Saturday, 20 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we have heard a reminder that if we are to remain faithful and true to the Lord, in our faith to Him, we will encounter difficulties and challenges in our path, as there will definitely be those who will be opposed to us and to our faith, namely those who are clinging on to the ways of the world and would not want to see their influence challenged by us.

That means, our lives as Christians, if we truly cling onto our faith in God, and practice wholeheartedly what we believe in, will not be that smooth-going and easy. If we have found our lives to be easy and manageable, without crisis or difficulty, perhaps that is because God had indeed blessed us so, or which we hope that is not the case, that we have not been truly faithful in our ways and in our lives.

Many of us want to be accepted by the world, and to that extent, we conform to the ways and customs of the world, even if that ran contrary to the teachings of our faith. At the same time, we know that the reality in our Church is that there are many who are ‘cafetaria Christians’, which means those who pick and choose what they want to believe in our faith, and refuse to believe or that they are ignoring those tenets which they found to be too difficult to be followed or complied with.

That was what happened to the disciples of Jesus two millennia ago, as Jesus went about preaching about the coming of the kingdom of God to them and speaking about Himself, the truth of what would happen to them should they became His followers, and what they needed to believe in, even when they found the teaching to be difficult to be complied with. Indeed, many left the Lord behind because they were not willing to open their hearts and listen to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not we all should be like, as all of us should be true and devoted to our Lord in all things we do, and believe in Him wholeheartedly, and not conditionally. After all, the Lord had given us all His life and His love unconditionally, by His loving sacrifice on the cross. He has loved us with all of His heart, generously granting us pardon and mercy, forgiveness and grace even when we are all still great sinners and rebels.

If the Lord had not hold back His love for us, then why should we then hold back our love for Him? Why do we have to choose or to select what we want to believe in His message? Why should we set conditions for the Lord? It is not right, if He had already suffered for our sake, bearing the burden for our sins, the burdens which should have been ours, and died on the cross for us, then we should not and indeed cannot treat the Lord with ignorance or apathy.

We must devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, and learn from the examples of the holy saints, especially St. Bernardine of Siena, whose feast day we are celebrating on this day. St. Bernardine of Siena was a devout and holy priest, as a Franciscan missionary who lived during the late Medieval era. He was renowned as the ‘Apostle of Italy’ for his tireless works in bringing many people, especially throughout Italy, the heart of Christendom, back to the Lord.

For at that time, many of the people did not live in accordance with the ways of the Lord, living in debauchery and sin, in wickedness and doing what is vile and evil in the sight of God. People are more concerned with money and worldly livelihood rather than serving the Lord and obeying His will. St. Bernardine went around many places, preaching directly to the people in those places, and his words of encouragement and call to repentance have brought many people back to the loving embrace of the Lord.

His sincerity and devotion to the Lord inspired those lost souls who saw the light of God through St. Bernardine of Siena, like that of darkness being pushed back by the light. His examples and his dedication to the salvation of souls should be our inspiration, brothers and sisters in Christ, in how we ought to live our lives faithfully to the Lord. We should be exemplary in our actions and deeds, so that all those who see us will also then come to believe in God through us.

May the Lord awaken in all of us the desire to love Him, and to obey Him in all of His teachings. May we follow in the footsteps of St. Bernardine of Siena, that in all the things we say and do, we will always proclaim the glory of the Lord and remain true to His ways. Amen.

Saturday, 20 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 15 : 18-21

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that the world hated Me before you. This would not be so if you belonged to the world, because the world loves its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you from the world; because of this the world hates you.”

“Remember what I told you : the servant is not greater than his master; if they persecuted Me, they will persecute you, too. If they kept My word, they will keep yours as well. All this they will do to you for the sake of My Name, because they do not know the One Who sent Me.”

Saturday, 20 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 99 : 2, 3, 5

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God; He created us and we are His people, the sheep of His fold.

For the Lord is good; His love lasts forever and His faithfulness through all generations.

Saturday, 20 May 2017 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 16 : 1-10

Paul travelled on to Derbe and then to Lystra. A disciple named Timothy lived there, whose mother was a believer of Jewish origin but whose father was a Greek. As the believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him, Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him. So he took him and, because of the Jews of that place who all knew that his father was a Greek, he circumcised him.

As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions of the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem, for the people to obey. Meanwhile, the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number every day.

They travelled through Phrygia and Galatia, because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to do this. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.

There one night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and begged him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” When he awoke, he told us of this vision and we understood that the Lord was calling us to give the Good News to the Macedonian people.

Sunday, 4 August 2013 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 3 : 1-5, 9-11

So them, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

Therefore, put to death what is earthly in your life, that is immorality, impurity, inordinate passions, wicked desires, and greed which is a way of worshipping idols.

Do not lie to one another. You have been stripped of the old self and its way of thinking to put on the new, which is being renewed and is to reach perfect knowledge and the likeness of its creator. There is no room for distinction between Greek of Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, foreigner, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.

Monday, 22 April 2013 : 4th Week of Easter (First Reading)

Acts 11 : 1-18

News came to the apostles and the brothers and sisters in Judea that even foreigners had received the Word of God. So, when Peter went up to Jerusalem, these Jewish believers began to argue with him, “You went to the home of uncircumcised people and ate with them!”

So Peter began to give them the facts as they had happened, “I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when, in a trance, I saw a vision. Something like a large sheet came down from the sky and drew near to me, landing on the ground by its four corners. As I stared at it, I saw four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts and reptiles, and birds of the sky.”

“Then I heard a voice saying to me : ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat!’ I replied, ‘Certainly not, Lord! No common or unclean creature has ever entered my mouth.’ A second time the voice from the heavens spoke, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all drawn up into the sky.”

“At that moment, three men, who had been sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were staying. The Spirit instructed me to go with them without hesitation; so these six brothers came along with me and we entered into the man’s house. He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and telling him : ‘Send someone to Joppa and fetch Simon, also known as Peter. He will bring you a message by which you and all your household will be saved.'”

“I had begun to address them when suddenly the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as it had come upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said : ‘John baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ If, then, God had given them the same gift that He had given us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to resist God?”

When they heard this, they set their minds at rest and praised God saying, “Then God has granted life-giving repentance to the pagan nations as well.”

Details on the Papal Inauguration Mass and ceremony of Pope Francis, 266th Pope and Bishop of Rome

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/03/mass-appeal-some-details-of-tomorrows-papal-inauguration/

Today, Tuesday, 19 March 2013, our new Pope will be solemnly inaugurated to begin his Pontificate. He is already our Pope, ever since he accepted the rightful election in the Conclave, but the Inauguration ceremony affirms and completes that process, with the imposition of the symbols of the authority of the Pope, as the leader of the entire Universal Church.

There will be some changes to the liturgy this year, as the imposition of the Pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman will take place just before the Mass starts, instead of being within the Mass itself, as the impositions are seen as more of an extra-liturgical event.

The Pope will pray with the leaders of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops at the Tomb of St. Peter underneath the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, where the pallium and the ring had been placed since the night before.

The Pope will then proceed with all the other concelebrating Cardinals and prelates outside to the Altar at St. Peter’s Square, which in the meanwhile the Laudes Regia hymn or ‘Laud to the King (Christ)’, that is a glorious rendition of the Litany of the Saints, with the new innovation of the inclusion of part asking the past Popes who had been canonised as saints for the new Pope, their successor, beginning from Pope St. Linus to Pope St. Pius X.

Following after this is the imposition of the papal pallium, which is different from the pallium worn by the Metropolitan Archbishops. Pope Francis’ pallium will be the same in appearance with that of Pope Benedict XVI’s pallium, with red crosses instead of black ones, representing the wounds of Christ, with three gold pins on three of the crosses, representing the nails that bound both hands and the legs of Christ onto the cross. The pallium symbolises the authority the Pope has over the entire Universal Church. The pallium will be imposed by the senior Cardinal of the order of Priest in the Cardinal-electorate, Cardinal Godfried Danneels.

The Ring of the Fisherman will be given after this, which signifies the bond between the Pope and God’s Church, and as the image on the ring depicts, that of St. Peter holding the keys on a boat, while fishing, as a fisher of man, it symbolises the Pope’s role as the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, and also as the current holders of the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, entrusted by Christ to Peter. The ring will be presented to the Pope by the senior Cardinal Deacon, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.

Six Cardinals representing the rest of the Cardinals will pay homage to the Pope, and will give their obedience to him, following the imposition of the pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman.

The Mass follows as usual, and the readings will be done in different languages, English, Spanish, and most notably the Gospel in Greek, to highlight the universal nature of the Church, encasing both the Western and Eastern tradition of Christendom. The whole liturgy of the Mass itself will be conducted in solemn Latin and beautiful Gregorian chants.

The booklet for the Mass is available at the link below, in English, Italian, and Latin :

http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2013/20130319_inizio-ministero-petrino.pdf