Friday, 29 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 11 : 11-25

At that time, Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. And after He had looked all around, as it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day, when they were leaving Bethany, He felt hungry. In the distance He noticed a fig tree covered with leaves, so He went to see if He could find anything on it. When He reached it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Then Jesus said to the fig tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit!” And His disciples heard these words.

When they reached Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple, and began to drive away all the people He saw buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the stools of those who sold pigeons. And He would not let anyone carry anything through the Temple area.

Jesus then taught the people, “Does God not say in the Scriptures : My house will be called a House of Prayer for all the nations? But you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the teachers of the Law heard of this, and they tried to find a way to destroy Him. They were afraid of Him, because all the people were astonished by His teaching.

When evening came, Jesus left the city. Early next morning, as they walked along the road, the disciples saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter then said to Him, “Master, look! The fig tree You cursed has withered.”

And Jesus replied, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and have no doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will happen, it will be done for you. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it shall be done for you. And when you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive.”

Friday, 29 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips, this is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Friday, 29 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach (Ecclesiastes) 44 : 1, 9-13

Let us now glorify illustrious men, the ancestors of our people. Others are not remembered and have disappeared as if they never existed. It is the same for their children. But now consider the godly men whose good deeds have not been forgotten.

Those who came after them benefitted from the rich legacy they left; their race remained faithful to the Covenant, their children followed their example. Their family will endure forever and never will its glory be tarnished.

Thursday, 28 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the very beautiful and encouraging words from the Holy Scripture, beginning with the dissertation from the book of the prophet Sirach, who spoke about the nature of God and all of His wonders. He spoke of how God has created all things good and perfect, for us all to enjoy together, but it was because of our disobedience and sins that the perfection became marred and destroyed.

The light that once filled up this world has been veiled by darkness, that is the darkness of our sins. Our wickedness has served to be hindrance and obstacle for us to know how good and how great is the blessings and love which God has shown all of us. Therefore, we truly are blind, blind to the love of God, just as the blind man in the Gospel today cried out to Jesus, asking for His help to heal him from his blindness.

And that Gospel passage on the healing of the blind man by Jesus, is a reminder to all of us to reflect on our own actions in life. What are we now doing with regards to our lives filled with sin? What have we done so far in order to overcome the evils that had consumed us and what have we done to bring ourselves to the light? Do we act like the blind man who recognised who Jesus was and begged Him for mercy, to be healed from his blindness? Or are we content to stay on in our ignorance and blindness in the darkness of the world?

The blind man cried out to Jesus asking for Him to heal him, and he recognised Jesus as the Son of David, the One with power and authority to make him whole again. And he did not give up, even when the people tried to shut him up and scorned him. He refused to give up and continued to ask the Lord for His mercy, and eventually, by the faith which he has, he was healed and made whole.

Have we been like the blind man who was so persistent in asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness? Or are we equally stubborn in refusing to accept the fact that we are afflicted and in trouble and therefore need a profound change in our attitudes and actions so that we will not fall into damnation and eternal suffering? The fact is that God always attunes His ears to listen to our cries and pleas for mercy, and He tirelessly continues to remind us to repent and change our ways.

Let us all be inspired by the blind man and his total faith in the Lord, so that we too may also follow suit and do the same, proclaiming our faith and devotion to He who can heal us from our afflictions that is sin, the darkness that had clouded our minds and beings, to the point that we are unable to see beyond the darkness. If we know that we are in danger, then all the more we should put in the effort to change our lives for the better and seek the salvation which only our Lord can give.

Remember, brethren, that the Book of Sirach had also reminded us of the love of God, which He would shower on all those who cling faithfully to Him. He is ever faithful to all those who are also faithful to Him, and all that have done His will shall not be disappointed. The love of God endures, even though our sins have become like a mountain. What matters is that we respond to that love and mercy which our Lord had shown.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be drawn ever closer to the throne of our Lord’s mercy and open wide the floodgates for the love of God to enter into our hearts. This is the time for change, the time for mercy, for us to seek the forgiveness of God for our sins and sin no more, so that we may be truly free from the blindness that have afflicted us, and welcome the Light into our lives. May Almighty God have mercy on us and forgive us our sins, and may He lead us on this new life filled with grace and blessings. Amen.