Tuesday, 10 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 9 : 32-38

At that time, as the two blind men were going away, some people brought to Jesus a man who was dumb, because he was possessed by a demon. When the demon was driven out, the dumb man began to speak. The crowds were astonished and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”But the Pharisees said, “He drives away demons with the help of the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom; and He cured every sickness and disease. When He saw the crowds, He was moved with pity; for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are only few. Ask the Master of the harvest to send workers to gather His harvest.”

Saturday, 9 December 2017 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Saints)

Matthew 9 : 35 – Matthew 10 : 1, 5a, 6-8

At that time, Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom; and He cured every sickness and disease. When He saw the crowds, He was moved with pity; for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are only few. Ask the Master of the harvest to send workers to gather His harvest.”

Jesus called His Twelve disciples to Him, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to heal every disease and sickness. Jesus sent these Twelve on mission, with the instruction : “Go, instead, to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. Go, and proclaim this message : The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons. Freely have you received, freely give.”

Thursday, 5 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 10 : 1-12

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’ But in any town where you are not welcome, go to the marketplace and proclaim : ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off and leave with you. But know for a certainty that the kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”

“I tell you, that on the Day of Judgment it will be better for Sodom than for this town.”

Saturday, 18 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate with the entire Universal Church, the feast of one of the four great Evangelists, that is the four writers of the Holy Gospels. Today is thus the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, who wrote the Gospel accorded with his name, the Gospel of St. Luke. As a background, St. Luke was once a renowned physician, who became one of the faithful and followed St. Paul in some of his journeys, including what St. Paul wrote in the letter he wrote to Timothy, another faithful disciple of the Lord.

As we can see from what St. Paul shared with Timothy, St. Luke remained faithful and devoted to the tasks entrusted to him. Yes, this is true even though his fellow journeymen had left to pursue their own interests or for various other reasons. They encountered difficulties along the way, and not all the people they were sent to welcomed them. There were indeed instances when they were welcomed and accepted gladly, but more often than not, they literally had the doors slammed on their faces.

This is exactly what Jesus mentioned as He sent His group of seventy-two disciples, who were meant to help both Jesus Himself and His Apostles in the ministries and works they were doing. Jesus mentioned how they would be sent like lambs among wolves. They would not encounter easy works and acceptance easily, but will be constantly subjected to difficulties and suffering. The lambs rightly represent the disciples and the Apostles, while the wolves represent the various people of God, from which a great majority refused to listen to the Word of God.

Remember that in the other occasion in the Gospels, Jesus also mentioned how that as He who is the Lord and Master of all would suffer rejection and suffering at the hands of mankind, the very people of God to whom He had been sent, then His disciples and Apostles, as well as all those who follow Him and walk in His path will also suffer the same fate. Thus, it explained the fate which St. Paul and St. Luke the Evangelist met during their journeys.

But did they stop on their path? No! That is what made them different from those others who gave up along the way, who could not endure the difficulties and challenges and preferred the comfort of their old lives, settling for the less worthy. What can indeed be more worthy than the Lord and to live to proclaim the Lord’s words to the nations? And St. Luke, together with the other saints continued courageously to defend their faith and to continue the hard works for which they are admired and adored now.

Remember what the Lord had said in the Gospel today, in the Gospel written by St. Luke himself, so that we may know it and hear it as if it was spoken directly by the Lord Jesus Himself to us? Yes, that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers and workers are few. So what did Jesus then tell His disciples? Exactly, that they should ask the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers and workers to tend to the harvest. This truly makes sense, as more labourers will help the Lord of the harvest to bring in even more harvest and bring about more bountiful returns.

But what does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? This means exactly that the harvest is truly plentiful in our world, and the harvest refers to the people of God, who are ripe for picking and salvation in God, are awaiting for the labourers and workers who serve the Lord, to pick mankind for the Lord of the harvest, that is the Lord our God.

The field itself refers to this world. This world is filled with much difficulties and uncertainties, but it also offers much opportunities and chances for the crops grown in the field of this world. The pests and the weeds that threaten the crops refer to the forces of darkness that is led by Satan, the father of lies and evil, who always try their best to seduce mankind and make them to follow him instead of the Lord.

The rich harvest is a very tempting thing to the pests and weeds, who will definitely try to snatch and destroy the good harvest from the hands of those who collect these rich harvests to the Lord of the harvest. Thus, the same applies to us, as Satan and his fellow fallen angels is out there trying to turn us mankind, by appealing to our human desires and weaknesses, so that we may fall along our path towards the Lord, and then into damnation with them.

The labourers and the workers of the harvest refer to the servants of God, the disciples of Christ and the Apostles, who like St. Luke the Evangelist and many other saints, worked hard and courageously, like lambs among wolves, to ensure that the harvest of the Lord is collected amidst all the pests and the weeds, that is amidst the challenges and difficulties. Their successors, our priests and bishops, and all who devoted themselves to the service of God, continued their hard works even until this very day.

But this does not mean that the works of the Lord are limited to them only. In fact, brothers and sisters in Christ, we too are the workers and servants of the Lord. How is this so? That is because all of us who believe in the Lord and had received the revelation of truth through the Holy Scriptures and the Church, and have been baptised and accepted into the Church of God have the responsibility to spread the Good News of the Lord.

If St. Luke the Evangelist wrote one of the four Holy Gospels and through it countless souls had been saved, then we too can do it in our own way, by showing the faith through our own actions, that show our sincere and genuine faith, which is not in mere words but also through real actions, so that all those who see us, may know that we belong to the Lord, and therefore hopefully they too will seek salvation in God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of St. Luke the Evangelist and other holy saints of God, and remembering always the words of the Lord, how the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, let us all pray sincerely and fervently, so that we may truly know and understand what we can do in order to help the works of God in the salvation of mankind.

May Almighty God bless us all and strengthen us, that we may courageously take up the cross and bear the mission entrusted to us, so that we may help the works of God, saving many others who await God’s salvation and who still live in the darkness of the world, and so that those of us who are called, we may embrace our calling and devote our lives in the full and complete service of the Lord. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded yet again that we need to forsake and abandon sin and all its ways, and embrace the Lord and His ways in our respective lives. And it is also important that we rebuke Satan and all of his attempts to convert us to his rebellious cause, as Israel had once done and repeatedly done during their time in the Promised Land, disobeying their Lord and God.

But we cannot do this alone, brothers and sisters. We need guidance and help, and we cannot face the threat of the evil one and all the forces he had arrayed against us all alone. We need support and strength, which our Lord provides us through none other than our holy priests, and also all those who had committed and surrendered themselves to a life wholly dedicated to God and His people.

Today Jesus called on all of us to consider His words, how that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. And let us also discern on the words of the prayer He said, that the Lord would send more and more labourers to work and gain the harvest of the faith for the Lord, and for the good of all of us in this world. This is reflecting exactly the reality of the faith, both in that era, and in the era that had come after that, all the way to this modern time.

For the harvest that Jesus mentioned is the world, and all the people who lives in that world. There is indeed rich harvest to be reaped, and there are truly many souls who long and yearn for the word of God and for salvation to grace them. Many are still in the darkness, and many of them even had been baptised in the Church! Yes, brethren, that is the reality of our Church and the reality of our world today.

In the years and decades after the Second Vatican Council, which happened just about fifty years ago, due to gross misinterpretations of the true meaning and purpose of the Council, many had been misled by the errors and this also unfortunately led to a great decline in the vocations to the priesthood, which resulted in less and less priests, especially young priests, available to help with the needs of the many faithful all over the world, which numbers continue to grow unabated.

In our world today, unlike those times in the past, taking up a religious and consecrated life to God is no longer considered an honour, and in our rapidly changing world, there are increasingly more and more benchmarks of life and successes in life. Mankind as a whole are growing more and more attached to the goodness and the pleasures offered by the world, and coupled with the expectations and prejudices of the society, this led to even graver problems with vocations, and therefore, with the well-being of many of the faithful who are not cared of by the dwindling number of priests.

There are those who seek shortcuts by attempting to ‘adjust’ to the demands of the changing world, but they truly failed to understand the gravity and the reality of the matter. They seek to run away from the problem and from the issue, by proposing to take shortcuts that harm the life of the faithful, in particular the priests, their shepherds. I do not need to elaborate further on this issue, on the matter of ordination of women and allowing priests to have a married life. These are not of our faith, brethren, but these are the suggestions of Satan trying to divide us and destroy us.

The misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council led to the diluting and loss of the true values and morale integrity in the faith within our society and our Church as a whole. More and more people became lost on their way to God, being disturbed and tempted by the ‘better offers’ of Satan in various means through the world. And this in particular affected many young men, who were then led away from their calling to be servants of God. And this also affected some who had decided to follow the Lord, and then reneged on the decision.

These are the hard truths and realities of our faith and our world, brothers and sisters in Christ. We lose out so many good men to the evil one, and he even tried to corrupt those whom God had made His labourers in faith. And through their fall, many too, would end up falling on their way to the Lord, which can then explain the troubles and the great challenges facing us today.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important that we all gather our strength and work together to help one another to overcome those challenges, rediscovering the purity and the truths of our faith, long forsaken by many who chose to reconcile with the ways of the world, and the ways of those who were wayward, over maintaining without fail, the deposit of faith in the Holy Mother Church.

Let us all pray especially for our priests, that in everything they do, and in living their difficult but enriching lives, they may commit to always stay pure and totally dedicated to the Lord, as on the day of their sacred ordination. Let us pray, that there will also be many more vocations to the priesthood, that many more young men would open their hearts to God, and allowing Him to do with them according with His will. Let us pray also for more vocations to the religious life, that all those who are called may respond positively and with confidence, for the sake of God and for the love of His people.

May God bless us all with love, hope and faith, that we may rediscover the zeal of faith that we had lost, in the confusion over the misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council’s true intentions. God bless our priests too, and may He guide them all the days of their life. Amen.

Sunday, 18 May 2014 : Fifth Sunday of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, trust in the Lord and do not turn against Him, even when we are in difficulties, doubt or uncertainties. Our Lord and God is faithful and loving to us, and He desired that all of us be reunited to Him in all perfection. At the centre of our faith lies our dedication and commitment to the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through whose sacrifice on the cross, we had been made whole and worthy of the Lord once again.

Today we continue to celebrate the joy of Easter, that joy of new life brought by Jesus and His resurrection from the dead, the joy that overcomes all despair and distress, and a new light that all of us who lived in darkness may see and believe. Ever since Christ died and was risen from the dead, He had brought forth a new era for the world, that is where His Church is present in this world and continuing to do the good works and missions that Christ had initiated.

In today’s first reading we read how the Apostles and the other disciples of Christ faced a problem with the distribution of goods among the faithful, for we have to be mindful that the earliest Christian communities lived in perfect harmony with one another, and as the Scriptures mentioned, they shared their goods and happiness with one another in the community.

The Apostles were the extensions of the Lord’s power and authority in this world, and there were twelve of them in number. If a parallel is to be made to the status of the Church in today’s time, they are the most senior ranking prelates and officials of the Holy Mother Church, with Peter as their leader and the head of the entire Christian communities, as Christ’s vicar in the world.

And just as today’s leaders of the Church, and the Pope, the Apostles had many responsibilities, and arguably even more responsibilities and works than what the Church leaders today have, in addition to the persecution and open opposition against the faith by the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities, which made things even more difficult for the Church at the time of the Apostles.

Therefore, what we witness today in the readings, is God loving us so much, that He inspired His Apostles to take a course of action that will expand greatly the works and acts of charity and love among His people, by appointing a new class of leaders that were meant for service to the people of God and a service that is based on the foundations of faith and love. They are the deacons, not much different from the deacons that we have today.

The deacons were meant to help with the distribution of goods to the faithful and to serve them with love, as mentioned earlier on, and originally there were seven of them. They were men filled with the Holy Spirit, and we know well of one of them, St. Stephen, the first martyr of the faith, who defended the Lord so eloquently and passionately, that all those who had not hardened their hearts would have listened and believed.

They together with the Apostles, showed to the world the love of God, which was made manifest through Jesus Christ, and it is He whom the Apostles and the disciples were proclaiming about, spreading His Good News to many peoples of many nations, saving many souls in the process, and passing down that Good News through the generations, that more souls might be saved, and indeed their good works are still continuing today, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Nevertheless, it is indeed sad today, how vocations to the priesthood had declined precipituously, not least because of the moral and spiritual decline in the world, and in a world increasingly beset with materialism and ego-centric mentalities. It is increasingly difficult to find those with the heart and dedication to serve the Lord as the Apostles and the deacons had done. Less and less young men are joining the seminaries simply because this world offers us too much goodness for us to ignore.

Hence, brethren, let us today pray, for more vocations among the faithful, that we may see a resurgence in the number of those who accept the calling of the Lord, that more will join the holy works of grace the Apostles and the deacons had done. May the Lord bless His people and strengthen the faith in them. God bless us all. Amen.