Tuesday, 20 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 6 : 7-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.”

“This, then, is how you should pray : Our Father in heaven, holy be Your Name, Your kingdom, come, Your will, be done on earth, as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are in debt to us.”

“Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you.”

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 33 : 4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

The eyes of YHVH are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked, to destroy their memory from the earth.

YHVH hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. YHVH is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 55 : 10-11

As the rain and snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My Word that goes forth out of My mouth : it will not return to Me idle, but it shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.

Monday, 19 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings serve as reminders for us, especially in this season of Lent, to reexamine our actions and deeds in life thus far, and ask ourselves whether we have been truly faithful and good disciples of Our Lord, or whether we have wandered off and fallen into sinful ways. In the first reading we heard God’s reminders to His people as He delivered to them through Moses, His servant, on how to be faithful to His laws and commandments.

During that time, the people of Israel often disobeyed the Lord, and some even followed the pagan customs of the people they encountered during their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. They did not know how to differentiate what was right from what was wrong, and they did what were considered wicked and sinful in the sight of God, oppressing their neighbours and those who were weaker than them.

As a result, God handed down His laws and commandments to them, through Moses, by which He expected them all to follow and to obey those laws and commandments, so that they might no longer sin but instead find a renewed life and existence in obedience to God and therefore they would be worthy to receive the fullness of God’s promises and graces.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are all also God’s people, thus we are also expected to do the same with our own lives. We should listen to the commandments which God had passed down to us, and which He reinforced through the teachings of the Church He established. What does this mean? It means that we should be just in our actions, and show love to others in our dealings with them.

We should help those who are poor and downtrodden, sharing with them the blessings we have received, the excesses and the spare that we can give to them. Are we not moved to mercy and compassion when we see someone who is suffering from hunger, from loneliness, from sorrow, from persecution and from many other unfortunate occasions? When we are in the position to help, are we doing what we can in order to help?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Gospel today, we heard about the account of the Last Judgment, which the Lord Jesus shared with His disciples and with the people who listened to Him. In that account, He foretold to them, how all of us mankind will eventually face this great judgment of all, when all of us will be judged not only by what we have done in life, but also by what we have not done or failed to do in our lives.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are often familiar with the sin caused by our actions, which are done in disobedience to God, which is the sin of action. However, do we also know that there is also the sin of omission? The sin of omission is caused by our conscious refusal and rejection of doing what we could have done, for the sake of those who are in need, while we are in the perfect position to be able to do so.

In the Gospel passage, we heard how the Lord Jesus cast out all those who have committed the same sin of omission from His presence, because they have seen Him in the least of their brethren, who were in need and who could have been helped by those who saw and knew their plight, and yet, those who were in the perfect position and capacity to help refused to do so, and turned a blind eye and deaf ear to their sufferings.

Those who refuse to do what the Lord had commanded us to do, will suffer the just rewards of their refusal, that is eternal damnation and suffering in hell. That is what the Lord had made plain before all of the people, warning them to remain true to His teachings and to do what must be done, in order for them to gain justification and to be worthy of God’s kingdom. Now, the choice is in our hands, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Shall we do our best in this season of Lent, particularly at this time of great grace, which the Church had set aside for us that we may turn away from our sins and to embrace God’s ways? Shall we do what we can, whenever we see others who are in need in our midst, not necessarily for money or worldly goods, but even for a simple care, love and attention? Shall we be more generous in giving alms and love for our brethren, that we are no longer oblivious to their need and cry for help, but instead be ready to help them with all of our hearts?

May the Lord be with us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, that He may continue to bless our works and endeavours throughout this season of Lent. May all of our good works and actions bring us ever closer and help us to realise ever more, of the responsibilities we have as Christ’s disciples. May the Lord bless our work, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 19 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”

Monday, 19 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 15

The Law of YHVH is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of YHVH is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of YHVH are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of YHVH are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of YHVH is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of YHVH are true, all of them just and right.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favour in Your sight, o YHVH – my Redeemer, my Rock!

Monday, 19 February 2018 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Leviticus 19 : 1-2, 11-18

YHVH spoke to Moses and said, “Speak to the entire assembly of the people of Israel and say to them : Be holy for I, YHVH, your God, am holy. Do not steal or lie or deceive one another. Do not swear falsely by My Name so as to profane the Name of your God; I am YHVH.”

“Do not oppress your neighbour or rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse a deaf man nor put a stumbling block in the way of the blind; but you shall fear your God; I am YHVH.”

“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor nor bow to the great; you are to judge your neighbour fairly so as not to share in his guilt. Do not go about as a slanderer of your people and do not seek the death of your neighbour; I am YHVH.”

“Do not hate your brother in your heart; rebuke your neighbour frankly so as not to share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or nurture a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself; I am YHVH.”