Wednesday, 3 April 2019 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 8-15

This is what YHVH says : “At a favourable time I have answered you, on the day of salvation I have been your help; I have formed you and made you to be My covenant with the people. You will restore the land, and allot its abandoned farms. You will say to the captives : Come out; and to those in darkness : Show yourselves.”

“They will feed along the road; they will find pasture on barren hills. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the scorching wind or the sun beat upon them; for He Who has mercy on them will guide them and lead them to springs of water. I will turn all My mountains into roads and raise up My highways. See, they come from afar, some from the north and west, others from the land of Sinim.”

Sing, o heavens and rejoice, o earth; break forth into song, o mountains : for YHVH has comforted His people and taken pity on those who are afflicted. But Zion said : “YHVH has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child of her womb? Yet though she forget, I will never forget you.

Saturday, 30 March 2019 : 3rd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Hosea 6 : 1-6

Come, let us return to YHVH. He Who shattered us to pieces, will heal us as well; He has struck us down, but He will bind up our wounds. Two days later He will bring us back to life; on the third day, He will raise us up, and we shall live in His presence.

Let us strive to know YHVH. His coming is as certain as the dawn; His judgment will burst forth like the light; He will come to us as showers come, like spring rain that waters the earth. O Ephraim, what shall I do with you? O Judah, how shall I deal with you?

This love of yours is like morning mist, like morning dew that quickly disappears. This is why I smote you through the prophets, and have slain you by the words of My mouth. For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice; it is knowledge of God, not burnt offerings.

Friday, 29 March 2019 : 3rd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Hosea 14 : 2-10

Return to your God YHVH, o Israel! Your sins have caused your downfall. Return to YHVH with humble words. Say to Him, “Oh You Who show compassion to the fatherless forgive our debt, be appeased. Instead of bulls and sacrifices, accept the praise from our lips. Assyria will not save us : no longer shall we look for horses nor ever again shall we say ‘Our gods’ to the work of our hands.”

I will heal their wavering and love them with all My heart for My anger has turned from them. I shall be like dew to Israel like the lily will he blossom. Like a cedar he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow and spread. His splendour will be like an olive tree. His fragrance, like a Lebanon cedar.

They will dwell in My shade again, they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like a vine, and their fame will be like Lebanon wine. What would Ephraim do with idols, when it is I Who hear and make him prosper? I am like an ever-green cypress tree; all your fruitfulness comes from Me.

Who is wise enough to grasp all this? Who is discerning and will understand? Straight are the ways of YHVH : the just walk in them, but the sinners stumble.

Monday, 25 March 2019 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 7 : 10-14 and Isaiah 8 : 10

Once again YHVH addressed Ahaz, “Ask for a sign from YHVH your God, let it come either from the deepest depths or from the heights of heaven.”

But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask, I will not put YHVH to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign : The Virgin is with Child and bears a Son and calls His Name Immanuel.”

“Devise a plan and it will be thwarted, make a resolve and it will not stand, for God-is-with-us.”

Thursday, 3 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Our Lord. On this day we focus our attention on the Name which is above all and every other names, as written in the Scriptures, the Name which was revealed by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, His mother. This is the Name that every knee, in heaven, on earth and in hell, in all of the universe, must bend and give homage, when the Name is uttered and mentioned.

For the name of a person is a very important sign of his or her identity. It is a very major part of his or her identity, what makes up the persona of a person. It is something that makes us unique and stands out from others. And that is why, we also have the practice of naming ourselves and our children after the saints of God, as we want to emulate in our lives, the virtues and the good examples of the saints after whom we have been named, or whom we are naming our children for.

In the history of the people of God, the Name of God is something that is so holy and sacrosanct, that they could not and were not supposed to be able to decipher and to utter it, without committing blasphemy before God. The Holy Name of God, YHVH, is the symbol of His holiness and how He is almighty and great, perfect and holy beyond all comparison and comprehension. To utter His Name would be unthinkable for the people of Israel, and is actually a part of the Ten Commandments, that is, keep the Lord’s Name holy.

But God, in His so great love for us, has willingly decided to become One Who is tangible and approachable, has shown His love for us in the flesh and being, by adopting for Himself, and assuming for Himself, a human existence, that is united to His eternal divinity, in the person and Name of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, Our Lord and King. It is He, Who has been named as such, through Whom our salvation comes from.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must not take our Lord’s Name lightly, or worse still, use them in profane and unbecoming way, as how many of us have grown accustomed to, in habits and expressions. There are those who use Our Lord’s Name in vain, when His Name was uttered without even the least bit of knowledge and understanding of the great significance and power behind this Name.

Indeed, God made Himself known to us, by incarnation in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, that we may know Him, and through Him, we are saved. It is by the power of His Name that we have been saved, for He has become our Saviour. But we must never again use His Name in vain, in how we just toss this Name around with contempt and lacking for respect for the One through Whom we have been saved.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that God had made Himself available to us, by revealing to us His Name, that all of us may know Him and love Him so deeply, that by sharing in His glory, His resurrection from the dead and triumph over evil and death, we may free ourselves from the power of the evil one. Upon the Name of Jesus, even the devil and all those who have reigned over us, must obey and admit their defeat.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from now on, every time that the Holy Name of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, is mentioned, let us reflect on this great love and saving grace we have received from Him, and commit ourselves to honour Him and to love Him all the more. Let us bow down and honour Him, every time His Name is uttered and mentioned, and glorify Him from now on. May God, in His Holy Name, bless us always and keep us from all evil. Amen.

Thursday, 3 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 29-34

At that time, the next day John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! It is He of Whom I said : A Man comes after me, Who is already ahead of me, for He was before me. I myself did not know Him, but I came baptising to prepare for Him, so that He might be revealed in Israel.”

And John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove from heaven, and resting on Him. I myself did not know Him, but God, Who sent me to baptise, told me, “You will see the Spirit coming down, and resting, on the One Who baptises with the Holy Spirit.’ Yes, I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God!”

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)

Luke 2 : 21-24

On the eighth day, the circumcision of the Baby had to be performed; He was named Jesus, the Name the Angel had given Him before He was conceived. When the day came for the purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the Law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God.

And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the Law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Thursday, 3 January 2019 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 1, 3cd-4, 5-6

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

With melody of the lyre and with music of the harp. With trumpet blast and sound of the horn, rejoice before the King, the Lord!

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)

Psalm 8 : 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

When I observe the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon, and the stars You set in their place – what is man, that You be mindful of him; the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little less than a god; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number, and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.