Friday, 29 September 2017 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white, as snow, His hair, white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.

Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Alternative reading

Revelations 12 : 7-12a

War broke out in heaven, with Michael and his Angels battling with the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated, and lost their place in heaven. The great dragon, the ancient serpent, known as the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was thrown out. He was hurled down to earth, together with his angels.

Then, I heard a loud voice from heaven : Now has salvation come, with the power and the kingdom of our God, and the rule of His Anointed. For our brothers’ accuser has been cast out, who accused them night and day, before God. They conquered him, by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, for they gave up their lives, going to death.

Rejoice, therefore, o you heavens, and you who dwell in them.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017 : Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 11 : 19a and Revelations 12 : 1-6a, 10ab

Then, the Sanctuary of God, in the heavens, was opened, and the Ark of the Covenant of God could be seen inside the Sanctuary.

A great sign appeared in heaven : a woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and cried out in pain, looking to her time of delivery.

Then, another sign appeared : a huge, red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and wearing seven crowns on its heads. It had just swept along a third of the stars of heaven with its tail, throwing them down to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman, who was about to give birth, so that, it might devour the Child as soon as It was born.

She gave birth to a male Child, the One Who is to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre; then, her Child was seized, and taken up to God, and to His throne, while the woman fled to the desert, where God had prepared a place for her. Then, I heard a loud voice from heaven : Now has salvation come, with the power and the kingdom of our God.

Thursday, 29 September 2016 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white as snow, His hair white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.

Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Alternative reading
Revelations 12 : 7-12a

War broke out in heaven with Michael and his Angels battling with the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and lost their place in heaven. The great dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was thrown out. He was hurled down to earth, together with his angels.

Then I heard a loud voice from heaven : Now has salvation come, with the power and the kingdom of our God, and the rule of His Anointed. For our brothers’ accuser has been cast out, who accused them night and day, before God. They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

Thursday, 2 October 2014 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate together the feast and memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, that is the angels of God who had been sent to each one of us, that is to become our protector and guardian, to watch over us and protect us from danger and harm’s way, especially on the forces seeking our destruction and damnation, that is Satan and his angels, the fallen ones.

God created the angels to serve Him, and they ceaselessly worship and glorify Him at all times. They served His various purposes, to carry His throne in heaven, to sing Him the songs of praise, to deliver His message to His creations, to fight in the constant battle against the angels who had fallen along the way into the darkness. Lucifer, the greatest among the angels, the most beautiful and mightiest, who lost himself to his pride and vanity, and ended up leading a third of the heavenly hosts into the darkness with him.

And the fallen one, stripped of his greatness and majesty became the great enemy, Satan, the deceiver and the accuser, who was filled with wrath, desire, jealousy and anger, and he is indeed angry and jealous against the love which God had shown to the greatest of His creations, that is mankind. And of course he who had aspired to raise his throne above that of God’s, and he who desired to usurp the Lordship of all the universe, would not just stay silent or happy if everything that the Lord has planned goes perfectly according to His will.

That is why, after Satan had been defeated, and his forces beaten by the angelic host of the faithful angels led by the prince of the heavenly hosts, St. Michael the Archangel, he was cast out of heaven and fall into the earth. And he then carried out an alternative plan of his, that is to wreck the Lord’s most precious and greatest of His creations, mankind, who lived in perfect bliss and joy, in complete happiness in the gardens of Eden.

Thus, he sowed the seeds of disobedience in the hearts and minds of men, by spreading his lies, first to Eve and then to Adam. This is because, if Satan was unable to overcome the Lord in his attempt to rise up against Him, then he would do something in order to hurt the Lord, and there is indeed no better way than to try to inflict injury on those whom the Lord are most pleased with.

And as we knew it, that due to the disobedience of men, our first ancestors, who chose to listen to the lies of Satan rather than to the truth of the Lord, mankind had been stripped of their rights to dwell in perfect happiness and joy, cast out of the gardens of Eden, because of the sins that had dwelled in the hearts of men through that act of disobedience, just as Satan was cast out of heaven due to his pride and rebellion against God.

But God did not give up on us, for He loved us beyond anything else in creation, and He still loves us even today, and He will always love us. That is why He gave us Jesus His Son, to be our Saviour and Deliverer from our sins. But He also sent His servants, the angels, to guard us against the forces of the evil one who are always at large to tempt us and to mislead us into a path towards sin and condemnation.

For as mentioned, the devil or Satan, and his allies resented the love God had for us, and they intend to twist us, to tempt us and to make us to turn against God and be damned just as they had once been damned before. If we allow ourselves to be led astray by them, then we are in great danger indeed, for the price is none other than the loss and eternal damnation of our souls.

If we can use an approximation to show this, we can approximate it to the shepherds, their flocks of sheep and the wolves that prowl about, waiting to get their claws and jaws on the sheep. The Lord our God, our Father and our Creator is truly like the owner of the flock, who owned the pasture and every things that are in the flocks of sheep.

Then the sheep are all of us, mankind, the children of God, whom the Lord cares for in all things, given His providence for all our needs, protected from all harm. The wolves represent the devil and his allies, the fallen angels, the demons, who are always constantly prowling about, around the flock, awaiting for the chance and opportunity to snatch the unaware and unfortunate sheep, those that wandered outside the safety of the flock.

Therefore, naturally the loving owner who cares for his sheep would employ shepherds to take care of the sheep, and to protect them from the hungry wolves, both by ensuring that the sheep remain in the flock, and guide them along the right paths to avoid any sheep from being lost. These shepherds are the angels, our guardian angels, who have been assigned to each one of us to help us on our way, so that we would not be lost to the evil ones.

The guardian angels helped us and protected us from the attacks by the evil ones, as our guides and spiritual shields. They are locked in constant battles for the sake of our souls. But they cannot do it alone, and we need to play our part as well. We too must be righteous and be listening and receptive to the guidance which our guardian angels and all the other saints and holy people of God had given us.

Therefore, let us all turn to our guardian angels and ask them for their intercession and protection, so that we may always be in the love and grace of God, and that we may avoid the traps of Satan and his fellow demons, who are prowling around us, awaiting for a chance to strike at us. Let us all fortify ourselves, that our hearts and minds may be strong and fortified against the assaults of Satan, that we may not fail the Lord as our ancestors had once done.

May Almighty God bless us and be with us, and may His angels, the guardian angels always be on us, and with the leadership of St. Michael, the prince and chief of all the heavenly hosts, including all the guardian angels, may they all smite Satan and cast him down, safeguarding us from his lies and vile works. God be with us all, and may our guardian angels be on our side always. Amen.

Monday, 29 September 2014 : Feast of the Holy Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast day of the Church, that is the feast of the Holy Archangels of God, and primarily of which, is the Prince of all heavenly hosts, the leader of all the angels of God, that is St. Michael the Archangel, the faithful servant of God and one of the seven holy Archangels serving before the throne of God, the vanquisher of Satan, who defeated the forces of evil and all the fallen angels, and cast them out of heaven.

The Holy Archangels, three of whom were named, St. Michael the prince and leader of angels, St. Gabriel the messenger and the voice of God, and St. Raphael the healer and the mercy of God, all of them represent the different aspects of God, and they are the greatest servants of the Lord, sending and giving His messages to all whom the Lord wills to reveal Himself to.

The Archangels of God are also the chiefs of our protectors, the leaders and the ones in charge of our guardian angels, and all the angelic hosts and forces of heaven, who are locked in constant and regular combat and battle against the forces of darkness, led by the prince of evil, that is Satan. Satan desires nothing but for our destruction, for in his jealousy of the Lord, he desires to destroy all that is dear to God, especially all of us mankind, the greatest and the most beloved of all His creations.

Satan himself was once a great Archangel, and in fact was once the mightiest, most beautiful and the greatest of the angels of the Lord, created with such perfection and beauty, and with such might and authority, that the bright and mighty Archangel, Lucifer, was filled with great pride about himself. But it is this same pride which became his greatest undoing and became rightly, as the greatest sin of all.

For in his pride, he chose to rebel against God and His love, thinking that he is mightier than his own Creator, the Lord of all the universe. The creation failed to realise that despite all of his power, might and beauty, and despite all of his perfections, that he is still merely a creature, and not the Creator. And he is still nothing compared to the Lord of all, who is perfect in all things that He has, and He truly has everything.

Satan, who was Lucifer, the lightbringer, boasted that in his majesty, glory and power, he would raise his throne above the throne of God, and thus rule over all creations. He brought many of his fellow angels into sin and darkness, what we now know as the fallen angels. But his pride is his undoing, and instead of rising up in glory, he was thrown down in shame. The one who led the hosts of the faithful angels was Michael the Archangel, who was made the chief of all the angelic hosts.

St. Michael the Archangel was made the chief of all heavenly angels and all the heavenly hosts not because he was great and mighty, nor because he was proud and beautiful as Lucifer or Satan was, but because he obeyed the will of God fully and completely, as an obedient servant of God Most High. It was said that St. Michael always trembled before the presence of God, not because he was fearful or afraid, but because he knew that he was in the presence of the Lord and Creator of all the universe, and he is nothing before Him.

That was why, God rewarded him such as to make him chief of all the heavenly hosts, as a great protector and role model for all of us the faithful. Remember that Jesus always said that the mighty would be humbled, and the humble would be glorified? This is the exact thing that had happened. Lucifer was cast down for his pride, to suffer for eternity the torture of hell and the lake of fire, while Michael the humble was raised to a position of honour.

St. Gabriel the Archangel and St. Raphael the Archangel also followed and obeyed the will of God in their own way, listening to God in all things and carrying out His will into the world. St. Gabriel the Archangel delivered the Good News of the Lord to Mary in Nazareth, while St. Raphael was sent to the family of Tobit the Israelite exile, and to help exorcise the demon Asmodeus from Sara, the soon-to-be wife of Tobit’s son, Tobias.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice together as one to celebrate the feast of St. Michael the Archangel and his fellow Archangels, let us all realise our frailty and our prone nature towards sin, and how we can follow the examples of the holy Archangels to lead our lives to come into closer relationships with our God. Let us heed the examples of the holy angels of God, who fought day and night at all times to protect us from the depredations of the evil one and his forces.

Evil is never at rest, brethren, for Lucifer, fallen and shamed, as Satan had enmity on us mankind, and this was why he tempted our first ancestors into sin, so that through that disobedience we might also follow in his footsteps, and therefore end up in eternal suffering and destruction. But the Lord clearly does not want this to happen, and that was why He sent us Jesus His Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer.

And the angels constantly are on guard against the attacks of the evil one, but they certainly cannot fight on their own. We too should take part in this fight and resistance against the evil forces, and thus rebuke the devil who is trying to set us up against the Lord. Therefore, let us all reflect on our own actions, so that we may know how to be a true follower of Christ and thus gain salvation through Him.

May all of us be able to cast away our pride and arrogance, knowing full well that all of us are sinners who are unworthy of God’s love and presence, for our disobedience and the disobedience of our forefathers, but it is the love of God our Lord and Father, who made us whole again, by sending us love Himself through Jesus, who shed His life so that we may live once again, not just any life, but life supported by the love and the grace of God.

Let us be like the holy Archangels, obedient and faithful, always listening to God in all things, faithfully carrying out His will. And what is God’s will for us? None other than so that we can love, first that is to love God Himself, with all of our hearts, with all of our souls and with all of our minds and strengths, and then to show the same love to our brethren around us, in particular those who are in the greatest need.

May Almighty God guide us on our ways, so that we may find our way towards Him, not by pride or arrogance, nor through our power and might, but through our sincere desire to be reunited with Him, and to seek His mercy and love, so that, with the help of the angels and the holy Archangels of God, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, with His Blessed Mother and His saints, we may attain salvation and eternal life, in the loving grace of God, leaving Satan to suffer by himself with his fellow rebel angels, for eternity, while we enjoy the fruits of our good labour in this world.

St. Michael the Archangel, and all the holy Archangels and angels of God, pray for us, and protect us in battle, that we may always triumph against anything that the devil, Satan, that old snake and deceiver has put in our path, that we may rebuke him and profess our faith and love for the Lord our God. Amen.

Monday, 29 September 2014 : Feast of the Holy Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white as snow, His hair white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire.

A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him. Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book.

I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

 

Alternative reading

Revelations 12 : 7-12a (or Apocalypse 12 : 7-12a)

War broke out in heaven with Michael and his angels battling with the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and lost their place in heaven. The great dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was thrown out. He was hurled down to earth, together with his angels.

Then I heard a loud voice from heaven : “Now has salvation come, with the power and the kingdom of our God, and the rule of His Anointed. For our brothers’ accuser has been cast out, who accused them night and day before God. They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they gave up their lives going to death.”

“Rejoice, therefore, o you heavens and you who dwell in them.”

Sunday, 1 September 2013 : 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today Christ taught us the value of humility, of doing things in humility, and seeking not human glory in all our dealings. The prophet Sirach in the first reading today also put the emphasis on the relations between greatness and humility, that the greater someone is, the more that he or she should be humble, and to seek not things that lie beyond our capabilities and our reach.

Brethren, too many times have we heard about mankind trying to reach things beyond what they can do, that they became too absorbed in that pursuit and forget about anything else. It is very often that we even sacrificed much in order to get to that destination, to that desire that we seek to achieve. More often than not, this involved sacrificing even those dear to us. What makes mankind so desperate for such aims and targets that they devote so much for them?

That is because we often become immersed in our pride and in our desire, so much that we simply cannot let go when things do not go the way we wanted it. We always want to be the first in everything, the first in getting new items from the store, the first in our academic, economic, and other performances, that we fear so much from losing out to another people. In our deep pride, we cannot bear to lose to another person, because to us, there is often no consideration for being the second place.

It is in our human nature that we want to be preeminent, and first in all things, and that is our pride, that we ought to stand alone at the top without rivals. Yet remember, brothers and sisters, it is exactly the same sin that had brought down the greatest angel and the mightiest angel of all the angelic host of heaven. Who is that? Precisely, it is Lucifer, the false lightbringer, now known as Satan, the evil one, the devil, the deceiver, and the great enemy.

Lucifer was created as the most brilliant of all of God’s angels, the most perfect and beautiful of all God’s angels. It was told that he was created with twelve wings of a seraph, with incredibly bright light illuminating his figure, and hence his name, Lucifer, the lightbringer and the morning star. To him had been given power, glory, and might in addition to his beauty and wonder, by the Lord the Creator of all.

Yet, in his heart, due to his seemingly perfect beauty, power, and glory, he began to form dissensions and dissatisfactions with being a servant of God, and instead, in his great pride, he wanted to rise above all things, and take over the throne of God, as the ruler of all the creation and over all of heaven, as written in the Book of the prophet Isaiah. That he will raise his throne above the stars of heaven and ascend to the heights of heaven, seated on the throne of God, such are the things in his heart, the schemes that he plotted against God.

And yet, he failed. In his great pride he had sought to be like the proud guest who seek to reach the first place in the banquet, and he failed, badly. He was struck down and cast down from the heavens, as we read in the Book of the Revelation, when the Archangel Michael and the angels of heaven fought with the dragon, that is Lucifer, and defeated him with the power of God, and cast him away from heaven. The Book of the prophet Isaiah continued with the lamentation on the fate of Lucifer, as the fallen morning star, that had fallen and would never rise again as he had once boasted.

Indeed, as Christ had said to the Pharisees in the feast, that the one who seek to be the first will be made last, and will be relegated to the last position in great shame and humiliation. Truly, Lucifer, once the brightest, most brilliant, and mightiest angel of heaven, is now a shadow of his former self, known to us as the great enemy and the evil one, twisted, broken, and marred in his beauty, all because of his pride and lack of humility before God.

On the other hand, the Archangel Michael, whom we know as the chief of the angelic host and the leader of the angels of God, is made such not because of his pride, his power, or his might. Instead, the Archangel Michael was known for his great humility and obedience to the will of God, and it was indeed told that he always trembled before the presence of the Lord. That humility made the Lord to choose him as the leader of His angelic host, in the same way as the humble guest who seek the worst and last seat, is invited by the host to a position of honour.

After quoting the example of the archangels, of Lucifer and Michael and the comparison between them, and how it relates to the lessons we learn today from our readings and the Lord Himself, of the importance of humility in our lives, let us take some time to reflect on our own lives, whether we have always let our pride get in our way, and whether we have let our pride to take over us, as it had done to Lucifer.

To be humble is not easy, as temptations will certainly be great. We tend to compete with one another, not least in this increasingly more fast-moving and competitive world, where everyone’s success in life is measured by their achievements and by the things that they are able to do better than others, fueling even more and more competition in a vicious cycle, that if not controlled may result in excessive competition and everyone sought to overcome one another, at the expense of others as best as possible.

Yet, the Lord challenged us today to be different, to dare to be different from others, to be humble in our increasingly prideful world, in a world where people increasingly care less about one another, in a world where everyone vies to be the first ahead of others, and to achieve things that they are not able to do. The Lord challenged us to know the meaning of humility and the value of satisfaction, of knowing that we truly have enough in our lives, that all that we need have truly been taken care of by the Lord our God in various ways.

Christ had taught us the meaning of humility, and also teach us love, how to love one another, and how to love God. He has shown us all that through His own actions, that He, who is God, and who is divine and all-powerful, is willing to take the last seat of all, the most humiliating seat of all, to be born into a poor family of a carpenter and born in a dirty stable, even though He is indeed a King, King of all kings no less, the Master of all the Universe.

It does not just stop at that, as He lived humbly and did not seek glory for Himself. Many times the people who were amazed at His miracles and powers sought to force Him and to make Him their king, as the king of a renewed Israel, and yet, Jesus walked away from all that, and not only that, He even willingly walked towards His own death.

Yes, brethren, in His great humility, He who is God, let Himself be captured, tortured, mocked and spat at. He was given many lashes and eventually after carrying His own cross, was nailed to that cross on Calvary. Such is His great humility that He endured all sufferings intended for us, and took them all upon Himself. His wounds marked all the sufferings He had to suffer in our place, that we may live. He died, and died a humiliating death, a criminal’s death on the cross.

And yet? He who has died for all of us has risen from the dead! He has triumphed and conquered over the prideful one, Satan, the old Lucifer, whose pride had brought him from glory to humiliation. Christ had risen to His glory and made the greatest and most prominent of all. The Lord Himself had proven His own words today through His own actions, which He made out of pure love for all of us, that we all may live, that He had humbled Himself to die a humiliating death, despite being the Master of all, for our sake.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the very example of our Lord Jesus, let us today heed His call, that we be humble in all our words, in all our deeds, and in all our actions. Let us be humble in all our dealings with one another, caring and loving for one another, just as the Lord had commanded us. Let us be truly brothers and sisters to one another, and do not seek the downfall of others or the failure of others for our own success. Let us throw away our pride and don humility instead, just as our Lord Himself had once done for us.

May the Lord continue to watch over us, protect us, and bless us, and that may He remind us at all times that we ought to be humble and loving in all our actions, and in all our dealings to our brethren, remembering the very life He had given us, through His own humble death. God bless us all, forever and ever. Amen.