Wednesday, 4 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 6 : 1-6

At that time, leaving the place where He raised the daughter of Jairus, Jesus returned to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and most of those who heard Him were astonished.

But they said, “How did this come to Him? What kind of wisdom has been given to Him, that He also performs such miracles? Who is He but the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and the Brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here among us?” So they took offense at Him.

And Jesus said to them, “Prophets are despised only in their own country, among their relatives, and in their own family.” And He could work no miracles there, but only healed a few sick people, by laying His hands on them. Jesus Himself was astounded at their unbelief.

Jesus then went around the villages, teaching.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 13-14, 17-18a

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

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

But the Lord’s kindness is forever with those who fear Him; so is His justice, for their children’s children, for those who keep His covenant and remember His commands.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 12 : 4-7, 11-15

Have you already shed your blood in the struggle against sin? Do not forget the comforting words that Wisdom addresses to you as children : ‘My son, pay attention when the Lord corrects you and do not be discouraged when He punishes you. For the Lord corrects those He loves and chastises everyone He accepts as a son.’

What you endure is in order to correct you. God treats you like sons and what son is not corrected by his father? All correction is painful at the moment, rather than pleasant; later it brings the fruit of peace, that is, holiness to those who have been trained by it.

Lift up, then, your drooping hands, and strengthen your trembling knees; make level the ways for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but healed. Strive for peace with all and strive to be holy, for without holiness no one will see the Lord. See that no one falls from the grace of God, lest a bitter plant spring up and its poison corrupt many among you.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about the healing which Jesus performed to the woman who had bleeding in her for twelve years, and also the resurrection of the dead daughter of a synagogue official. And both of them have a great significance for us, as they were both saved and healed because of their faith.

The woman was healed from her bleeding because she believed that Jesus had the power to free her from her afflictions, while the daughter of the official was healed because her father also showed the same faith in the power and authority of Jesus. What Jesus told the woman is important, as He said that the woman’s faith had saved her. This showed that we must have faith in the Lord in order for us to achieve salvation.

However, people tend to interpret this differently, thinking and assuming that faith alone is sufficient for us to attain salvation and liberation from all of our afflictions. Some were misled by the confusion to think that we just need to have faith and to believe in the Lord, and then all of our problem will be gone, and all of our difficulties will cease. But this is a wrong idea, an erroneous thinking and a heresy planted in our minds by Satan.

Our Lord Himself, as the first reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews had testified, is the founder of the Faith we have now, not just because He preached what He had preached, and not just because of all the words and things which He had mentioned and taught to His disciples, but even more importantly, Jesus Himself practiced and made true what He had taught and preached in His own actions.

He persevered and suffered grievously for all of our sins, and He bore that cross that is our sins, holding onto it as He ascended the hills of Calvary, and every single wounds He received is our sins that He patiently and lovingly bore upon Himself. What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? Our Lord loves us all very much, and He wants us all to be saved. He had faith in us all being able to overcome sin, but without action, everything would come to naught.

And that was why, He showed us all the example through His own action, that faith is never complete without action and deed to prove that faith, and without action based on that faith, the faith is essentially dead. The woman with bleeding believed in Jesus, but had she not taken the action to come through the numerous crowd and try her best to touch the cloak of Jesus, she would not have been healed.

It was also the same for the daughter of Jairus, the synagogue official. Had Jairus not make the effort to come down and seek the Lord Jesus, he would not have received the reward for his faith, even though he was indeed faithful to the Lord. Thus, our faith requires effort, a conscious effort and work, which is our faith made alive and real.

Indeed, we cannot profess that we are truly faithful to the Lord, if we had not done anything to show that we are indeed faithful. Therefore, let us all from now on, change our ways and be truly faithful, just as today we celebrate the feast of two saints of the Church, namely St. Blaise and St. Ansgar, the faithful servants of God, whose examples hopefully may inspire us all.

St. Blaise was renowned as the patron saint of throat diseases, and we know of him now primarily because of the custom of the blessing of the throat, also known as St. Blaise’s blessing, with two crossed candles on our throats. St. Blaise was once a physician that cured and healed diseases, but he then settled on in the greater service of God and His people and instead he became the physician of souls.

The works of St. Blaise in calling the people of God to repentance and to a holy lifestyle is a constant reminder to all of us, that we are all always afflicted with the disease of the soul, that is sin, and we have to seek remedy for this affliction, that is by seeking the Lord our God with faith, and by doing what He had commanded us to do, as doing good deeds for others around us is a panacea and medicine against the sickness of sin.

Meanwhile, St. Ansgar showed us that we have much to do as the fellow servants of God, in doing good for one another and in calling many people from the darkness of the world into the Light. St. Ansgar was truly experienced in this as he lived during the early Medieval era Europe, in the midst of the people still gripped by pagan worship and pagan gods, and he was indeed sent to those people to bring the Light of Christ upon them.

St. Ansgar tirelessly worked to bring the Good News and the truth of Christ to them. Amidst all the difficulties and challenges, he managed to convert countless souls and gained them for the Lord, for their own benefit as well. And this should inspire us all to take up the same cross, the same mission to bring more and more people to the salvation in the Lord.

May our Almighty God be with us all, guide us all in our ways that we may always be upright in His eyes and at the end of the days, may we all find salvation and justification in Him, the One who rewards all His faithful with the abundance of graces. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Bishops)

Mark 5 : 21-43

At that time, Jesus then crossed to the other side of the lake, and while He was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around Him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and, seeing Jesus, threw himself at His feet, and begged Him earnestly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may get well and live.”

Jesus went with him, and many people followed, pressing from every side. Among the crowd was a woman, who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors, and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse.

Because she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind Him and touched His cloak, thinking, “If I just touch His clothing, I shall get well.” Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint.

But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from Him, so He turned around in the crowd, and asked, “Who touched My clothes?” His disciples answered, “You see how the people are crowding around You. Why do You ask who touched You?”

But He kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward trembling and afraid. She knelt before Him, and told Him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be free of this illness.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official’s house to inform him, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?” But Jesus ignored what they said, and told the official, “Do not fear, just believe.” And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion, with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered, and said to them, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead, but asleep.”

They laughed at Him. So Jesus sent them outside, and went with the child’s father and mother and His companions into the room, where the child lay. Taking her by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha, kumi!” which means, “Little girl, get up!”

The girl got up at once and began to walk around. She was twelve years old. The parents were amazed, greatly amazed. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it; and He told them to give her something to eat.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Bishops)

Psalm 21 : 26b-27, 28, 30ab, 30c-32

I will fulfill my vows before all who revere You. The lowly will eat and be satisfied. Those who seek the Lord will praise Him. May your hearts live forever!

The whole earth will acknowledge and turn to the Lord; the families of nations will worship Him.

Before Him all those who rest in the earth will bow down, all who go down to the dust.

My soul will live for Him. My descendants will serve Him and proclaim the Lord to coming generations; they will announce His salvation to a people yet unborn, “These are the things that He has done.”

Tuesday, 3 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Bishops)

Hebrews 12 : 1-4

What a cloud of innumerable witnesses surround us! So let us be rid of every encumbrance, and especially of sin, to persevere in running the race marked out before us.

Let us look to Jesus the Founder of our Faith, who will bring it to completion. For the sake of the joy reserved for Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and then sat at the right of the throne of God. Think of Jesus who suffered so many contradictions from evil people, and you will not be discouraged or grow weary.

Have you already shed your blood in the struggle against sin?