Thursday, 5 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Mark 6 : 7-13

At that time, Jesus called the Twelve to Him, and began to send them out two by two, giving them authority over evil spirits. And He ordered them to take nothing for the journey, except a staff : no food, no bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear sandals and were not to take an extra tunic.

And He added, “In whatever house you are welcomed, stay there until you leave the place. If any place does not receive you, and the people refuse to listen to you, leave after shaking the dust off your feet. It will be a testimony against them.

So they set out to proclaim that this was the time to repent. They drove out many demons and healed many sick people by anointing them.

Thursday, 5 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 47 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 9, 10-11

Great is the Lord, most worthy of praise in the city of God, His holy mountain. Beautifully elevated, it is the joy of all the earth.

Mount Zion, heavenly mountain, the city of the great King. Here within her lines of defense, God has shown Himself to be a sure Fortress.

As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, the city God founded forever.

Let us recall Your unfailing love, o God, inside Your Temple. Let Your praise as does Your Name, o God, reach to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is ever victorious.

Thursday, 5 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Hebrews 12 : 18-19, 21-24

What you have come to is nothing known to the senses : nor heat of a blazing fire, darkness and gloom and storms, blasts of trumpets or such a voice that the people pleaded that no further word be spoken.

The sight was so terrifying that Moses said : I tremble with fear. But you came near to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem with its innumerable angels. You have come to the solemn feast, the assembly of the firstborn of God, whose names are written in heaven. There is God, Judge of all, with the spirits of the upright brought to perfection.

There is Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, with the sprinkled Blood that cries out more effectively than Abel’s.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we hear today about how Jesus was rejected by His own people, because they doubted Him and questioned His teaching authority, for they did not truly know who He is. They failed to see beyond the lens and screen of their own prejudice, of their own human pride and greed, and that was why they were condemned for their ignorance and stubbornness.

Why did they refuse to believe in Jesus? That was because they saw Jesus growing up among them, walking among them and talking to them, interacting with them since He was merely just an Infant Child, until He grew up to be a strong, wise and blessed Man. For the time before He began His ministry, Christ laid low and led a simple life, one that was unassuming, as the Son of a carpenter, who is His foster-father, St. Joseph.

It was likely that Jesus Himself also followed in St. Joseph’s footsteps as a carpenter, and a carpenter, while a respectable and righteous job, is hardly a job that someone would equate with prestige, knowledge and power. Most if not all carpenters at the time of Jesus were illiterate, unable to read. The ability to read was greatly revered in the society, as this gave them the ability to interpret the words of the Scripture and teach the people of God on the Law.

And this was why the Scribes, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were so powerful and respected at the time of Jesus. They were the ones who had control over the teachings of the Law and the interpretation of the Scriptures. But the temptation of power, glory and human praise had darkened their minds and hearts. They did not allow the Lord to come into their hearts and dwell there, but instead, their hearts were filled with jealousy and greed.

Thus, this was why they rejected Jesus and sow hatred against Him. They opposed Him at every turn of the way. Indeed, all of us should be sad and ashamed at the amount of jealousy, ignorance and prejudice which we have shown Jesus, just as His fellow villagers in Nazareth had shown Him, and also the hatred, opposition, obstacles and persecution which the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law committed against the works of the Lord.

Their actions were truly a reflection of our own actions. We often shut the Lord out of our hearts and our minds, simply because we are too preoccupied with ourselves and with the things and concerns of this world. As such, we ended up becoming just like the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and the villagers of Nazareth, who rejected Jesus and thus rejected the salvation which He offered.

We are often too caught up in the noise of the world that we fail to notice the Lord doing His works about us and around us. He performs His good works, miracles and wonders all the time, through those around us, and through the Church itself as well. It is therefore good for us all to reflect and think about our own lives. Have we been like the villagers of Nazareth, being cooped in our own prejudice and human weaknesses?

In the first reading, St. Paul in his letter to the Hebrews likened the actions of God like that of a father who chastises and guides his sons and daughters to the correct path. Thus the same is also applied to the actions of our Lord and God, who truly is our Father, the Father of all things and all creations. He cares for all of us and we are all His children.

In the current state, our stubbornness, our ignorance and our immersion in sin threaten the very safety and fate of our souls. Which father will let his son or daughter to fall into danger? That was why He sent us so many help and assistance, which He made true and real through Jesus, that we may all be saved. Shall we thus no longer be obstinate, but accept the gracious offer of our Lord’s mercy and love? May Almighty God be with us always, and may He awaken in us the love which we ought to have for Him. God bless us all. Amen.