Saturday, 13 June 2015 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate both the occasion of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, the well known preacher and saint whose devotion is widespread even until now amongst the faithful.

On this day, we commemorate the loving and sacred heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord, which is celebrated very closely to that of her Son’s Heart, for the two indeed were very, very close. Not only that she was His mother, but she had also gone through a lot of things with Him together, and she also lived with Him and followed Him during much of His earthly ministry.

It began since just a few days after Jesus was born, and Mary brought Him to present Him at the Temple. The prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna met them, and there the prophecy regarding Mary was mentioned, that a sword would pierce her heart. This is a foreshadowing of the fact that when Jesu went through His Passion on the way to Calvary, Mary was there, and she was there too on the feet of His cross, watching how her Son is dying for the sake of the world.

No mother should ever see her own child dying before her. But Mary endured all that patiently and quietly. She was truly sorrowful and anguished, but she kept everything in her heart. The same she had done when she was told of the prophecy earlier, she kept everything in her heart. She also kept everything in her heart when we heard in the Gospel today, that Jesus was left behind in the Temple of Jerusalem, He mentioned that He must be in the house of His Father.

Have we taken note, brothers and sisters in Christ? Mary and her heart is so immaculate and pure, that she does not complain or make any issue, when she encountered all these things, from the time when she received the Good News from the Archangel Gabriel, to the prophecy of her sorrow, to the time when Jesus was left at the Temple, to the time when she followed her Son in His ministry, and eventually until when she met Him on that day when He took up the cross, and followed Him to the feet of His cross.

We can imagine how strong and wonderful her heart is, for her to take everything up and endured them in her heart. She suffered in silence, in her sorrow, and she looked up to see the face of her beloved Son. And in the same way therefore she is now looking at us, for many of us are in the danger of falling into eternal damnation in hell for our sins and lack of repentance.

Jesus gave Mary to be our mother too, just as she is His mother. From the cross, Jesus entrusted Mary to John, and He also entrusted John to His mother Mary. In this manner, by the representation of John, God entrusted all of us mankind to the loving care of His mother Mary. Thus, the same pain and sorrow which she had experienced for her Son, she also experienced for us.

If we are wondering why so many of the Marian apparitions and visions occur in the world, if we understand what I had just mentioned, all of it will make perfect sense. Mary through various means continues to watch over us and she is always thinking about us. As she is the closest one to the throne of her Son in heaven, indeed we have no better person, be it men or angels, to ask for help, so that we may be freed from the depredations of evil and sin.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, a renowned preacher who lived during the High Middle Ages in what is now Italy. St. Anthony of Padua worked hard in his devotion to the Lord, to bring the truth of God to the people, casting out heresies and redeeming people who had lived in the darkness. He was also renowned for his great homilies that he was famously known for having a ‘golden tongue’.

Through his works many people found their way back to God, and many of them found the truth through him. St. Anthony never ceased working for the good of many in the Church, just as what our Blessed mother Mary had done for us, by reminding us again and again, to repent from our sinful ways and hearken ourselves to the words of truth found only in God. Let us be inspired by the examples of the works of St. Anthony of Padua.

Threfore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today pray and ask for the intercession of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and the mother of all of us. Let us plead to her most immaculate and loving heart, which is filled with the love of a mother for her children. May our mother pray for us always before her Son, our most loving and merciful God, so that our sins may be forgiven, and may all of us be awakened to our sins, realising how great is the love that both He and His mother have for us. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 13 June 2015 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 41-51

Every year, the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them. As for His mother, she kept all these things in her heart.

Saturday, 13 June 2015 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Samuel 2 : 1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd

My heart exults in YHVH, I feel strong in my God. I rejoice and laugh at my enemies for You came with power to save me.

The bow of the mighty is broken but the weak are girded with strength. The well-fed must labour for bread but the hungry need work no more. The childless wife has borne seven children, but the proud mother is left alone.

YHVH is Lord of life and death, He brings down to the grave and raises up. YHVH makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and He exalts.

He lifts up the lowly from the dust, and raises the poor from the ash heap; they will be called to the company of princes, and inherit a seat of honour.

Saturday, 13 June 2015 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.

Friday, 12 June 2015 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate one of the great feast days of the Church, where we commemorate one of the great aspects of our Lord, namely that of His most loving Heart, which He has for all of us. The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus our Lord is filled with perfect love, just as God Himself is Love, and this love is the perfect and unconditional love which our Lord had for us, so much so that He was willing to lay down His life for us sinners and bring us by that to our salvation.

On this day, we celebrate the love of God which had been made evident through Christ. The crucifixion and its aftermath as we heard in today’s Gospel reading is the culmination in God’s everlasting love and good works for us. But since the beginning of time we have seen how great is the love that God has for us His people. It all began with our creation, when God created us and gave life to all of us.

Indeed, for God to show such great love for us, in creating us and giving life to us is already a love great enough, and yet, when we fell into sin, He continued to show even more love and compassion for us, by giving us chance and mercy after He had punished our ancestors for their sins. When Cain murdered his brother Abel, God punished him by having him pursued all his life for having committed such a sin, but He also gave him help by preventing others from killing him.

When mankind have sinned greatly against Him, He did not destroy them outright, but He tried to find the good in mankind. That was how He rescued Noah in the Ark that He commanded Noah to build, so that what is good in mankind, could be preserved. And when mankind sinned in their pride by building up the Tower of Babel, He scattered them and confused their languages, and yet, He also planted the seed of reunion and salvation through His chosen one, Abraham, whom He called out of the nations to be His own.

He did this so that He may one day bring all of His peoples back to Himself and reunite them once again as one people. He blessed Abraham and his descendants, and brought them to great blessings. When they suffered in Egypt in slavery, He heard them and showed forth in might His power to liberate them and brought them to the Land which He had promised to their ancestors.

And when they disobeyed and walked away from His covenant and His love, He punished them hard, and made them to wander in the desert for forty years, causing almost an entire generation of sinners to pass on, before their descendants were finally found worthy to enter into the Promised Land. But God also showed them mercy and love by feeding them with the bread from heaven and the food of angels, with water that is sweet and crystal-clear from the earth itself, even in the middle of the desert.

And despite their continuous and constant disobedience, God remains ever obedient and loving. He shows His mercy from time to time, by rescuing His people through the means of His prophets and messengers, whom He had sent into the world in order to reveal to them the path to salvation in God. This He had done again and again, until the point of time when He truly revealed the fullness of His Heart’s intentions through Christ.

For the Heart of God is filled with so much love and compassion for us that He was willing to come Himself and give us the ultimate hope for rescue and redemption. Through Christ He had established the unshakeable and permanent bridge between Him and ourselves. So that all who believe in Him and in His Most Sacred Heart filled with love for us, may be saved and be brought into our everlasting life and happiness.

The devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a clear reminder for us all, of the love which God had shown us, the ultimate and perfectly selfless love through His suffering and death on the cross. And indeed, we pray to Him and trust in His Most Sacred Heart, that God in His unfailing love will not cease to love us and forgive us our sins when we repent and change our ways.

There is still time, brothers and sisters in Christ, for us all to accept the love of God and be forgiven. If only that we all realise how much God has loved us and how He is willing to cast aside our sins and allow us to begin anew again. The problem is that many of us do not realise this fact. We are either too proud to admit our sins and faults, or we are too fearful to approach the Lord.

We must not be either of this. We have to realise how loving God is, and therefore not to be afraid to seek His forgiveness, as He will not punish us without good reason. Our punishment comes because we have not turned from our ways and continued to repeatedly sin against Him, just as what the people of Israel had done in the past, by repeatedly refusing to repent, and by continuing to disobey His Laws and commandments.

At the same time, we must also realise that we cannot also be too proud to admit our sins. Many of us are not willing to admit that we have committed sin or made mistakes because we think that we are always in the right. Let us all make the effort to throw away our hubris and pride, and to open our hearts with humility, to approach the throne of our Lord’s merciful love.

Today on this Solemnity of our Lord’s Most Sacred Heart, let us all remember the love which His Heart had poured down unto us throughout the ages, both to us and to our ancestors. Let us all find the courage to approach His loving and sacred Heart, to entreat and move Him to show mercy to us when we have gone astray and sinned before Him and men alike.

Let us all also grow stronger in our trust to the Lord, as all who put their trust in Him shall never be disappointed. Remember that the Lord said to His disciples and to the people, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest? This is exactly what will be ours if we keep our faith and devotion to His Most Sacred Heart alive and strong.

If we adhere strongly to the Most Sacred Heart of our Lord, then His love will be with us, and all of us will be strengthened and encouraged by knowing that He is always there with us and for us. No matter what evil or challenges we are going to encounter, we will always keep true to Him, and if we do our part faithfully, in the end, God and His love will bless us and give us the eternal inheritance He had promised us.

Let us never cease to entreat and look upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus, knowing that our Lord who have saved us with His life, had generously offered us His salvation, shown by the outpouring of the blood mingled with water when His Heart was pierced with a lance after His death. This is a symbol of God’s love, that by His death, He purifies us with His living water and His Blood, and that as God and Man united in Jesus, He made us all worthy, and as the Paschal Lamb of sacrifice, His offering to redeem us has been accepted.

May our Lord continue to love us as He has always loved us so far, and may He forgive us our trespasses day by day, as we commit ourselves ever more strongly to Him and to His ways. May Almighty God in His Most Sacred Heart always find the good in us so that we may be found worthy and receive the fullness of His grace. O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Amen.

Friday, 12 June 2015 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 31-37

At that time, as it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away.

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.

The one who saw it, has testified to it, and his testimony is true; he knows he speaks the truth, so that you also might believe. All this happened to fulfill the words of Scripture : Not one of His bones shall be broken. Another text says : They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.

Friday, 12 June 2015 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 8-12, 14-19

This grace was given to me, the least among all the holy ones : to announce to the pagan nations the immeasurable riches of Christ and to make clear to all how the mystery, hidden from the beginning in God, the Creator of all things, is to be fulfilled.

Even the heavenly forces and powers will now discover through the Church the wisdom of God in its manifold expression, as the plan is being fulfilled which God designed from the beginning in Christ Jesus, our Lord. In Him we receive boldness and confidence to approach God.

And now I kneel in the presence of the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth has received its name. May He strengthen in you the inner self through His Spirit, according to the riches of His glory; may Christ dwell in your hearts through faith; may you be rooted and founded in love.

All of this so that you may understand with all the holy ones the width, the length, the height and the depth – in a word, that you may know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled and reach the fullness of God.