Thursday, 10 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 31-47

At that time, Jesus spoke to the Jews, “If I bore witness to Myself, My testimony would be worthless. But Another One is bearing witness to Me, and I know that His testimony is true when He bears witness to Me. John also bore witness to the truth when you sent messengers to him, but I do not seek such human testimony; I recall this for you, so that you may be saved.”

“John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were willing to enjoy his light. But I have greater evidence than that of John – the works which the Father entrusted to Me to carry out. The very works I do bear witness : The Father has sent Me.”

“Thus He Who bears witness to Me is the Father Who sent Me. You have never heard His voice and have never seen His likeness; therefore, as long as you do not believe His messenger, His word is not in you. You search in the Scriptures, thinking that in them you will find life; yet Scripture bears witness to Me. But you refuse to come to Me, that you may live.”

“I am not seeking human praise; but I have known that love of God is not within you, for I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not accept Me. If another comes in his own name, you will accept him. As long as you seek praise from one another, instead of seeking the glory which comes from the only God, how can you believe?”

“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. Moses himself, in whom you placed your hope, accuses you. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

Thursday, 10 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 105 : 19-20, 21-22, 23

They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped the molten image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of a bull that eats grass.

They forgot their Saviour God, Who had done great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Sea of Reeds.

So He spoke of destroying them, but Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to shield them from destruction.

Thursday, 10 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Exodus 32 : 7-14

Then YHVH said to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a molten calf; they have bowed down before it and sacrificed to it and said : ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt.'”

And YHVH said to Moses, “I see that these people are a stiff-necked people. Now just leave Me that My anger may blaze against them. I will destroy them, but of you I will make a great nation.”

But Moses calmed the anger of YHVH, his God, and said, “Why, o YHVH, should Your anger burst against Your people whom You brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with a mighty hand? Let not the Egyptians say : ‘YHVH brought them out with evil intent, for He wanted to kill them in the mountains and wipe them from the face of the earth.'”

“Turn away from the heat of Your anger and do not bring disaster on Your people. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the promise You Yourself swore : I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land I spoke about I will give to them as an everlasting inheritance.”

YHVH then changed His mind and would not yet harm His people.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Frances of Rome, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s readings from the Sacred Scriptures speak to us about the affirmation of God’s love and devotion to us, and how He cares for us and wanted us to be loved and to be saved from eternal damnation, by bringing us all out of the darkness and into the light, out of wickedness and into righteousness and justice.

He spoke the truth and had shown us the truth through the sending of His own Son, Jesus, into the world, that all those who believe in Him, the Son of God, may believe in the Father also Who had sent His Son, so that we may be saved. Remember the passage, that God so loved the world, that He sent us His only Son, so that all who believe in Him will not perish, but have eternal life? That is exactly what I meant.

He does not desire our destruction or our damnation to hell, although many of us might have think so. As the Scripture says, He does not take pleasure in seeing the suffering of His children, His people, and His beloved ones. And this is why He showed His love in such a way, that He gave us nothing less than the perfect gift of His own Son, to be our Redeemer through even His own suffering and death.

Therefore, as we embark and continue through this season of Lent, it is important for us to take note of this truth and make use of the many opportunities which He had given us, so that we may accept His rich offerings of mercy and forgiveness, and turn back to Him with all of our strength and with all of our hearts. God does not want our destruction, but if we continue in our path in this world as we have often done, then we are risking our downfall and damnation.

If God has shown us such love and tender care, then why should we ignore Him or even reject Him and all the love He had shown us? We have nothing to lose from following God and being obedient to Him, although many of us are easily tempted by the temptations of this world, which Satan and his allies are trying to push onto us, so that we may not be saved and instead fall into sin.

Sin is our great enemy, and it is a great obstacle for all of us who are trying to reach out to God and to His salvation. It is the chains that keep us bound and separated from the love of God. If we want to be freed from this chain, then all of us ought to commit ourselves to change our ways and cast away all of our wicked ways, and find the way to salvation by doing what God had taught us to do, to obey all of His laws and commandments.

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Frances of Rome, a woman religious, who devoted herself completely to the service of the Lord. She committed herself to a life of devotion and service to the people of God. Even though she was born to the rich and aristocratic class, but after her husband passed away, she devoted herself to a life of service for the poor, the destitute and the dying.

She allowed her own house to become a hospital for the sick and the dying, opening her doors for those who are suffering and the poor who did not have anyone who cared for them. She experienced many ridicule and challenges throughout the course of her work and dedication, and she faced them all with faith and commitment that all of us can indeed be inspired with. She continued to work hard regardless, and did her best to love those whom had been unloved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, looking at the examples of St. Frances of Rome, all of us should also spend our time during this season of Lent to devote our time to serve the poor, the less fortunate, and help all those who have not been so blessed as we are. We should keep in mind those who are suffering, and do all that we can to help them, and to love them just as God had loved all of us.

Let us all imitate our Lord and His glorious saints, and let us love one another just as He had loved us. Let us reject all forms of sins and wickedness, and commit ourselves to a life of righteousness and justice. God bless us all and be with us always. Amen.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Frances of Rome, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 5 : 17-30

At that time, Jesus replied to the Jews, “My Father goes on working and so do I.” And the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him, for Jesus not only broke the Sabbath observance, but also made Himself equal with God, calling God His own Father.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, I assure you, the Son cannot do anything by Himself, but only what He sees the Father do. And whatever He does, the Son also does. The Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He does; and He will show Him even greater things than these, so that you will be amazed.”

“As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to whom He wills. In the same way the Father judges no one, for He has entrusted all judgment to the Son, and He wants all to honour the Son as they honour the Father. Whoever ignores the Son, ignores as well the Father Who sent Him.”

“Truly, I say to you, anyone who hears My word and believes Him Who sent Me, has eternal life; and there is no judgment for him, because he has passed from death to life. Truly, the hour is coming and has indeed come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and, on hearing it, will live. For the Father has life in Himself, and He has given to the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has empowered Him as well to carry out Judgment, for He is Son of Man.”

“Do not be surprised at this : the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear My voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. I can do nothing of Myself, and I need to hear Another One to judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me.”

Wednesday, 9 March 2016 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Frances of Rome, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 144 : 8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18

Compassionate and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in love. The Lord is good to everyone; His mercy embraces all His creation.

The Lord is true to His promises and lets His mercy show in all He does. The Lord lifts up those who are falling and raises those who are beaten down.

Righteous is the Lord in all His ways, His mercy shows in all His deeds. He is near those who call on Him, who call trustfully upon His Name.