Friday, 17 September 2021 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church and St. Hildegard of Bingen, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops or Holy Virgins)

Luke 8 : 1-3

At that time, Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the Good News of the kingdom of God. The Twelve followed Him, and also some women, who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases : Mary called Magdalene, who had been freed of seven demons; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Suzanna; and others, who provided for them out of their own funds.

Saturday, 29 July 2017 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the feast of St. Martha, one of the close friends and followers of Jesus, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, the man whom the Lord raised from the dead. St. Martha and her siblings followed Jesus and His disciples, and provided for them along their journey. We can witness some of their exploits in several parts of the Gospels.

In one of the accounts, which we heard in the Gospel today, Lazarus the brother of St. Martha was very ill and eventually died while the Lord delayed to come to heal him. St. Martha and her sister Mary were overwhelmed with grief at the loss of their beloved brother. That is just like how many of us are often filled with grief and sorrow because of the death and passing of our beloved ones, be it a member of our families, our relatives or our friends.

And indeed, if we read on beyond the content of today's Gospel passage, we will find the part where Jesus was moved deeply by the love He had for Lazarus, and at how the people, including St. Martha and her sister grieved over the death of Lazarus. And we were told that Jesus wept at the occasion, a proof of just how much God, through Jesus, loves us all mankind.

And it was love which had made everything possible. It was love that had created us, for God is love, and because He wanted to share that love with us, He created us, each and every one of us, and showed us His love. And He intended for us to live with Him in perfect harmony and love. But then, you must be wondering, why is it then that we suffer in this world? Why is it that we have to endure the sorrow of death and separation from those whom we loved?

All of these, brethren, is because of our own disobedience and lack of faith in God. We place our trust in the devil and in his false and empty promises more than we trust the love and providence of God. That is why we end up in such a state of existence, as a consequence for our sins and for our mistakes. But this does not mean that God does not love us, as indeed on the contrary, God has been giving us opportunities after opportunities, chances after chances for us to turn ourselves back to Him and to repent from all of our sins.

If God wanted our destruction, He could easily just annihilate us with the mere slightest effort of His thought and will. Yet, He did not do this. Why? It is simple, because He loves each and every one of us, and although He hates our sins and disobedience, He wants all of us to turn away from those sins and repent from all of our mistakes, therefore going towards God's salvation and grace. And this love God has shown us through none other than, and nothing less than the loving sacrifice which our Lord Jesus suffered on the cross as He died for us.

Through Him, God is willing to make us all His disciples and chosen people, that as we turn away from our sins and as we are absolved from our wickedness, we become worthy of His love, and we may find our peace with Him. He has shown us the perfect and ultimate love, so that we too, who are His disciples, may walk in the same path of love, and show the same love to each other.

How do we love one another, brothers and sisters in Christ? We often think that it is easy to love or show love to another person. However, in reality it is not that simple. We need to show love, care and compassion not just to those who are kind to us and who we know that they can love us back. It is often that in this manner of love, we are expecting to be love back and therefore, we are expecting a return for the love that we give. Our love in this case is a conditional love.

But God did not love us all conditionally. Had He implemented the same standard in showing His love, by expecting all of us to love Him back, He would not have loved us at all, or even gave us any chances. The fact that He was willing to forgive us, and even to lay down His life for us, when we are still sinners and rebels who constantly disobeyed His commands and laws, is proof enough of His unconditional and true love for us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians are called to love unconditionally as Christ Himself had shown us. Let us not be prejudiced in love, but instead show everyone our love, even to those who have not loved us back or hated us instead. This is something that is easier said and done, and it is often that we will want to hate instead of showing love, especially to those who have caused us much pain and suffering.

Yet, that is exactly what all of us as Christians must do, as all of us are called to give ourselves out of love for others. We must not think that this is difficult to be done, as we should indeed begin from ourselves and start from simple and yet important little acts of love and compassion. If we see anyone around us who are in need of love and care, those who have no one to care for them, those who are ostracised and hated, should we not extend our love to help them?

And should our enemies and those who hate us come to hate us and attack us, should we not tamper their hatred and counter it with love and prayer? The Lord asked us to love our enemies and to pray for those who hate us. And now it is the time for us to do as what the Lord had taught us to do. Let us then be faithful as St. Martha and our holy predecessors had done, and let us emulate the love of God in our own daily lives, through our actions and deeds in life. May God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 29 July 2017 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 11 : 19-27

At that time, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You." Jesus said, "Your brother will rise again."

Martha replied, "I know that He will rise in the resurrection, at the last day." But Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Martha then answered, "Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He Who is coming into the world."

Alternative reading

Luke 10 : 38-42

At that time, as Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord's feet to listen to His words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!"

But the Lord answered, "Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her."

Saturday, 29 July 2017 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in YHVH; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

YHVH's Angel encamps and patrols, to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of YHVH! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere YHVH, all you, His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need; but those who seek YHVH lack nothing.

Saturday, 29 July 2017 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world, that we might have life, through Him.

This is love : not that we loved God, but that, He first loved us and sent His Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God. We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.

Friday, 7 October 2016 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of our Lady of the Rosary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Acts 1 : 12-14

Then the disciples of Jesus returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying.

Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James. All of these together gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate together the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the closest and most faithful follower of Jesus Christ our Lord. St. Mary Magdalene was one of the holy and devoted women who followed at the side of Jesus even through His way of suffering towards His crucifixion at Calvary together with Mary, His mother.

St. Mary Magdalene was told to be a sinful woman before she followed Jesus and became His disciple. It was told in various traditions, that she was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons, and she was indeed a prostitute and thus a great sinner, selling herself out to the pleasures of the flesh and of the world. But after she had been healed from her afflictions, she had a great turnaround in life and became a devout follower of God.

In St. Mary Magdalene we saw the great transformation of a sinner who became one of the greatest disciple of our Lord, who was undoubtedly important in the early years of the Church, supporting the works of the Apostles in bringing the word of the Lord to the people, in the evangelisation of the Jews and Gentiles alike, and in the establishment of the Church.

In all these we saw how God called not those who are already healthy, but instead, He looked for those who were weak, rejected by others, those who were cast out because they were considered as sinners and unworthy, and by His grace and mercy, in conjunction with their desire to be forgiven and their sincere repentance, God made them worthy once again, and He calls them His sons and daughters.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is that spirit of longing and desiring for our Lord as exhibited perfectly in the Book of Wisdom that all of us should have as well. It is the problem we often face because we do not have that longing for the Lord, that desire to be with our God, the love of our heart. Yes, we actually we have that innate longing for the Lord, but all that have been buried underneath the concerns, worries, temptations and pleasures of the world.

We have become disoriented and lost our way, and when we are lost, it is easy for the devil to seek for us and to grab us, dragging us into the quagmire of sin. It is when we begin to sin and fall into further and further disobedience against God, a vicious cycle that will eventually lead up to our downfall if we are not careful with our actions. And indeed, unless we commit ourselves to a total transformation of ourselves as what happened to St. Mary Magdalene and other holy saints, I fear that the path forward for us is narrow.

We have to realise that God loves us all, and He truly loves all of us very dearly, even the greatest of sinners. But there can be no salvation and forgiveness for our sins if we ourselves refuse to be forgiven. After all, how can we be forgiven if we continue to live in sin and do not cease our wicked and vile behaviour? How can we expect God to forgive us if we remain stubbornly attached to the rebelliousness of our forefathers?

Therefore, as we celebrate this feast of the holy saint, St. Mary Magdalene, there are two key takeaways that we must take note of. First of all, no sinners are beyond redemption, unless they themselves have rejected the Lord and refused His mercy. But even so, secondly, it is also important for us to take note that God’s mercy and forgiveness is not something that will be easily attained, and indeed these require commitment and often sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us all heed the examples of the holy saints and all those who have gone before us. Let us all understand that God is looking for us sinners, and He is willing to forgive us and let us enjoy His love once more, but all these would require great effort on our side, that we shed off all the things and corruptions which prevented us from being able to obey Him and walk in His ways.

Let us all be renewed and let us all rediscover that joy we have for the Lord, be happy and rejoice for His loving mercy and tender care, and let us draw ever closer to His presence, mindfully remembering our sins and wickedness that had separated us from Him, and do our best to serve our penance, that we may be worthy of His forgiveness and find our way to His everlasting inheritance and joy. St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us. Amen.

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-2, 11-18

At that time, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two Angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have put Him.”

As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognise Him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and answered Him, “Lord, if You have taken Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will go and remove Him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to Him, “Rabboni!” – which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them : I am ascending to My Father, Who is your Father, to My God, Who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me.”

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 62 : 2abc, 2d-4, 5-6, 8-9

O God, You are my God, it is You I seek : for You my body longs and my soul thirsts.

As a dry and weary land without water. Thus have I gazed upon You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.

I will bless You as long as I live, lift up my hands and call on Your Name. As with the richest food my soul will feast; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

For You have been my help; I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You, Your right hand upholds me.

Friday, 22 July 2016 : Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Song of Songs 3 : 1-4a

On my bed at night I looked for the One I love, I sought Him without finding Him; I called Him and He did not answer. I will rise and go about the city, through the streets and the squares; I will seek the love of my heart.

I sought Him without finding Him; the watchmen came upon me, those who patrol the city, “Have you seen the love of my heart?”

As soon as I left them, I found the love of my heart.
Alternative reading

2 Corinthians 5 : 14-17

Indeed the love of Christ holds us and we realise that if He died for all, all have died. He died for all so that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for Him Who died and rose again for them. And so from now on, we do not regard anyone from a human point of view; and even if we once knew Christ personally, we should now regard Him in another way.

For that same reason, the one who is in Christ is a new creature. For him the old things have passed away; a new world has come.