Saturday, 8 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Luke 16 : 9-15

At that time, Jesus said, “And so I tell you : use filthy money to make friends for yourselves, so that, when it fails, these people may welcome you into the eternal homes. Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted in great ones; whoever is dishonest in slight matters will also be dishonest in greater ones.”

“So if you have been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth? And if you have been dishonest with things that are not really yours, who will give you that wealth which is truly your own?”

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to Money.”

The Pharisees who loved money, heard al this and sneered at Jesus. He said to them, “You do your best to be considered righteous by people. But God knows the heart, and what is highly esteemed by human beings is loathed by God.”


Homily and Scripture Reflection :

Friday, 4 July 2014 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the story of the calling of Matthew or Levi by Jesus to be one of His Apostles, and we also heard how the Lord will punish those who are wicked and carry on with their wicked lives at the expense of others. These two stories remind us how important it is for us to seek God’s mercy and to be converted to the true faith in God, and to turn away decisively from our old lives of wickedness into new lives in truth and righteousness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord is loving and merciful to all of His children, but He does not want us to sin, and He hates sin in all of its forms, some of which examples had been highlighted in the first reading today, namely the actions of those who does not have the Lord in their hearts and the wicked things that they did in cheating others for their own self benefits. The lack of fairness, justice and many other acts that are indeed in violation of the Lord and His truths.

The essence of today’s readings can truly be summarised to the two words that Jesus spoke to Matthew as he was seated at his tax-house, that is ‘Follow Me!’, the desire that God has for all of us, which is to abandon our sinfulness and our obstinate behaviours in resisting His love, and to follow Him faithfully till the end of our lives, as Matthew and the other Apostles and saints had done.

We need to be like Matthew, who did not hesitate to leave all the wealth and worldly happiness that he had, and immediately harkened to the words of the Lord, following Him without condition and without qualms. He left behind all his position could offer him, and all the wealth that his job could have given him, and in doing so, he lost the treasure of this world but gain the treasure of the world that is to come, and this treasure he will never lose.

The first reading indeed warns us that we mankind are easily tempted and swayed by the pleasures and goodness of this world, so that we forget our real purpose in this world and fall into the trick and trap of Satan. What os our real purpose, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is to love and glorify our Lord and God, instead of what many of us are doing now, to love ourselves and seek material wealth and worldly glory, as well as human praise.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Portugal also known as St. Elizabeth of Aragon, the Queen consort of Portugal during the high Medieval era Europe. She was truly renowned for her zeal and great piety in life, both before and after becoming the Queen of Portugal. She came from quite a religious family and many of her relatives had already been made saints in their own right.

But what truly set St. Elizabeth of Portugal from her contemporaries was truly how she led a faithful and devoted life to God, shorn of the hunger and greed for pride, human praise and glory, and rather, she lived humbly and with full of love for one another, and for those less fortunate and weak in the society. She inspired many others by her lifestyle and actions, making peace when there were wars, donating food and help to those who were affected by famine and diseases, and many other acts that truly set her apart as a holy woman and an inspiration for the faithful.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, she worked so hard and was eventually overcome by her exertion and sickness. But even as she passed from this life into the eternal life with God, she continued to work her wonders, through the miracles that happened at her tomb, and through her works and inspirations that brought so many people back to the Church and returned so many to their zealous ways before God.

We can all follow her life examples, and aspire to be like her as well. We must be more true and devoted to our faith in the Lord, more than ever before. How do we do so? By following what St. Elizabeth of Portugal had done. Be loving and forgiving to others around us, be charitable to the weak and the needy, and by not thinking and worrying only about ourselves and keeping our ego. Be open, brothers and sisters in Christ! Let everyone and all of us together enjoy the love of God through the doors of our hearts, open wide in acceptance of one another as brethren in Christ.

May Almighty God, through the intercession of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, continue to instill in us, within our hearts the love both for God Himself and for mankind, especially those who are in most need for our help. Amen.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how the Apostles continued to carry on the mission they had been entrusted with, and brought the Word of God to many peoples, bringing them closer and closer to the salvation in God. The Apostles and their disciples went to spread the Good News to many people, some of whom accepted them and the message they brought to them, while some were reluctant and doubtful while others rejected them outright.

That what the Apostles were doing, and in their hard toils, they managed to convert many to the faith and in the process. The Apostles went around to many places, around the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard, facing tough challenges in order to evangelise the people. They spread the Good News about the Lord and Christ who has died for us and was risen in glory, and whose peace and love, He wanted to share with all the nations.

Not all the people were receptive to this revelation though, because many would prefer to remain in the darkness of ignorance and sin, die to various reasons, mainly because they cannot part with the goodness and all the pleasures that this world can offer, although by indulging in these they risk corruption with sin and hence damnation.

In this world, it is increasingly becoming more and more commercialised and materialistic, to the point that many pursue their career and work, that they can gain more prosperity and more financial strength, or simply more money. This world offers so much good things to us, that we end up being bought over, and our attitudes and lifestyles change.

We have not been able to keep our faith strong because of all these temptations, which are ever present and keep us separated from the Lord and His love. This world is ever moving towards the tendency to drift away from God and indulge in oneself, that is in pleasures of the flesh and goodness of the world. Gluttony, desire and greed are common problems and weaknesses that mankind has.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena, a humble and holy man, who was a priest and a Franciscan missionary, who was well known as the Apostle of Italy during his time, because of his hard works and dedication to eliminate evil and vices in the society that prevented mankind from seeking and be reunited with God.

St. Bernardine of Siena was well-known for his preaching and evangelisation works. He worked hard to spread the Gospel and explain the message of the Good News to the people of God, and calling on them to repent for their sins and unworthy behaviour. He was persuasive and yet rich of love and mercy, and his sermons and exhortations never failed to inspire the people and made many convert to the true faith and keep their lives free from sin.

St. Bernardine of Siena was particularly known for his attack on the excesses of life, where he encouraged the people to cast down and throw away those excesses into a bonfire. In that way, he encouraged the people to turn their back to the excesses and the corruptions promoted by the world, which are not different in form, even in this modern day. Yes, to turn their back on these excesses and impurities and seek the Lord with all of their heart.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, following the example and heeding the call of St. Bernardine of Siena, let us all resolve in changing our ways, that we no longer seek what is vain and corrupting, namely the pleasures of the flesh and the decadent and opulent lifestyle as promoted by the world. Especially for us who live in prosperous and developed countries, it is easy for us to fall into the temptation of possession and material wealth.

Instead, let us resolve to seek the Lord with all of our might, and commit ourselves completely and entirely to Him. How do we do that, brethren? We should be charitable in all of our actions, that in all things, we bring good to others and dedicate ourselves to make better the life of others. Shall we do this, and follow the Lord and St. Bernardine of Siena in their way? Let us cast away the old life of vice and excesses, and embrace the new life based on love.

May God be with us and guide us on our way, and may He bless us ever more with His love, and therefore grant us His light to light our path. Amen.

Friday, 21 March 2014 : 2nd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Genesis 37 : 3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other children, for he was the son of his old age and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. His brothers who saw that their father loved him more than he loved them, hated him and could no longer speak to him in a friendly way.

His brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing the flock at Shechem; come along, I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went off after his brothers and found them at Dothan. They saw him in the distance and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes the specialist in dreams! Now is the time! Let us kill him and throw him into a well. We will say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what his dreams were all about!”

But Reuben heard this and tried to save him from their hands saying, “Let us not kill him; shed no blood! Throw him in this well in the wilderness, but do him no violence.” This he said to save Joseph from them and take him back to his father.

So as soon as Joseph arrived, they stripped him of his long-sleeved coat that he wore and then took him and threw him in the well. Now the well was empty, without water.

They were sitting for a meal when they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with spices, balm and myrrh, which they were taking down to Egypt. Judah then said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and hiding his blood? Come! We will sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother and our own flesh!” His brothers agreed to this.

So when the Midianite merchants came along they pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the well. For twenty pieces of silver they sold Joseph to the Midianites, who took him with them to Egypt.

Monday, 3 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Following the Law of the Lord is not enough, brothers and sisters, because if we are to seek salvation, then we have to devote ourselves entirely to the Lord. Jesus mentioned to the rich man, to sell everything he had and gave the possessions and the wealth to the poor. Well, we can do that of course, but what is important is to understand the meaning behind the message rather than to take it literally.

What is important for us is for us all to dedicate our heart to God and to Him alone. We cannot be divided in our attention, especially with the things of this world. It is easy for us to be distracted and be affected by our concerns for the world. We often put our possessions and wealth first in our heart and not our love for God.

It does not mean though, that rich people cannot receive salvation or be saved. What it means is rather that, rich people does have greater tendency to be diverted in their way to salvation, because of the worldly possessions they have. But remember, brethren, that wealth itself, as I often mentioned, is neutral. Our possessions and money can be utilised for the sake of the good or for the sake of bad things.

But more often than not we put our trust in these things rather than God, and we are often overprotective of our wealth and possessions. We do not easily give up our wealth for the sake of those who are less fortunate. Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the attitude that we should provide, and regardless of our status and backgrounds.

Yes, even when we are poor, we can also be very protective over what little we have, and we can be exclusive in our own actions. Just like those rich ones who generously donated their wealth for the less fortunate indeed. We cannot have any prejudice or contempt on those whom we deem to be not as good as ourselves. First, what we have to do, is to look into ourselves and ask ourselves, whether in our own actions we have done things deplorable in the eyes of the Lord.

When we show our faith to the Lord, then we have to be genuine in our faith, and we cannot be half-hearted in our attempt to devote ourselves to the Lord. Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we want to enter the kingdom of God, then we have to be like what Christ wants us to be, that is to love, and to love tenderly! Yes, love is the basic means for us to enter into God’s kingdom.

If we do not love, then we will have no part in God’s kingdom. And this love does not mean love for our possessions, our wealth, or love just for those whom we want to love alone. This love means, as Christ often mentioned, the love for God and the love for our brothers and sisters, the fellow mankind we live with in this world.

Mankind often forget this, and are preoccupied with their own businesses and things, that they forget to do what is expected from them. We have much potential and gifts given by God, and these we can use to make a difference. Our wealth can be shared with those who are less fortunate than us.

May the Lord awaken in us, the love and dedication for our fellow men. May He bring us to love one another more and more, sharing with those who have less than us, that we may rejoice together in the Lord. May the Lord bless us with love and strengthen our devotion to Him, always and forever. Amen.

Sunday, 2 March 2014 : 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Worry not, for God did not and never ever will He want to leave us uncared for unprovided. He loves all of us, just as He had always loved since the beginning when He created us. He provided for everything, and for us mankind, He had allocated many things to be our possession and inheritance, if only that we follow His ways and remain faithful to Him throughout the difficult times.

One thing which often clearly separated us from God is the concerns we have for the world and all of its goodness. We are often unable to detach ourselves from the desires of our heart, our eyes, and our stomachs, and we often succumb to these desires, ending up not following the Lord, but instead fall into the trap of the devil.

The devil offered us all many things that this world can offer, be it in food, in money and wealth, as well as in terms of illicit and dark pleasures of the flesh. These he offered us, that our minds be filled with desires and concerns for them, rather than be filled with the knowledge and the love for God. We often are ignorant of what goodness that the Lord had given us and the many blessings He had granted us every single moment of our life.

Remember this, our very life is not something for us to take for granted. We often forget that there is nothing greater in our lives than life itself. Our every breath that we take every second, every minute, and every hour, is a gift from God, that is a gift of life. We all have been given life by God, and we ought to recognise that fact. We are often too worried and concerned about many things that we end up forgetting that our life itself had been a great blessing to us.

Yes, brethren, without life, we would be nothing but one of the dead things in this world. It is life that differentiates us from them, and yet, there is an even greater gift God had given us. God has bestowed on each one of us, His own Spirit, that is the Spirit of life. He has breathed into us the spirit of life, that gave life to us, and made us special among all the other creations.

Although we were special, but we also followed the devil in his rebellion, which made us tainted and unworthy of God’s grace and perfection. Nevertheless, He continued to love us regardless, and He continued to care for us in the same way as before. He blessed us, watched over us, and protected us, and yet we often forget about His love and dedication for us.

It is often that we confuse and mix up what our needs are and what we want. It if often that we seek something that we desire, and often that this means material goods, wealth, or worldly fame and affluence. We prefer to seek these and seek solace in them rather than the One who had given us everything that is most important in our life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we be like those who choose this world over that of God? Shall we be lacking of gratitude to the One who had given us so much and yet much forgotten? Let us change our ways if we had done so, and from now on, put our trust ever greater in God.

May our Lord continue to provide for us, and strengthen us, in case we falter. Let us all be thankful to the Lord and receive His kindness to us, and from now on no longer be worrying about the world, but instead, let us live in the grace of God and let Him from now on guide our path, that we may walk towards Him and towards the eternal glory that He had promised us. Let us all give Him thanks and praise Him for His love. Amen.

Sunday, 2 March 2014 : 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 6 : 24-34

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.

This is why 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 less 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 field grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his wealth was clothed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass in the field, which blooms today and is to be burnt tomorrow in an oven, 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 justice 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.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brethren in Christ, today we are confronted with the reality of this world, that is the corrupting nature of wealth, affluence, and possessions. This does not necessarily mean that being wealthy is wrong, or being rich means one is automatically condemned. That is the flawed argument of those who did not understand the meaning of the Lord’s words.

This corruption instead befalls those whose faith are not strong in the Lord. The riches and material possessions themselves are pure and not faulty in themselves. It is how we as those who own them and use them that turn them into evil purposes. Remember though that wealth too can be turned into good purposes, as much as it can be turned for evil.

Indeed, what is important is that we keep ourselves pure and strong in the faith. Do not let the devil to come in and corrupt our hearts and minds. If we do so, then even if we have things and riches of this world, our heart will be more resistant to such attempts by the evil one to corrupt us. Remain pure! And remain faithful! Those are the messages that Christ wanted us to know, the key message that He wanted to deliver to us in the Gospel today.

Again, we cannot take the words of Christ at mere face value, or literally. We have  to understand what He truly meant. Does He mean that we have to literally chop off our hands if they have caused us to sin? The hands themselves are not at fault, just like our worldly wealth and riches. Does cutting our hands stop us from sinning, especially in our hearts?

Yes, brethren, sin originates in our hearts, which is then committed by our limbs and bodies, but this does not in itself condemn these to destruction. Remember brethren, that our hands and legs too can do great deeds, helping others and fulfilling the will of God. If we have chopped them off just because of one sin or a few, how are we going to use them for good things?

The key here is to genuinely change our hearts. We have to resolve to change our hearts, to turn our attention towards the Lord. We have to be consistent in our devotion to the Lord, and that begins from the heart, just as sins also begin from the heart. That is why we ought to seek profound change in ourselves, committing ourselves to a total change, that we will from now on, change ourselves to be truly servants and disciples of the Lord.

Let us change the purpose of whatever possessions we have with us. Let us change how we use whatever blessings and graces that had been granted us, that we may use it for good purposes. Brothers and sisters in Christ, be good, do good, and profess what is good, so that the Lord who sees what is good in us will grant us His blessings.

May the Lord bless us with His love, and may we all also be able to return Him the same love and devotion. Let us all profess our faith and love for He who has always been faithful and loving to us from the very start. May the Lord continue to guide us in our lives and strengthen our devotion towards Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 48 : 14-15ab, 15cd-16, 17-18, 19-20

This is the fate of people trusting themselves, the future of those who rely on their strength. Like sheep led to the grave, they have death as their shepherd and ruler.

Quickly their form will be consumed in the world of the dead, which is their home. But God will rescue my soul from the grave by receiving me unto Himself.

Fear not when someone grows rich, when his power becomes oppressively great, for nothing will he take when he dies; his wealth and pomp he will leave behind.

Though he praised himself in his lifetime, “All will say that I have enjoyed life,” he will join the generation of his forebears, who will never again see the light.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 5 : 1-6

So, now for what concerns the rich! Cry and weep for the misfortunes that are coming upon you. Your riches are rotting and your clothes eaten up by the moths. Your silver and gold have rusted and their rust grows into a witness against you. It will consume your flesh like fire, for having piled up riches in these last days.

You deceived the workers who harvested your fields but now their wages cry out to the heavens. The reapers’ complaints have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You lived in luxury and pleasure in this world thus fattening yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have easily condemned and killed the innocent since they offered no resistance.