Thursday, 17 November 2016 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 19 : 41-44

At that time, when Jesus had come in sight of the city of Jerusalem, He wept over it, and said, “If only today you knew the ways of peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Yet days will come upon you, when your enemies will surround you with barricades, and shut you in, and press on you from every side.”

“And they will dash you to the ground and your children with you, and not leave stone upon stone within you, for you did not recognise the time and the visitation of your God.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)
Luke 19 : 11-28

At that time, Jesus was then near Jerusalem, and the people with Him thought that God’s reign was about to appear. So as they were listening to Him, Jesus went on to tell them a parable. He said, “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to assume regal authority, after which he planned to return home.”

“Before he left, he summoned ten od his servants and gave them ten pounds of silver. He said, ‘Put this money to work until I get back.’ But his compatriots, who disliked him, sent a delegation after him with this message, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.'”

“He returned, however, appointed as king. At once he sent for the servants, to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made. The first came in, and reported, ‘Sir, your pound of silver has earned ten more pounds of silver.’ The master replied, ‘Well done, my good servant! Since you have proved yourself faithful in a small matter, I can trust you to take charge of ten cities.'”

“The second reported, ‘Sir, your pound of silver earned five more pounds of silver.’ The master replied, ‘And you, take charge of five cities!’ The third came in, and said, ‘Sir, here is your money, which I hid for safekeeping. I was afraid of you, for you are an exacting person : you take up what you did not lay down, and you reap what you did not sow.'”

“The master replied, ‘You worthless servant, I will judge you by your own words! So you knew I was an exacting person, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? Why, then, did you not put my money on loan, so that, when I got back, I could have collected it with interest?'”

“Then the master said to those standing by, ‘Take from him that pound, and give it to the one with ten pounds.’ But they objected, ‘Sir, he already has ten pounds!’ The master replied, ‘I tell you, everyone who has will be given more; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for my enemies who dis not want me to be their king, bring them in, and execute them right here in front me.'”

So Jesus spoke, and then He passed on ahead of them, on His way to Jerusalem.

Monday, 11 April 2016 : Third Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about how God chastised the people who had followed Him, as they followed Him truly because they received good and great things from Him, from the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand men and many other women and children. They received those blessings, had their stomachs filled and were satisfied, and thus, they sought to have more of them.

But did their hearts and minds have God in them? It is likely that they did not have God in them. They were only following the whim of their desires. They liked to be thrilled and pleased by what they see and by what they had witnessed in what Jesus had done, but this kind of commitment is rather one-sided. When troubles come, many of them would be among the first ones to try to get out of trouble.

One example for this was clear, the Apostle Peter, whom at the time when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, and then arrested by the chief priests, wanted to have nothing to do with Him, and in his fear, doubt and uncertainty, although earlier on he had said that he would defend his Lord to the death and even to give his life for Him, but at the very moment when that faith was tested, he faltered and abandoned his Lord.

But this shows us all that God did not choose the perfect and the mighty to be His chief followers and disciples. Instead, He chose humble men like us, and fellow sinners like us. He called tax collectors and sinful people, and He dined with prostitutes and those whom the society had considered as hopeless and damned. But all of this is for the sake of the same outcome, that all of us may find our path out of our miserable past, and look forward to the salvation which God promised all those who are willing to commit themselves to Him.

Jesus told the people not to just look for the perishable bread of this world, but even more importantly, to look for the bread that will last forever. This is the Bread of Life, the Word of God Incarnate, which in Jesus, and through Jesus, the Bread of Life, lies our salvation and redemption from the eternal darkness and damnation that is awaiting all of us.

What does this all mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that all of us should strive to be the best we can be in following our Lord, and commit ourselves wholly to His cause, regardless of what this may bring to all of us. Indeed, following God may not seem to be the best course of action, and many will question us and wonder why we even bother to ‘waste’ our lives and opportunities by devoting ourselves to God.

But I can assure you brothers and sisters in Christ, that the Apostles themselves had endured the same kind of ridicule and rejection from the world. They had to endure many sufferings and persecutions, rejection from the people and from the society, and yet, in all these, while they lost the bread of the world, the approval of the people and the world, but they gained for themselves the eternal Bread of Life through their faith and devotion in God.

Let us all realise that as we rejoice and celebrate together as one Church in this Easter season, that there are still so many things that we can do in order to be active and devoted disciples and followers of our God. Let us all devote our time and strength to be light and the reflection of God’s own light to brighten the way to our own brethren who are still struggling and living in the darkness of sin, and help ourselves to steady ourselves on the path to salvation.

May God help us and strengthen our resolve, so that in all the things that we do, we may always seek to become closer to Him and be inspired to live as He has lived, faithful and committed to God, obedient to all of His ways and laws. Let us all seek eternal life and redemption which can be found in Him alone. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 11 April 2016 : Third Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 6 : 22-29

At that time, after Jesus appeared to His disciples in a storm and walked on the water, on the next day the people, who had stayed on the other side, realised that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with His disciples; but rather, the disciples had gone away alone.

Bigger boats from Tiberias came near the place where all these people had eaten the bread. When they saw that neither Jesus nor His disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him, “Master, when did You come here?” Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, you look for Me, not because of the signs which you have seen, but because you ate bread and were satisfied.”

“Work then, not for perishable food, but for the lasting food which gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give it to you, for He is the One on Whom the Father has put His mark.” Then the Jews asked Him, “What shall we do? What are the works that God wants us to do?”

And Jesus answered them, “The work God wants is this : that you believe in the One Whom God has sent.”

Monday, 16 March 2015 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 4 : 43-54

At that time, when the two days Jesus was in Samaria were over, He left for Galilee. Jesus Himself said that no prophet is recognised in His own country. Yet the Galileans welcomed Him when He arrived, because of all the things which He had done in Jerusalem during the Festival, and which they had seen. For they, too, had gone to the feast.

Jesus went back to Cana of Galilee, where He had changed the water into wine. At Capernaum there was an official, whose son was ill, and when he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and asked Him to come and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

Jesus said, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe!” The official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” And Jesus replied, “Go, your son lives!” The man had faith in the word that Jesus spoke to him, and went his way. As he was approaching his house, his servants met him, and gave him the good news, “Your son has recovered!”

So he asked them at what hour the child began to recover, and they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday, at about one o’clock in the afternoon.” And the father realised that that was the time when Jesus had told him, “Your son lives!” And he became a believer, he and all his family.

Jesus performed this second miraculous sign when He returned from Judea to Galilee.

Sunday, 19 October 2014 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mission Sunday and Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs; and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Thessalonians 1 : 1-5b

From Paul, Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of Thessalonica which is in God the Father and in Christ Jesus, the Lord. May the peace and grace of God be with you.

We give thanks to God at all times for you and remember you in our prayers. We constantly recall before God our Father the work of your faith, the labours of your love and your endurance in waiting for Christ Jesus our Lord.

We remember, brothers and sisters, the circumstances of your being called. The Gospel we brought you was such not only in words. Miracles, Holy Spirit and plenty of everything were given to you.

(Usus Antiquior) Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr (II Classis) – Sunday, 28 September 2014 : Epistle

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Ephesios – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians

Ephesians 3 : 13-21

Fratres : Obsecro vos, ne deficiatis in tribulationibus meis pro vobis : quae est gloria vestra. Hujus rei gratia flecto genua mea ad Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ex quo omnis paternitas in caelis et in terra nominatur, ut det vobis secundum divitias gloriae suae, virtute corroborari per Spiritum ejus in interiorem hominem.

Christum habitare per fidem in cordibus vestris : in caritate radicati et fundati, ut possitis comprehendere cum omnibus sanctis, quae sit latitudo et longitudo et sublimitas et profundum : scire etiam supereminentem scientiae caritatem Christi, ut impleamini in omnem plenitudinem Dei.

Ei autem, qui potens est omnia facere superabundanter, quam petimus aut intellegimus, secundum virtutem, quae operatur in nobis : ipsi gloria in Ecclesia et in Christo Jesu, in omnes generationes saeculi saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Brethren, I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity, in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit which might unto the inward man.

That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth. To know also the charity of Christ, which surpassed all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worked in us. To Him be glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are exhorted yet again, to be faithful and dedicated followers of our Lord, through our real and concrete actions, and not just empty promises and dedications. In the first reading from the Book of Proverbs, we are also reminded of the very fact, that what God desires from us is our love and commitment, and not just mere sacrifice.

And today, we commemorate the feast of a great and renowned saint, one who lived just less than a hundred years ago, and in fact he passed away just less than five decades ago. His deeds were still renowned throughout the world and the Church, as a holy man and servant of God, thoroughly dedicated in the service of God and the love he possessed both for God and for his fellow men.

That holy servant of God was St. Pius of Pietrelcina, more commonly known by his name of ‘Padre Pio’, a Franciscan monk and priest who was renowned for his great piety and devotion to God, and for his gift of the stigmata, or the wounds of Jesus Christ that appeared on his feet and his hands, which became for him a source of both great inspiration and strength, as well as of pain and suffering.

St. Padre Pio was a simple man and a simple priest, humble and unassuming, noted for his great piety since early in his youth. He joined the Franciscans and dedicated his whole life to the Lord. He was noted for his dedication to his calling and his work as the servant of God Most High. His charitable acts were numerous and his zeal unquestionable. He would have been perfectly satisfied in his condition and life at the time, if not for God having another plan for him.

Through St. Padre Pio, God wanted to reawaken the spirit of faith that have long been laid dormant in the hearts and minds of men, and through His servant, He revealed His glory and majesty, as He revealed them through the actions and deeds of St. Padre Pio, who worked faithfully and zealously, even though he faced many difficulties, challenges, oppositions, and even ridicule and doubts by the people around him.

St. Padre Pio was therefore like the ones who had obeyed and followed the Lord in His laws and precepts, and as such, he was honoured and glorified through the miracles which He performed through the person of Padre Pio. Through this example, we know that the Lord loves and cares for His people, and all who place their trust in Him will not be disappointed.

This is just exactly like what Jesus said to the people, when He referred to those who do the will of God as His brothers and sisters, and as His relatives. This was said when His mother Mary and His relatives came to visit Him and wanted to meet with Him in the midst of His teachings. Indeed, if one were to just look at the words Jesus said literally, this would be quite an insult to His own mother and also to His relatives, by apparently snubbing at them and rejecting them in the public.

However, if we look at it closely, there is no greater honour that Jesus could do, other than what He had done. As a matter of fact, Jesus had praised and honoured Mary in public, for the very devotion and actions that she had done, the most faithful and devoted of all the servants of God. In the same way, God had also honoured St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio for his piety and great service, and obedience to the Faith. The same therefore, will also be our due if we honour our part in the covenant with Christ and follow His ways in all of our deeds and actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, from what we have heard today, and from what we had reflected in the life of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, and in the faith and devotion which the Blessed Virgin Mary had shown in her life, as the mother of God and the most faithful servant of all the servants of God, we are therefore also urged to follow their examples, which means for us to reject all forms of evil and impiety in all of our actions, words and deeds.

In this way also, our faith will be real, concrete and living, so that we can avoid committing sins in our lives which will corrupt our hearts, minds and soul and therefore end up subverting our true goodness and undermining our effort to seek out the Lord. We must intensify our own efforts to walk in the footsteps those who have walked before us in the path of the Lord, namely the holy saints, and model our own lives after theirs.

May Almighty God guide us on our way, so that all of us may turn ever closer and more convincingly towards Him, that we may find our way towards Him, and together with those who are still lost, receive justification and salvation through our dedicated actions, which are based on the laws and ways of the Lord. God bless us and guide us, and may the prayers of St. Pius of Pietrelcina be upon us always. St. Padre Pio, pray for us! Amen.

Saturday, 30 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Matthew 25 : 14-30

Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each according to his ability; and he went away.

He who received five talents went at once to do business with the money, and gained another five. The one who received two talents did the same, and gained another two. But the one who received one talent dug a hole, and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents, saying, “Lord, you entrusted me with five talents, but see, I have gained five more.” The master answered, “Very well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

Then the one who had received two talents came and said, “Lord, you entrusted me with two talents; with them I have gained two more.” The master said, “Well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said, “Master, I know that you are a hard man. You reap what you have not sown, and gather what you have not scattered. I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours!”

But his master replied, “Wicked and worthless servant, you know that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered; so you should have deposited my money in the bank, and on my return you would have given it back to me with interest.”

“Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who are unproductive, even what they have will be taken from them. As for that useless servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Thursday, 3 July 2014 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of one of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is St. Thomas, also known as the Twin and famously also as St. Thomas the doubter, the one whom we know in the Gospels to be the one who doubted that the Lord had risen from the dead after His Resurrection and after He had shown Himself to the Apostles except to St. Thomas, who was not with the others on that day.

And St. Thomas also voiced out openly his doubt when Jesus announced His intention to travel to Jerusalem for the last time, when He would eventually face His Passion and death, before the aforementioned Resurrection from the dead, which St. Thomas had no faith in. St. Thomas said to the other disciples, that they would go unto their death with Jesus together as they went to Jerusalem, in his own words, ‘Let us go and die together with Him.’

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this attitude which St. Thomas exhibited is truly common in our Church, and among all of us. It is easy for us to condemn others for their lack of faith, but we often fail to realise that in each one of us, we have our own ‘Thomases’ dwelling in us, and we often exhibited actions and behaviours that marks us as no better than little Thomases.

How often in our lives is it that we have so much on our hands and on our minds that we forget about God and about His existence? How often in our lives is it that we are angry at God for apparently not being there for us and accuse Him of abandoning us and ignoring us? And how many of us actually give thanks to God for His kindness and blessings in our lives, be it in big or small things? If we have done all these, or forgetting to do what is due to God, then we are just like Thomas the doubter.

But the quality of the faith that was in Thomas, was that he believed and repented his previous transgressions immediately once the Lord showed Himself to him in the fullness of His Risen glory. Thomas believed when he had seen and heard the Lord in person, to which Jesus kindly commented that, indeed that is good, but He said that how much better it would be if he had not doubted at the first place, that even without seeing the Lord, Thomas had believed.

We who believe in Jesus today, without witnessing directly the events of His life, death and resurrection are truly blessed indeed, because we believe without the need to witness directly the Lord and His majesty. But are we truly free from doubt and moments of weakness in our faith and devotion to the Lord? More often than not, this is not the case. In our lives, as history had often shown, mankind had succumbed too many times to doubt, especially in God’s providence and saving help, and came to rely on their own strength and ended up in darkness.

This is what we need to avoid, brethren, in each and every one of us. We should support each other to awaken the faith within us, that we are to have genuine faith in the Lord, one not based on blind obedience or lack of awareness of the Lord, but on the genuine faith that arise from the hearts of men. We need to follow in the example of St. Thomas and do even better than that.

Let us realise that the Lord is present, real and concrete, in the world around us through His love for us. Let us realise how much God truly cares for us, and let us doubt no longer but believe truthfully and completely place our trust in God. May we all be able to grow stronger in faith, hope and love, and make this world a truly better place for all the faithful ones in God. God bless us all. Amen.