Friday, 28 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrating the popular devotion to Our Lord’s Most loving and Sacred Heart, as first revealed through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and all others through whom God had revealed the great love in His Most Sacred Heart, the great love of a loving Father, the love of a most loving and compassionate Shepherd, Our God.

In the Scripture passages we have heard today, most prominently the Lord was depicted as the Good Shepherd, as the Figure Who showed great love and compassion, care and mercy to us all, who are of the Lord’s flock, His most beloved sheep. This is most profound example used by the Lord Himself to show how much He has loved His people, in a community where many among the people had the profession of shepherds.

In the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, the passage which is our first reading today spoke of the Lord referring to Himself as the Shepherd of Israel, the One Who would guide His people to the right path, protecting them from harm, binding and healing their injuries, watching over them and looking out for those who have been lost from Him. He would guide them all with justice, mercy and compassion, which is exactly what the Lord Jesus would reiterate with His message of Himself as the Good Shepherd.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord again referred to Himself before the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law as the Good Shepherd, showing to those people how God is loving and merciful, kind and compassionate to all of His beloved ones, even to the worst and most rebellious, the most wicked and the greatest of sinners among them. No one is ever beyond the reach of God’s love and compassionate mercy.

In order for us to understand the significance of the encounter and the words the Lord spoke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law more clearly, we must understand the philosophy and the actions that those two groups of people often took at that time. They put the obedience and adherence to the Law over everything else, and they were very particular with how those laws and regulations are preserved and followed.

And they deemed all those who did not follow the Law as they have followed and preserved it to be inferior and unworthy, to be sinners and undeserving people while at the same time thinking highly of themselves and being proud of their own obedience and adherence to the strict observation of the Jewish customs, traditions and laws, and being highly respected by the people and being very influential in the community.

That was why they were very ardent in their prejudiced attitude against the prostitutes, tax collectors and other people deemed to be sinners in general. They also thought of people with disabilities and sicknesses as those whom God had punished and cursed because of their sins. They looked down on them and rejected them, and when the Lord sought all these people, they immediately cast the same prejudice on the Lord, seeing Him approaching those whom they deemed to be unworthy and unclean.

This is where the Lord showed His love and revealed what it truly means for one to obey the Lord and His laws. Mankind might have been unfaithful, wicked and filled with sins, and yet, fundamentally we are all still His beloved creations, His beloved children and people. We are the sheep to Him, Who is the Shepherd of all of us. And a shepherd loves his flock of sheep above all else, and a true and dedicated shepherd will do everything just so that his sheep will be good, safe and well taken care of.

Sometimes the sheep end up going wayward on its own, being misled or distracted by things that probably sparked its curiosity, and the sheep becomes lost from the flock. The shepherd knows all of his sheep, and every single one of them are precious to him. If one of the sheep is lost, the shepherd will come to know of this very quickly, and unless he does not care for his sheep, he will do whatever he can to find that lost sheep.

A sheep that is left to wander on its own is in a great danger because of all the threats that can destroy it, from falling into a ravine, or off a cliff, of being hunted and killed by wolves and predators among many others. And how are all these relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is what each and every one of us have experienced ourselves and perhaps even are experiencing now at this very moment.

For it is sin and the temptations to sin which have led us astray from the Lord, end up in us being separated from God and from the flock of God’s faithful as we end up falling deeper and deeper into sin. We have become the lost sheep of the Lord, and the Lord Who is our Good Shepherd does not want us to be lost from Him. Rather, He wants us to be reconciled to Him and be found, and He had done everything He could to gain us back.

That is what He meant when He said that the shepherd would seek the one lost sheep even though there was only one lost sheep among one hundred sheep in all. The shepherd would do everything to find that one lost sheep so that the lost sheep may be found and be reunited with the rest of the flock, safe from all the dangers that could have happened to it if it remained lost and separated from the flock.

Unless we are found and reunited with our loving Shepherd, we will fall deeper and deeper into sin, and from there into the danger of eternal damnation, out of which there is no escape from eternal despair and suffering, annihilation and total destruction. This is not the fate that God, our loving Father, Creator and Shepherd wants to happen to us, because He loves each and every one of us so much.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate this great love which Our Lord has shown from His most loving and compassionate heart, His Most Sacred Heart, which was filled with love for each and every one of us, so much so that, He did the ultimate act of love to show us just how much He loves us and how precious each and every one of us are to Him. He took up His Cross, suffer persecution, pain and the worst of pains and went through a most humiliating death so that, all of us may live.

That is just how much Our Lord loves us, in His loving and bleeding Most Sacred Heart. In the depiction of His Most Sacred Heart, we see the Lord’s Heart being surrounded by a crown of thorns and with a great burning flame representing His ever passionate and burning love for us. And that crown of thorns represents all the pains and sufferings He had suffered for the sake of that love He has for us.

And now, we have those whom God had called to be His caretakers, His shepherds made in His own image and example, namely our priests, who are shepherds of God’s flock, representing the one true Shepherd in our midst. They are the ones who go around the world taking care of us all, God’s beloved people, showing the same love that God has poured forth from His Most Sacred Heart.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today that is why, on this Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we also pray as the whole Church together for those who have been called by God, to be His servants and followers, His priests, dedicating themselves into the priestly life and to shepherd His beloved people. On this day, we gather our prayers for them, that each and every one of them may be courageous and be loving just as Our Lord has loved us so deeply.

And at the same time, let us all realise this great love that God has shown us, that He had done everything for our sake, enduring every kinds of imaginable sufferings of the worst kind, that we may be saved. He did all of that in order to save us and to reunite us to Himself. Each and every one of us are truly precious to Him. Next time, before we even contemplate to sin or to disobey God, let us remember that every single sins we commit, no matter how small, how insignificant they may seem to us, they are wounds we inflict on the Lord, that He bore willingly for our sake.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all strive to be better disciples of the Lord, and be more dedicated to Him, remembering how He has loved us so wonderfully and generously despite of all of our nonsense and disobedience. His patience and most loving Sacred Heart is truly our hope, and we should cling closely to this hope we have in Him. May the Lord Jesus Christ, His most loving Sacred Heart continue to love us all, now and forevermore as always. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us all. Amen.

Friday, 28 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 15 : 3-7

At that time, Jesus told the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law this parable : “Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbours together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’”

“I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent.”

Friday, 28 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 5 : 5b-11

Because the Holy Spirit has been given to us, pouring into our hearts the love of God. Consider, moreover, the time that Christ died for us : when we were still helpless and unable to do anything. Few would accept to die for an upright person; although, for a very good person, perhaps someone would dare to die.

But see how God manifested His love for us : while we were still sinners, Christ died for us; and we have become just, through His Blood. With much more reason now He will save us from any condemnation. Once enemies, we have been reconciled with God through the death of His Son; with much more reason, now we may be saved, through His life. Not only that, but we even boast in God because of Christ Jesus, Our Lord, through Whom we have been reconciled.

Friday, 28 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.

He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake. Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are beside me : Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Friday, 28 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 34 : 11-16

Indeed YHVH says this : I, Myself, will care for My sheep and watch over them. As the shepherd looks after his flock when he finds them scattered, so will I watch over My sheep; and gather them from all the places where they were scattered in a time of cloud and fog. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from their countries. I will lead them to their own land; and pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in all the valleys and inhabited regions of the land.

I will take them to good pastures on the high mountains of Israel. They will rest where the grazing is good, and feed in lush pastures on the heights of Israel. I, Myself, will tend My sheep and let them rest, word of YHVH. I will search for the lost and lead back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak; but the fat and strong will be eliminated. I will shepherd My flock with justice.

Friday, 23 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate a great solemnity in honour of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion and tradition which had deep roots in our faith in the Church, beginning from an ancient tradition of devotion to the great love which the Lord Jesus had shown us all His people, through His most loving and merciful Sacred Heart, a devotion which was given in its modern form through the visions which was received by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque approximately four centuries ago.

In many of the icons of the Most Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus, we often see Jesus our Lord revealing His Sacred Heart, which is crowned with thorns and pierced with a lance, and with a flaming fire above the Heart, showing the great love and the intensity of which love, through which, our Lord resolved to redeem us from our sins and save us from the disaster that was about to be our fate. It was by this love, that He was willing to go through all sorts of persecutions and sufferings, for our sake and for our salvation.

In His appearance to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Lord Jesus showed His Most Sacred Heart to her, and spoke to her, saying that while His love for mankind had been great and magnificent, but most of mankind had rejected Him and His love, and spurned His love. We have rejected God’s love for us by our disobedience and refusal to follow His ways, and by continuing therefore to live in sin.

That is why it is important for us to devote ourselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, by understanding and knowing that great love which God in His heart has shown us all. There are indeed those who refused to believe in the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, because they deemed that it was idolatry and false to worship the supposedly physical heart of Jesus, but that was because of a misunderstanding of what the devotion to the Sacred Heart is really about.

In essence, our devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion to the physical or human Heart and the Divine Heart of our Lord and Saviour, Who has two natures, God and Man, which are yet united in perfection of love, in one singular Divinity. If the Lord had assumed the flesh of Man, then surely His whole entire Body is a reflection of both His humanity and divinity, including His Most Sacred Heart.

All of us know that the heart is among the most important organs in our body, without which the blood which provides our body cells and other organs with nutrients and oxygen cannot flow. And in figurative terms, the heart is the centre of our emotions and is often associated with love. That is why as I have mentioned earlier on, and in what our Lord Jesus Himself had told all those to whom He revealed His Most Sacred Heart, He told them how He loved all mankind, and yet His people rejected Him and His love.

At the moment of His crucifixion and death, the soldier named Longinus was tasked to attest the fact of His death. He took up his lance and pierced the side of Jesus, which hit towards His heart. Immediately from the Most Sacred Heart came forth blood and water, which poured down upon all who saw it, and those who saw it, including Longinus, believed in Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through all of these, we have seen how Jesus our Lord has loved us so much, that because of that love, poured out freely from His Most Sacred Heart, He was willing to endure suffering, pain, rejection, ridicule and all sorts of punishments, all of which were meant to be ours. Because of our sins, all of us ought to have been crushed and be destroyed due to them, but the Lord willingly shouldered all those sins, and were wounded for our sake.

Do we all realise just how much it was that the Lord had done for us? His Most Sacred Heart and all the love He had within has made everything possible for us, including our salvation and liberation from our fated destruction because of our sins. Every single wounds inflicted on Him, every single pain, be it physical or mental, from all the rejection, ridicule and mockery, are our sins, caused by our sins, and made by our disobedience.

Let us all therefore do our best, in order to seek to be closer to God, by relying and depending on His Most Sacred Heart, and all the love which He had kept in His Sacred Heart. Let us all remember that whenever we sin and whenever we turn away from His ways, we are taking part in ridiculing and persecuting the Lord, Who had borne all of our sins upon Himself.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians therefore, all of us need to become role models in our devotion and commitment to the Lord, particularly today in the aspect of His Most Sacred Heart, remembering the great love and compassion which He had shown us, poured out from His ever loving Heart, filled with genuine love and mercy for us all mankind. Let us all turn wholeheartedly to Him and be good for the rest of our lives. May the Lord, in His Most Sacred Heart, bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 23 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 11 : 25-30

On that occasion, Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You; because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this was Your gracious will.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy; and My burden is light.”