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

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 5 : 9-12

Beloved, do not fight among yourselves and you will not be judged. See, the judge is already at the door. Take for yourselves, as an example of patience, the suffering of the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s Name.

See how those who were patient are called blessed. You have heard of the patience of Job and know how the Lord dealt with him in the end. For the Lord is merciful and shows compassion.

Above all, my beloved, do not swear either by heaven or by earth, or make a habit of swearing. Let your yes be yes and your no be no, lest you become liable for judgment.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brethren in Christ, today we are confronted with the reality of this world, that is the corrupting nature of wealth, affluence, and possessions. This does not necessarily mean that being wealthy is wrong, or being rich means one is automatically condemned. That is the flawed argument of those who did not understand the meaning of the Lord’s words.

This corruption instead befalls those whose faith are not strong in the Lord. The riches and material possessions themselves are pure and not faulty in themselves. It is how we as those who own them and use them that turn them into evil purposes. Remember though that wealth too can be turned into good purposes, as much as it can be turned for evil.

Indeed, what is important is that we keep ourselves pure and strong in the faith. Do not let the devil to come in and corrupt our hearts and minds. If we do so, then even if we have things and riches of this world, our heart will be more resistant to such attempts by the evil one to corrupt us. Remain pure! And remain faithful! Those are the messages that Christ wanted us to know, the key message that He wanted to deliver to us in the Gospel today.

Again, we cannot take the words of Christ at mere face value, or literally. We have  to understand what He truly meant. Does He mean that we have to literally chop off our hands if they have caused us to sin? The hands themselves are not at fault, just like our worldly wealth and riches. Does cutting our hands stop us from sinning, especially in our hearts?

Yes, brethren, sin originates in our hearts, which is then committed by our limbs and bodies, but this does not in itself condemn these to destruction. Remember brethren, that our hands and legs too can do great deeds, helping others and fulfilling the will of God. If we have chopped them off just because of one sin or a few, how are we going to use them for good things?

The key here is to genuinely change our hearts. We have to resolve to change our hearts, to turn our attention towards the Lord. We have to be consistent in our devotion to the Lord, and that begins from the heart, just as sins also begin from the heart. That is why we ought to seek profound change in ourselves, committing ourselves to a total change, that we will from now on, change ourselves to be truly servants and disciples of the Lord.

Let us change the purpose of whatever possessions we have with us. Let us change how we use whatever blessings and graces that had been granted us, that we may use it for good purposes. Brothers and sisters in Christ, be good, do good, and profess what is good, so that the Lord who sees what is good in us will grant us His blessings.

May the Lord bless us with His love, and may we all also be able to return Him the same love and devotion. Let us all profess our faith and love for He who has always been faithful and loving to us from the very start. May the Lord continue to guide us in our lives and strengthen our devotion towards Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 41-50

If anyone gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ and bear His Name, truly, I say to you, he will not go without reward. If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck.

If your hand makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand, than with two hands to go into hell, to the fire that never goes out. And if your foot makes you fall into sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot, than with both feet to be thrown into hell.

And if your eye makes you fall into sin, tear it out! It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, keeping both eyes, to be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them never die, and the fire never goes out. The fire itself will preserve them.

Salt is a good thing; but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 48 : 14-15ab, 15cd-16, 17-18, 19-20

This is the fate of people trusting themselves, the future of those who rely on their strength. Like sheep led to the grave, they have death as their shepherd and ruler.

Quickly their form will be consumed in the world of the dead, which is their home. But God will rescue my soul from the grave by receiving me unto Himself.

Fear not when someone grows rich, when his power becomes oppressively great, for nothing will he take when he dies; his wealth and pomp he will leave behind.

Though he praised himself in his lifetime, “All will say that I have enjoyed life,” he will join the generation of his forebears, who will never again see the light.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 5 : 1-6

So, now for what concerns the rich! Cry and weep for the misfortunes that are coming upon you. Your riches are rotting and your clothes eaten up by the moths. Your silver and gold have rusted and their rust grows into a witness against you. It will consume your flesh like fire, for having piled up riches in these last days.

You deceived the workers who harvested your fields but now their wages cry out to the heavens. The reapers’ complaints have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You lived in luxury and pleasure in this world thus fattening yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have easily condemned and killed the innocent since they offered no resistance.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to trust in the Lord and put all of our attention to fulfill whatever He has come upon this world to do. He came into this world to bring goodness into it, and to bring the light of God to unveil the darkness that has been in this world and close our eyes from the truth. He brought to us the salvation in God, to free us from the depredations of evil.

And in today’s Gospel, Jesus wanted to show His disciples, and all of us, that we should never be exclusive in our work for the Lord, but we must be inclusive. That is because all good works ultimately have their source in God, and all good works have their meaning in serving the purposes of the Lord. Doing good can never mean doing the purpose of the devil.

All said, in this matter, we cannot separate and distinguish between good actions and faith. As St. James has often stressed in his letter, that faith cannot be good without concrete actions, which are good actions, and neither can actions be truly good without faith. Both faith and works are related closely to each other, and indeed, when someone does a good work, we should not stop him, especially without knowing first his or her background. He may be just one of the faithful like ourselves!

What Jesus is trying to tell us today is that we must neither be judgmental or be exclusivist in our attitude. We have to try our best to incorporate others in our good services to the Lord, and that means, rather than condemn others or see them as a competition with our own works, we should instead seek to reach out to them and bring them to our fold, that we may work together as one, and achieve even greater things.

One example which we can use in this world today is the works of the various Christian churches and followers of the Lord, many of whom are separated from the unity that is in the Church, the One and only, and yet at the same time, these people, in their separated state, do still do good things for the sake of the faithful. They did good things just as we do.

We should not outright condemn them for what they do and try to stop what they are doing. If any, if we want to condemn them at all, condemn them only if they persist in their separation from the One Church of God, and role in perpetuating that division. Yes, we should all, first above all, seek and work towards unity, and we must make sure that whatever we do are in tandem with each others’ works.

Let us therefore unite our efforts and bring all of our good works as one, to serve the Lord and His people. Bar not the good works of those who do them, even outside of our Church, but focus instead our effort on bringing them back into the fold, that our efforts may be more united than ever before, and all our works may transcend all the evils of division that had wracked our Church all this while.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek to do good always in our lives, changing our ways that we may do good for the sake of God and His people. Open our hearts to the Lord and welcome Him into our hearts, walk graciously in His ways and may our examples be a shining example to all others as well. Do good, be humble, and remain faithful, brothers and sisters in Christ. Be inclusive and never be judgmental, seek reunion and unity rather than condemnation and rejection. Amen.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 9 : 38-40

John said to Him, “Master, we saw someone who drove out demons by calling upon Your Name, and we tried to forbid hum because he does not belong to our group.”

Jesus answered, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My Name can soon after speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”