Church Teachings
 
 

 
【Spiritual Talk】Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

The liturgical colour for this Sunday's Mass is green. Now that the Christmas season has ended and Lent has yet to come, it is Ordinary Time and green represents growth and hope. The Gospel reading is John 1:29-34 - after baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist calls Him the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. The Baptist came from a priestly family, so his words have a priestly tone. During the Passover, the lamb commemorated the rescuing of the Jewish people from slavery; Jesus was the lamb of the new Passover who would rescue humanity from slavery to sin. The Old Testament lamb was slaughtered every morning and evening in the Temple to enable the repentance and forgiveness of the people. But Jesus alone is able to forgive sins through His Precious Blood and the Prophet Isaiah describes the suffering servant as a lamb offered to death. During Mass, we also call Jesus the Lamb of God before Communion, reminding us of His Presence in the Eucharist.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 18


 
【Spiritual Talk】Baptism of the Lord – Fr. Anthony Ho

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord, which commemorates Jesus' revelation to the Jews, as opposed to His revelation to the Gentile Magi at the Epiphany and to His apostles at the Marriage at Cana. Jesus' baptism appears in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but only Matthew records the dialogue between John the Baptist and Jesus before the baptism. Originally, John was not willing to baptize Jesus and said Jesus ought to baptize him since he knew his lowliness before Jesus. But Jesus permitted it anyways to fulfill all things. Matthew's Gospel mentions the word "fulfill" many times, meaning to fulfill the Old Testament. He describes angels, magi, John, even God the Father testifying to Jesus' identity and mission. The Holy Spirit descends as a dove on Jesus' head, while God the Father says, "This is my son in whom I am well pleased." The descent of the Holy Spirit reminds us of the Spirit of God moving above the waters in Genesis and of the dove sent above the floods by Noah - both times representing the new beginning of the world. Jesus' baptism is a new beginning and the end of the Christmas season. Our baptism is also a new beginning and gives us a new birth.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 11


 
Pope Francis: Christ can bring good out of any circumstance – even an apparent failure

(CNA) Love for God is always fruitful, Pope Francis said Wednesday, stressing that Christ can bring good out of any circumstance -- even an apparent failure.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 9


 
Prep for Christmas: Encountering Mary in Ephesus

The Church designates January 1 as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. "Prep for Christmas" takes you to Ephesus, Turkey to reflect on the role the Blessed Virgin Mary plays in the Christian faith.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4


 
【 Ask Fr. Francis】How to love God?

Fr. Francis will be answering two questions. One of them is about how to love God more, and another question about destiny.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4


 
【Spiritual Talk】Feast of the Epiphany – Fr. Anthony Ho

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the coming of three wise men from the East who followed a star to worship Jesus and give Him gifts, as recorded in the reading from the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12. Normally, this feast is celebrated on January 6th, but in some countries such as Canada, this day is not a public holiday, so it is celebrated on the nearest Sunday instead. Some people have attempted to explain the star's appearance with natural means, but the star stopped above Jesus, so this is very difficult. More people use the Jewish tradition to explain the star as an angel, just as an angel lead the Jewish people to the Promised Land. When the three wise men arrived at the house of the baby and His mother, they did not merely kneel but also prostrated themselves, a sign of worship. In Jerusalem, the chief priests and the scribes did not worship Jesus, but only foreigners did. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which were the first fruits of the Gentiles and showed Jesus as true God and true man. The early Church fathers admired the wise men's faith: although their physical eyes saw a baby, their eyes of faith saw God, and that is why they prostrated themselves and offered gifts. As faithful Catholics, our physical eyes see the Blessed Sacrament as bread, but our eyes of faith see God, hence why we kneel and offer up spiritual gifts.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4


 
Radio broadcast – Full episode (Jan 4, 2020)

【 Ask Fr. Francis】How to love God? 【Spiritual Talk】Feast of the Epiphany - Fr. Anthony Ho 【Edwin’s blog】January 4, 2020
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4


 
Prep for Christmas: A Crash Course on Agape

Christmas is a season of love. One of the most well-known passages from the Bible is the hymn of love written by St. Paul. Prep for Christmas takes you to Corinth, Greece for a closer look of what is love.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 28


 
Pope Francis: May Emmanuel bring light to all the suffering members of our human family

(CNA) On Christmas, Pope Francis prayed for Christ to bring light to the instability in Iraq, Lebanon, Venezuela, Yemen, Ukraine, Burkina Faso, and other parts of the world experiencing conflict.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 25


 
Prep for Christmas: Looking at Mysteries through Byzantine Icons

Through colours and images, Byzantine icons bear witness to the truths of salvation without words. "Prep for Christmas" takes you to Greece to visit the icon studio run by an Orthodox priest. We would also deepen our understanding about mysteries related to the birth of Christ through icons.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 21


 
【Spiritual Talk】Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year A)

This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading is from the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25, which talks about Mary's betrothal to Joseph. To the Jews, betrothal was different from our modern-day engagement: the betrothed were already considered husband and wife, but the wife would continue living with her parents for another year before fulfilling the marital oath and moving in with her husband. When Mary was found to be pregnant, she had not yet lived with Joseph. Under the Mosaic law, married persons discovered to have committed adultery were to be stoned to death but the Jews were under Roman rule, so they were unable to execute death sentences and oftentimes just enacted divorces instead. There are two ways to explain Joseph's motivations for wanting to divorce Mary: (1) he knew that he was not the child's father and suspected that Mary was unfaithful yet he did not want to expose Mary to shame, so he decided to divorce her quietly; (2) he had always known that the Messiah would be born of a virgin and never suspected Mary of infidelity but felt himself unworthy to be adoptive father of the Messiah and hence wanted to divorce her. Regardless, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him that he was a descendant of David and that the child came from God, so he ought not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The angel also told Joseph to name the child Jesus, indicating that the child would inherit the line of David. Since the name Jesus means "God saves" and Jesus would save men from sin, it also indicated that Jesus was God. At the time, many Jews expected a political Messiah to free them from Roman rule, unlike Jesus, who came to free people from sin.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 21


 
【Spiritual Talk】Third Sunday of Advent (Year A) – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the third Sunday of Advent; the liturgical colour is the colour of joy, rose pink, unlike the colour of penance, purple. Advent has already passed the midway point and Christmas is fast approaching. Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 11:2-11; St. John the Baptist needs more evidence to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, so he asks Him directly and Jesus responds that the blind can see, the crippled can walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf can hear, the dead are risen, and men have received the good news. He also says blessed is the one who does not stumble because of me. St. John was familiar with Scripture, so he understood that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Jesus then illustrated the Baptist's role and asked the crowds why they had come: was it to see a prophet? Jesus explained that John was the greatest of all men born to women, but even the smallest in the Kingdom of Heaven was greater than him. Through baptism, we become children of God and temples of the Holy Spirit.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 14


 
Prep for Christmas: The Last Judgment

During Advent, we prepare our hearts in anticipation of the birth of Baby Jesus, but also for the second coming of Christ in glory. "Prep for Christmas" takes you to an orthodox monastery in Greece for a close look at a painting of the General Judgment, which prompts us to reflect on the causal relationship between every decision of ours and our eternal destiny.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 7


 
【Ask Fr. Francis】December 7, 2019

Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 7


 
【Spiritual Talk】Second Sunday of Advent (Year A) – Fr. Anthony Ho

Apart from Jesus and Mary, Advent has a third important character: St. John the Baptist. In this Sunday's Gospel reading, the Gospel of Matthew 3:1-12, the Baptist proclaims the Kingdom of God is near and calls the people to repent. The term "Kingdom of God" is very important in Matthew's Gospel and appears 51 times. The Baptist wears a shirt of camel's hair and a leather belt, just like the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Apart from their similarity in clothing, the two men also opposed an evil king and were persecuted for it. They also prepared the way for another prophet: Elijah for Elisha, the Baptist for Jesus. And both Elisha and Jesus would heal lepers and raise the dead. Also, both men transmitted their missions at the Jordan River: Elijah was received into Heaven and passed his mission to Elisha; St. John baptized Jesus and made way for His greater mission. The baptism of John prepared the way for the baptism of Christ, which remits sins and makes people into temples of God and members of the Church.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 7


 
【Spiritual Talk】First Sunday of Advent (Year A) – Fr. Anthony Ho

The season of Advent is just before Christmas and reminds us of Jesus's Second Coming in glory. Today's Sunday reading is from Matthew 24:36-44. In the days of Noah, the people did not know God was about to punish them with a flood, so they continued conducting business, eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. But when the rains came, all but Noah's family perished in the flood. Noah was not resigned to his fate, but was obedient to God and avoided the floods. The coming of the Son of God will also be sudden and many will be frightened, just as a thief comes in the night. And when the master of the house awakens the next morning to find his treasured possessions stolen, how pitiful will that scene be! So we must be vigilant and prepare instead of wasting our time trying to predict when Jesus will come.
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 30


 
Fr. Ho talks about the Sixth to Tenth Commandment

The Sixth Commandment is "Thou shalt not commit adultery"; it calls us to purity in word and action. The Seventh Commandment is "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife"; it calls us to purity in thought. Sex is sacred, because it creates life, which is sacred - sex has no place outside the marital covenant. We often treat others as objects to use and fulfill our own desires. A saint once said that it is impossible to dialogue with someone with impure thoughts, for one would lose internal peace. We mustn't only avoid sinning, but also the occasions of sin. Positively, we can receive help from the Sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Confession. Negatively, we should avoid idleness, which can lead us to temptation. The Seventh Commandment is "Thou shalt not steal", the Eight Commandment is "Thou shalt not bear false witness", and the Tenth Commandment is "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods". All three concern justice towards our neighbour's reputation and property. We mustn't gossip or speak carelessly, or else we will steal others' reputations. Lying is usually a venial sin, but becomes a mortal sin once it severely harms another's reputation or leads them to sin.
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 23


 
【Ask Fr. Francis 】 Some people will not be saved?

The question is about a bible passage from the Gospel of Matthew and Mark: "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” Didn’t Jesus say that His coming is for the salvation of sinners? How come this bible verse seems to be contradictory?
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 9


 
【Spiritual Talk】 Fr. Ho talks about the Fourth Commandment

The first Three Commandments concern loving God above all, while the Fourth through Tenth Commandments concern loving one's neighbours as oneself. The Fourth Commandment is "honour your father and mother" - we must love, respect, obey, and help our parents; we must avoid despising, disrespecting, disobeying, and not caring about them. Just as the Church calls us to respect other legitimate authorities placed over us, our parents are representatives of God in the family and He blesses us through them. There are some exceptions to this Commandment, such as when our parents ask us to commit a sin - in these cases, we must not obey for to do so would place them above God. We ought also to help our parents materially and spiritually, such as ensuring they receive the Sacraments before death and praying for them after they have died. Children have a special duty to obedience when they have not become adults yet. But as one becomes an adult, one takes up complete responsibility for their actions and is no longer bound to obey their parents but should still listen to their advice and respect them. Jesus too obeyed His parents for His first thirty years on earth, and then obeyed God the Father in His final three years.
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 9


 
Radio broadcast – Full episode (Nov 9, 2019)

【Ask Fr. Francis 】 Some people will not be saved? 【Spiritual Talk】 Fr. Ho talks about the Fourth Commandment 【Edwin’s blog】November 9, 2019
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 9


 
Pope Francis: Ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to build bridges with those who do not believe or with a creed different from ours

(CNA) St. Paul announced Jesus Christ to “idol worshippers” in Athens without attacking them, but by building bridges, Pope Francis said Wednesday.
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 7


 
To Jesus through Mary: Fr. Denis Kong

Many Catholics have a deep devotion to Our Lady. Marian shrines such as Fatima, Lourdes, and Medjugorje also attract thousands of pilgrims year after year. Fountain of Grace invited Fr. Denis Kong to share with us how Our Lady leads us to Jesus.
Publish date: 2019 - 10 - 26


 
Pope Francis: Ask the Holy Spirit for an open heart, sensitive to God and hospitable to our brothers

(CNA) In his message for the audience, the pope reflected on the Acts of the Apostles chapter 16, when St. Paul experiences a vision in which a Macedonian begs him to “come over to Macedonia and help us.”
Publish date: 2019 - 10 - 30


 
【Spiritual Talk】 Fr. Ho talks about the Second Commandment

The Second Commandment is "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" - we can only use the name of God with veneration and good reason, not for cursing or making false oaths. Usually, using His name while swearing constitutes venial sin, but it can be a mortal sin if one blasphemes God. Likewise, it is venial sin to wish little misfortune on someone, but mortal sin to wish big misfortune. In certain circumstances, we must make oaths to affirm that we are speaking the truth, such as in court. To ensure we make good oaths, three conditions must be met: the oath must be necessary, one cannot lie during the oath, and one cannot make an oath to do evil. Oaths are our medicine for our lost trust in each other - they compensate for this defect in human nature and we only make them if necessary. Traditionally, making oaths unnecessarily is considered a venial sin but lying during an oath is a mortal sin. Vows are not merely promises to God, but constitute major duties to God, such as those professed by those in the religious life. Moreoever, because we must honour the name of God, we must also honour the names of His beloved saints. Neither is swearing acceptable, for just as we use the local language when travelling abroad, we must also use heavenly language if we wish to enter Heaven.
Publish date: 2019 - 10 - 26