Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we all know, that children are the greatest of the gifts of God to us. Children are the fruits of love, and they were born pure and innocent. Why are they then so great in their faith? That is because the faith of a child is the purest kind of faith, one that is unadulterated and untainted by the concerns and corruptions of this world.

The Lord Jesus showed His disciples, that if they reject these children, who came to Him in faith, that means they too also reject Him, because they failed to understand that their faith needs to be like these children’s faith. Faith is often clouded and hidden behind a thick cloud of darkness, that is the corruption of sin, and all the concerns of the world.

When we were all still a child, we do not have much worries and concerns. We do not have much things to think about, and like what many of us who have children will know, we understand that children wants just care, love and concern by their loved ones. They were innocent, pure, and if they believe in something, they truly believe in it.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, have our faith been like the faith of children? Or have our faith been muddled with the corruptions of the world? We have many good things in this world, all the pleasures and the joy that this world can offer. The wealth and prosperity which this world can give to us, if we follow the ways of the world.

But if we do so, then are we faithful to the ways of the Lord? The way of this world promotes excessiveness, it promotes self-indulgence and hedonistic lifestyle. It does not necessarily mean bad thing, but if we immerse ourselves too deeply with the concerns of this world, more likely than not, our faith will gradually wear down, and we will then prefer to walk on our own way.

We like to complain and be angry, especially at God, when we face difficulties in life. And we especially are angry with Him when we think that He had not heard us or abandoned us. We often question Him and His love for us, without realising that our every breath is the proof of God’s love and dedication for us.

When we pray and when we ask God for help, much of the time, we do not make those prayers in full sincerity. We pray because we need something, and we need that something be taken care of. Yet, we often fail to realise that prayer is mainly the means of communication between us and our Lord who loves us, so much that He wants to talk to us regularly and continuously. Yet, our stubbornness and lack of true faith prevent the Lord from speaking to us, and for us from listening to Him.

Brethren, this is how the Lord wanted to show us that we have many things we can learn from a child. In particular, we should be like a child in his or her faith. A child’s faith is pure, and untainted by human desires. While we are already tainted by the world and its desires, and by the power and influence of sin, what we can do, is to aspire towards having the faith of a child.

We should all aim to be faithful in the same way a child is faithful. We should unconditionally love and trust the Lord our God, without any hidden agenda or desires that keep us from having a pure faith in the Lord. If we are able to do that, then our lives will be more meaningful, because we will be firmly rooted in the Lord, and no matter what happened to us, we will always be strongly devoted to the Lord and His ways, and we will not be taken away from salvation due to us.

May the Lord therefore continue to foster in us, a strong love for Him, a constant and living faith, that we may persevere and indeed, grow further in our faith to Him. Let us also on our side, do our best to dedicate ourselves in love to the Lord and to His children, our own brothers and sisters. God be with us all. Amen.

Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Mark 10 : 13-16

People were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, and the disciples rebuked them for this. When Jesus noticed it, He was very angry and said, “Let the children come to Me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then He took the children in His arms and, laying His hands on them, blessed them.

Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 140 : 1-2, 3 and 8

Lord, I call on You, hasten to help me! Listen to my plea when I call to you. Let my prayer rise to You like incense, as I lift up my hands as in an evening sacrifice.

O Lord, set a guard at my mouth, keep watch at the gate of my lips. But my eyes are turned to You, o God, my Lord; strip me not of life, for You are my refuge.

Saturday, 1 March 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

James 5 : 13-20

Are any among you discouraged? They should pray. Are any of you happy? They should sing songs to God. If anyone is sick, let him call on the elders of the Church. They shall pray for him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord.

The prayer said in faith will save the sick person; the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. There will be healing if you confess your sins to one another and pray for each other. The prayer of the upright man has great power, provided he perseveres.

Elijah was a human being like ourselves and when he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, no rain fell for three and a half years. Then he prayed again : the sky yielded rain and the earth produced its fruit.

Brothers, if any one of you strays far away from the truth and another person brings him back to it, be sure of this : he who brings back a sinner from the wrong way will save his soul from death and win forgiveness for many sins.

Friday, 28 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the law of God which He first revealed through Moses had been adapted, changed, and suited to the uses and means of the people of God, that is the Israelites, which they had often misunderstood in its true purpose, that is to serve God’s purpose rather than the purpose of men. Yet, in reality, the laws had been made subservient to the will of men.

And no other time was this more evident, than at the time of Jesus, when the abuse was at its relative maximum. The Pharisees, the scribes and the teachers of the law, who were the leaders of the people in the matter of faith, misused their teaching authority and gave the people of God a much improvised version of the true law of God.

The strictness of the law of God which was revealed through Moses, was indeed due to the thick-headedness of the Israelites, who constantly grumbled and disobeyed the Lord on their way through the desert to the Promised Land. They ignored the precepts and way of the Lord, preferring instead to submit to their own emotions and human desires, rather than obeying the Lord their God.

But was the intention of the Lord truly to punish and burden them with such laws? No! These laws were there because God loved and cared for them, and He dreaded the most if any of His beloved were to fall into the hands of Satan and evil, and be separated from Him by the eternal agony of hell. God loved mankind and all of His children, and that is why He bothered to give them His laws to help them.

But what the people had done by the time of Jesus was that of blind obedience, which can be as bad as thick-headedness and plain disobedience of their ancestors. That is because if their ancestors refused to believe in the Lord and His ways, the people at the time of Jesus believed only at the surface, through the various observations of the complicated rules and regulations as established by the Pharisees.

And the result is that they were as wayward as their ancestors were, and first of all would be the Pharisees and the leaders of the people themselves, who led the people in their obstinate state, refusing to listen even to the Holy One of God, the promised Messiah. When God came down upon us to explain the truth about what He desired in mankind, they refused to believe in Him and preferred to trust in their own human wisdom and judgment.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, these people saw the Lord, and yet they did not realise, as the first reading today mentioned, that the judge is already at the door, ready to mete judgment against them. But He still gave them chance for repentance, and some did repent, accepting His mercy and love.

The same too applies to us, brethren. Do we recognise the Lord and His Presence? Do we recognise Him in our faith, and do we truly believe in what we believe? Are we like those who only prefer to believe what they want to believe and discard the rest, the so-called cafetaria Christians? If we do so then we are no better than the Pharisees who chose to believe in their own human wisdom rather than in the Lord.

Are we genuine in our love and devotion for the Lord? Our devotion and faith cannot be just merely mean going for Mass every Sunday and that is it. It cannot also mean just saying our prayers without real action, and neither can it be just plain works and good deeds, without prayer and proper devotion to the Lord. If we are to dedicate ourselves to God, then we must be genuine in our faith, and we cannot be half-hearted in it.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us resolve from now on to deepen our faith in God ever further, that our faith may grow ever stronger in the Lord, and that we no longer be hampered by our own human pride, arrogance, ambitions and stubbornness, that we may listen to the Lord and know what He truly wants from us.

May we all become good and faithful children of God, resolving not to disobey the Lord by following our own path, as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done. Let us dull the edge of our pride and sharpen the edge of our humility, and open wide the doors of our heart, and put up our ears, that we may listen to God as He speaks to us, and follow His ways, always and till the end of our lives. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 28 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 1-12

Jesus then left that place and went to the province of Judea, beyond the Jordan River. Once more crowds gathered around Him and once more He taught them, as He always did. Some Pharisees came and put Him to the test with this question, “Is it right for a husband to divorce his wife?”

He replied, “What law did Moses give you?” They answered, “Moses allowed us to write a certificate of dismissal in order to divorce.” Then Jesus said to them, “Moses wrote this law for you, because you are stubborn. But in the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and because of this, man has to leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So they are no longer two but one body. Therefore let no one separate what God has joined.”

When they were indoors at home, the disciples again asked Him about this, and He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against his wife, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another also commits adultery.”

Friday, 28 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12

Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless His holy Name! Bless the Lord, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness.

He forgives all your sins and heals all your sickness; He redeems your life from destruction and crowns you with love and compassion.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, abounding in love and slow to anger; He will not always scold nor will He be angry forever.

As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His love for those fearing Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove from us our sins.