Sunday, 16 January 2022 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 12 : 4-11

There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There is diversity of ministries, but the Lord is the same. There is diversity of works, but the same God works in all.

The Spirit reveals His presence in each one with a gift that is also a service. One is to speak with wisdom, through the Spirit. Another teaches, according to the same Spirit. To another is given faith, in which the Spirit acts; to another, the gift of healing, and it is the same Spirit.

Another works miracles, another is a prophet, another recognises what comes from the good or evil spirit; another speaks in tongues, and still another interprets what has been said in tongues. And all of this, is the work of the one and only Spirit, who gives to each one, as he so desires.

Monday, 3 January 2022 : Monday after the Epiphany, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 4 : 12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, a town by the lake of Galilee, at the border of Zebulun and Naphtali.

In this way the word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled : Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, crossed by the Road of the Sea, and you who live beyond the Jordan, Galilee, land of pagans : The people who lived in darkness have seen a great Light; on those who live in the land of the shadow of death, a Light has shone.

From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim His message, “Change your ways : the kingdom of heaven is near.” Jesus went around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and curing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people.

The news about Him spread through the whole of Syria, and the people brought all their sick to Him, and all those who suffered : the possessed, the deranged, the paralysed, and He healed them all. Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Ten Cities, from Jerusalem, Judea and from across the Jordan.

Saturday, 11 December 2021 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Popes)

Sirach 48 : 1-4, 9-11

Then came the prophet Elijah, like a fire, his words a burning torch. He brought a famine on the people and in his zealous love had them reduced in number. Speaking in the Name of the Lord he closed down the heavens, and on three occasions called down fire.

How marvellous you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Who could ever boast of being your equal? You were taken up by a whirlwind of flames in a chariot drawn by fiery horses. It was written that you should be the one to calm God’s anger in the future, before it broke out in fury, to turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and to restore the tribes of Jacob.

Happy are those who will see you and those who die in love, for we too shall live.

Sunday, 26 September 2021 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone who drove out demons by calling upon Your Name, and we tried to forbid him, because he does not belong to our group.”

Jesus answered, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My Name can soon after speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

“If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ and bear His Name, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward. If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck.”

“If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand, than with two hands to go to hell, to the fire that never goes out. And if your foot makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot, than with both feet to be thrown into hell.”

“And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out! It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, keeping both eyes, to be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them never die, and the fire never goes out.”

Wednesday, 24 February 2021 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 11 : 29-32

At that time, as the crowd increased, Jesus spoke the following words : “People of the present time are troubled people. They ask for a sign, but no sign will be given to them except the sign of Jonah. As Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be a sign for this generation.”

“The Queen of the South will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and here, there is greater than Solomon. The people of Nineveh will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for Jonah’s preaching made them turn from their sins, and here, there is greater than Jonah.”

Thursday, 24 January 2019 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 3 : 7-12

At that tine, Jesus and His disciples withdrew to the lakeside, and a large crowd from Galilee followed Him. A great number of people also came from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, Transjordan, and from the region of Tyre and Sidon, for they had heard of all that He was doing.

Because of the crowd, Jesus told His disciples to have a boat ready for Him, to prevent the people from crushing Him. He healed so many, that all who had diseases kept pressing towards Him to touch Him. Even the people who had evil spirits, whenever they saw Him, they would fall down before Him and cry out, “You are the Son of God.” But He warned them sternly not to tell anyone Who He was.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John I, Pope and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Mark 9 : 38-40

At that time, John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone who drove out demons by calling upon Your Name, and we tried to forbid him because he does not belong to our group.”

Jesus answered, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My Name can soon after speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

Friday, 13 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a direct continuation of the discourse and catechesis of yesterday’s Scripture readings, and we continue on the matter of understanding the Law and the true intention of the Lord as He revealed to mankind. We need to know that the Law of the Lord should not be taken at plain literal meaning, nor should we be proud of ourselves and assume that we know it all about God and His desire, and therefore be judgmental on others.

We need to understand the greater purpose of the Law and the rules of our faith. We cannot be blindly oblige to the rules without first understanding them, and yet we can neither fail to oblige with the excuse that we do not understand them or worse if we decide to ignore them. We must therefore make the conscious effort to understand the Lord and His Law. How do we do so, brothers and sisters?

By obeying the teachings and tenets of the Church, and the regulations established by the Church, and maintaining a good and healthy relationship with our shepherds, that is our priests and bishops. It is because these people are the ones who had been entrusted with our care by the Lord, and they have also been granted teaching authority by Christ Himself, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that they teach the faith and the Law of God in its purest form and in its true meaning.

Today we celebrate the feast day of one of the greatest teachers of the faith, that is St. Anthony of Padua, a very renowned Franciscan friar who was legendary and amazing in his homilies and discourses, so much so that even the Pope at that time employed him as the one to deliver the homilies at his court. St. Anthony of Padua also preached in many places across Europe, and from his teachings, he brought many people closer to God by awakening in them the proper understanding of His laws and purpose.

St. Anthony of Padua was well educated since his youth, and at the same time he was also very dedicated to the Lord, having been educated in the seminary since his youth, and eventually decided to join a sacred religious life. He learnt much about the faith and how to teach it well to the people of God, and through his vast experiences in many situations and stints in various religious orders, he gained great knowledge and ability to teach the faith to the faithful.

St. Anthony of Padua was a great orator and preacher of the faith, and yet he remained truly humble despite his renown and his abilities. In fact, the very first time when St. Anthony of Padua’s preaching abilities was identified, he was reluctant and afraid when he was pointed out to be the one to give a sermon to a group of gathered religious congregations. Yet, despite his reluctance and initial refusal, he made such an eloquent and impressive sermon, that the people who heard him were completely astonished.

St. Anthony of Padua continued to preach from then on, and demands for his sermons are always high, and the Pope even kept a record of his sermons, which was truly valuable for us, for there is truly much wisdom that we can learn from St. Anthony of Padua and his discourses. Through him the word of God and the intentions of the Lord were made clear to many people, who then grew on deeper in their faith because of that.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to keep faithful and true to the deposit of faith that is in the Church. Yes, we have to keep the complete entirety of the deposit of faith, which is the accumulated wisdom, teachings, and revelations that we have received through the holy men and women, who dedicated themselves like St. Anthony of Padua had done. Through them, we gain this precious knowledge and understanding, and therefore, in our lives, we have to continue safeguarding this deposit of the faith and teach it to others.

It is not difficult to do so, and we do not have to be like St. Anthony of Padua, or be as wise and eloquent as him in order to do so. What we need to do is in fact, to practice what we believe in our own lives, that in all our words, deeds and actions we will always reflect who we are, the children and followers of our Lord and God. If we practice genuinely what we believe in, then those who see us and who are still unbelievers, will certainly be touched by the light of Christ and believe in God, and come to believe and be saved.

May the Lord bring about His good works and graces through us, that He may make manifest His truth and love to the world, just as He had once made Himself known through St. Anthony of Padua. God bless us always and strengthen us at all times. Amen.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today it is revealed to us that in our obedience to God, we cannot be blindly obedient and obeying Him for the sake of obedience, or because we fear the wrath of God and His punishments. That is because any faith based on such reasons is likely to be weak and unstable, easily manipulated and shaken when we are in our most vulnerable moments.

Our faith must in fact be based on genuine love and devotion for God. And how do we devote ourselves to God, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is by finding out the true meaning of God’s love for us and His Laws, that we obey Him and follow Him not for the sake of obedience or merely for the fulfillment of our obligations to God, but because we truly understand that our obedience is because we realise our frailty and our need for the Lord to be our guide and help.

What the Lord told the disciples today is that, there is reason behind every single tenets and parts of the Law which God has given His people to follow, and that reason is all based on nothing else but love. Yes, the love of God for mankind, and the love which we ought to show and emulate among ourselves, to each other. And love is the heart of the Law, which we all need to remember always, and yet often forgets.

People like the Pharisees and the scribes like to dwell in very detailed scrutinies of the Law and certain rules, which inadvertantly diverted their attention from the true focus, that is love. Their preoccupation with otherwise minor details on the Law of God prevented them from showing acts of love and acts of mercy when they were expected to do so.

In fact, not only just that, but they even often misused their power and abused it for their own purposes, that is to secure their own positions, their own power and to preserve the dominion and authority which they felt was rightfully theirs as the leaders of the people. They would do things in direct contravention with the true meaning of the Law of God, if those things would help them to preserve themselves.

For example, the case of the woman caught in adulterous behaviour and brought to Jesus was a clear example of this abuse. The Pharisees and the elders of Israel brought her to Jesus not because they were concerned a single bit about her, whether for her redemption or condemnation, but they did so in order to discredit Jesus and trap Him in His own words, and thus constituted a vile attempt to mock the love of God and the Law itself.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are urged to build our relationships with God anew, that is to reaffirm our complete and total devotion to His love, and vow to carry on that love with us as we live our lives and as we interact with one another in this world, so that God’s love may ever be more ubiquitous and evident in our world which is increasingly lacking in love.

We are called to reflect on our own actions, on whether we have truly been faithful disciples of the Lord, that is truly taking into account how each and every one of our actions stand with reference to the Lord and His love. Have we attain a high standard of love in our actions? And have we truly been obedient to the will of God? Or are we only concerned about our own fates and well-being, often to the disadvantage of others around us?

Let us use this opportunity to reflect, and from then on, to take concrete actions, which will benefit all of us, and further spread the love of God for His people throughout the world, and make it a much better place. Remember, obey the Lord and all His ways, with all of our hearts and minds. God preserve us. Amen.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Kings 18 : 41-46

Elijah then said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for the sound of rain is rushing in.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. Elijah, in the meantime, went to the top of Carmel, bowed to the ground and put his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go up and look in the direction of the sea.”

The man went up, looked, and said, “There is nothing.” Then Elijah said, “Go again” and seven times he went. At the seventh time, he perceived a little cloud, the size of a man’s hand rising out of the sea.

Elijah told him, “Go, tell Ahab : Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.” A little later the sky grew dark with clouds and wind and a strong rain fell. Ahab was riding on his way to Jezreel; as for Elijah, the hand of YHVH was on him, and tucking his cloak in his belt, he ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.