(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Psalm after Sixth Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 18 : 8-11

The Law of the Lord is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of the Lord is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of the Lord are clear, they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure; it endures forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, all of them just and right.

They are more precious than gold – pure gold of a jeweller; they are much sweeter than honey which drops from the honeycomb.

(Easter Vigil) Saturday, 26 March 2016 : Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Week (Sixth Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Baruch 3 : 9-15, 32 – Baruch 4 : 4

Listen, Israel, to the commands of life, give ear so as to learn prudence. Why, Israel! Why are you in the land of your foes? Why are you growing old in a foreign country, contaminated by pagans, counted among those who go to the pit?

You have abandoned the source of Wisdom. If you had walked in the way of God, peace would be your dwelling place forever. Learn where is Wisdom, where is Strength and Understanding, that you may know, at the same time, where are length of days and life, light of the eyes and Peace.

Who will find Wisdom’s dwelling? Who will enter her storage rooms? But He who knows everything recognises her. He has found her in His own intellect. He who created the earth, for all time, and has filled it with four-footed beings.

He who sends the light, and it goes, who recalls it, and trembling it obeys. The stars shine, full of joy, to keep their night watches. He calls them and they answer, “Here we are.” They shine with joy for their Creator.

It is He who is our God, no other can be compared with Him. He has found the way of understanding and has given her to Jacob His servant and to Israel His well-beloved.

Then Wisdom was seen on earth and lived among humans. She herself is the book of the commands of God, the law which endures forever. All who hold fast to her will have life, but those who abandon her will die.

Come back, Jacob, and embrace her, walk towards brightness under her light. Do not give up what is your glory or sell your privileges to any strange nation. We are fortunate, o Israel, for we know what pleases the Lord!

(Usus Antiquior) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 7 September 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion, and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

Psalm 30 : 15-16

In Te speravi, Domine, dixi : Tu es Deus meus, in manibus Tuis tempora mea.

English translation

In You, o Lord, I have hoped. I said, You are my God, and my times are in Your hands.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Propitiare, Domine, populo Tuo, propitiare muneribus : ut, hac oblatione placatus, et indulgentiam nobis tribuas et postulata concedas. Per Dominum…

English translation

Look with favour upon Your people, o Lord, look with favour upon their gifts. That, being appeased by this oblation, You may give us pardon and grant us what we ask. Through our Lord…

Communion

Wisdom 16 : 20

Panem de caelo dedisti nobis, Domine, habentem omne delectamentum et omnem saporem suavitatis.

English translation

You had given us, o Lord, bread from heaven, having in it all that is delicious, and the sweetness of every taste.

Post-Communion Prayer

Sumptis, Domine, caelestibus sacramentis : ad redemptionis aeternae, quaesumus, proficiamus augmentum. Per Dominum…

English translation

Having received Your heavenly sacraments, o Lord, we beseech You that we may profit unto the increase of everlasting salvation. Through our Lord…

Sunday, 20 July 2014 : 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bible Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom 12 : 13, 16-19

For there is no other god besides You, One who cares for everyone, who could ask You to justify Your judgments. Your strength is the source of Your justice and because You are the Lord of all, You can be merciful to everyone.

To those who doubt Your sovereign power You show Your strength and You confound the insolence of those who ignore it. But You, the Lord of strength, judge with prudence and govern us with great patience, because You are able to do anything at the time You want.

In this way You have taught Your people that a righteous person must love His human fellows; You have also given Your people cause for hope by prompting them to repent of their sin.

Friday, 4 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Isidore, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Wisdom 2 : 1a, 12-22

Led by mistaken reasons they think, “Life is short and sad and there is no cure for death. Let us set a trap for the Righteous, for He annoys us and opposes our way of life; He reproaches us for our breaches of the Law and accuses us of being false to our upbringing.”

“He claims knowledge of God and calls Himself Son of the Lord. He has become a reproach to our way of thinking; even to meet Him is burdensome to us. He does not live like others and behaves strangely. According to Him we have low standards, so He keeps aloof from us as if we were unclean. He emphasizes the happy end of the righteous and boasts of having God as Father.”

“Let us see the truth of what He says and find out what His end will be. If the Righteous is a Son of God, God will defend Him and deliver Him from His adversaries. Let us humble and torture Him to prove His self-control and test His patience. When we have condemned Him to a shameful death, we may test His words.”

This is the way they reason, but they are mistaken, blinded by their malice. They do not know the mysteries of God nor do they hope for the reward of a holy life; they do not believe that the blameless will be recompensed.

 

Monday, 10 March 2014 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 15

The law of the Lord is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of the Lord is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of the Lord are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, all of them just and right.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favour in Your sight, o Lord – my Redeemer, my Rock!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 48 : 2-3, 6-11

Hear this, all you peoples! Listen, all you inhabitants of the world, high and low together, rich and poor alike!

Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers ring me round – those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?

For no ransom avails for one’s life, there is no price one can give to God for it. For redeeming one’s life demands too high a price, and all is lost forever.

Who can remain forever alive and never see the grave? For we see that the wise die, and pass away like the fool and the stupid leaving to others their fortune and wealth.

Sunday, 23 February 2014 : 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 3 : 16-23

Do you not know that you are God’s Temple, and that God’s Spirit abides within you? If anyone destroys the Temple of God, God will destroy him. God’s Temple is holy, and you are this Temple.

Do not deceive yourselves. If anyone of you considers himself wise in the ways of the world, let him become a fool, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s eyes. To this, Scripture says : God catches the wise in their own wisdom. It also says : The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is useless.

Because of this, let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you, Paul, Apollos, Cephas – life, death, the present and the future. Everything is yours, and you, you belong to Christ, and Christ is of God.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom comes from God, and God alone. We mankind may try our best many times to try to understand the Lord, but most likely we will not even get half of it right. Our feeble human understanding and knowledge cannot hope to comprehend the mind of the Lord, who knows everything and has His plans for everything.

It is human pride that often stands in the way of receiving true wisdom and knowledge from the Lord, and it is human arrogance that often prevent us from understanding God’s true meaning and purpose for all of us. The result being that we misinterpreted the true desire of the Lord, and in our state of misinterpretation and confusion, we fail to do the things that the Lord truly wants from each one of us.

In our pride and arrogance in our human knowledge and intellect too, we have missed the point in serving the Lord, instead of serving Him with love and making Him more available to all, we tend to limit Him and prevent Him from being known by all, through our own lacking interpretation of His will and His laws. We assumed wisdom when we actually have none, because we trust in ourselves rather than in God.

Jesus criticised one of those assumed wisdom, as He brought the people to a clearer understanding of God’s will and desire for us. That was precisely just like king Solomon sharing his wisdom with the Queen of Sheba who praised him for his great wisdom, and in Jesus, there is something greater than Solomon, for while the wisdom of Solomon came from God, Jesus is Himself God.

Jesus revealed that while the Jews followed a rather strict dietary law, today called the kosher law, and something similar was mimicked by the Muslims who followed a different yet similar set of dietary law, with its set of allowed and prohibited food items, that these laws are truly obsolete and unnecessary. And following these laws do not make anybody righteous or condemned in any way.

By common sense it is indeed true, even in terms of our own simple intelligence. Sometimes, there is more truth in simple thoughts rather than complex ones. Food that goes into our mouth indeed goes through our body and then is passed out as waster through the other end, and the same happens to whatever we drink and consume into our bodies.

In no way indeed, for us all who knows about the science of how our body works, that these food affect anything other than our body functions and our digestive system in particular. Whether the food is allowed or forbidden has no bearing on our faith or our worthiness before God, and it is indeed foolish to think that eating good and allowed food makes us righteous and eating prohibited food makes us sinful and damned.

Jesus rightly pointed out that it is what comes out of us that bear our sins rather than what we take into ourselves. Food are non-living objects, and they do not have intelligence or wisdom to think or do something. Yet, compared to things that come out of us, namely actions, words, deeds, and others, what came out of us all these while are the products of our intelligent, sentient, and living wisdom.

Yes, we have wisdom in us, but an incomplete one. How did we get it? Remember the Book of Genesis? Our ancestors, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and ever since, the knowledge of things good and evil is within us. We know what is good and what is evil, and we share that knowledge to our children, and pass it on throughout the generations.

It is the actions, words, and deeds that come out of us that either justify us or condemn us. When we do things in accordance with God’s will, that is doing things considered good, then we are justified, but if we do things not in accordance with the will of God, then we are condemned. It is as simple as that, and yet many refused to believe in the true wisdom of Christ, who as God is the source of all wisdom and revelations.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, how about us? Will we believe in Jesus, and trust in His wisdom? Or do we rather prefer to trust in our own strength and wisdom? In our own intelligence and knowledge of the things around us? Do we prefer to trust in a source that is always and completely right? Or do we prefer to trust in a source that is unreliable and changing as much as it suits us?

These are the questions that we should ask ourselves, and indeed we should no longer ask question or doubt the wisdom of our Lord. Let us entrust ourselves to the Lord and let Him decide what He wants to do with each one of us, trusting ourselves to His most divine and wonderful wisdom. Amen.

Saturday, 8 February 2014 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins and Saints, or Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord had always loved us and He always cares for us, no matter what. That was why Jesus was so moved with compassion, that despite His fatigue after preaching to the people for so long, being confronted with even more of the faithful people, He continued on serving them and preaching to them.

Lord Jesus and His love for His people is the example of how much God loves us and cares for us, and despite our constant rebellion and disobedience against His will, He wants us to be with Him again, and that was why He sent His Son Jesus into this world, that through Him, His intentions and love could be made clear, and through Him, we can find a way to reach the Lord who loves us.

We see how people sought Jesus even across mountains and lakes, and across rivers and deserts. They did not mind hunger, thirst, or fatigue, and wanted to hear more from the Lord, the words of the Good News and salvation, the medicine for their soul. And that is how sad the state of our world today, if we can compare it to how it was at the time of Jesus as said in the Gospel today.

Our world is obsessed with all things, everything except God’s love. Many sought wealth and power, and affluence and position in the society. Yet, look at what Solomon in the first reading had sought. He sought none of them. What he sought was wisdom from the Lord, to be able to discern good from evil, and therefore from there, know what ways would please the Lord, that is doing what is good.

The world today was rife with desire and greed. People sought not love but power. People sought not sincerity but wealth. People sought not peace but hatred and violence. We have often forgotten that all of these are obstacles to the true treasures of the world. The true treasures are love, hope, and faith, the fundamental virtues and elements of our belief in the Lord.

God loves us and He is like a Father to us, and indeed, as we pray the Pater Noster, God is indeed our Father, as He had sent His own Son Jesus into this world to be with us, to be one of us, that we too may call the Lord our God Father, just as Jesus called Him Father. And as all fathers do, He will love us and care for us with all the blessings He can give us.

The problem with this world today is that everyone simply had forgotten all of these facts, hidden under layers of the devil’s lies and deceit, and hidden under all the tempting pleasures and happiness offered by the world in wealth, affluence, and power. We have forgotten God’s love and we do not realise that He always has His eyes and His heart aimed at us.

Today we celebrate the feast of two saints of the Church, that is St. Jerome Emiliani, an Italian priest who lived just five centuries ago, and St. Josephine Bakhita, who also lived at about the start of the modern era and was notably a former slave. Both of them were great saints who dedicated their lives to God, and serving mankind with love, reminding them of God’s own love, which was reflected in all of their actions.

St. Jerome Emiliani was a dedicated worker of the faith, who showed his zeal to God through love. He served the sick and the poor, even with his own expense and support, ensuring that these people, considered least in the society might enjoy the love of God as reflected through his own actions. He helped the sick during epidemics and times of difficulties, and his works of love had helped mankind to open their eyes and be touched again by God’s divine love.

St. Josephine Bakhita was a former slave, who was converted into the faith and liberated from her slavery. She chose to join the religious congregation of the Canossian sisters, where she remained and served the people of God with love and zeal, much as St. Jerome Emiliani had done. St. Josephine Bakhita’s love for God and for her fellow mankind was pure and true.

These two saints had shown us how our actions too can bring love to others, and none other than God’s own love whom He had shared with us. We cannot keep the love of God within us but we ought to share them with the world, that many will be reawakened from their slumber and realise once again the love that God has for all of them.

Just as God has awakened the wisdom in Solomon, let us all pray, brethren, that He will also awaken in many, the seed of faith, that combined with our actions of love, they too may heed God’s call to abandon all that is wicked and unworthy, changing their ways and therefore be one of us, worthy of God’s eternal kingdom. God be with us all and all our brethren, all mankind. Amen.