Saturday, 31 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 4 : 35-41

At that time, on that same day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” So they left the crowd, and took Him away in a boat He had been sitting in, and other boats set out with Him. Then a storm gathered and it began to blow a gale. The waves spilled over into the boat, so that it was soon filled with water. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

They woke Him up, and said, “Master, do You not care if we drown?” And rising up, Jesus rebuked the wind, and ordered the sea, “Quiet now! Be still!” The wind dropped, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?”

But they were terrified, and they said to one another, “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Saturday, 31 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 69-70, 71-72, 73-75

In the house of David, God’s servant, He has raised up for us a victorious Saviour; as He promised through His prophets of old.

Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of our foes. He has shown mercy to our fathers; and remembered His holy covenant.

The oath He swore to Abraham, our father, to deliver us from the enemy, that we might serve Him fearlessly, as a holy and righteous people, all the days of our lives.

Saturday, 31 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 11 : 1-2, 8-19

Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see. Because of their faith our ancestors were approved. It was by faith that Abraham, called by God, set out for a country that would be given to him as an inheritance, for he parted without knowing where he was going.

By faith he lived as a stranger in that promised land. There he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, beneficiaries of the same promise. Indeed, he looked forward to that city of solid foundation of which God is the Architect and Builder.

By faith Sarah herself received power to become a mother, in spite of her advanced age, since she believed that He who had made the promise would be faithful. Therefore, from an almost impotent man were born descendants as numerous as the stars of heavens, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Death found all these people strong in their faith. They had not received what was promised, but they had looked ahead and had rejoiced in it from afar, saying that they were foreigners and travellers on earth. Those who speak in this way prove that they are looking for their own country.

For if they had longed for the land they had left, it would have been easy for them to return, but no, they aspired to a better city, that is, a supernatural one; so God, who prepared the city for them is not ashamed of being called their God.

By faith Abraham went to offer Isaac when God tested him. And so he who had received the promise of God offered his only son although God had told him : ‘Isaac’s descendants will bear your name.’ Abraham reasoned that God is capable even of raising the dead, and he received back his son, which has a figurative meaning.

Friday, 30 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about the parables which Jesus taught to His disciples, which He taught to them as the way to understand the true meaning of the faith. In the various parables of Jesus, we can clearly see the rich discourse and meaning behind the stories and the tales which Jesus told His disciples and followers. All of these were crafted to suit the understandings of the people, who were mostly farmers, shepherds, fishermen and people from the poor strata of the society.

Many of these people were uneducated, and they were not able to read, and neither could they understand difficult and complicated concepts. Therefore, to lecture them on the Law of God and His many precepts would not go anywhere, as they would not be able to understand them a single bit if done this way. That is why, Jesus told them about God through the use of parables, through stories in which the farmers, shepherds and fishermen would be able to relate, as Jesus used terms and explanations according to what they did in their everyday works and lives.

Today Jesus talked about the parable of the kingdom of God being likened to a mustard seed that when planted grows to become a great tree, even though it was once the smallest of seeds. This is to clearly show how the kingdom of God is like. It is not just like some imaginary or utopian kingdom somewhere else beyond our reach. It is not just in our imagination, as the kingdom of God is truly real, and it is all within us all, the believers who are faithful to our Lord, who had brought His kingdom upon us.

The kingdom of God is like a seed planted within each and every one of us. But it will remain dormant as long as nothing is done to make sure that it grows and becomes vibrant and living within us. But if we indeed put the effort to make a difference, by throwing and casting away all that is evil, then we will allow the kingdom of God to grow within us.

What is the kingdom of God, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is not the same as any worldly kingdoms or realms. It is realised when all of us live according to the way of the Lord, that is love, peace, harmony and friendship between all the peoples, all of whom are devoted to the Lord their God, and their loving Father. The kingdom of God is where all of us lives together, all following and obeying the will of God, where no evil exists anymore, and where all of us are reunited with our loving God.

That was the figurative meaning of the mustard tree that Jesus had told His disciples. The mustard tree grows so large, that birds of the sky come and take shelter in its branches. Thus, the kingdom of God ought to grow wide and strong, and encompass all the peoples, all the creations of God, all mankind who had once been lost to God, to the darkness of this world.

In the first reading, St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews mentioned about us all having received the faith, and if we hold fast and stay true to that faith, then we shall have nothing to worry about. As long as we do not abandon the faith we have, and as long as we put our trust in God, our Lord will be our guide and protection. For if we look at the Gospel today, we have to note that our Lord had revealed to us His truth through what He had told His disciples in private.

What He had revealed to His disciples, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we too have received through the Church, which preserved the fullness of the truth of our Lord. But there are many others who have yet to hear or to witness this truth, and they still remain engulfed in darkness. And it is our duty and obligation to bring the words of truth to them.

But we cannot be hypocrites of our faith, or else we will be like speaking babbles to the people. We have to therefore translate it into something that they would be able to understand, and that is our actions. That means, we have to make sure that we live according to our faith. We cannot be indifferent to others who need of our love, and we have to be proactive in loving others just as our Lord had loved us.

May Almighty God therefore guide us and show us the way, that we may all be examples and role models for all to see, and so that all of those who see us will come to believe in us, and put their complete trust in us, and thus be saved from eternal death. May God bless us. Amen.

Friday, 30 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 4 : 26-34

At that time, Jesus also said, “In the kingdom of God it is like this : a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself : first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting, they take the sickle for the cutting : the time for the harvest has come.”

Jesus also said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and become the largest of the plants in the garden, and even grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.”

Jesus used many such stories, in order to proclaim the word to them in a way that they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to His disciples He explained everything.

Friday, 30 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 36 : 3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and live on it. Make the Lord your delight, and He will grant your heart’s desire.

Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust in Him and let Him act. Then will your revenge come beautiful as the dawn, and the justification of your cause, bright as the noonday sun.

The Lord is the One who makes people stand, He gives firmness to those He likes. They may stumble, but they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

The Lord is the salvation of the righteous; in time of distress, He is their refuge. The Lord helps them, and rescues them from the oppressor; He saves them for they sought shelter in Him.

Friday, 30 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 10 : 32-39

Remember the first days when you were enlightened. You had to undergo a hard struggle in the face of suffering. Publicly you were exposed to humiliations and trials, and had to share the sufferings of others who were similarly treated. You showed solidarity with those in prison; you were dispossessed of your goods and accepted it gladly for you knew you were acquiring a much better and more durable possession.

Do not now throw away your confidence that will be handsomely rewarded. Be patient in doing the will of God, and the promise will be yours : ‘A little, a little longer – says Scripture – and He who is coming will come; He will not delay. My righteous one will live if he believes; but if he distrusts, I will no longer look kindly on him.’

We are not among those who withdraw and perish, but among those who believe and win personal salvation.