Monday, 5 February 2018 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 131 : 6-7, 8-10

The Ark is in Ephrata, we found it in the fields of Jaar. Let us go to where He dwells and worship at His footstool!

Arise, o YHVH, and come to Your rest; You, and the Ark of Your might. May Your priests be arrayed in glorious mantle; may Your faithful ones shout in gladness. For the sake of Your servant, David, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed.

Monday, 5 February 2018 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Kings 8 : 1-7, 9-13

Then Solomon assembled before him in Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, as well as the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of YHVH from the city of David, which is Zion.

All the Israelites assembled near king Solomon in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month. When all the elders of Israel arrived, the priests carried the Ark of YHVH and brought it up together with the Tent of Meeting and all the holy vessels that were in the tent.

After the priests and Levites had brought them up, king Solomon with the entire congregation of Israel that had assembled before him and were with him before the Ark, sacrificed so many sheep and oxen that they could neither be counted nor numbered.

Then the priests laid the Ark of the Covenant of YHVH in its place in the inner Sanctuary of the house – the Most Holy Place – underneath the wings of the Cherubim. The Cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the Ark, providing a covering above the Ark and its poles.

There was nothing in the Ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses placed there at Horeb, where YHVH made a Covenant with the Israelites when they came out of the land of Egypt. And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, such a cloud filled YHVH’s House that the priests could not continue to minister. Indeed, the glory of YHVH filled His House.

Then Solomon said, “YHVH has said that He would dwell in thick darkness. So the House I have built You will be Your House, a place for You to dwell in forever.”

Sunday, 4 February 2018 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we listened to the Scripture passages which remind us of the mission which we all as Christians have received from the Lord. As Christians, all of us are called to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles and disciples, whom He had sent to proclaim the Good News, to minister to the people who are in need, those who are sick, those who are poor.

And it is important for each and every one of us to remember that in all that we do in the Name of the Lord, we must do them for the right purpose, with the right intention and in the right manner. Otherwise we will end up losing the purpose and meaning of what we do, and instead of gaining grace and justification, we will end up receiving rebuke and condemnation because of our lack of faith and commitment.

In the first reading today, we heard the passage taken from the Book of Job. Job was a devout follower of God living several millennia ago, many years before Christ came into the world. It was told that he was a very rich man, blessed with a great and loving family, with many worldly and material properties, thousands of animals, flocks, camels and all sorts of things that mankind at that time would have desired.

Satan wanted to test Job and see if he would buckle under pressure of temptation and despair if he were to remove from Job all that were precious and important to him. Thus, Job lost his properties to thieves and brigands, and he lost his family due to tragic accidents in very short period of time. He was very unfortunate and in sad condition, and we can surely notice that in our first reading passage today.

He recognised how our life is truly momentary and fleeting in nature, and he lamented on his then miserable state of life. But in the end, Job remained faithful to God, and despite his misery and despair, he did not blame God for what happened to him. He blamed himself instead, but God told him the truth about everything that had happened, and showed him how God’s purpose is far above even the best of human intellect and understanding.

In the second reading today, St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Corinth mentioned that as someone who serve the Lord, he did it because he wanted to glorify God and to obey His will, not because he wanted to be rewarded or to gain from whatever it is that he was doing. Ultimately, all of his efforts and works were not about himself, but about serving the community and the faithful people of God.

St. Paul devoted himself wholeheartedly and spent his time to serve the people, making himself the servant of all. He was following in the footsteps of the Lord Himself, Who in the Gospel passage today went from place to place, preaching to the people and teaching them about God’s way, and healed many of their sick ones. Through all of these, we see how to be true disciples of the Lord, by devoting our time, effort and attention to God.

In our world today, it is very easy for us to be tempted and lose our way. There are plenty of temptations, from money, material possessions, power, glory, and all others that can prevent us from finding our way to the Lord, or from being able to give our very best in serving Him. When those who serve the Lord do not put God first and foremost in their mind, it is very easy for them to end up doing things for their own selfish gains and not for God’s sake.

Now, let us ask ourselves, have we been like those who are concerned only for their own benefits and good? Have we done all the things in our life being concerned only about increasing our own wealth, prestige, glory and all other things? Brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians, all of us should not do this. We should be more like Christ, Who is humble, obedient and devoted to all that has been entrusted to Him.

Let us all pray and discern carefully how we should carry on living our lives from now on. Let us all humble ourselves and recognise that all the things we say and do, we should say and do them for the Lord’s greater glory and not for our own. He has loved us so much, and cared for us so much, that He gave us His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may live. Ultimately, it is only by clinging on to Him that we will survive, and not in all of our worldly attachments, which are temporary and fleeting.

May the Lord awaken in us the courage and the strength to live faithfully according to His ways. May He empower us to do more for the sake of our brethren in need, those who are poor, those who are downtrodden, lonely and without hope. Let us show care and concern for them, that we may show them God’s love, that God is always there for all of us. May God bless us all and all of our good endeavours. Amen.

Sunday, 4 February 2018 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 1 : 29-39

At that time, on leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. As Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with fever, they immediately told Him about her. Jesus went to her and, taking her by the hand, raised her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening, at sundown, people brought to Jesus all the sick and those who had evil spirits : the whole town was pressing around the door. Jesus healed many who had various diseases, and drove out many demons; but He did not let them speak, for they knew Who He was.

Very early in the morning, before daylight, Jesus went off to a lonely place where He prayed. Simon and the others went out also, searching for Him; and when they found Him, they said, “Everyone is looking for You.” Then Jesus answered, “Let us go to the nearby villages so that I may preach there too; for that is why I came.”

So Jesus set out to preach in all the synagogues throughout Galilee; He also cast out demons.

Sunday, 4 February 2018 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 9 : 16-19, 22-23

Because I cannot boast of announcing the Gospel : I am bound to do it. Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel! If I preached voluntarily, I could expect my reward, but I have been trusted with this office, against my will. How can I, then, deserve my reward? In announcing the Gospel, I will do it freely, without making use of the rights given to me by the Gospel.

So, feeling free with everybody, I have become everybody’s slave, in order to gain a greater number. To the weak, I made myself weak, to win the weak. So, I made myself all things to all people, in order to save, by all possible means, some of them. This, I do, for the Gospel, so that I, too, have a share of it.

Sunday, 4 February 2018 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 146 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! How good it is to sing to our God, how sweet and befitting, to praise Him! YHVH rebuilds Jerusalem; He gathers the exiles of Israel.

He heals their broken hearts and binds their wounds. He determines the number of stars; He calls each of them by name.

The Lord is great, and mighty in power; His wisdom is beyond measure. YHVH lifts up the humble, but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sunday, 4 February 2018 : Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Job 7 : 1-4, 6-7

Man’s life on earth is a thankless job, his days are those of a mercenary. Like a slave he longs for the shade of evening, like a hireling waiting for his wages. Thus I am allotted months of boredom and nights of grief and misery. In bed I say, “When shall the day break?” On rising, I think, “When shall evening come?” and I toss restless till dawn.

My days pass swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, heading without hope for their end. My life is like wind, you well know it, o God; never will I see happiness again.