Tuesday, 4 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Casimir (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Brethren in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Casimir, the patron saint of arts and youth. St. Casimir was once the heir apparent to the kingdom of Poland, but he died before he succeeded to the throne as king. Nevertheless, he was revered as a saint and holy man of God because of his exceptional character and good deeds which were recognised by the people, who looked up to him and his character.

Today, the readings told us about the importance of our faith and our devotion to the Lord and His ways. And St. Casimir showed us how to be truly devoted to the Lord, not just in words but also in concrete and actual deeds. St. Casimir was known for his humility despite of his position and influence, as the crown prince of the kingdom.

St. Casimir grew in his devotion and faith to God as he grew in life. He was renowned at the end of his life, of his piety and exemplary devotion, which was evident in his works and charitable acts to the poor in the society. He took great responsibility and took it seriously, and worked hard for the good of those whom he had worked for.

He was powerful and great, and he has great influence, and yet he remained humble and unassuming. And that is the kind of faith and devotion that we should also have, brothers and sisters in Christ. We have to be obedient to the will of God, and listen to His words. And most importantly is that we have to act, and act in full devotion, offering ourselves in love to God, by our love for one another.

Reject all of the corruptions of this world, and reject all the temptations that assail us and attempted to change us for the worse. Let us all follow God and His laws, and not disobeying Him in any way. Be like St. Casimir in his devotion. Our faith must be true and genuine, and it must be an active faith, one that is based on strong foundation of love and action.

Be humble and be righteous, those are the things expected by the Lord from us. Let us not harden our hearts or close our minds against the Lord and His love. Instead, open wide the doors of our heart, that the Lord may be able to come in, enter and speak to us, so that we may know His will, and keep faithful to His commandments.

Let us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, renew our faith in God, that our faith will be made stronger, and that we may live always in God’s grace. Let us all never be separated from God or be outside of His salvation and love. Let us walk humbly with God and serve Him with all our strength, just as St. Casimir and many other saints had done throughout the generations.

May the Lord bless us, give us strength to be faithful to Him at all times, and may He be with us at all times, and let us never be separated from Him and His love. God be with us all, always and forever. Amen.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Casimir (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Mark 10 : 28-31

Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow You.”

Jesus answered, “Truly, there is no one who has left house, or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands, for My sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward. I say to you : even in the midst of persecution, he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time, and in the world to come eternal life.”

“Do pay attention : many who are now the first will be last, and the last, first.”

Tuesday, 4 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Casimir (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3c-4

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

The Lord has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Casimir (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

1 Peter 1 : 10-16

This was the salvation for which the prophets so eagerly looked when, in days past, they foretold the favour of God with regard to you. But they could only investigate when the Spirit of Christ present within them pointed out the time and the circumstances of this – the sufferings of Christ and the glories which would follow.

It was revealed to them that they were working not for themselves but for you. Thus, in these days, after the Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven, the Gospel’s preachers have taught you these mysteries which even the angels long to see.

So, then, let your spirit be ready. Be alert, with confident trust in the grace you will receive when Jesus Christ appears. Like obedient children, do not return to your former life given over to ignorance and passions. Imitate the One who called you. As He is holy so you, too, be holy in all your conduct, since Scripture says : Be holy for I am holy.

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.

Monday, 3 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 17-27

Just as Jesus was setting out on His journey again, a man ran up, knelt before Him and asked, “Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments : Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat, honour your father and mother.”

The man replied, “I have obeyed all these commandments since my childhood.”

Then Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him and He said, “For you, one thing is lacking. Go, sell what you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow Me.”

On hearing these words, his face fell and he went away sorrowful, for he was a man of great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were shocked at these words, but Jesus insisted, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

They were more astonished than ever and wondered, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked steadily at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God; all things are possible with God.”

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

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 110 : 1-2, 5-6, 9 and 10c

Alleluia! I thank the Lord with all my heart in the council of the just, in the assembly. The works of the Lord are great and pondered by all who delight in them.

Always mindful of His covenant, He provides food for those who fear Him. He shows His people the power of His arm by giving them the lands of other nations.

He has sent His people deliverances and made with them a covenant forever. His holy Name is to be revered! To Him belongs everlasting praise.

Monday, 3 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Peter 1 : 3-9

Let us praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for His great mercy. In raising Jesus Christ from the dead He has given us new life and a living hope. The inheritance that does not corrupt nor goes bad nor passes away was reserved to you in heavens, since God’s power shall keep you faithful until salvation is revealed in the last days.

There is cause for joy, then, even though you may, for a time, have to suffer many trials. Thus will your faith be tested, like gold in a furnace. Gold, however, passes away but faith, worth so much more, will bring you in the end praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ appears.

You have not yet seen Him and yet you love Him; even without seeing Him, you believe in Him and experience a heavenly joy beyond all words, for you are reaching the goal of your faith : the salvation of your souls.

Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

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

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we all know, that children are the greatest of the gifts of God to us. Children are the fruits of love, and they were born pure and innocent. Why are they then so great in their faith? That is because the faith of a child is the purest kind of faith, one that is unadulterated and untainted by the concerns and corruptions of this world.

The Lord Jesus showed His disciples, that if they reject these children, who came to Him in faith, that means they too also reject Him, because they failed to understand that their faith needs to be like these children’s faith. Faith is often clouded and hidden behind a thick cloud of darkness, that is the corruption of sin, and all the concerns of the world.

When we were all still a child, we do not have much worries and concerns. We do not have much things to think about, and like what many of us who have children will know, we understand that children wants just care, love and concern by their loved ones. They were innocent, pure, and if they believe in something, they truly believe in it.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, have our faith been like the faith of children? Or have our faith been muddled with the corruptions of the world? We have many good things in this world, all the pleasures and the joy that this world can offer. The wealth and prosperity which this world can give to us, if we follow the ways of the world.

But if we do so, then are we faithful to the ways of the Lord? The way of this world promotes excessiveness, it promotes self-indulgence and hedonistic lifestyle. It does not necessarily mean bad thing, but if we immerse ourselves too deeply with the concerns of this world, more likely than not, our faith will gradually wear down, and we will then prefer to walk on our own way.

We like to complain and be angry, especially at God, when we face difficulties in life. And we especially are angry with Him when we think that He had not heard us or abandoned us. We often question Him and His love for us, without realising that our every breath is the proof of God’s love and dedication for us.

When we pray and when we ask God for help, much of the time, we do not make those prayers in full sincerity. We pray because we need something, and we need that something be taken care of. Yet, we often fail to realise that prayer is mainly the means of communication between us and our Lord who loves us, so much that He wants to talk to us regularly and continuously. Yet, our stubbornness and lack of true faith prevent the Lord from speaking to us, and for us from listening to Him.

Brethren, this is how the Lord wanted to show us that we have many things we can learn from a child. In particular, we should be like a child in his or her faith. A child’s faith is pure, and untainted by human desires. While we are already tainted by the world and its desires, and by the power and influence of sin, what we can do, is to aspire towards having the faith of a child.

We should all aim to be faithful in the same way a child is faithful. We should unconditionally love and trust the Lord our God, without any hidden agenda or desires that keep us from having a pure faith in the Lord. If we are able to do that, then our lives will be more meaningful, because we will be firmly rooted in the Lord, and no matter what happened to us, we will always be strongly devoted to the Lord and His ways, and we will not be taken away from salvation due to us.

May the Lord therefore continue to foster in us, a strong love for Him, a constant and living faith, that we may persevere and indeed, grow further in our faith to Him. Let us also on our side, do our best to dedicate ourselves in love to the Lord and to His children, our own brothers and sisters. God be with us all. Amen.

Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Mark 10 : 13-16

People were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, and the disciples rebuked them for this. When Jesus noticed it, He was very angry and said, “Let the children come to Me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then He took the children in His arms and, laying His hands on them, blessed them.