you will realise that in many parts of the world, if not most, there are still much hatred, violence, and prejudice which existed between mankind, between one person and another, and between peoples. The world is rife with rivalry between human interests, either for land, or for more natural resources, and for many other reasons, including greed.

People were driven from their homes and their land, because violence often still ruled the day. As we all know what had happened recently in places such as Libya and Syria, especially what is still happening now in Syria, where thousands upon thousands die because of the violence there, because of the disregard for human life, and hatred for the others, that is hatred against those considered to be different to one’s group and therefore abominable.

Men fought one another and slaughter the innocent, because love has yet to take root in them, and many parts of the world if not most are still subject to this evil. And the result was pain, sorrow, and death. Many had to be driven from their homes and the land which they had inherited from their forefathers, and which they had lived in so peacefully until recently.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord is love, peace, and harmony, and He has given to us His peace and His love. While we await for His second coming in glory, it is actually our part to play, in order to bring peace and love to our brethren, especially to whom peace and love had been taken away, such as our migrant and refugee brethren. They need peace, as well as our love and care. For it is often that they lost everything when they were forced off their land, and they had nothing.

Therefore brethren, let us show our faith and dedication to the Lord who loves us all and wants us to be reunited to Him, by showing our love to the refugees and migrants of this world, especially if any of them are present in our societies. Let us not follow the trend of this world, that is to shun them and cast them out of our societies, making them into a ghetto of refugees and migrants. We should instead help them, and talk to them, and then we will understand better the difficulties they had faced.

Let us then not close our hearts to the plight of the migrants and refugees, and seek to welcome them as our fellow brothers and sisters, helping them in any way we can to help alleviate their sufferings. Let us proclaim the love of God to them and to all men, following in the footsteps of John the Baptist, who proclaimed Jesus as the Lord and Messiah to all people he taught.

May we all then proclaim the Lord as our God, as one people, and seek to heal any divisions, pains, or sufferings that exist among us, that we may let go of any hatred or negative feelings, and instead embrace the way of peace, the way of the Lord. May God bring us together, as fellow brothers and sisters in the unity of God’s loving family, and may we all be blessed forever. Amen!

Sunday, 12 January 2014 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast of the Church, commemorating the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ at the Jordan river by St. John the Baptist. This baptism marked the beginning of the ministry of our Lord Jesus, after thirty years of His life in this world since He was born.

A detail on the early life of Jesus besides His birth, presentation at the Temple and the time when He was left behind in the Temple at twelve was scarce and absent, but it was likely that He lived normally as any man would, under the care of His loving family, Mary His mother and Joseph, His foster-father. He would have lived normally as any sons of a carpenter would live, learning and understanding the world from Joseph, His foster-father.

Jesus came to the Jordan to be baptised by John because it had been prophesied as such by the prophets, and it therefore the very first instance when Christ the Saviour was revealed to the world, the very first instance when many could see and hear the witness of God’s sign of salvation. The truth about God and His saving plan was made clear at that moment when Jesus was baptised.

God made His Son, Jesus Christ to be the Christ or the Messiah, or the Saviour of the world. That was because it was only in Christ that the world could be freed from the chains of sin and evil that had enslaves it since the time when sin first entered the world. And all those who believe in Him would receive the great reward of salvation.

In that event too, God made obvious His nature for the world to see. First, that He is the one and only true God as opposed to all other false gods. He is the one and only supreme Lord and King of all, as the One who created this universe and everything in it, including all of us. But in this Oneness and unity, He has three Divine persons, all coexisting with each other in perfect unity, Three distinct persona, but One in nature and in perfect and indivisible unity.

Yes, what was shown in the event of the baptism of Jesus was what we know as the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity. God that is One and yet has Three distinct persona of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. All of them are God, and One. The Father is the aspect of God as the Creator and the Omnipotent ruler and Lord of all things, while the Son, who was the Word of God made flesh, is the One who made things come to be, including the creation as well as the plan of salvation. The Holy Spirit is the force and power behind all things and all creation, as well as the life that God has given us.

The Father is not seen or visible to us, as He was portrayed in the Old Testament as a burning bush to Moses, or as a gentle wind to Elijah. It was often His voice that was heard, speaking His will to the prophets or directly to the people of God. Meanwhile, the Son who was the Word of God since the beginning of time and before that, was made known to us, in the person of Jesus Christ, incarnate as a Man, to become the Saviour of the world.

The Holy Spirit was also not directly seen like the Father, but is often portrayed as the flames of fire symbolising the flames of the Spirit of God, just as what happened in Pentecost, as well as a dove, which is the form that the Spirit took when Jesus was baptised at the Jordan. Thus, the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, recalling the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan.

How is this important to us? That is because when we were baptised, we were immersed with the water of baptism much like Jesus as He was immersed in the waters of the River Jordan. And not only that, to show that our baptism is not symbolic, but instead a Sacrament, we were all sealed in the Most Holy Name of the Holy Trinity, to be the possessions of the Lord, and marked for His saving grace, which He had revealed to the world through Jesus.

Jesus Christ was unique among every beings that had ever been in creation and in this universe. That is because He is one Being with two distinct natures, one that is fully divine and the other that is fully human, the two natures of which are united much in the same way the Holy Trinity is united to each other, perfectly united in love and indivisible from one another.

The divine nature of Christ is the One who had existed before all ages with God and was God, the Logos or the Word of God, who came down into the world, and with the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, was conceived into the world in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, and that was the time, when His human nature, that is Jesus Christ, becomes extant.

The two natures had always existed together in Jesus, but as He grew as a baby and then as a young child, the complete truth about His appointed mission in this world was not revealed to Jesus. Nevertheless, He grew to be great with wisdom and knowledge as He aged, and whatever had been taught to Him by His family in this world. It was however at His baptism in the Jordan, when the Trinity once again come together, in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that the fullness of the divine mission of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was made completely clear.

Hence, it can be said that this is the moment of new beginning in the earthly life of Christ. He began His ministry and teaching the Good News for the next three years or so, gathering His disciples and performing miracles and healing for the glory of God. It marked the beginning of the period of great graces of God, just as it does for all of us.

When we were baptised, we were marked to be the possessions of the Lord, that the mark of the Lord will remain for us for the rest of our lives. We were made completely clean once again, without any taints of sin with the water of baptism, and most important of all, we are all made children of God upon our baptism. But then we cannot just be idle or engage again in sinfulness, as we were indeed made clean upon baptism, but there also began our journey of faith towards the ultimate salvation in God, just as Jesus embarked upon His ministry.

May the Lord our God remind us of our holy baptism, of the time when we were made His children and welcomed into the Church, today, when we celebrate the baptism of His Son at the Jordan. May we remember always the water of baptism that made us whole again and worthy of the Lord, that we will resolve from now on to continue living in faith and devotion to God, without turning to the left or right.

Stay faithful, brethren, and as we rejoice in the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us also remember our own day of baptism! Yes, when we were made glorified as the children of God! God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 5 January 2014 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 2-3a, 5-6

You may have heard of the graces God bestowed on me for your sake. By a revelation He gave me the knowledge of His mysterious design.

This mystery was not made known to past generations but only now, through revelations given to holy apostles and prophets. Now the non-Jewish people share the Inheritance; in Christ Jesus the non-Jews are incorporated and are to enjoy the Promise. This is the Good News.

Thursday, 21 November 2013 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have been called by the Lord, to be His possessions. Yes, indeed, to be within His Holy Family, with Him at the centre of all, at the centre of our own lives. That is what He meant, when He said that all those who do the will of God, belongs to Him and He claims at His own.

It may seem to some that the Lord Jesus was being rude towards His own family, especially to His own mother, Mary, who had given birth to Him. But this is not so! Why so? That is because indeed, when we try to portray what happened in our human language, it is distorted in its true meaning. What the Lord truly meant was in fact that, firstly, He is the property of all mankind, of all creation, and He belongs to all of us, just as we all belong to Him.

Then secondly, Jesus meant for all of us to be more like His own mother, the role model of all the faithful. Yes, Jesus in fact praised His own mother in a subtle means, through what He had said. He highlighted the goodness and the faith that is in Mary, His mother, whom we celebrate today, the event of her presentation just after her birth.

For the Blessed Virgin Mary, she was born in a state of purity, without the taint of original sin, and she led a pure, holy, and immaculate life from then on. This is to prepare her to become the very vessel, the gateway through which the salvation of our Lord would come down to us. Through her, our Lord Himself came upon this world in Jesus, God incarnate into Man.

Today we celebrate this Mother of our God, when she was presented after her immaculate birth, at the Temple of God, just as her Son Jesus was presented many years later. From this presentation, mankind has presented to the Lord, the one through whom the Salvation of the world would come. As we approach the end of this liturgical year, we talk a lot about the end of times and the final salvation of all souls, and therefore, in Mary, the Lord has further advanced the path of mankind, to be closer and closer towards the final end.

Mary is a role model for us, to follow in our journey of faith. That was what Jesus meant, as He spoke to His disciples and the people who heard Him. As the Lord said in the Book of the prophet Zechariah, that He will make His people His own, and taking them into His own presence and being. And they ought to rejoice, for God Himself has come to dwell among us, within us, and alongside us.

And this happened through Mary, and with the full cooperation from this wonderful and yet humble and good woman. Without the cooperation, the perfect obedience, and dedication of Mary, the salvation of the Lord would not have come. Through Mary and her own words, ‘I am the handmaid and servant of the Lord, be it done unto me as what He willed.’, Mary made salvation to come unto this world, and also at the same time, showed the kind of virtue and obedience that the Lord expects from all of us.

That is why our Lord said, ‘Those who do the will of God are My family.’ Essentially, what Mary had done, is what we are all expected to become. Obey the will of the Lord, keep His laws and precepts foremost in our lives, and cast away all things that made us unworthy. And indeed, just as Mary was presented before the Lord, we too should do the same.

Yes, brethren, surrender ourselves to the Lord, and to His infinite and undying love. Open the gates of our hearts to allow God’s love and mercy to flow unrestricted in their fullness into us. Present our dirty and sinful selves, that we may be made whole and pure again, worthy of the Lord who will bring us into Himself, and made us all His family, to enjoy the happiness He had prepared for all of us.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners and help us to draw ever closer to Your Son. Amen.

Monday, 28 October 2013 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house whose foundations are the apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus.

In Him the whole structure is joined together and rises to be a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you too are being built to become the spiritual sanctuary of God.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Christ warns us today, of the implications of following Him and dedicating ourselves to Him. He highlighted that it will not be an easy path for us, if we choose to follow Him, and oppositions will likely always stand in our way. The other path, that is the alternative path, is easier to take, but it is also a path that leads to ruin and eternal damnation.

The Lord our God had rescued us from the hands of the devil, and rescued us from the depth of our sinfulness, lifting us up to a new life in holiness and glory. He had done that, none other through the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus, on the cross. This event of salvation, through the Passion of Christ, highlights the very purpose of the coming of Christ into this world. Christ did not come into this world just for nothing. He came into this world to save it, and save it by no other means other than through the shedding of His blood, and the laying down of His life.

This event also highlights the kind of reception the people have on Jesus, how throughout the ministry of Jesus, while there are many who were glad of His coming, and praised Him as their King, there are also many of those who opposed Him and placed many obstacles in His path, blocking His good works and slandered against Him.

Particularly, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were among the most vicious and stubborn of all of God’s enemies. They rejected God and His ways, preferring their own human and worldly strengths and power. The Lord came into the world, and ever since He began His ministry, He had been faced with all kinds of rejection and even sometimes violent, opposition. Many tested Him and asked Him all sorts of questions doubting His authority as the Messiah and the Son of God.

That is because Satan sowed the seed of distrust and lack of faith in the hearts of these men, because he did not wish to lose his grip on us, which he had once had in complete dominion. The Lord Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross had broken us free from that deadly grip, and set us well on the path towards salvation. Ever since that, Satan no longer has any power over us, for we have been freed from the slavery he had imposed on us.

Yet, do not be mistaken, brothers and sisters, because the Lord our God is a loving God and the Lord of peace. One may easily be misled by the reading today, especially that of the Gospel, that the Lord brings about division and discord. That is a lie that Satan has for us, especially those among us whose faith are weak. The devil himself is the one who sowed those discords and divisions among the people of God, by planting his agents and his seeds of evil, even within the people whom we know well, even within our families and circles of friends.

This again does not mean that we should respond to the discord and divisions with equally great passion for such discords and divisions. It is in our human nature for us to be angry and to hate others, and it is easy for us to take part in that discord, and therefore creating even greater divisions and suffering for one another. Do not give Satan the satisfaction of seeing us being divided against one another and hating one another, even as we have faith in God.

That is why, it is important that we put the Lord’s commandments into practice, and by following His examples. This is done through love and forgiveness. We have to be able to love and commit ourselves to love, especially those who had caused us pain, suffering, and hurt, and be ready to forgive them for what they had done. In this way, our love will flow out from us, and then shared with our fellow brethren, and therefore, with love we can change the state of ourselves, our family, and our brethren around us, ending the division Satan had caused, and bring everyone together with God, in love and perfect harmony.

Remember that our Lord Himself forgave those who had handed Him over to His executors and jailors. He had prayed that the Father would forgive all those who had done such terrible deeds towards Him, that He will not take into account their sins. If our Lord Himself had shown us the example, then we too ought to follow in His footsteps.

Today, brethren, we celebrate the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, a bishop and religious who founded the religious order of the Claretians. St. Anthony Mary Claret was a man who joined the priesthood and then went on to do many good works for the sake of the faith. He did many charitable works, and was particularly caring for the poor and the abandoned in the society, and during his ministry, he visited and founded hospitals and other charitable organisations dedicated to the care of these least among us.

Even after being chosen and made as an Archbishop in an important see in the New World, that is of Cuba, St. Anthony Mary Claret remained dedicated to his works and to the cause of the poor, the weak, and the less fortunate. He founded a religious congregation, known well as the Claretians, whose aims and works conform to that of St. Anthony Mary Claret, and his focus on service to the people of God.

After he chose to retire from his position, he preached widely and worked hard to maintain the adherence of many to the true faith, and was very successful in this manner, especially through his extensive writing and publications. He even helped the Pope himself to convene and plan for the First Vatican Council, which was designed to deal with errors and heresies within the Church and affirm the obedience to the true and orthodox Christian faith.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us show the world, the love of God given to mankind, that through our words, our deeds, and our actions, just as those of St. Anthony Mary Claret and those who followed in his footsteps can be the beacons of light, hope, and love, piercing through the dark veil spread by Satan over all of us, in attempt to divide us through lies and fabrications, that we will hurt one another and therefore sin before God.

Let us ask St. Anthony Mary Claret for his intercession, and may the Lord too strengthen us in our devotion and love for Him, that we may love Him greatly and tenderly at all times, until the end of our days and until we are reunited again with Him in the glory of heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 14 October 2013 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Callistus I, Pope and Martyr (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyr)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord Jesus is our promised salvation, the One whom the prophets had been proclaiming about. He is the descendant of David, the One to inherit for eternity the kingdom that had been given to His forefather, to be the king of not just Israel, but over all the world, and indeed, as the Lord Creator of all, as the King of all creations.

He is also the descendant of Adam, the first man, and as a new Man, the Son of Man, becoming the new Adam, the first One to rise from the dead and into glory. Just as Adam had fallen into temptations of Satan, the evil one, with his wife, Eve, then Christ had broken hold of evil over mankind, the descendants of Adam, by being the faithful One, the One who held on true to His faith and love in God, even unto death.

Yes, for through Jesus, the new Adam, mankind had been liberated, ransomed with the price of the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Himself. That is the price He had paid for the sake of our salvation and liberation from slavery of sin under Satan. That ultimate sacrifice He had done at Calvary, to die on the cross for the sake of all mankind, is the sign of Jonah that He had promised to show the people, who so stubbornly demanded Him to show a miraculous sign.

Yes, brethren, demanding Jesus to show them a sign, while what they have experienced while they were with Him, especially the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who had always tailed Jesus wherever He went, and tried Him with questions and traps they had laid for Him. They have seen what Jesus had done, and had heard His teachings, and yet they did not believe, or rather, refused to believe in Him or in what wonders He had done.

The sign of Jonah is the reinforcement of what had happened to Jonah, when he tried to escape from his prophetic responsibility, to bring the judgment of God to the city of Nineveh. His escape ship was struck with a vicious storm, and he had to throw himself into the sea so that the ship would not sink. God sent a big fish, a whale, to swallow and protect Jonah in its belly for three days. That is what had happened to Jonah, and precisely what Jesus had shown the people of God.

Jesus Christ Himself was taken away from the world, that after His death, He went down into hell, not as a condemned one, but instead as a triumphant and conquering One, as One who liberates those who had been imprisoned unjustly by the evil one, delivering them from the darkness of the hell and this world into the light of heavenly glory. For three days, He was hidden from the world, just like Jonah who was in the belly of the fish for three days.

And just as Jonah who had been freed from the belly of the fish and went on to continue his ministry to Nineveh and its people, and after realising the benevolence and merciful nature of God, understanding that the people of Nineveh was not punished because they were repentant and regretful of their past sinful ways, so did Jesus bring about salvation and forgiveness for all those who had shunned their sinfulness and embraced Him as their Lord and Saviour.

This is the fundamental core of our faith, one that we have to keep uphold strongly throughout our life. We must never forget that our Lord had died for us and given up His life so that we may live and not suffer death eternal in hell, for He had freed us from bondage to Satan and bring us into new life of holiness and true joy.

Today, brethren, we celebrate the feast of Pope St. Callistus I, also known as St. Callixtus I, one of the first Popes and therefore one of the early leaders of the Universal Church. Pope St. Callistus I faced many difficult experiences in his life, and even more so during his ministry as the successor of St. Peter, as the leader of the Universal Church. There were oppositions and persecutions from the pagan Romans and their Emperors, and life was truly difficult. There were also oppositions from within the Church, with rival factions and disagreements threatening to split the Church apart, especially over treatment of lapsed Christians and forgiveness given unto them when they decided to return to the Church.

Yet, Pope St. Callistus I persevered through these tribulations, and led the people of God through those difficult times, enduring oppositions after oppositions, and led the people of God back to God, reconciling themselves with one another. Pope St. Callistus dedicated himself to the cause of Christ even unto his death, his martyrdom in the defense of his faith. In that, he had upheld the faith that he had in Christ, in the One who had Himself persevered through numerous trials and oppositions, and death so that all of us may be saved.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us then commit ourselves ever more devotedly to the Lord our God who had given His all for our sake, that we will not abandon Him, and truly believe wholeheartedly in His Passion, in the suffering and death He had endured for the sake of us all. And may Pope St. Callistus I pray for us and intercede for our sake before the Lord Jesus, our loving God and Father of all. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we learn on how difficult it is to be the followers of Christ in our world. This is precisely because, mankind always judges others, and they judge based on their flawed understandings and assumptions, which they made on everyone and everything they encountered.

We also like to compare on things, especially with other people, tending to prefer things or person that we favour, and reject things that we dislike or person we abhor. In this, we create divisions and ill-feel between ourselves, which result in myriads of things such as prejudice, jealousy, persecution, oppression, ostracism, among many other things born of this evil.

We often put our trust more in our own human emotions and opinions, instead of trusting in the wisdom and judgement of the Lord our God. That is why we often end up in conflict with one another, and unable to resolve the differences between us, and thus leading to even more conflicts. We often judge people based on their backgrounds, their races, language and by many other criteria.

The Lord Jesus today challenges us to be different, to dare to be different in that we do not judge others based on their appearance, or indeed judge other people on how they are different from us. The Lord wants us to look in deeper, into one’s heart and to be fair in all our judgments. If we want to judge on something, we must not do it based on half-truths and lies, but instead, seek first for the truth, the real and unbiased truth, and only then, we can judge.

Indeed, it would be even better if we do not judge anybody at all. After all, who are we to judge when we ourselves deserve to be judged by the Lord who is the Great Judge of all? If we do not want to be judged ourselves, then we should not judge in the first place. Note that many of the world’s calamities were caused by people being prejudiced, judgmental, and bitterly opposed to one another. Holocaust, Rwandan Civil War, and many others, many of which atrocities are still fresh in our minds.

Instead let us put our complete trust in the true judgment of the Lord and give our full faith and attention to Him. Let us instead in this world, promote love, peace, and harmony among each one of us, ending the evil cycle of prejudice and being judgmental of one another. In doing so, we made ourselves worthy in the eyes of the Lord, and the Lord God who is the Judge of all, will not condemn  us in the Last Judgement.

Let us seek what unites us instead of focusing on the divisions that divide us or the things that caused such divisions to occur. Let us seek harmony and peace in love with one another, with our fellow brethren even from different backgrounds from us, that we may live together in the harmony and peace of God, free from discord, mayhem, and destructions wrought by Satan the deceiver.

If we fight among ourselves, between brethren in the Lord, and seek on what divides instead of unites, then we have fallen to the traps of the devil, who desires only to see us broken, destroying one another, that in the process, all of us will fall with him into condemnation, that is eternal suffering for all ages. The Lord clearly does not want this to happen to us, and that is why, through Christ, He wanted to show the importance of love and harmony between us, and between us and Himself.

May the Lord who is a loving God, continue to shower us with His love, bless us with His peace, and teach us how to be truly just to one another. God bless us all. Amen.