Saturday, 19 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Philip Minh, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, the words of the Lord which reminded us of the need for us to trust in the Lord and to put our faith in Him, and not to worry about too many things, and not to be tempted by worldly temptations and desires, by all sorts of things that we are often tempted with, that we ended up losing our way and fall into the trap of sin.

In our first reading today, we heard the words of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, in which the Apostle spoke about his own experiences in ministering to the faithful and in proclaiming the truth of God and His Good News to the people, in how he encountered wonderful things and visions, signs and omens throughout his ministry, and that if he needed to boast, then he ought to boast of all the wonders that he had seen and witnessed, and not of himself.

And St. Paul also reminded the faithful that they should not allow themselves to be swayed by their pride and their ambitions, their desires and other considerations, lest they fall into sin. He reminded the faithful that the flesh is weak, and is always full of temptations by Satan, which he mentioned in our first reading passage today as a thorn in his flesh, which St. Paul instead used as a reminder for himself not to be swayed by worldly desires and temptations.

Then in our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples first of all that they ought to make a stand and choose firmly between serving and following God or that of money, and they cannot serve both God and money, for sooner or later they will love one more than the other and despise the other one. He also reminded them all not to worry about their lives, or of any other worldly concerns and desires, for the Lord shall provide all that they need.

This is addressed to all of us, His beloved ones, who have often strayed from His path because we are too distracted by our personal ambitions and desires, our various preoccupations and all the temptations of worldly pleasures and achievements surrounding us. All these are serious obstacles that can prevent us from reaching the Lord and His salvation, and will cause us to end up falling deeper and further into the path of sin.

That is why, all of us today are called to reflect on our lives and our attitudes towards our faith, and whether we have been faithful to the Lord and trust Him with our lives and existence, or whether we have instead depended on our own strength and worldly means so far in life? We should not allow ourselves be deluded by the lies and deceptions of the devil who want to mislead us down the path of indulgence in our desires and all the concerns we have, in worldly things and matters.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to turn towards the Lord wholeheartedly, and we should focus ourselves on Him and not on the false treasures and false leads we have in life. We should learn to resist the many temptations present all around us that we do not end up walking down the wrong path. And today therefore, we should look upon the examples of St. Philip Minh and his companions in martyrdom, the saints whose memories we venerate and celebrate today.

St. Philip Minh is one of the many martyrs of the faith in Vietnam, who went through the period of harsh persecution from the state and the government, as the Vietnamese state at that time were highly suspicious of the Christian faith and its missionaries, and all those who were suspected and found to be Christians had to endure great difficulties and trials, as they were tortured and treated with worst sufferings to induce them to give up their faith.

Despite all these, St. Philip Minh and his fellow companions in martyrdom did not give up their faith and remained faithful to the end. They chose to remain true to their faith despite the sufferings that they had to face. They would rather remain firm in their belief in God rather than to give it up for the false assurances of worldly pleasures and satisfaction, one that does not last. They chose instead the promise and assurance of eternal glory and true joy with God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we all willing to follow the examples of those holy saints and martyrs, our holy predecessors, in how they lived their lives, so that we too may be exemplary in our own way of life and that we may become inspiration to our fellow brethren? Let us all help one another to grow ever closer to God and to learn to trust Him more and more, dedicating ourselves to Him wholeheartedly, from now on. May the Lord be with us all and may He strengthen each and every one of us in faith, always. Amen.

Saturday, 19 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Philip Minh, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 6 : 24-34

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “No one can serve two masters, for he will either hate one and love the other; or he will be loyal to the first and look down on the second. You cannot, at the same time, serve God and money.”

Therefore, I tell you, not to be worried about food and drink for yourself, or about clothes for your body. Is not life more important than food; and is not the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, they do not harvest, and do not store food in barns; and yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more worthy than they are?”

“Can any of you add a day to your life by worrying about it? Why are you so worried about your clothes? Look at how the flowers in the fields grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, that not even Solomon, in all his glory, was clothed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass in the field, which blooms today and is to be burnt in an oven tomorrow, how much more will He clothe you? What little faith you have!”

“Do not worry, and say : What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? or : What shall we wear? The pagans busy themselves with such things; but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your heart, first, on the kingdom and righteousness of God; and all these things will also be given to you. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Saturday, 19 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Philip Minh, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 33 : 8-9, 10-11, 12-13

YHVH’s Angel encamps and patrols, to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of YHVH! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere YHVH, all you, His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need; but those who seek YHVH lack nothing.

Come, listen to Me, My children; I will show you how to fear YHVH. If you desire long life; if you want to enjoy prosperity.

Saturday, 19 June 2021 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Philip Minh, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Corinthians 12 : 1-10

It is useless to boast; but if I have to, I will go on, to some visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a certain Christian : fourteen years ago he was taken up to the third heaven. Whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know, God knows. But I know that this man, whether in the body or out of the body – I do not know, God knows – was taken up to Paradise, where he heard words that cannot be told : things which humans cannot express.

Of that man I can indeed boast, but of myself I will not boast except of my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, it would not be foolish of me, for I would speak the truth. However, I better give up, lest somebody think more of me than what is seen in me, or heard from me. Lest I become proud, after so many and extraordinary revelations; I was given a thorn in my flesh, a true messenger of Satan, to slap me in the face. Three times, I prayed to the Lord, that it leave me, but He answered, “My grace is enough for you; My great strength is revealed in weakness.”

Gladly, then, will I boast of my weakness, that the strength of Christ may be mine. So I rejoice, when I suffer infirmities, humiliations, want, persecutions : all for Christ! For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020 : Last Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from the Scriptures firstly of the account of the reaping of the Earth by the Angel of God as recounted in the Book of Revelations of St. John, and then in the Gospel the Lord Jesus told His disciples and the people that the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple would come soon and also elaborated of the signs of the end times. Just as that destruction really came about as the Lord had spoken, it proved that whatever else He said about His coming will definitely come true.

In all of those readings, we heard of the coming of the time of reckoning and judgment of the world, typical of the readings at the end of the liturgical year cycle. This serves to remind us that we have to always be vigilant and not be complacent in living our lives that we do not end up falling into the path of sin and stray from the path that the Lord has shown us. It is very easy for us to be tempted and to be swayed away from the path of God.

In our first reading today, St. John recounted his vision of the Apocalypse or the end times, when the Lord commanded His Angels to go to the world and reap the harvest of the Earth. This is related to the parable of the Lord which was the harvest of the wheat and the weeds in which they were harvested when they were mature at the time of the harvest, and while the wheat were gathered and kept, the weeds were thrown into the fire and perished.

This means that the time will come when the time of reckoning is at hand for all of us, be it the living and the dead, when the Lord at His appointed time shall come again to judge the whole creation just as He has revealed and promised to us. And all those who have been faithful and righteous will be blessed while those who have been defiant and refused to believe in God will be condemned by their sins and wickedness.

That is why at the time of the judgment of the world in the vision of St. John, the same parable was repeated yet again to highlight just how the time of the harvest shall eventually come, the time of the world’s judgment, our judgment shall also come for us. And why does it say that the grapes were thrown into the winepress of the anger of the Lord? That is because likely there are just so much wickedness and evil in the world to bring about God’s anger against all those evils and evildoers.

Now the question is, brothers and sisters in Christ, do we want to be counted among those who are wicked? Or do we rather be counted among the righteous and the worthy ones? God has given each and every one of us the free will and the choice to choose whether we want to be faithful to Him or whether we prefer instead to follow our own path and forge our own ways and actions. If we had chosen to walk away from God, then know it that it is by our own choice that we shall be judged into eternal darkness.

Today, all of us are called to reflect on our own lives in the light of the certainty of the Lord’s return and how we have lived our lives thus far. Have we been good and faithful to the teachings of the Lord that He has revealed to us and taught us through His Church? Have we dedicated our live to Him as we should have done? If we have not done so, then it is not yet too late for us to change our ways and make a difference.

Let us today look up upon the examples of St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his many companions, all holy martyrs of the persecution of the faithful in Vietnam, the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam. St. Andrew Dung-Lac himself was one of the first local Vietnamese to be ordained as a priest amidst the very hostile environment in Vietnam at that time as the Vietnamese Emperor and his government were deeply suspicious of the Christian faith and its missionaries.

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, the Christian missionaries and all the Vietnamese faithful faced bitter persecution and trials, and many of them were forced to choose between suffering and abandoning their faith. Many remained firm in their faith and conviction, choosing rather to suffer and even die rather than abandoning their faith and devotion to God. And the most difficult and challenging fate faced those priests and missionaries who laboured to serve the people and spread the message of the Gospel even through these difficult times.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be more faithful to the Lord following the examples of our faithful predecessors, especially that of St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions in holy martyrdom, the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam. Let us be inspired by their great courage and dedication to the Lord, their wholehearted service of God that we too shall be counted among the righteous, the holy saints and martyrs of God.

Let us all walk in their footsteps and love of God ever more faithfully from now on. May the Lord be with us in our journey of faith always, that we may persevere through all the challenges and trials we face. May God bless us now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020 : Last Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 21 : 5-11

At that time, while some people were talking about the Temple, remarking that it was adorned with fine stonework and rich gifts, Jesus said to them, “The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire; all will be torn down.” And they asked Him, “Master, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

Jesus then said, “Take care not to be deceived, for many will come claiming My title and saying, ‘I am He, the Messiah; the time is at hand!’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and troubled times, do not be frightened; for all these things must happen first, even though the end is not so soon.”

And Jesus said, “Nations will fight each other and kingdom will oppose kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues; in many places strange and terrifying signs from heaven will be seen.”

Tuesday, 24 November 2020 : Last Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 95 : 10, 11-12a, 12b-13

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Let the heavens be glad, the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound; let the fields exult and everything in them.

Let the forest, all the trees, sing for joy. Let them sing before the Lord Who comes to judge the earth. He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020 : Last Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Revelations 14 : 14-19

Then I had this vision, I saw a white cloud and the One sitting on it like a Son of Man, wearing a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. An Angel came out of the sanctuary, calling loudly to the One sitting on the cloud, “Put in Your sickle and reap, for harvest time has come and the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

He Who was sitting on the cloud swung His sickle at the earth and reaped the harvest. Then another Angel, who also had a sharp sickle, came out of the heavenly sanctuary. Still another Angel, the one who has charge of the altar fire, emerged and shouted to the first who held the sharp sickle, “Swing your sharp sickle and reap the bunches of the vine of the earth for they are fully ripe.”

So the Angel swung his sickle and gathered in the vintage, throwing all the grapes into the great winepress of the anger of God.

Monday, 24 November 2014 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the readings of today remind us how to live out our lives faithfully, according to what God had taught us through the Church and through the understanding of the Sacred Scriptures. These are necessary for us, if we are to seek salvation and eternal life and grace in the Lord. What is basic is that, we need to love our Lord, and do so genuinely, with the whole of our heart’s strength, and with all of our attention and our minds’ capacities, and with all the powers of our body.

This is one of the basic commandment which Jesus taught us, the commandment of love. The other commandment is similar, namely to love one another, to love our neighbours, our brothers and sisters around us, just as much as we have loved ourselves. If we follow these commandments, then rich will be our rewards in the presence of God, as we will be found worthy by Him.

The Gospel today speaks of an elderly lady who gave two pieces of small coins as her tithe and gift to the Lord at the Temple in Jerusalem. It is customary and part of the Law that the people of God ought to give a part of their income and possession to be offered to the Lord, but what happened at that time, as described in the Gospel, showed how the gifts offered can differ in terms of benefits to us, depending on our sincerity and our desire to love God.

The elderly lady offered two pieces of coins while the rich offered lots of gifts, yet what Jesus wanted to show is that, while the elderly woman gave less, but given the fact that she had less possessions as a whole, for her to give those coins showed how much she loved God by giving those precious coins she could have saved and used to buy things for her to eat and survive this life instead.

She clearly did what Jesus taught us, that, those who seek to preserve themselves in this world will lose it, while those who have lost their lives for the sake of the Lord, they will gain eternal life as reward. The elderly woman put her trust completely in God, knowing that the Lord will give and provide her all that she needs in life, and by giving her gifts, she assured her salvation by loving her Lord and God with all of her heart.

But be warned, brothers and sisters in Christ, as this does not mean that the rich who gave their gifts to God and others are utterly condemned and hopeless, and neither the poor who gave their gifts are utterly good and blessed. The truth is that sincerity depends not on wealth and its amounts, but rather on the desire of the heart to love God.

Yes, indeed, there are rich people whose hearts are generous and loving towards both God and men, and they gave whatever they could spare and give, a lot of it, to help the poor and the least fortunate, and for various purposes in this life. Indeed, the tendency is for wealth to blind us and harden our hearts by increasing our selfishness, desire and greed, but if we are able to resist that temptation and commit to loving sincerely and genuinely, that wealth can become a great asset and potential to help others.

Wealth and possession themselves are neither evil nor good in nature. They are capable of being used for good purposes as well as evil purposes. What matters is indeed how we use them. The tendency is again of course for us to be tempted to us them for our own good, to satisfy our own selfishness, and to increase our own prosperity at the expense of others, but if we are truly capable to resisting these temptations, we can then use those that we have for the benefit of others instead.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, the martyrs of the faith from Vietnam, who suffered the persecution of the faithful by the authorities who were strongly opposed to the Faith. To be one of the faithful at the time would mean great difficulties and sufferings, as they had to practice their faith in secret, for fear of the government’s oppression.

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, a priest, among one of the first local Vietnamese to be ordained into the sacred priesthood, was one among many and among the first to suffer very grievous and terrible sufferings under the regime of the fiercely anti-Christian government. They were forced to undergo terrible treatments, losing their limbs and being hacked to pieces, burnt alive and other very sinister and horrible methods, so that they would recant their faith, and yet they persevered on.

Numerous people, both the local Vietnamese faithful and the French missionaries alike, as well as other missionaries, who were all suffered death very painfully and very difficulty, and yet, they have no need to fear anymore. For the Lord their God and our God, who knew perfectly what they had done, have rewarded them with the gifts and graces of eternal life and glory with Him in heaven.

Why is this so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because although they did not have anything or much to offer to the Lord, and the fact was that even though many of them were stripped of their titles and wealth, they still gave whatever was left with them as gift to the Lord, namely their own lives and the love of their hearts for the Lord. And this love is the same kind as the old woman’s offering as mentioned by Jesus, as they gave their all to God, and their offering would not be overlooked.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us heed these words of the Scripture and learn to give the wholeness of ourselves, our hearts and our love, as the elderly and poor woman, and as the Vietnamese Martyrs had once done, not holding back anything when they gave it all to the Lord. Remember, brothers and sisters, that Jesus also did not hold back anything when He suffered and died for our sake on the cross.

Let it be that through the intercession of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, and all of his companions in martyrdom, the holy Vietnamese Martyrs, we may all be able to follow their examples and be genuine and completely sincere in our faith, so that when the Lord comes again, He will find us worthy and just to receive the eternal life and glory He had promised us, and be counted among the righteous symbolised by the hundred and forty-four thousand assembled before the Lamb of God. God bless us all. Amen.

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/23/monday-24-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-andrew-dung-lac-priest-and-companions-martyrs-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/23/monday-24-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-andrew-dung-lac-priest-and-companions-martyrs-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/23/monday-24-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-andrew-dung-lac-priest-and-companions-martyrs-gospel-reading/

Monday, 24 November 2014 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 21 : 1-4

At that time, Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury of the Temple. He also saw a poor widow, who dropped in two small coins.

And He said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them. For all of them gave an offering from their plenty; but she, out of her poverty, gave all she had to live on.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/23/monday-24-november-2014-34th-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-andrew-dung-lac-priest-and-companions-martyrs-homily-and-scripture-reflections/